Thursday, 10 July 2014

Crawley Observer Column 9th July 2014

I like to think I have integrity as a councillor and that I genuinely work for the greater good of Tilgate, Furnace Green, Crawley and West Sussex. This is certainly my intention. This week in my Crawley Observer Column (below in blue) I have written about a pitfall some councillors fall in to. It is definitely a more common trait among Crawley's Labour councillors and I believe that ultimately, it will be the undoing of their new administration at Crawley Town Hall as old habits die hard.

Cllr Duncan Crow - standing up for the silent majority

"The role of a councillor is to fairly represent the neighbourhood that elects them as well as to do their best for the wider town. There can be occasions when both these aims are not viewed as mutually compatible, but usually what is good for a neighbourhood will be good for the town.
Councillors are often approached by people with vested interests or by lobbying groups. It is right that that we are responsive to concerns and that they are given a fair hearing. While it can often be the right thing to do, it is however not always right is to tell such groups what they want to hear in order to gain favour for hopeful electoral advantage.
Sometimes, we can see councillors (often those who aspire to higher office), who aim to please by supporting every available cause going. Over a period of time, this can mean they end up endorsing things that are diametrically opposed to one another. An example of this can be campaigning for more housing and then consistently opposing all planning applications for new housing, when approached by anyone against any new homes near them.
This is becoming an increasingly common occurrence and I believe that over time there becomes an issue of credibility. There is however a wider problem that builds up over time if Council policy is determined by always saying yes to vocal minorities who make a lot of noise regardless of merit, while not taking into account the silent majority. The risk is not having a successful wider strategy that benefits the entire town. By taking the easy option in always trying to please all of the people all of the time, one can eventually end up pleasing no one.
More often than not, I do give support to causes when approached as they are usually worthwhile, but crucially I recognise that sometimes one must not be afraid to say no, in putting the wider interests of the town first. It may mean one is not always liked, but always considering the silent majority will mean one is usually respected."            

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