THEY CAME FROM FAR AND WIDE
Now all the fuss surrounding the local election is over, we can look forward to some common-sense decisions from the County Council, as members get down to the hard work of making Gloucestershire a better, fairer place to live.
Oh – sorry, I must have nodded off and started dreaming!
Where was I? Ah yes, the election.
Clearly, not everyone will have the person they wanted representing them, but that's the way these things work and for all its faults, I don't think there's anything better than the 'first past the post' system. What I do find strange is the wide area over which those who aspire to be our humble servants seem to live. Let's use my home turf as an example.
On polling day in Tuffley, we had four candidates to choose from but in my view, only one of them could truly identify with the people living in this area – Colin Organ.
I have no qualms about telling you I put my cross against his name, not because he's a Tory, but because I know him. He lives in Tuffley and therefore has as much, if not more, knowledge of what needs to be done on the patch as anyone else.
Without wishing to upset Mr Organ, I have to admit that for a short time, my pencil hovered over the UKIP candidate, but in the end I chose the local bod and to me, that's what it should be about. The Labour candidate, Tracy Millard, who was elected, lives in Abbeydale. Allen Prout, who contested the seat for UKIP, is a resident of Gorsley, near Ross On Wye, while Lib Dem Isabel Brazil lives in Kingsholm. I don't understand why people would want to represent an area some considerable distance from where they live. Why not stand for election in their own areas?
Successful candidates David Brown, Barry Kirby (no relation) and Richard Leppington, all live in the areas they have been elected to represent and I think that should be one of the conditions of putting yourself forward for local elections.
I'm not suggesting for one moment that Councillor Millard will not give it her best shot, but it stands to reason that someone who is acting for Tuffley but lives in Abbeydale, must be at a disadvantage.
PACKING THEM IN
Considering they are sitting at home in front of their computers, most people who do their supermarket shopping online would find it hard to understand how they can affect me when I'm wandering up and down the aisles, doing 'real' shopping.
However, I can assure them they do have an effect and sometimes it's a damned nuisance. At certain times of the day – it seems like all day – the aisles are packed with 'home shopping staff', busy filling carrier bags for those who have clicked their way through the weekly shopping list.
The packers seem to be everywhere, shoving their wheeled boxes in front of them and generally clogging-up the gangway so that my trolley can't squeeze through.
At peak times, the situation is almost unbearable and puts at least 15 minutes on my weekly visit. If it gets any worse, I shall have to start shopping online. If you can't beat 'em…….
It's a sad fact of life in the 21st century that the sight of two teenage lads with their jeans at half-mast around their bums, entering the front gardens of houses, arouses a certain amount of suspicion. But far from doing harm, the young chaps I spotted were delivering the monthly newsletter of the Three Bridges Community Partnership.
The TBCP is a run by some dedicated people who typify the 'big society' that the Prime Minister is always banging on about. As well as supporting small, local businesses, the TBCP organises activities for both young and elderly residents of Podsmead, Grange and Tuffley, and generally harangues the city council into providing services for the area. To find out more, or get involved, email email@example.com – any help is welcome.