Why I’m going to serve as a Bath & NE Somerset Councillor – Winston Duguid

Winston Duguid has just been elected Councillor for the Widcombe & Lyncombe ward of Bath & NE Somerset District Council, alongside his fellow LibDem Alison Born. Here Winston – -a Bath Quaker – explains why he’s embarked on the role.

There are three times in my life when I have had time to get involved in politics (no pressing family or career matters overriding) and felt motivated to do so.

The first was as a student in the 1970’s when the three day week occurred. The second was after the riots of 1981 and the effects of the monetarist economic experiment. And then the current time, after 2015, when it became clear to me what the government agenda was and how things would probably only get worse for those that could least afford it.

I could sit around and moan or I could play some part in addressing some of the issues and have influence on others who could have even more influence. I wasn’t quite sure how I could get involved but a path evolved. At short notice Wera Hobhouse and others asked me to be her agent in the 2017 election and thereafter there was some Lib Dem pressure in the summer of 2018 to run for councillor in 2019 in the ward that I lived .

Crucially my wife, a sixth generation Bathonian, was keen for me to stand as she thought I had many of the skills and experience she perceived were needed to be a councillor in 2019.

The final part of the jigsaw was my running mate. I had only met Alison briefly but we both shared the same values, although we have had very different career paths–she in the NHS and mental health and myself in business, where in the course of general management you come across most things that happen in life. Alison and I realised that we had a complementary skill set and backgrounds and together we could be an effective team if elected in a two-member ward.

So a number of circumstances and influences game together, and then they kept on rolling. The national situation has got a lot worse with the impasse at Westminster. Climate change and sustainable development (one of my natural interests and knowledge areas; I have introduced and managed a successful carbon reduction project between 2004 and 2007) is back to the fore. Many councillor issues include road traffic, safety and pollution and I have a full training in health and safety and risk assessment. I also feel that my knowledge of running large organisations and understanding business complements many of the other new intake of Lib Dem and councillors of other parties, who have knowledge of other spheres I do not have.

I have always liked team sports and the buzz of being in a team. Being a councillor enables me to be part of a wider team and being less tribal than in my youth I hope I can be objective in serving my ward and Bath and Banes. We will see!

A pensive Winston Duguid at the Widcombe Association hustings before the recent local elections (photo: Widcombe Association).

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