Good luck Derby

Thank goodness that is over. There was almost an audible united sigh of relief across Derby when Ranjit Banwait was kicked out of office after years of stagnation by the city council.

I always winced at him being described as a leader because that would have implied that he had been taking the city forward.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. During his years in charge, even the most positive Derbeians have felt themselves lurching towards negativity.

Now, I am delighted to say, it is the chance of Chris Poulter and his team to restore the city’s pride.

For too long the Council House has been a symbol of playground point-scoring rather than the home of sharp, focused brains dedicated to the future of Derby.

Therefore, it was music to my ears when Councillor Poulter talked about a commitment to a ‘civilised’ and ‘inclusive’ style of politics

By creating a liaison with the Liberal Democrats and UKIP and opening the door to the Labour Party, he has understood that all points of view need to be heard.

Of course, ideologically, the four main parties are different in certain aspects but would anyone want to deny that they have the future of Derby at heart?

Last year, when we brought the poppies to the Silk Mill, we saw a classic example of what ‘team Derby’ can do.

The same team spirit was demonstrated during the campaign to save Bombardier when politicians from all sides spoke so passionately and effectively.

Every day, we see the same across both the private and public sector – people with different life perspectives pulling together for the greater good.

Now we need less of the ‘politics of me’ and more of the ‘politics of us’.

Therefore, I applaud the move from a cabinet system where decisions are made by a small group of councillors to committees which will have greater fairness and transparency.

I disagree with the cynical view that all politicians are shrouded in self-interest. But the good work of the many can sometimes be  undone by the very public egos of the few.

An example that politicians can be selfless has been demonstrated by Matthew Holmes who has stood down as the Conservatives' leader in Derby.

Matthew did a fine job but recognised that the demands of his professional and personal life meant that he could not dedicate the time needed to head up the council.

Instead of grabbing power and not being able to give it his best shot, he stood aside and gave Councillor Poulter his unwavering support.

His actions are in stark contrast with those of Mr Banwait who stumbled on in the top office part-time while also working for a private company in Birmingham.

Now that the clouds have parted, the chance comes to harness the creative spirit for which Derby has been famous for hundreds of years.

The brightest entrepreneurs and business people in the UK live and work here and their imaginative fires need to be stoked.

As does that of the our citizens. The phrase ‘Derby born and bred’ is one which trips of the lips because our citizens believe they are a cut above.

We, as politicians, should remember what is important to you and be inspired by you. We should be smart enough to find solutions to difficult problems and, if we are struggling, seek the expertise of those who can help without seeing that as weakness.

This is an attitude which will see Derby flourish and which will mean people will no longer roll their eyes at the mention of the city council.

Good luck Derby.  Let’s move the city forward together.