Sunday, 10 August 2008
Who needs Councillors?
Gordon Brown has ventured to the East Anglian coast for a family break. But along with his pilates teacher there will also be a large team of advisors and officials. Prime Ministers are never off duty. How different things are in local government. County Hall manages quite well thank you very much without any of the politicians present. Much as I respect the fervour and input of Mrs Shortland and her colleagues our machine of state whirrs quietly and efficiently in their absence. I told my loyal staff in a recent newsletter that it was probably time to open a political dialogue about the future direction of representation at county level. Are councillors necessary? Do they add anything to the sum total of human knowledge? Could we survive without them? These are important questions to address especially when considering the ludicrous furore about SouthWest One. Like most things in life the truth is cunningly concealed somewhere between the extremes. You cannot group all councillors together. A small handful have, in my opinion, ideas way above their station. Some are so patently lacking in the necessary brain cells that it is a wonder they are able to place the appropriate footwear upon the appropriate feet. But most are satisfied to do the sensible thing and leave all the decision making process to the experts – the officials who know best how to manage affairs. Councillors are there to make weight and make the right noises at the right time on cue. The intelligent ones realise their lemming-like limitations and leave us all alone during August. I wish they all would.