First of all I would like to offer my belated congratulations on the election results, especially the Earlsfield by-election. I am sure they would not have been as good for the Conservative Party had it not been for your work in the borough over the years.
During my time as a councillor it’s been a great privilege to work with councils across the country, whether good or bad I have learned an enormous amount from all of them. Here in Wandsworth it has been fascinating to witness a period of change over the past four years as you have developed your vision and created the team to deliver it. However, throughout those four years and in the past few weeks in particular it has become increasingly apparent that there is nothing I can offer.
When we met some eighteen months ago you told me that much of your thinking was driven by your need to plan for 2018 and beyond and that need can only get stronger as 2018 approaches. In that context you do not need dead-weight. Equally, I have come to realise that as much as I love being a councillor and serving residents, I have often felt constrained by my membership of the majority group.
After lengthy consideration I have notified the chief executive that I wish to resign from the majority group.
And that’s it. No big issue, no flounce. Just sadness because I feel a bit useless and think I can do more for residents if I can focus on trying to help instead of my almost Pavlovian instinct to defend council policy (whatever I think of it).
It really is like the end of a stale relationship.
Election day. My first as an adult when I haven’t been politically active in any way. Indeed, I can even claim my last as a child saw some activity since a friend’s sister was standing in the mock election (for the Conservatives: I actually voted Labour, something I’ve never admitted before.)
While I know many others who are politically active will have tales to tell of lessons they have learned the election has been a revelation for me, simply because it really hasn’t bothered me.
Like most people, the election largely passed me by. And for the most part I was happy with that. The arguments, interviews, broadcasts and stunts went almost entirely unnoticed by the majority of people. Instead, I counted the benefits of not being involved in kids’ bedtimes I could do, trips out and lazy long breakfasts at the weekend.
But when I did pay attention it wasn’t fun. It was too often negative and unpleasant, nationally and locally (although to be fair, locally it was generally good natured, only a few people brought unpleasantness). For me politics should be about what you can do as a politician, not just being a politician. Perhaps if more remembered that then elections might be more engaging for ordinary people.
Being a geek I wore a Narrative clip for the Brighton Marathon. The shots were surprisingly good, but this was my favourite, taken about ten or eleven miles in. I’d somehow got a bottle (everywhere else drinks were in cups), the running was good (and slightly downhill) and the sea and sky were blue.
It was great, until about mile 18, when my knees, but particularly my right knee, became a touch painful. Annoying because until then things had been going smoothly and looking at my splits I was on course to beat ‘perfect run’ target.
A slow and difficult final eight miles followed and I crossed the line at 3:47:40, so I’ve crossed ‘do a marathon’ off my list of things I wanted to accomplish.
A great day. The organisation was smooth and the crowds fantastic. It was a joy to be part of it (pain aside). I’ve got a new bloody nipple photo (although it doesn’t really show).
And I’ve raised a few quid for Hospice in the Weald. The fundraising was a last minute decision after my sister-in-law, Lucy, died of cancer there having received treatment and support from them throughout her illness.
If you’re feeling generous, motivated or just feel bloody nipples are worth a few quid you can still donate.