Balancing being a Councillor and putting bread on the Table (family life too?)

Published On June 2, 2014 » 1307 Views» Gloucester, Politics

A criticism constantly pushed at politicians, regardless of political colour, is not living in the real world.   Being a councillor, in the main, attracts people who have retired or have other financial means to support them, for obvious reasons.  For the rest of us, it’s a tough balance managing to be a councillor who is representative of the people they represent, as well as have a life and put food on the table with a day job.  Running a small business myself, as well as trying not to miss my kids childhood is always difficult, but we try our best.  However, I’m not complaining, but a comment on an article about the Labour Leader, Kate Haigh, after the elections has made me quite angry about either the assumption or naivety about how much Councillors (and candidates) put into trying to do the right thing for the people they represent.

The article was about (in part) Kate’s re-election as leader of the city group after the recent elections.  The comment was as follows:

Hopefully Kate has taken note of my earlier advice,. How can she run a successful campaign when employed elsewhere. If you want to lead us to victory you need to give up the day job, and be 100% behind the party. You made mistakes because you were only giving a small percentage of your time to our party, had you given your all it would be you as city council leader not Mr James. Now you have been reflected, get behind us 100%, quit the day job and be totally dedicated to us, the party and the next election. Otherwise it will be the same outcome as last week. Don’t give Chris everything to do and take the glory yourself, he is a good man and deserves your full commitment to the Labour Party. What is it kate … Us .. Or a half halted effort?

Lets be clear, Kate is a mum as well as having a part-time job.  That’s before you look at her council commitments (which certainly doesn’t pay enough to be a job replacement).  We constantly are on the look out for candidates who better represent who we are, including wanting a greater diversity, including working mums.  I think the accusation that Kate only gave a small percentage of time to the party just shows how little the commenter knows about the amount of effort Kate puts in.  Most days will see her campaigning in one part of the city or another, and last weekend, while many others were having a rest after the election, Kate was up in Newark helping the Labour Movement there.  That’s hardly a small percentage of time.  The idea that anyone can simply give up their job and hope for food to magically appear on their table is simply laughable and clearly not based in reality.

The Elections just gone were not easy for anyone, no one made any gains, and in many ways we were holding back a purple wave.  Yes we did not make the gains we would have liked to, but Kate held on to our Labour Seats, even with a change of Councillor in Moreland.

We have Labour councillors who represent a range of personal circumstances, ages, sex and employment and we are a stronger party for it.  It’s because of the hard work that Kate puts in over a number of years that convinced me that I could contribute as a councillor and I am thankful for that example.  Kate’s commitment to the Labour Cause is an example  for many in Gloucester!

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