NO sooner do we have the first elections for the new Somerset West and Taunton Council (SwaT) than the Conservative Leader of Somerset County Council re-starts his campaign to abolish the new council and form a unitary council for the whole of Somerset!

If this happens, SWaT could be the shortest and most expensive council ever!

All mergers cost a lot of money to set up and any savings only come later.

So why did three Tory council leaders (of Somerset County, Taunton Deane and West Somerset) spend the last few years trying to set up two contradictory mergers that would cancel each other out and cost the local taxpayer millions?

Didn’t they have each others’ phone numbers?

The answer could be that both mergers have similar political motives.

The merger between Taunton Deane and West Somerset was pushed through to bail out the near-bankrupt, Conservative-run West Somerset Council.

John Williams, the Tory leader of Taunton Deane, wanted it because he thought that the solid, huge Conservative majority in West Somerset would guarantee that he would lead the new council, even if Taunton turned against him. (He was wrong!)

The Conservative county council leader has already shown that he wants to take over the districts to bail out the financial mess the Tories have made of SCC.

He is already trying to do this by dumping all the costs of the SCC-run Taunton Park and Rides onto the new Lib Dem-run SWaT council.

READ MORE: Plan to abolish district and borough councils in Somerset revealed

Whatever you think of mergers and unitary councils, we need to address them with the right motives, to make economies of scale and have good services at less cost.

They should not be pushed through for political advantage, to cut services that people need and to bail out politicians who lead inefficient and badly run councils.