Friday 5 February 2021 6:54 am

When Zoom goes wrong: Is this the worst video meeting of all time?

The Handforth Parish Council Planning and Environment Committee is, one assumes, a sleepy affair.

But that does not seem to have been the case before Christmas — with a heady mix of Zoom confusion, playground squabbling and extremely English insults.

A video of the meeting — of which the written minutes simply do not do justice — is a warning to us all in our brave new digital world.

Internet hero/comedian Steven Morgan has filleted the best bits.

Read more: Sketch: The tech giants dance to their own tune in Zoom parliament

“Can we be assured that we won’t be thrown out?”

We’ve all got used to awkward starts to Zoom meetings. Few are as awkward as “Handforth PC Clerk” Brian Glover (remember this name – it will come back) mumbling “F*ck off” under his breath as the currently unseen Jackie Weaver attempts to bring the affair to order.

But it gets worse. Clearly things did not end well last time.

Peter Moore is having none of Handforth PC Clerk’s complaints.

“Will you stop talking?!”

Brian’s not enjoying this. Seasoned watchers of Handforth Parish Council worry he’s in trouble.

Julie, you’re not on mute.

“Oh, hiya, I’m just in a meeting, can I give you a call back when it finishes?”

Read more: ‘Zoom anxiety’ infects the nation during the pandemic

“She’s kicked him out!”

One delight of Zoom calls, rarely used in a business setting, is the ability to remove people from said call. I say rarely used, because it is probably considered a bit… you know. Not on.

Jackie Weaver hasn’t any time for your pleasantries.


Since Brian was the chairman, and has now been kicked out, there is understandably some confusion about who the chairman is. It’s unclear why they need a chairman — Jackie Weaver seems to be in charge — but there we are.

Councillor Burkhill isn’t happy with Jackie either.

Sue tries her best.

Read more: Sketch: How to communicate effectively (according to the UK government)

“Ian, you’re muted”

Here comes the lesser-spotted Ian Ball. And Ian Ball has no time for your giving-yourself-a-title on your Zoom name. No sir. And he’s got the evidence.

But here comes Sue, again, saving the day. She’s the UN of the whole affair — just wants everybody to get along. But goodness me, I’m not sure it’ll be that easy…

Cynthia, for one, is not having it. There’ll be no laughing hyenas in Handforth Parish Council Planning Committee Zoom calls, thank you very much.

There follows a frankly disappointing breakout of civility.

But one man knows what’s coming.

The final word goes to John.

No John. Thank you.

Here’s the full 18 minutes.