I’ve been thinking about setting up a site like this for some time. I don’t usually have a problem with speaking out but in this case something has stopped me from doing it sooner. Procrastination or possibly fear of the repercussions of what I may be about to say perhaps? I’m honestly not sure but here goes……
Since being elected as a SNP Councillor to Argyll and Bute Council in 2016, I’ve often found that there are things that I want to document for myself and more importantly tell all of you about in much more detail than my usual social media platforms of choice are designed for. This blog will be truthful and forthright; at times you may not agree with me on some of the topics I cover, but that’s as it should be. I also absolutely welcome your feedback. I’ll endeavour to use it as a means of exploring some of the things that are close to my heart; the things that drive me to get up in the morning to undertake and juggle this enormously rewarding but often challenging and sometimes incredibly frustrating, privileged role.
I have named this blog “The Edge of the Parapet” because over the last few years many people have made comments to me about sticking my head above the parapet and how they see it as a courageous thing to do, but then go on to say that they couldn’t do it themselves. I totally get that because I once thought exactly the same myself.
My first truly defining moment of change came during the referendum campaign, which grabbed me by the heart and mind and has never let go. The next moment hit me full force when I was motivated by a group of amazing local ladies who asked me to get involved in their campaign to save the jobs of the staff who supported their children with additional support needs. After that there was no way back.
I had been deeply troubled and frustrated by the way that I saw many Argyll and Bute Councillors behave during this time. The way that some elected members treated these parents with non communication, half truths and complete disrespect was truly appalling and something that they and I will never forget.
Something powerful that I still cannot quite explain drove me to stand for election. By selecting me as their by-election candidate in 2016, the SNP gave me the opportunity to actually get to the heart of what I wanted to change; for that I am immensely proud and incredibly grateful.
This role is like no other that I have ever done. Often it feels to me like everything I have learnt in the past, the roads that I’ve walked and the lessons that I’ve learnt have led me here and provided me with the tools and rhino like constitution that I require to cope with the challenge. We all bring along different skills on our journey. Each Councillor is unique and none of us do the job in quite the same way. I think that fabulous diversity should be welcomed and embraced. There is no definitive way to be a “good” or “bad” Councillor – you are rightly judged by your constituents at the ballot box.
In my early days in this role an incredibly senior male elected member of Argyll & Bute Council suggested that I “needed to be kept on the leash”, I took that as the insult it was intended to be and have been doing my level best to roam free since……..