Dr Nathan Ley, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Abingdon North, writes of his 'whirlwind' start as a councillor.

In May of this year, thanks to the faith of my neighbours, I had the honour of becoming County Councillor for the division of Abingdon North.

To say that the past six months has been a whirlwind would be an understatement.

You could, in theory, pack every day with as many committee meetings, briefings, and community events as it’s possible to squeeze into 24 hours.

As a relatively young councillor with two young children, and as someone still holding down my day job, it’s fair to say that conflicting priorities often arise.

However, with the support network of my family and a flexible, considerate employer, I’ve found a balance that works and allows me to serve my residents. It truly is a whirlwind of a time to be alive, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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In my time so far as a councillor the main thing that has shone through is the clear concern for our community, and the civic-minded nature of people in our town.

I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to various community groups and events, experiencing first-hand the dynamism and pride that binds us all together as a society when we all get stuck in to good causes.

Herald Series: Dr Nathan Ley volunteering at Long Furlong Primary SchoolDr Nathan Ley volunteering at Long Furlong Primary School

To see this in action has been an eye-opener and restored my faith in humanity to a large degree.

The vast majority of people who get in contact with me are very polite and constructive, and of those who aren’t, I find it wise to live by the words “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”.

The last few years have been tough for everybody, and people have entirely legitimate frustrations. People see their money disappear as Council Tax, and have every right to question and interrogate where this goes. In an era when Council budgets continue to be cut to the bone by central government, this can be difficult to articulate.

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However in this context, in the year 2021, a degree of frustration is entirely understandable.

Most people know that their councillors (of whichever party this may be) are just ordinary people like themselves, with the same hopes, worries and frustrations.

Crucially, however, in this day and age of fragmented societies, where people don’t know their neighbours like they used to, having representatives who are approachable and open is more important than ever before, whether that be via email, phone call or face-to-face.

Luckily for me, it’s not difficult to summon the motivation to work hard for your division when you represent the best town and the best people in the land. For as long as my neighbourhood is happy with this, I intend on carrying on fighting for them until I have no more energy left to give.

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