Nominations closed on 3 April, and I was somewhat relaxed about my likely fate. After all, my colleagues were all thoroughly capable so, were the worst to happen (a contested election and defeat), Creeting St Peter Parish Council would be in good hands. I did at least know that my nomination papers had been successfully filed which, as it turned out, put me at a distinct advantage.
For, when dawn broke the next day (or at least not that long afterwards), it turned out that I had delivered two of the three nomination forms. From a personal perspective, not having to fight an election was probably preferable, as I would have had to campaign properly - at least one leaflet and some door knocking - but from the perspective of local democracy, it’s a bit disappointing.
I could try to convince myself that the lack of competition is due to my winning personality and glorious leadership, but you can really go too far in assuming that. It is more likely that nobody cares enough to run against you. Perhaps somewhere between the two poles is more accurate, who knows?
And so, I have (up to) another four years in office. Admittedly, I can’t currently see the circumstances whereby I fail to see out the term, but I’m a statistician, and in my world, there is no such thing as certainty. I also have a validly constituted Council, as we need a minimum of three councillors to function, and we have three.
Will I continue as Chair? Well, that isn’t entirely up to me, although I’d be happy to do so if that suits my colleagues. My current Vice Chair is thoroughly capable of stepping up, although there is a slight complication in that he didn’t submit a nomination paper. So, on that point, we’ll see.
I do have some ambitions for the next four years though. I’d like to improve the way we communicate - we’re a bit “earthbound” in terms of how we reach out to residents - and we could do more to engage them in our work on their behalf.
I’d also like to do something about the street lights. They are elderly, increasingly unreliable and expensive to run. Yes, there are only ten of them, but they are one of the few bits of infrastructure that we have control over, and they don’t go unnoticed. I’ve had some thoughts on how we might achieve something, but really need to focus on that now.
Other than that, I just want us to run our Parish well, maintaining a strong relationship with the Parochial Church Council and doing what we can to improve the fabric of our community. It’s not big, or particularly clever, but in a world where people have seemingly little faith in politicians, even Parish Councils can be a force for good, reminding people that they can make a difference.
Wish me luck!…
Good luck, Mark.
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