I have been following with interest the excellent coverage in Rye News of the mayor making ceremony that was held recently. I am of a generation that really likes and enjoys tradition and ceremony.
Equally like all businesses in Rye, our shop (Concepts), which is opposite the town hall, welcomes all events that increase footfall in the town.
However, I am writing just to share some thoughts and observations that I have been considering since this event which may strike a chord with some and could be worth thinking about and debating.
I was watching the mayor making ceremony from inside our shop when some European customers asked me what was happening. I explained the ceremony to them and I was taken aback when they asked me if I found it embarrassing to watch this spectacle in 2022. They said they knew that we keep up old traditions in England but they felt uncomfortable to watch what they perceived as the “ landed gentry” of the village, assembled in the town hall, enjoying aperitifs and then throwing money to the “poor” waiting in the street.
My customers also raised another thought that concerned me. Do the robes of office and hats worn by councillors deter some people from applying to be considered for office? The perceived cost of these items could be one issue for many people and when I asked some younger people they were not excited by the prospect of wearing this uniform.
All institutions and organisations, even the monarchy are currently considering how they should adapt to remain relevant and to give the right impression in these difficult times when inclusivity and levelling up are seen as vital.
Should our town council now need to consider these issues?
Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .