As long-time readers of this old blog will know, I do occasionally like to offer sound advice to folks who might need it. Of course, my advice is just based on personal experience and so can probably be safely ignored by those who know much better than I about such things. But here it is, nonetheless.
Imagine you are a Councillor who occasionally gets elected mostly on the back of stoking up grievance. And that when you occasionally win your way back onto a council you use that space to just attack everything, spew petty remarks and, in your OWN words, “try to cause problems.” The cycle could continue forever couldn’t it? You failing to deliver anything, for anybody, because your main reason for being there is just try and be an obstacle to everything.
But then along comes a real chance to actually deliver something decent for your area. A real chance to make a difference. And better still the work is already all done for you by your predecessor so its a slam dunk, all you need to do is shut up, work hard and not do anything stupid. What could be easier?
So how – given such a simple, easy, obvious win, could you manage to completely muck it up?
Well, you could snigger cynically along with your colleagues in an attempt to score cheap vacuous political points with motions of zero value that you just hope will give you an opportunity for doing what you love – sneering.
But the trouble with putting things like this in motion is that they have consequences. Local politics may seem like a game to you, but real people are affected by your ridiculous and petty plots. So the thing you and your group thought was so so clever, which you didn’t even attempt to think through, comes back and bites you. And suddenly you realise that you have really, really, really messed up. That you have demanded answers and the answers are actually unhelpful to what you might want to achieve. You’ve shot yourself in the foot with your infantile scheming.
Suddenly, but too late, it occurs to you that this was a really really stupid approach.
So what should somebody do in this hypothetical situation?
Well, i’d advise not getting into it in the first place. It’s stupid. But if you’ve gotten there then your best bet would simply be to say: “Okay, I see I messed up. This isn’t what I intended. Is there something we can do to resolve it?”
That would be a good approach.
What would be a bad approach?
Blaming everybody else for your own mistake.
Trying to pretend the situation you entirely created is nothing to do with you.
Outright lying about what you have done and trying to present others as the villains when all you need to do is look in the mirror to identify the culprit.
If you genuinely care about your constituents, try to think before playing the petty political cards. Then you might not score such spectacular own goals, at your constituents expense.
Anyway, that’s my advice, for what its worth, honestly given and earnestly presented.