A day in the life of a young Councillor – a post for LGA #ourday

As part of the Local Government Associations #ourday Ive written a true account of my day, today.

So you want to know what Ben Berry does in an “average” day? Maybe you just have a morbid curiosity in my workings…

Well my alarm was set for 8.00. But I hit the snooze button twice because I had nothing particularly important to get up for. In the end I dragged myself out and got showered and dressed and ready for some breakfast. I live with my parents so they were at the breakfast table already.

As always my dad enquired as to what I was doing today, I shan’t tell you everything I said otherwise the rest of this article will be pointless, but he told me I couldn’t buy another engine and keep it here. I have the greatest of respect and love for my farther but I’m buying that engine. So I ate my raisin wheat’s and drank some orange juice and headed to Dalton. On the way I heard some good coverage on Lakeland Radio about my motion that I had planned for Council that evening, I liked that, it made me fist pump in joy.

As you may know I’m somewhat a “boy racer” and I’m the side of the car park that know a thing or too about cars, even if I don’t typically get the dirt under my nails. Anyway, I had casually talked to Dalton Auto Breakers on Monday over Facebook about what they had in, specifically asking if they had an Honda’s(what I deal in), they told me they had a P reg Honda civic 1.8. I knew I could add value to several parts of that vehicle so I got a quote for the bits I wanted.

On the way there I kept looking at the clock because I had to be back in Windermere for 11 so I wanted to be setting off back by 10 to give me plenty of time for any Lib Dem drivers. I got there, unfortunately they couldn’t find the keys so I couldn’t hear the engine run, but I gave it a quick check over, gave them a written list of the parts I wanted and said Id call tomorrow about collecting them.

Off back to Windermere and specifically to the Lakes School. Why would I be going there? Well… I was meeting PCSO Sarah Blacow, Lions Club members and a bunch of students to surprise them with a cheque for £1000. As a member of Lions I spearheaded a project which was a competition where we offered £1000 to a good cause, but the students of the school had to tell us what and why. If you saw my blog post earlier it was for a project around Windermere Skate Park. Im glad they got it.

After that I headed into Windermere to find the Tory Campaign manager to deliver some leaflets and pledge letters in Windermere. We met at Renoirs and ate some lunch. Cheese sandwiches on wholemeal with a side of chunky chips, two fantas and a flap jack. While eating I wrote a quick blog post about the £1000 going to the skatepark. Its always great to go into local businesses, I went to school with the daughter of the owners of the cafe and we had a good chat about me not being afraid to say whats what, haha.

So we headed out and delivered at the top of Windermere. There is far more support for Conservatives than you would think and I bumped into a few residents who were overjoyed to see us out and about.

I headed back home to prepare for full Council which I had in the evening. I needed to sort some things out because there was several items I needed to have my full wits about me on. I had a formal written question to the Leader of the Council, I had two I wanted to ask during question time, there was a motion on the table that was a reincarnation of one I brought last meeting, a new motion from myself and another motion I wanted amending.

When I got home I had emails to sort as well. Two of the emails were from eBay and Paypal respectively, concerning the sale of one of my Wigs. Yes, wigs…. A year or so I bet myself I could make money from wigs and now I do. I sell high quality synthetic wigs on eBay and give 10% to Macmillan. I’m winding it up because its a bit too much work for the effort but Ive had a couple of hundred pounds worth of sales in the last month or two so its not too bad.

There were a few other interesting emails like an invite to a dinner on the west coast next week. I also had some twitter to play with!

Id been in jeans and a hoodie all day but I thought I best wear a shirt for Council so I had a quick change and jumped in my car. Im driving a Honda Civic VTI at the moment. I picked it up for £1900 from Sheffield last week, body work is nice, but Ill use it to promote my other business, car parts. We sell alot of performance parts but luckily my partner deals with dispatch so I only have to worry about my wigs.

I went via Low Wood Bay hotel which is part of the family business. I work there 3 days a week and today I only needed them for their franking machine.

I was going early to Kendal for Council because at 4 o’clock there was a pre meeting about the future of our high streets. But on the way I got a call from BBC Radio Cumbria about my motion that I had going to full council and doing an interview in the morning about it. So I look forward to that.

Although SLDC put a buffet on for us after training or premeetings I go to McDonalds before full Council and consider where things will go in the evening. Eating my meal I pondered about what moves the Libs would make and how my moves would affect them.

Council time…. I could write a short story about it… There was very little of significant interest in the main agenda, a great scheme for Grange was in there, but apart from that not much. The really fun but was the question time and the motions.

The first motion, as I mentioned was an almost carbon copy of the motion I put forward that caused such a stink at the last meeting. I refer you to my earlier blog post here: http://www.ben-berry.co.uk/ben-berry-in-row-over-train-services-to-manchester The whole affair had obviously caused embarrassment for the Lib Dem administration and they brought it back with a minor adjustment to save face. I made a few quips about it being such an original motion and that I wish I had thought of it, but I seconded the motion and it passed with overwhelming support.

The second motion was one I put forward which you can read more about here: http://www.ben-berry.co.uk/should-the-coalition-look-at-the-feasibility-of-tourism-getting-a-vat-cut They jumped in and proposed an amendment once again that included some other silly stuff that I couldn’t support. So I made fun of them and some of our Councillors got annoyed at them for playing games with well meaning motions. But the really important thing is they removed the mention of “Tourism” from the motion. Of course I was tweeting in the meeting and now BBC Radio Cumbria are considering doing the story about political games in SLDC rather than the motion… Which means I have to prep for either, oh joy.

The third motion I talked on and I said “bottom”, that’s right, “bottom”, in a Council meeting.  Id been wanting to say it all week and I was looking forward to it. Basically the motion was thanking Tim Farron, our MP, for one of these campaigns he does every couple of weeks. So I told them “What a wonderful opportunity, a fantastic chance, to embrace, and kiss the bottom of our MP”. A few of the fuddy duddies even smiled. Anyway, I put in some amendments and negotiated a better motion with the Leader of the Council that everyone could agree on. Job done.

So I drove home listening to The Game – Documentary (am I the only Tory that loves hip hop?!) thinking about what I had to do when I got home, namely write this, rather than sleep, which I desperately want to do round about now. I doubt anyone will even make it to the end of this story, so…. bottom!

Ill be up at 7 for that radio interview, this isn’t an average day but it is the day as its happened. I’m a 24 year old and I’m a Conservative Councillor and this was #ourday




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