I’m pushing my luck talking about the roads being finished at last because I’m writing this in order to meet this edition’s deadline of the 15th February (actually today) and the work actually started yesterday, but ever hopeful I won’t be proved a liar when I say that we can, at long last, drive over roads that we should have had eight years ago if only everyone who made me promises at that time had kept those promises.
In a regular furtle through old stuff, I often read over exchanges of emails from those early years and feel so sad that it hadn’t been a case of people “getting on with their job”, but rather that politics and egos got in the way. The only thing that saved my sanity back then and over time since was my stand as an Independent. I was answerable to no one except the people of Highley.
But it’s time to stand down and let someone else take it all on.
They won’t do it the same as me because I can’t find anyone prepared to do the job without the support of a political group because that’s the way they believe it has to be done. Well, so be it. There won’t be much of a council to work with anyway, in fact there isn’t much left of it now, so all that’s left to do is talk, not do.
I’ve always believed that no one should stand for more than two terms in office anyway and I only stood again in May 2021 because I could see no one out there who would represent Highley’s interests and not follow the agenda of some national Party. When you see people who have worked at this job for more than two terms (which, remember, is actually EIGHT years) you’re looking at someone who has – consciously or unconsciously – “got their feet under the table” and as a consequence become part of the Establishment and part of the problem.
At the last election I saw some really good people leave the county council, one of them with substantial time as a local councillor but de-selected by a constituency association who wanted a more compliant advocate for their Party’s national core values, and another who, totally disillusioned with a Party he no longer recognised as the principled one he had joined, relinquished the Party Whip and stood (and won) as an Independent, the two of them exiting with words that showed how betrayed they felt.
The point is that both those distinguished but bitterly disillusioned councillors had supported all the changes that have reduced what used to be an honourable institution to the rump estate it is now by saying nothing. Remember this?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. [Attribution questionable, apparently.]
Member for Highley Division of Shropshire Council.