I really didn’t know what i was getting myself into when I agreed to be co-opted onto the local council. It seemed the right thing to do at the time, a kind of ‘civic duty’ fulfilled. But wow, how could I have been ready for what followed?
My first meeting was about whether we should allow a co-operative farming venture to be set up in some disused land on the side of town. It seemed positive enough, a kind of allotment scheme writ large. Cheap affordable veg for the local community, and the clearing away of what had become a fly tipping site. Better still it would involve several of the homeless people of the town, who largely felt themselves to be ‘outside’ the community. Win-win I thought as I cast my vote in favour.
Little did I expect, that the council then selected me to be one of the Councillors that would coordinate the venture. My opposite number would be Herman Grant, Councillor and local green grocery. It quickly became clear that this lone ‘no’ voter on the scheme was not going to cooperate, no matter how beneficial the scheme might be. After all, it was going to hit him squarely in the bank account.
He made no waves in getting volunteers to clear the site. He approved funds to have it fertilised. He even agreed to the list of plot holders – not once showing aversion to the would be farmers named. Then the penny dropped, the only crops he would approve for the site were olives, lemons, and other Mediterranean type produce. Each would take years to grow, if they grew at all in England.
Well, so much for the dream of community cohesion.