Now I have finally been elected as district councillor for the Petersfield St Peter’s ward, I feel it is safe to reveal a dark secret about myself. 

Not only am I a folkie, but I have a banjo in my possession and am not afraid to use it. 

As far as I am aware, my fellow Liberal Democrat councillor for the ward, Phil Shaw, has no such vice to confess. 

At folk festivals, my wife and I keep a running total of the number of deaths referred to in the song lyrics. As most ballads have their origins in the popular broadsheets produced in previous centuries, the count soon adds up. 

Long-forgotten battles, shipwrecks and mining disasters are always good for a few hundred. Then there are the gory murders and forsaken lovers who end it all in a variety of tragically-inventive way. 

By the end of an afternoon concert, we’re normally up to triple figures. 

Apart from the body count, false promises and broken agreements play a prominent part in the folk canon. Many a fair Nancy, Molly or Jill promise their hearts to a blackguardly sailor, highwayman or squire only to be left waiting at the quayside, gallows or altar in tears. 

A cautionary tale to those who are tempted to throw in their lot with those who have ulterior motives.

These lyrics came to mind as news emerged of the Faustian pact that Cllr Andy Tree and the Whitehill and Bordon Community Party have entered into with the Conservatives to preserve the Conservatives’ control of East Hampshire District Council. 

There are recent parliamentary precedents. In 2017, Theresa May – you remember, the one who spluttered her way through her speech at Conservative Conference while, irony upon irony, the letters dropped off the set behind her – was forced into bed with the DUP. 

I have no doubt many people in Whitehill and Bordon voted for Cllr Tree’s party because it ticked the ‘anybody but Tory’ box. How disappointed they must be now.

David Podger, Lib Dem councillor for Liss

In return for an agreement to vote with the government with no overall majority, the DUP was granted an extra £1 billion of funding for Northern Ireland, with the money to be spent on health, infrastructure and education budgets. 

Cllr Tree could have chosen a less-restrictive path. Rather than succumb to the cloying embraces of the Conservatives and accepting lucrative cabinet positions and portfolios, he could have adopted a similar deal to the DUP back in 2017. 

Not that I am attempting to draw any direct comparison between the vowel-twisting inhabitants of that troublesome province and the residents of Whitehill and Bordon, but he would at least have preserved some dignity. 

As it is, he and his colleagues are now tightly locked in the tentacles of the very political party they previously blamed for many of the ills that beset them. 

I have no doubt many people in Whitehill and Bordon voted for Cllr Tree’s party because it ticked the ‘anybody but Tory’ box. How disappointed they must be now. 

If this all sounds like sour grapes, then you’d be right. With 14 councillors elected to the district council, we too hoped to be able to form an arrangement with the six Whitehill and Bordon Community Party councillors and others to form a ‘rainbow alliance’ and take control of the district council. 

Alas, it was not to be as we could not – or would not – offer enough to satisfy Cllr Tree’s insatiable demands.

We can only hope for his sake that unlike all those deceived Nancies, Mollies and Jills the folk songs commemorate, he is not left bemoaning his fate when the true nature of his perfidious lover is revealed.

By David Podger

Lib Dem councillor for Liss