Since missing out by 14 votes on being re-elected to Luton Borough Council on May 5th I’ve been taking my time to adjust to the election result and to work out what comes after and I’ve been using posts on this blog as part of my process of working things out.
I’ve posted a number of articles looking at the things that I believe I can claim to have achieved over those eight years (achievements one, two and three) with a couple more to come. I’ve yet to write about the more general conclusions about the political world I have come to having reached this point but I think I have a better idea of what they are. But I am ready to start looking to the future. So, following part one and part two, this is the third and final post in my ‘What’s Next’ series.
So what will I do now?
Well I know myself well enough to know that politics is in my blood. It is part of who I am and I will always be involved in it in one capacity or another. I also know that there is more than one way to do politics. Local government and standing for public office is one way to influence things and fight for what you believe in. But there are others.
I know that I do have something to say and that something is now backed up with the knowledge and experience I have gained from eight years of holding public office. I now also realise that I have a greater freedom to speak out. It is not in my nature to set out to be deliberately disloyal to my party, but I am aware that the restrictions, self-imposed and otherwise, that were inevitably placed on me by the fact of being an elected representative and owing a loyalty to my council group no longer apply.
I also think it unlikely that I will stand again for election to be a councillor for a good while. A number of people have said to me that “you’ll be back”. That may be true, but it won’t be for at least a decade or more. It is time for other things.
So I think the priority for my political activity may now be to concentrate on thinking, writing and debating ideas and proposals. I am struck that while we are now in government at the same time in many ways the Liberal Democrat ideas cupboard is rather bare. So this may be a good moment to give greater reign to my inner policy wonk. Although I am not entirely sure how to go about this. Any suggestions gratefully received.
As for working for Luton I remain on the Board of Trustees of Luton Culture, something I am deeply passionate about, and there are more than enough challenges there to get my teeth into. I am becoming more and more interested in the politics and management or arts and culture. It plays a vital, if often underestimated, role in people’s lives and communities. Not least in a place like Luton. It is also a sector facing tremendous challenges given the economic climate. So it would be interesting to explore and develop my knowledge and understanding of this field.
Yet I have recognised that, not least for a number of reasons of practicality, my priority is going to have to be work and career. Politics will have to take something of a back seat while I concentrate on finding the right kind of work and trying to increase my level of income. So I am now actively looking for new work and opportunities. So again, if anyone has any suggestions to where I can make good use of my talents do let me know.
So in the words of The West Wing’s President Jed Bartlett; “What’s next?”
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.