I'm on my way to Gloucester, having spent this morning with Ros at the joint LGA/ALDC Local Government Conference in Birmingham.
Last night, we attended the pre-conference dinner in the extremely grand Council House, a magnificent example of Victorian municipal architecture. Richard Kemp and Paul Tilsley made brief speeches before Ros took her turn. I don't have much involvement in the preparation of Ros's speeches - not my forte, it must be said - so I have as much idea of what to expect as the rest of the audience do. I often hear a line and assume that it will lead into a story I've heard before, only to be confounded. Public speaking is an art, and I never cease to be amazed by Ros's grasp of the format.
An excellent dinner followed, and the conversation over the meal suitably entertained. When you are surrounded by a group of people who actually run, or have run, significant authorities, it pays to listen to what they have to say. After all, unlike some of our MPs (and this is no criticism of them), our Council Leaders in places like Birmingham, Cardiff and Watford have genuine power to change their towns and cities, and the lives of the people who live in them, for the better.
In fact, I've been persuaded that, whilst I might not be the most obvious council candidate ever, if my Party genuinely needed me and thought that I wouldn't let them down, I wouldn't resist like I have done in the past. Sometimes, simply believing in the concept of public service is not enough, you have to be willing to take your turn on the frontline...