Transcript of Be A Councillor video interview with Cllr Wendy Thompson: Opposition Leader - Tettenhall Wightwick
My name is Wendy Thompson and I’m the Leader of the Opposition Group on Wolverhampton City Council. So we are a group that’s made up of Conservative councillors and we are the only opposition group. And therefore we should be the group that provides the accountability factor more than anything else with regard to decisions that are being made by the councillors that belong to the main group who control the council.
What inspired you to become a councillor?
There was a lot of development taking place. We had historic buildings that were being pulled down and they were listed buildings some of those as well. And there was quite a lot of feeling in the area that these were not the right decisions that were taking place and therefore I had an interest because of that.
It mattered to me because we were seeing a change of character in the area and we were seeing some beautiful building that was being demolished. There didn’t seem to be as strong a voice as perhaps we would have liked. To have said ‘Why are you allowing this to happen?’. Are you gonna just sit there and just let it wash over you and just accept it? Or are you actually gonna to get up there like your residents expect you to, that voted you in, and say ‘What on earth do you think you’re doing? Now you better give some explanations for this.’
You do, because you don’t feel you should be seen as just one person. You should be seen as a representative of many others, and that’s what’s the important thing. You are a representative of those people and that is the standard that they expect from you because that’s why they voted for you.
What skills make a good councillor?
Having a sense of humour. It’s a real help. But really you’ve also got to keep your feet on the ground and understand as well not just the bigger aspects of the council like the finances and the aspects of that but also understand where things are coming from - from the ordinary resident, the one that’s finding it more difficult and at a time like this, that really does come to the fore. And sometimes it’s not that obvious because people have their pride and they don’t always let on. But in actual fact those are the very people that need the help.
What attributes make a good councillor?
I think really that they like people more than anything and that they are also interested in particularly in their local area but also in Wolverhampton as well and wanting to see things better. Wanting to see some improvement for the people that live there and to feel good if they can make any difference.
What advice would you give to someone looking to be a councillor?
They need to consider watch what each party stands for, that the great political parties will always have some things in common as well. They will always say that they want to improve people’s lives but people need to look and to consider. But if they want to go as an independent I think it’s a tougher avenue to follow because there are certain amounts of legislation which have to be gone through with regard to standing in an election. And there’s also things like being able to fund perhaps some publicity with regard to standing as well electorally.
Get in touch with us. If they know their local Conservative councillor then please get in touch with them as well. They’d be very happy for contact to be made. And, I’m sure frankly the Labour Party would probably say the same.