in Wandsworth

Eight years on exec and eleven in the council’s leader’s group came to an end this morning when I was gently sacked in the post-election reshuffle. A smaller group needs a smaller exec, and by implication I wasn’t up to the job. I probably want to spent more time with my family, as well.

It will probably come as little surprise to those that know me (or could pick up the oblique references in the blog). It was fully expected. I have increasingly been out-of-line with the council’s groupthink. I even joked in my re-selection meeting that being in a minority of one was the unique attribute I brought to the council. However, while it makes a nice joke, when someone is doing the serious business of running a council they need support and not challenge.

Nor will it come as a surprise to many that it is a blessed relief. I have not found these past few years on the council terribly happy, the past year in particular (when I found myself pushing through a policy with which I disagreed) was not a fun time for me in SW18. Of course, a lot of that unhappiness was of my own making: I chose inertia. And I can’t pretend that the job didn’t have perks. Being Wandsworth and largely home-based with meetings tending to be in the evening meant I could spend a lot of time with my children, something for which I will forever be grateful.

Now I need to focus on plugging an income hole—all job offers are welcome—but it also gives me freedom to start being a more proactive ward councillor and seeing what I can achieve from the backbenches for Shaftesbury. I was not entirely without guilt last Thursday, since I don’t think any of us have been the ward councillors we perhaps should have been over the years, but re-election gives me a chance to redress that.

But before I do that, and before I polish up my CV and LinkedIn profile, I’m taking my boy away for a few days of adventure, camping in the glorious half-term weather we’re having!

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  1. Such a shame, James. The council cabinet needs more mavericks like you. Best of luck in whatever you do next.

    • Very kind, but I would not describe myself as a maverick! When you have a minority view you either keep quiet or disagree, and neither are much use to those sharing the majority view.

      No-one is indispensable. It is just the way of politics,

  2. When you have a moment, I would really much like to discuss a few topics, especially views on the Winstanley/York redevelopment plans. Is it something we could envisage?

      • I know. However your feedback would certainly be interesting to discuss to have a better and constructive approach on the work done by the Council.

        In addition this is not only about the regeneration scheme, but about Clapham Junction as we both have interests in the area I guess…

        • An interest, yes. However, while council protocol is not as well defined as Parliamentary protocol in such matters, they are both in other people’s wards and I have no general or specific portfolio responsibility anymore. I should keep my head down on such matters.