For me, one of the most challenging and frustrating experiences of being a Local Councillor, was talking to people I represented who had genuine grievances and reasons for stopping a poor policy from going ahead, who couldn’t understand why the Council wasn’t listening and basically didn’t care either.
Please believe me when I say that the only way to really have any chance of understanding what is wrong with Government and the Public Sector, is to experience it from within.
Even then, it is essential not be taken in by anyone who tells you that ‘this is just the way that things work’. It isn’t.
But most people who enter as Officers or newly elected Councillors with high ideals and aspirations for doing something good, simply accept everything that they are told and quickly become part of the problem too.
Over the Summer, talking to people whose lives have Cheltenham at their very centre, I again saw one of those massive issues coming into view. A completely unnecessary ‘created’ problem that makes sense to nobody who exists in the ‘real world’ outside of our own version of the Local Government system.
I’ve experienced the Boots Corner travesty first hand. I have had to make the same detours as you probably have done yourself and know that this whole project is benefiting nobody or nothing other than the ego’s of the people who dreamed this foolishness up.
I’ve already given my view on the whole thing here a couple of weeks ago. And whilst it is great to see Cheltenham’s MP Alex Chalk talking openly about how unwanted the Scheme is and a Change.org Petition now in place, we should all be under no illusion about how entrenched the mentality of those responsible for the Boots Corner fiasco is now likely to be.
If you want the Boots Corner plan overturned, the road reopened to all traffic and no more ridiculous schemes like this one to simply arrive without genuine consultation, there is only one thing that you can now really do.
You have to work to change the whole Council and replace them with people who have the same interest in what’s truly beneficial for the people in Cheltenham. That’s getting people elected as Councillors, who put Cheltenham before themselves and any Political Party they might represent. People who have the same real-world view as you.
If one person is prepared to stand in the next Local Elections within each Cheltenham Borough Council Ward, take Party Politics out of the equation and then start working as a representative for something better for the People and Businesses of Cheltenham, we might all be surprised just how quickly the Campaign to overturn this stupidity will start to gain results.
Don’t be fooled by thinking that the Elections don’t matter in Cheltenham because they are a long way off. It doesn’t matter because it’s the cumulative effect of the work and effort talking to people, knocking on doors and getting real people engaged that will grow the very best fruit.
It is important that you or anyone prepared to do the work necessary to represent a Ward as a Councillor are committed enough to be ‘in it to win it’.
You must also be prepared to do everything that it will take to see this Campaign through until Boots Corner is fully reopened, normal traffic is flowing and the target result is achieved.
Being told that the Borough Council is prepared to change its mind will not be enough. Like politicians generally, Councils have a habit of quietly changing their mind as soon as any noise goes quiet.
To be sure of success, Boots Corner must be fully open before you can think about whether you then want to stop campaigning for what’s best for Cheltenham.
Being a Councillor or even taking on the responsibility of working to get elected as a Local Councillor isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot to think about before anyone can decide.
If you want to run a successful Campaign and then be a good Councillor too, it is essential that you know, understand and are fully committed to what you are getting yourself into.
I’m not making the suggestion lightly. I’ve been an Officer within a Local Authority, a Councillor and Senior Member of another.
I’m putting this on the table for people who live and run Businesses within the Boundary of Cheltenham Borough itself. Local people who are eligible to become a Candidate and are motivated to represent the real views of the people and businesses of this great Town.
What I can do to help you is offer you the benefit of my experience, through advice and suggestions.
I can provide you with direction and a guide to what you need to think about. An outline of the reality of what it takes to get elected and everything that you will find when you are successful – which you can be if you are ready to do all that it will take.
How to get Elected is available to read FREE on a guide-to-area Website, and a page-list-based Blogsite which is also FREE for you to use.
If you want to read How to get Elected on your Kindle, it is available from Amazon too.