At the Leverington Parish Council meeting this week I witnessed the power of local politics in action! A group of concerned villagers brought their case to the parish detailing a local traffic danger spot - Leverington Common. Passionate, eloquent and impressive, they spoke with a united voice and made a clear and powerful case. The Parish Council, to their credit, took the worries on board and vowed to work with them to convince the District and County councils of the need for investment in improvements that would help reduce the potential for a serious accident in the area. I met the group after the meeting and listened to their very valid comments. There was no doubt in my mind that this was a cause I needed to throw myself into. As a prospective candidate for the County Council seat I really have no influence right now (you have to win an election first – roll on June 4th and a chance to make a difference!) but I promised them that I would stand right with them in getting something done. This is another of those situations where the traffic authority wont do the work because there are other locations which need the resources and have a “higher record of accidents”. While that sounds reasonable from a purely logical point of view, it does seem to suggest that blood must be spilt before work will be done. Surely, with local folk showing such solidarity of purpose, we should be able to push for preventative safety measures too? I think so, anyway, and that’s what I’ll be working towards.
This week, I have been asked to sit on one side of a structured debate panel at the Fens Conservative Future Pizza & Politics evening. The motion being considered is : “This house would see a return of National Service.” For anybody who has never been involved in a structured debate before, the point is to give both sides a good airing. You can be tasked with arguing for a case which doesn’t necessarily reflect your own views (as I have… I’m arguing against, when I can see the value of National Service all too well.) It’s an interesting chance to bring ideas into the public forum and get all sorts of takes on the argument. While preparing my three-minute presentation, which is the opposite of my actual view, I found that I was not as open-minded as I had surmised. All sorts of challenging arguments against are fairly difficult to equate with my own current opinion. As such, I’ve had to revise my real-life stance from ‘in favour’ to ‘sceptical’. Here, then, is the absolute value of debate for debate’s sake. Forced to think something through from the other side, and argue against your own personal position, is a genuine learning experience. If you have some time free on Friday night and are in the area, come along to Pizza & Politics. It’ll be a very interesting evening.
Parliament At It’s Finest
The death of David Cameron’s son this week was a terrible tragedy. I cannot express the sympathy I feel in words. Parliament’s response, from all sides, was a fine example of decency and honour. Even Gordon Brown, for whom I generally have nothing but disdain, sounded earnest and sincere. In a moment of deep sadness parliament did us proud with their compassion.