Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Last Post

Although I have no intention of ceasing blogging (unless any future employment precludes it), this particular blog will need to close for the simple reason that its address (URL) includes "medwaycouncillor" which is no longer correct.

Therefore I shall post no more here (apart from in response to comments on old posts) but instead am starting afresh on a new 'blog HERE. I shall leave this 'blog in a "closed" state so that anyone finding it can link through to the new place.

Meanwhile, I have had over 20 comments arrive in response to my previous article, so I shall try to deal with them briefly here, in the hope of making the situation clearer.

First, I couldn't stay on as an Independent (which I had considered) as the unelected quango called the Standards Board would (based on a recent similar case) disqualify my from being a Councillor, full stop. Note that this overrides the electorate's wishes...

Next, I wonder which Labour councillor was on? A few of them are as described in the comments, as it happens! Most of them are fairly unsavoury, one way or another, when you get to know them. No wonder their numbers shrink at every election here...

I shall not be spending time with any grandchildren. I'm not even a parent (so no hand-outs for me!)

Um, I have all the "logs" of Medway Council meetings since they first went on-line from October 2001, but they don't make very interesting bedtime reading :-)

I might head Down Under, though I doubt they'd have me at my age. I'd also have to get a passport - - something I haven't had since 1982...

I'm not giving up my Qercus column, and indeed have today spoken to the Editor about this. We're now trying to come up with a new name for the column, and I shall have to think of either a new slant, or perhaps a reminiscence of what I had done in the past but hadn't included in the column. I'll think of something! There are still two or three of my articles "in stock" at Qercus HQ, so there's some time for this.

Overall, I wish to thank all who have supported me -- although, as I think it now better know, my intent was to stimulate debate on finding a better way than the extreme one I found on the 'Net last September and copied to my draft. As I wrote in another recent article here (though on a different subject) I prefer "carrots" to "sticks", and brainstorming the nation should enable a better solution to what is clearly a very widespread issue to be found -- before dithering Gordon leaves it too late (as usual) and then panics and introduces draconian legislation. With the economic crunch coming, he will fairly soon find himself backed into a corner, and that will be dangerous for all of us. Let's find him something he can use instead.

Although the circumstances that meant I posted the incomplete article (it was then really just quotes and one link) have resulted in my effectively unavoidable resignation, the debate I wanted to start is now being held far more widely around the country that I could ever have envisaged. It has been a price worth paying!

Apart from the comments here, I have received dozens of emails, phone calls, and letters during the past couple of days or so, nearly all supporting both me and the necessity of having this debate. It has been a good exercise, in spite of everything.

Finally, I do hope that those who have come here for the first time for just this one item will at least glance through some of my other posts, as they might also be of interest.

UPDATE: I notice the latest commenter (yet another 'anonymous', unfortunately) seems to have missed what I was trying to achieve; but I blame the media coverage rather than the commenter.

Incidentally, I found a photographer had been waiting for me to emerge in order to take "grab shots" (as they are known) before I could stop him. I think he was a bit non-plussed when I offered to pose for him, as I thought it might make for a better-quality shot. I wonder what his Picture Editor will decide to put in tomorrow's Daily Mirror (to whose reporter I was even more kind, yesterday!)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Weight off my Mind

I have today, after a lot of thought, resigned from the council.

I wasn't going to do so originally, but in today's Soviet-style Britain, with all the pressures coming down upon us from on high and with yet more to come (as I recently reported HERE), all the indicators are that recent events have, funnily enough, afforded me an opportunity to 'get out from under' before even more bureaucracy hits local Councillors.

Just think of it: no more Government-imposed 'Performance Indicators' (a mere 168 of 'em!), no more having to explain why we can't do something because tens of millions of pounds has been deducted from our funding every year, no more Codes of Conduct and all of that, and no more briefings on this week's new legislation. Bliss!

Anyway, this means that this 'blog (which was initially just an experiment anyway) will probably close very soon.

As for me: I look forward to the next adventure in my life, wherever that should turn out to be -- just as I did when I moved here eleven years ago, not knowing what lay ahead of me then.