YES, of course local politics gets political, but I have always believed that to honestly represent and respond to the needs of the local community with integrity (one of the key principles of public service) means that the right thing to do is to put political motivation aside.

After almost 20 years, I am living proof that this is the right approach.

I see myself as a problem solver and a shoulder to cry on.

This brings with it a considerable amount of frustration, as invariably I am not the decision maker, just the messenger.

Decisions get made, and sometimes they do not find favour or produce the expected results.

That’s life.

While I am not afraid to point out the failings of those upon whose shoulders our future prosperity and progress reside, I try not to enter into the blame game.

It is a very negative approach and ultimately achieves very little.

As local government in Somerset is about to enter into a new phase, there are many who have been unhappy with the Secretary of State’s decision.

This is understandable, where the process has been seen as two-sided, districts versus county.

What bothers me though has been the tendency to perpetuate the deceit and half-truths that unfortunately populated much of the information that found its way into the public domain.

Propaganda fodder for the proletariat.

Few of us have the time or emotional energy to wade through the constant missives.

On occasion I am challenged publicly over what people have seen or heard; something which I relish responding to.

Better that than apathy.

In recent months there have been charges of public debate being stifled by the reluctance of some elected bodies to allow entry to public meetings, on the grounds of Covid safety.

Surely it must be possible to arrange for more suitable venues to enable full participation?

When the public do choose to attend (sadly it is usually only to complain or object) they are permitted only a limited amount of time to make their representations.

A good chairperson should be able to manage that to everyone’s satisfaction.

As taxpayers, we must have the right to express our views to those decision-making bodies that have a lasting impact on our lives.

What we must all be careful of is believing in everything we see and hear, without questioning the motive behind such sentiments.

One phrase in particular sticks in my mind: "Only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd." 

The orator? Hitler. Enough said.

Combe St Nicholas