I am a great believer in the power of any individual to achieve wonderful things if they put their mind to it. But, however well that might turn out, there are just occasions where working as a team is the only way we are going to realise a particular outcome. The famous analogy from Neolithic times of course is a team of our ancestors hunting and bringing down the famed woolly mammoth. Also, I suspect if we had not learnt to co-operate in groups, combining our strengths and compensating for our weaknesses, then we may still be largely doing the same hunter/gathering still with perhaps some small farming settlements dotted around. Certainly, we would never had built the huge societies and great cities that dominate the world now.
I came across a couple of great examples recently as Mayor. In my last action as a member of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire Authority, I attended the passing out parade of the fire service cadets at Droitwich Fire Station in May. On a really hot day, it was amazing to see teenage fire cadets in full protective gear, acting in teams and hauling heavy hoses and other fire apparatus around to rescue colleagues from smoke – filled buildings and practicing together hose and even ladder exercises on the tower. Not for me the latter, I can tell you. Then afterwards, falling out in a disciplined and ordered way, to receive the deserved plaudits of those of us in the audience. Inspiring stuff.
Then not long afterwards, on another equally hot day on Castle Green in Hereford, to admire one of the largest turn-outs of armed forces cadets for the King’s Birthday celebrations. In serried ranks, they stood gloriously still in the bright sunshine, some obviously just of primary school age, and then marched proudly pass in unison to take the salute from the Lord Lieutenant. Just brilliant and showed what could be achieved when we worked together to a common purpose.
So it is with Councils. When we pull together to achieve common aims and outcomes, rather than acting independently of one another, then we have much greater prospects of delivering good public services.