Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to the Bear-Pit, Carl

A big well done to new LibDem Councillor Carl Mayhew on his recent victory in Mile Cross. I've only really met Carl once and look forward to getting to know him in future. Anybody that could win Mile Cross, save for Vic Elvin, as a LibDem clearly has a future ahead of them. However I would like to offer a few pieces of advice.

Firstly, you've got some serious making up to do with your two fellow ward councillors. You'll need to get on to be able to work with them. I've, luckily, got a good working relationship with one of my ward colleagues and I know how hard it can be to work with other parties. Just keep in mind that they don't like you and you probably don't like them. Don't underestimate how little the other side think of you. But you have to work together for your community.

Having said that, Mile Cross has two Labour cabinet members - you can clean up on the grassroots stuff and I urge you to do that. Get in touch with everybody worth knowing. Visit all clubs, fetes and the like. Take plenty of business cards with you. Be seen and be known - it'll pay off when you need information or favours.

Ignore your councillor colleagues - for now. Don't get involved with party politics just yet. Make a "worthy" first speech to council and then focus on the ward. You've got a hard fight in 2008 to hold your seat, so start now. When you have found your feet then delve into the murky depths of internal LibDem politics.

Get to know all council officers and other key staff. Be nice to the cleaners - they know everything. Shred most of the information you get. Say yes to every invite for the first three months then slow down - too much excitement kills you. Read "Councillor" magazine and the weekly bulletin but dispense with the rest of the gumpf. Know your county councillor and try to get on with him, even if he is Labour.

Cllr Mayhew probably has a long career ahead of him in local politics - if the voters of Mile Cross let him.

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