On a number of occasions I have heard people suggest that their local councillor, in regards to a charity of other community event, “only does it for political gain.” Twice today, alone, I’ve had it thrown at me.
I hope, dear reader, you’ll excuse if I occasionally use my blog to let off steam – but how bloody unfair can you get? How miserable an outlook do you need to have to think this?
Their suggestion is that local politicians work with charities and local causes – not for the good it does – but for the benefit of listing it on their election literature. This logic is so skewed I do not know where to begin.
First of all, just how useful do people honestly think having a line in your election literature which says: “Works with homeless kids” or whatever actually is? Most people don’t read them. The ones that do have every chance of being as cynical as to believe that it’s all self-motivated. I mean come on. Really? Hours and hours of hard work in order to get a line on a leaflet once every four years? Really? Really?
Might it not be that the sort of people drawn to public service as councillors are the same sort of people who are drawn to other sorts of public service? Wouldn’t that make just a little bit more sense?
I’ll tell you what actually happens. Once you become a councillor, whether you are a volunteer or not, you will begin to meet people and groups who need help. They contact you as a councillor and they ask for your assistance and before you know it you’ve volunteered for the next few years. At least, that’s how it’s been for me. Before I was a councillor I was busy working and with my family and so on and there never seemed to be the time – or the causes weren’t right there in my face. Once you become a councillor your eyes are opened to a great many causes that need help. Most councillors try to help. Not because there’s some political gain to be had. That’s a bloody horrible point of view, and a bit mean too.
Yes, councillors will tend to talk about the work they do – including volunteering and charitable work. This is because if we do not talk about the things we do – people say we are doing nothing. And if we didn’t volunteer, we would be criticised for not “getting our hands dirty.” It’s a pretty thankless task, being a councillor, and anything you do will find criticism from those who do nothing but criticise.
People become a local councillor to try and do something good for the place in which they live. That’s the same reason they volunteer. You’ve got to be pretty darn cynical to presume everybody’s motivation is malign. Unless you are judging others by your own motivations?test Filed under General Rant | Comments (4)