Sunday, May 13, 2007

What I miss about not being a councillor

It’s that time of year when, as the cheers subside and the hangover finally relents, hundreds of men and women across the country wake up to realise just what they have let themselves in for over the next four years. If you are a new councillor reading this, you might want to stop. You might prefer to continue to believe the claims you heard that it would not take up much of your time, hold on to the dream that it would take up, oh, only about five, at most ten, hours of your week. It can change the way you live, the way you work. I remember those carefree days when I was a mere ‘Mr’, not ‘Cllr’. And in the hitlist of things I miss from those days I would certainly include:

  • having evenings when you can decide to go to the cinema on a whim
  • not having to read the local newspapers every day (though, of course, our journalists are the most insightful, balanced and entertaining in the world)
  • being able to have dinner before 9:30 each evening
  • being able to write with a sense of irony
  • not being recognised by strangers as you go about your everyday life
The most bizarre occasion when I was recognised was a couple of years back during a summer walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. The two of us turned onto a path to see a woman running towards us, pursued by a herd of cows. ‘The cows are coming’, she not unreasonably noted but added, ‘they’re going to kill us.’ And then, she stopped, the panic subsided for a moment and she asked with curiosity in her voice: ‘are you David Rundle?’. Before I could answer, she noticed the cattle again and said ‘what are we going to do?’ which was patently a rhetorical question as she demonstrated her running-very-fast escape technique. I like to think that she realised from my gait that I was the author of nuanced studies on Renaissance intellectual history, but I suspect it was not my life as an academic that had brought me to her attention. None of us were killed by the marauding bovine menace, by the way.

1 comment:

Harry Barnes said...

So what would you miss by not being a Councillor? A friend of mine who retired said that he missed the morning post from the Council (etc). As a retired MP, all I miss is access to the reseach facilities of the Commons Library, a synicated column in three free local newspapers (I blog now instead) and nominating rights in Labour's Leader and Deputy Leadership elections. Nothing else.