Thursday, February 22, 2007

Well that's it then..........all over for "Cllr" Jack

I'm just back from my last ever Bedford Borough Council meeting. I'm not part of the furniture like one of my "independent" fellow councillors.........hanging on to get his 60, or is it 70 year award and who in a debate about diversity on our wonderful biannual River Festival commented that we only needed "a little bit" of diversity.......No, I am a spring chicken in comparison only having done 5 years.

It took me back to reminiscing about my first council meeting, the dreadful pic they took of me (sorry, how shallow I am!), that first year when we had 3 elections, a normal one, a referendum to see if we wanted a mayor, and a mayoral one. And now here we are again, once again determined to elect a Lib Dem mayor.

In those days, finding deference of any kind totally abhorrent, I squirmed every time anyone called me Councillor, no, I would say, my name's Linda. It reminded me of the many times in my youth work career where young people, used to calling adults miss or sir, would call me miss and I would be duty bound to correct them. The only exception, I have to confess, was the day I phoned up to speak to the Borough solicitor. I think it was something to do with the demonstrations I had been involved in organising in the run up to the Iraq war (a friend and I had gone out tying black bows to all the lampposts and trees in the town centre, only to have them taken down by the council as they were a safety hazard!) and whether or not constitutionally we could debate the issue at council. Well his secretary answered and was exceptionally rude, no doubt imagining me to be one of the rif raf. When I insisted on speaking to the said man and she asked who I was I had to answer, not Linda, but Councillor Weerasirie. I have never heard such a swift turn around in attitude in my life! No, deference, as far as I am concerned, is a threat to democracy!

So, no more leaving work early, worrying about whether there will have been a "passenger incident" on the Northern Line, or whether I will have got so totally absorbed in some intellectually stimulating article in London Lite that I end up in High Barnet, or whether Midland Mainline will have ground to a halt due to the wrong kind of leaves/snow/wind or maybe passengers from Bedford, whether I am going to disgrace myself again by accidentally getting on the train which doesn't stop until Market Harborough - heaven help us - thus meaning I don't arrive in time to nominate my fellow councillor as chair - no those days are all I have to worry about is getting to FPC on time and ensuring I am fully versed in the vagaries of the Chatham House sorry David, Rule!!!!

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