Fringe Box



Letter: My Application for My Old Job

Published on: 6 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 6 Dec, 2021

From: Jan Harwood

Conservative borough councillor for Merrow

Anyone present at the launch of Zero Carbon Guildford will hopefully remember Ben McAllan’s words regarding the need for us all to come together to tackle climate change, regardless of our differences including political affiliation.

Those words have stayed with me. I would like to publicly re-apply for my previous role as lead member for Climate Change and Air Quality at Guildford Borough Council.

It was clear from my dismissal from the Executive, in an email that both thanked me for my contributions but also fired me, that the reason was my new political affiliation.

R4GV claim to be uninterested in national party politics. The Liberal Democrats claim to be a party dedicated to climate change action. If I was the best person for the job then, I see no reason why I cannot be allowed to carry on the work I dedicated myself to because I wear a slightly different hue rosette.

I of course understand the dogma of party politics taints my application. However, perhaps rather naively, I believe the residents of Guildford are more interested in progress and action than petty point-scoring.

It is my genuinely held belief that I am still the best person for the role, a belief shared by the Liberal Democrats when they appointed me to the role previously and a belief held by the Conservative group at GBC now. My dedication to climate change action transcends my party affiliation.

Should I be successful in reacquiring this role, I intend to carry on my focus in the following but not limited to areas: decarbonising the Guildford energy supply, working on joint action and resourcing with Surrey County Council, better communication with residents on local and individual action (what good climate change action actually looks like), engaging business to collaborate on best practices, putting together a biodiversity strategy and a renewed focus on climate change resilience and mitigation.

I am happy to provide my CV to anyone who would like to see it, as this is a public role. References are available on request or by simply talking to any of the institutions around Guildford and even across Surrey.

I hope to work collaboratively with the coalition on the Executive for the best interests of the residents of Guildford.

See other Jan Harwood stories here.

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Responses to Letter: My Application for My Old Job

  1. David Roberts Reply

    December 6, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Residents of Guildford are indeed “more interested in progress and action than petty point-scoring”, which is why they will take no notice of Cllr Harwood’s silly letter. The R4GV/Lib Dem coalition was elected to rid the council of Conservatives, not to employ them. He may regret leaving the Executive, but no one else does. Nor do they share his high opinion of his own abilities.

    If he believes his bizarre position has any public support, he should resign and stand for his new party in Merrow in a by-election.

  2. Mark Bray-Parry Reply

    December 6, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Party politics matter, whatever R4GV think, which is why any person willing to affiliate themselves with a party that continues to subsidise fossil fuels, authorises a new coal mine, pushes fracking (on our doorstep!), and cancels public transport infrastructure while investing £25 billion in new road infrastructure, makes a poor candidate to lead on climate change and air quality.

    Cllr Harwood’s previous actions in his role aligned with his Liberal Democrat membership. But his recent realignment of political beliefs and Party membership is now more relevant to how he would act in the role in the future. An Executive that takes climate seriously had little choice but to remove Cllr Harwood from the role.

    If only there was a councillor who was a member of a party, such as The Green Party, that has taken climate change seriously decades prior to any other political Party that the Council could turn to… Oh, there is, Cllr Diane Jones.

    Mark Bray-Parry is a spokesperson for The Green Party

    • Daniel Hill Reply

      December 11, 2021 at 10:14 am

      What a nice dream it would be if we could count on the Guildford Green Party to lead the way on local green issues. Unfortunately, they have been AWOL recently where Guildford Green issues are involved.

      A few things come to mind: tarmacking Dagley Lane, the Stoke Park Oak trees, Wanborough Fields and Surrey’s largest illegal waste dump at Stoney Castle. Where were the Guildford Green Party on these issues?

      Cllr Harwood has a good track record with dealing with Guildford’s environmental issues and would seem the obvious person for the role.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    December 6, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    What unmitigated arrogance. During his time as lead councillor, he failed even to acknowledge emails from a statutory body, let alone answer them.

  4. John Redpath Reply

    December 6, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Jan Harwood is clearly out in the middle of nowhere if he still thinks he’s the best for the Climate Change portfolio.

    We are fortunate as a GBC Executive to welcome the recently elected ward Cllr Cait Taylor [Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas], a truly passionate environmentalist, to join us on the GBC Executive. A breath of fresh air (sorry for the pun) who will finally get climate change issues moving forward.

    Residents can now look forward to an Executive councillor who is dedicated, open, transparent, contactable and will offer backbone towards our fight against climate change.

    John Redpath is a R4GV borough councillor for Holy Trinity

  5. Jules Cranwell Reply

    December 7, 2021 at 6:16 am

    This claimed concern for the environment did not prevent Jan Harwood from supporting developments and the Local Plan which are ruinous to the environment and will exacerbate climate damage.

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