Jackie Weaver, Britney Spears and a local coup d'état: A breakdown of the world's worst Zoom call

Jackie Weaver, Britain's newest celebrity, addresses an unruly group of local councillors.

London (CNN)Was the Zoom meeting of the century called illegally? Had all participants read and understood the standing orders? And, most importantly, did Jackie Weaver have the authority to kick Handforth parish council's chairman out of the discussion?

Those were the questions engrossing Britain on Friday, after a chaotic, tension-packed and technologically challenged meeting of local government officials from a tiny English town went viral.
The video appears innocuous enough at first -- a pre-Christmas get-together of councillors, to discuss matters relating to their quaint location in the northern English county of Cheshire.
    But what follows may be the greatest, most ridiculous thing to come out of the past year: A truly anarchic 80 minutes of microphone failures, flushing toilets, insurrections and outright shouting matches that perfectly encapsulated the frustrations of lockdown.
    "This meeting has not been called according to the law. The law has been broken," the council chairman sensationally claims at one point, prompting a ripple of shock from participants.
    "Read the standing orders. Read them and understand them!" another member later screams, sparking a round of head-shaking and furious tuts.
    There are sudden dismissals, power grabs and an inexplicable Britney Spears reference, all of which combine for arguably the most hellish Zoom experience since the pandemic began.
    And the call has made national stars of its participants -- most prominently Jackie Weaver, the dogged chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, who found fame overnight by withstanding a barrage of fury from parish councillors.
    "99.99% of council meetings are just not like that. They are often less exciting," Weaver told the BBC on Friday. "Of that meeting, I'm not absolutely sure who was in charge."

    What went down in the worst Zoom meeting ever?

    The meeting in question was a gathering of a parish council, which sits at the lowest tier of England's local government architecture and typically deals with matters such as the upkeep of community halls, village greens and war memorials. Weaver told the BBC that she had been brought in to support the Handforth councillors who, if YouTube videos are anything to go by, have been at loggerheads for some time.
    "When do we plan to start?" the council's chair, Brian Tolver, asks at the outset of the call, a recording of which was posted online by an attendee.