The city of Brighton & Hove is familiar with the experience of traffic gridlock caused by one event or other taking place on one of the Sundays in the year. Depending on ones point of view some of the events are more worthy than others and it can be frustrating for residents and visitors alike to discover that their planned activities or even business aspirations are being disrupted by the good idea of someone else which has led to the buses being diverted, trains being overwhelmed and pavements becoming overcrowded. Today is the Marathon and according to the Chief Executive of the Council tweeting yesterday, it is an onslaught. Her tweet was clearly not meant to be in any way negative, but the impact of events like this are very challenging for local Council Officers as well as the Police, bus companies, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance Service as they all attempt to facilitate the event whilst also working around the challenge as they go about the normal work of a Sunday in Brighton & Hove. It is this work which goes well beyond the normal expectations of their roles which may not seem to be a big issue for most of us, but which indicates the rather grey area that David Cameron was straying into when he made his rather ill thought through comments on Friday about volunteering. If this Sunday was the day when staff wanted time off, they would probably meet with a rather bemused refusal from line managers, yet the positive impact of this rather bracing activity depends on all of us, residents, workers, businesses, runners and visitors being willing to be flexible and accommodating others in their chosen or directed activities. The end result is that good causes benefit from vital sponsorship and some of the runners along with their friends and relatives will feel empowered and inspired to participate in society a bit more than before the race. However no one has been given time off at a Government behest, in fact the reverse is probably true. This is not about a Politically motivated concept, this is about the community ignoring Politics and engaging with one another.
How fantastic, and in the case of my own friends who are running this great race today ‘Go Mel, Go Nigel’!