13 August 2018
The 13th August speaker was local member of parliament, Stephen Gethins. This was quite unusual for Rotary which as an international organisation neither subscribes to, nor promotes any political group.
Mr Gethins proved to be an interesting and informative speaker and respected Rotary ethos by steering clear of any form of ‘party politics’. He focussed on explaining the job of an MP - what is an MP about! He made the point strongly that the majority of his work is not ‘political’.
It was interesting and encouraging to hear that, despite media headlines, the job involves a huge amount of cross-party committee work. We heard that this covers a very broad range of topics and that ‘badges are left at the door’. Mr Gethins reiterated the fact that at Westminster, all political parties are in a minority! It was not altogether surprising to hear that the administrative workload being created by ‘Brexit’ has been to the detriment of important effort elsewhere.
We heard too of just how important his local constituency work is. Again there is much linkage with colleagues of differing political parties - something that is made essential as Westminster and Scottish Wards are of different sizes. Mr Gethins made the point that one cannot work in a vacuum!
It was especially interesting to hear of work done in conflict resolution and in ‘peace building’ Something that, especially on an international stage, will take generations to accomplish - with culture change difficult to achieve. It was perhaps fitting to close with the point made that ‘peace is cheap’ compared to the alternatives of conflict and war.
Following many questions, a warm vote of thanks was proposed by Allan Wood.