“Snippets” of An Ordinary Life – 1 – William Wilberforce

Snippets of An Ordinary Life – 1

I have often been asked if I ever considered writing a book about my life experiences the problem of which is firstly why would anyone be interested and secondly why would anyone be interested?

However having said that there have been some times and snippets of my life that looking back I think may be if not of interest certainly may provide an insight into some of the people I’ve met – and worked alongside – and how even an ‘ordinary’ (define ordinary if you can ) persons life can evolve and develop.

Perhaps I should say at this point that if there are those out there who are offended at being included in this or future ‘Snippets of An Ordinary Life’ then all I can really say is,
“I was there, it happened, so live with it”

and of course by all means of you wish to write about the things I’ve done then feel free to do so.

So where to start?

Well certainly not at the beginning because this is ‘snippets’ not an autobiography so this is an incident that at one and the same time appalled and still appals me but also because of the punch line to this day makes me smile every time I think of it.

I spent a number of years being a local Councillor on what was the largest in non-Unitary Local Authority in England namely Northampton with a population of at the time just over 220,000.

My time on the Council was full of incidents that may well come up in future ‘snippets’ but this is one that I have shared before.

For the last four years of my time as a Councillor I was in the main opposition party working alongside – I hesitate to call her a colleague and she certainly wasn’t a comrade – a fellow Councillor who for some unexplained reason had taken an almost fanatical dislike bordering on hatred of a fellow Councillor in our own party.

Now I should explain that the Councillor she had taken a dislike to was highly respected by all parties having served on the Council for almost two decades with a slight break between.

He also served on the Northamptonshire County Council and in fact for four years was the only party representative on the NCC from Northampton which indicates that as the party itself was unpopular the man himself was highly regarded.

I should also explain that the Councillor in question came to this country from Grenada as part of the Windrush Generation and has worked, paid his taxes and raised his family in this country.

So why the visceral hatred?

Was it because of his colour? – more about which in later ‘snippets’

Or because when he spoke it was from the heart and invariably honest?

Was it because he refused on occasions to follow the party line preferring to follow his own conscience?

Perhaps it was because he was so highly respected by the other parties that she was suspicious of him?

Well I never did get to the bottom of why she disliked him so much but that is not the story.

I should also say he is someone I regard as a friend.

Perhaps it would be easier if I referred to the two Councillors by their names, or at least identify them. 

Because of her extreme left wing bordering on communist ideas the first Councillor earned the nickname even amongst her colleagues – sorry comrades – of Granny Stalin or GS for short.

And just like the man she was nicknamed after GS was ruthless in how she disparaged and undermined those she disliked especially if they were in a position to thwart her ambitions to be the leader of the local party.

The other Councillor was named after one of Britain’s greatest men so I’ll call him W.

Anyway back to the story and please bear with me because the punch line is well worth it.

Every couple of years W travels back to Grenada to visit his family and naturally because of the distance involved – and his age – he goes for a month to six weeks and most important to the story is that he goes at the same time of the year.

This is important because W not only goes to visit his family but also to take part in a conservation project to protect turtles who return to Grenada each year to lay their eggs.
So to the point.

W took off for Grenada having been selected as a candidate for the NCC election in 2013 and was away from March to the middle of April returning only two weeks before Election Day.

I was actually the agent for that election and was satisfied that everything was in place for W to have a successful campaign which proved to be accurate.

However GS saw and took every opportunity to vociferously complain about his absence, questioning his commitment to the party – a party which I should say he has been a member of decades longer than GS.

Anyway W returned and the complaints from GS continued until eventually in a meeting the following took place.

W – “I understand that someone was unhappy about me not being here for the whole of the campaign so what is the problem”

GS – ” It was wrong and who gave you permission and the right to go on holiday for six weeks”

At this point I and others in the room expected at least an outburst from W but instead….
I told you it was worth waiting for…

W looked up, paused and simply said…

“William Wilberforce”

It is the greatest two word put down I have ever seen.

The outcome of course was that GS simply disliked him even more and she doubled her determination and efforts to subvert and drive him out of the party.

But that is another story.