Imagine a cold, wintry night in Matlock. You’ve just done a hard day’s work and instead of going home to spend some quality time with your wife in front of the TV you head into a meeting with a group of people who don’t agree with your point of view on the development of a project which will create even more work for you. Because you can’t get the agreement you need you settle for a compromise on the latest drainage scheme and think you’ll try and nudge it a little further in six months time.
This is the experience of your average volunteer, elected representative.
We are all quick to criticize those who are “in power” – mainly when they disagree with what we personally want or feel. Our Councillors – local, district and county have a thankless task – if we were unanimous in our opinion we wouldn’t have the problem but we would also live in a pretty joyless fascist state. They cannot please us all but they can represent our views and if they don’t understand them, take the time to do so (like hurriedly arranging the meeting to discuss the Housing Consultation). In return we can cut them some slack and assume they have our best interests at heart. Those who perpetually just take the negative stance (and I admit I have been guilty), shout Conspiracy (I may wonder occasionally), need to make sure they also offer praise where it is due (hopefully guilty as charged).
Almost all of the time, almost all of the politicians act with the motivation of nothing more than service. Although they get it right almost all of the time, like us all, they sometimes get it wrong. Maybe if we were less punishing of failure and more supportive of motive we would have more volunteers to share the load of leadership.
We are lucky in Ashbourne in my opinion that we have councillors, like Steve Bull and Alan Hodkinson (and I’m sure many others), willing to make the journey on the cold wintry night. We are lucky to have an approachable District Council willing to listen. We need to try to be the electorate they deserve in recognizing it can’t always go the way we want, be willing to compromise and help them to make the right decisions for us. Whether I agree or disagree, first and foremost I want to say thank you to them for being willing to step forward to do the job.