Even by the standards of a turbulent decade of British politics, the last couple of days have been pretty extraordinary.
But while political observers get swept up in the drama (I’ve lost count of the number of popcorn emojis I’ve seen on Twitter), many people around the country may be feeling pretty anxious.
As of this morning, we don’t appear to have a government and it’s far from clear how, when or if any form of stability will be restored. Surely this matters? We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis; there’s a war in Europe; there’s an ongoing row about the Northern Ireland protocol. Can we afford to be without a government right now?
These are all big issues of course, but it’s worth remembering that Westminster is not the whole, or even the largest part, of government in this country. There are 398 local authorities across the UK (not to mention nearly 12,000 parish and town councils), delivering services, providing stable leadership.
Think of the services that matter most to people in daily life. Who will care for my elderly relatives? How will vulnerable children in my community be kept safe? Will there be school places or decent houses for my children? Will my neighbourhood be clean and safe?
All these and many more are delivered by local government. And local government is still here.
It’s not immune to political drama of course but it has swift and accountable systems for resolving it and for making sure that delivery continues. Local government has been through more than a decade of funding cuts and has often been used as a political football by central government. But it’s still here; still delivering, still representing communities and providing leadership to them.
Whatever the chaos in Westminster, the country will not and cannot fall apart, because local government keeps on keeping on.
Now more than every it seems right to take time to recognise the vital work of councillors across the country, so do let us have your nominations for the 2022 LGIU & CCLA Cllr Awards.