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‘I started to think about all that has changed’, writes Grantham councillor Graham Jeal

Last week my neighbour challenged me to a game of squash, writes Councillor Graham Jeal.

He is considerably more athletic than me. So thinking quickly, I reached for the trusty old excuse of a bad knee. I then remembered that I do actually have a swollen knee and it struck me that the definition of getting old is that personal ailments are no longer accompanied with amusing anecdotes.In that bitter moment of realisation that years were catching up with me, I started to think about all that has changed.

Take South Kesteven District Council, I remember when we just ignored it and once a week a dutiful, efficient and smiling person would appear and take our bins away. Yet one week last month 7,000 - seven thousand - bins were not collected in our area when the Rainbow Alliance of Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and Independents took a hard line on collecting your recycling. They quickly reversed their ideological decision with qualified apologies when thousands of families were caught in the crossfire. Bin lorries are still catching up. Imagine the cost and the extra environmental impact of all of these added collections.

Coun Graham Jeal
Coun Graham Jeal

I remember a time when Green politicians were motivated by the environment. At the last budget, some Greens voted against the creation of a reserve to collect litter on the A1 even after it was pointed out the environmental damage this does and the harm to local wildlife.

I remember a time when debates in the chamber were orderly exchanges of opinion followed by a simple vote. After a flurry of code of conduct complaints, last term our new leader signed the seemingly forgotten Local Government Association “debate not hate” declaration. The new Rainbow Alliance administration have made shouting over other people and swearing in the chamber - the norm.

Look out for at least one apology at next full council. I remember a time when apologies were not regular occurrences at full council and you didn’t have to cover your ears when listening to debates. Intimidation is at such levels that council authorities have decided to use your money for outside security at SK House.

If all this change is hard to keep up with at least we have the unchanging quiet dignity of the Royal family for inspiration. Their recent announcements about their various heath issues have reminded us that our health is a great leveller. Of course, we wish them well. At Easter this year, I hope you spend as much time as possible with your family. Amid all this change, health and happiness are not to be taken for granted. And in the meantime, I will not be seen on the squash court any time soon.

Happy Easter to all.

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