“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now….”


So, I’m five months into my first term as a County Councillor.

Becoming a County Councillor was driven partly by frustration.  Matt and I have yet to fully demonstrate that we are driven by outcomes and positive change for towns and places and are not profit led.

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Unlike the hallowed halls of Whitehall, local politics is not especially lucrative.  In order to fulfil my elected duties as well as continuing to invest time, money and effort into Revive & Thrive, I took a significant salary sacrifice and Matt took up much of my workload, in addition to his, to allow me to bring about such change.

But, do you know what? I love it!!  And bringing about change is easy.  The long-term projects and future planning are clearly very slow to manoeuvre but some of the simple steps that can improve people’s everyday lives are simple.  You just have to get on with it.  And once you know who to speak to, Council Officers in particular, are, largely, keen to help.

Why quote Joni Mitchell?  Well, perhaps as a consequence of working at Revive & Thrive, being a County Councillor, living as a resident, being a parent with school age children, starting up a new small family business (At Arwel) and supporting grass roots regeneration etc., I’m finding it increasingly easy to understand everyone’s point of view. 

If this is a skill, then I definitely think I have it and am only concerned that a need for pragmatism might hold me back.

To reduce this risk, I’d love for you to help me answer this- how do you win a debate when you can see everyone’s point of view?  My default position is ‘can it be afforded’?  If so, allow debate to continue but if it can’t be afforded, is give up the answer??  I hope not…

If you feel like answering my conundrum, and I understand why you might not want to use your time up in this way (there I go again), I would love to hear from you on 07590 005692 or email m.barnes@reviveandthrive.co.uk

Joni Mitchell captures how Mark Barnes feels as a County Councillor
Joni Mitchell

Until I find the answer to this perhaps Joni is right when she summarises – 


I’ve looked at life from both sides now 
From up and down, and still somehow 
It’s life’s illusions I recall 
I really don’t know life at all