Sunday, May 21, 2006

Review of the week gone by and the week to come...

Becoming a Councillor has been a bewildering experience so far. I’ve just finished my second day of training and still feel that the inner workings of local government are still way beyond me. I have been busy making contacts with all of the officers of the Council worth making contact with. I am been to a Bowthorpe Community Partnership and suffered death by a thousand issues – can there really be this much to do? And what to do when the council just says “no” – how far can opposition councillors change things? I am an optimistic and I believe that we can change things and that is what I intend to do. I also have a varied array of invites to various civic parties, most of which I intend to do to just so that I can say I’ve done it! I have also written my first “political” letter to the Evening News, although curiously they are yet to publish my “thank you” one (see below).

The other issue about being a Councillor is that suddenly the world wants to know you – in a NOC Council we seem to be the target of disproportionate overtures by the other parties and it feels like I’ve hardly been off the phone to media, other Conservatives or Council officials. The steady stream of “well done” letters, e-mails and telephone calls continues. Not only from Bowthorpe but from far a field as London, Suffolk, South Norfolk and Eaton … it may not be odd for party workers and members to phone you, but this gentleman was just a very committed Conservative voter who was thrilled for me personally. Apparently when I was the Eaton candidate in 2000 he was very impressed and has kept half an eye on me ever since!

Tuesday is the first full Council – but it is the AGM and civic ceremony of Mayoral making. It should be generally politics-free but the Greens always try and make some mischief, normally because they refuse to refer to the Lord Mayor as being the Lord Mayor. I may not agree with tomatoes but I recognise that they are tomatoes…

Cllr Morphew, the Leader of the Labour Group, will be busy plotting a takeover. As I understand it, Cllr Couzens is set to let him because of the bruising and overwhelming nature of their defeat. I believe Morphew’s problem will be forming an executive that commands respect across the chamber. Around half of his 16 Labour Councillors will have to be frontbenchers and I am afraid that you could name on one hand those who could command the council. Interesting times!

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