PHEW, what a scorcher!

Rarely can a summer break have been as welcome as this one for the city’s Conservatives.

The heat, in both senses of the word, has truly been on Matthew Dean and his merry band at the Guildhall.

They’ve made a complete hash of their planned merger of tourist information and Shopmobility, upsetting every potentially redundant member of staff involved and legions of the public all at the same time.

A protest petition with 6,000 signatures? Ignored.

The high spot of this particular debacle was Cllr Kevin Daley yelling at a member of the public to “Get off!” when she dared to insist on them spelling out what they were voting for as the issue was debated in committee.

Never mind saving jobs, I reckon they ought to create one – for a public relations officer. And if office space is tight, I’m sure there’ll be room for one more in the vacated TIC.

Not that I’m volunteering, guys. The impossible takes a little longer, as they say, and I don’t have that much time on my hands.

Cllr Dean managed to infuriate the traveller community and senior Wiltshire councillors with his ill-chosen remark, webcast from a Trowbridge cabinet meeting, that he was “fervently praying” there wouldn’t be an emergency stopping site for gypsies and travellers created in his electoral division.

Call Me Jane herself said the whole council would “disassociate” itself from that comment.

Having denied saying any such thing, Cllr Dean also denied being the sender of a jokey text message from his phone that managed to combine insensitivity towards travellers with insensitivity towards the victims of the nerve agent outrage.

And this, as the disapproving Baroness put it, “at a time when the city was reeling” from the international incident.

When he took over the leadership last year, Cllr Dean said he was sure his deputy, Jo Broom, would do “an admirable job of reining me in”. (Must try harder, Jo!)

Perhaps he was thinking of reports a few months earlier of a tirade on a late train home from London, when fellow passengers said they were treated to free character readings of his council colleagues.

I have a confession to make here.

I personally lost sympathy with Cllr Dean when he appointed himself Scourge of the Railway Bridge Pigeons. I know many people approved. It’s just my eccentric point of view.

Yet despite the rumours swirling around, I hope the Tories don’t panic and go for a new leader.

He is without doubt the best public speaker they’ve got, and the most colourful character.

And from a journalist’s point of view, the current set-up is a godsend. It’s just one great headline after another!