Group Editor Chris Daggett raised many interesting points on councillors and councils in his Editor’s Viewpoint.
Some things never change and councillors always have been and always will be criticised. It’s par for the course for citizens to malign the members, more often than not unfairly.
The editor suggests many councillors give “most of their waking hours to their duties”. In something like 25 years covering Nelson and Colne Councils, I never knew of a single person who burnt the midnight oil to such a sleep-inducing extent.
Some councillors have been rightly criticised for the amount of remuneration and expenses they receive. It is this topic more than any other that Joe Public is angry about. We have gone from a time when some councillors did not even claim legitimate expenses to a time when, particularly if you are an elite, “executive” member, you can book a seat on the gravy train and qualify for a nice, little earner.
Any criticism is justified. It would never have happened in the days of Andrew Smith, Walmsley Riddiough, Lawson Wharton, John Whalley, Frank Wilson and many others. None of these members had any desire to receive much kudos for their work.
It was essentially a labour of love. And it is a feeling now shared by many on the present council, hopefully without too much unfair criticism.