I completely agree, and recommend changing standing orders to allow whatever the council thinks appropriate. My preference for all but the largest parish councils is to allow anyone to speak, at the discretion of the chair, who does have more or less absolute power over the conduct of a meeting. Also, people are excessively strict in their interpretation of the restriction on who can speak - anyone who has a significant role in relation to the council (including but not limited to local councillors of principal authorities) should be allowed to speak without being treated as if they were members of the public. Again, always at the discretion of the chair. I agree that it is not sensible to abandon all control of the meeting.