Friday, May 16, 2008

Making a Difference

The day started with a seminar on possible future arrangements for Local Government. Most people aren't too bothered about how the council works as long as it does. But the Labour government seems obsessed with the idea of changing it - should we have an elected mayor like some of our neighbours or would the risk of a single-issue candidate capturing the imagination for a day be too great? Or maybe a Council leader in place for 4 years instead of 1? But then what if he or she started doing things which the rest of us felt were wrong? Or perhaps there's some other form of governance that we haven't thought of yet? Over the next 2 years Stockton council has to decide what it would like and then consult with people to see if they agree - slightly back to front perhaps? On the other hand, if we had an open consultation would anyone know what it was about? Meanwhile, as councillors, we'll continue to do our best for the people whom we represent, trying to get things done for our residents in the best way possible.
This evening was about making a difference in another way. I went with my husband to St Nic's in Durham where we enjoyed an international buffet supper followed by a concert by Gareth Davies-Jones, who despite his Welsh name, hails from Bangor in Co Down and now lives on Tyneside. He's a wonderful guitarist who uses his talents as a player and a singer to encourage people to think about trade justice. One thing he said struck me as worth sharing with a wider audience: "If you think that what you can do is too small to make a difference, you've never shared a bed with a mosquito!". It's not an original quote but I'm afraid I can't remember to whom he attributed it.
The buffet used Fairtrade products where possible and the proceeds went to support Uhuru, a Kenyan charity working with Street Children. So, good food with good music for a good cause - what a fantastic way to spend a Friday evening. Sadly, I left my camera at home and so have to make do with a photo taken on a phone - I'll learn one day!

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