Dr Stephen Haraldsen - a correction

The print issue of the Whitehaven News this week carries an unfortunate misleading headline about my friend and colleague Dr Stephen Haraldsen who among other things is and remains the Conservative county councillor for Yewdale.

The article itself is correct  but the headline was misleading. To  be completely clear, Stephen has not resigned from the Conservative party.

Because of his work commitments as a Senior Lecturer, Stephen has stepped down as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Cumbria County Council. He remains committed to representing the people of Yewdale on the county council. 


Gary Bullivant said…
It will be interesting to see if he is too busy to stand in the Cumberland election,
Chris Whiteside said…
I did seriously consider blocking the above comment but have decided to allow it and respond to it.

Stephen has, does and will continue to work hard to raise issues of concern to the residents of Yewdale on the county council. He is not too busy to do the job of representing them and has not resigned from it.

It would be a sad day if councils were to so organise themselves that busy people with challenging jobs could not take on the role of being councillors.

A council consisting only of those with private incomes, the unemployed and the unemployable would be neither representative nor effective.

And although a lot of retired people are fantastic councillors, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever to them or the great job many of them do when I say this, those below retirement age are already seriously under-represented on most councils.

People under forty with young children even more so, and that is absolutely not a good thing.

I suspect this may also be a factor in the shortage of women candidates, along with the fact that the online and real world hostility flung at anyone who puts their head above the parapet and stands for office seems to be much worse for women.

Of course, councillors with other responsibilities have to think carefully before taking on additional leadership responsibilities - or, sometimes, deciding to retain them.

The fact that someone decides not to take or retain a senior leadership role does not mean he or she doesn't have time to be a good councillor or isn't being one, nor that he or she might not be a good candidate for such a role in the future.

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