Friday, 31 May 2013

Community Leadership

The Town Council prides itself on being democratically elected ‘community leaders’. In my last post, I challenged some of the assumptions about democratically elected – basically, if the choice of candidates is limited, those elected cannot really claim a strong mandate.

Similarly, I’d argue that ‘community leadership’ has to be earned – only vicars, priests and ministers automatically assume the mantle of community leaders upon appointment. There are many forms of ‘community leadership’ too – the roles of patriarch and gatekeeper are popular amongst ‘cooncillors’ of the old school across the North East.

But as far as I am concerned – the Town Council’s community leadership should be about listening to people, about encouraging and nurturing organisations – and giving credit where credit is due. Morpeth is blessed with a wide range of a community organisations, skilled volunteers and community activists. The Town Council Civic Awards are potentially a great way recognising the community life of Morpeth – but they need to be about the award recipients not about how great the Town Council is to present the awards.   

We should not be so insecure that we are forever pushing ourselves forward and making sure the town council’s role is recognised. If Morpeth is doing well, then due recognition will come to the Town Council naturally without our chasing after it. And for me – that is true ‘community leadership’.

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