COUNCILLOR Graham Hardie shares his thoughts in this week's Councillor Column.


“SOCIETY is unity in diversity” wrote the eminent American philosopher and sociologist, George Herbert Mead.

This statement is more relevant today than ever. We live in a multi-cultural and diverse country, with people from different faiths, race, culture and with differing needs within the community.

Also there are disabled people and those with lived experience of mental health issues as well as people with differing gender and sexual orientation.

The ideology of the “self-consuming” individual in society is hopefully now just a throwback to the 1980s, and consequently we are now entering a phase of community politics based on the principle of diversity and where every voice is heard and contributes to the welfare and benefit of society.

My contribution to this politically is that I now sit on the COSLA ‘barriers to elected office’ group and also nationally I participate in the Liberal Democrats’ forum on diversity. This allows me to influence the ongoing diversity debate within politics and to encourage a greater will among politicians of all persuasions, to embrace this principle, for the sake of cohesion, tolerance and understanding within our communities.

Out with the council committee structure and constituency work, a councillor’s role is also a diverse one. For example I am a member of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority as well as Strathclyde Concessionary Travel Scheme Joint Committee which deal with local transport and the concessionary card scheme.

I sit on the Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board, which deals with rates, council tax and the electoral register.

I am also a company director of LiveArgyll and as such sit on their board and so influence future policy making regarding local libraries and leisure facilities.

Recently I joined the ACHA Helensburgh and Lomond area committee and so now have an input into social housing.

Being on these boards and committees ultimately allows me to represent the views, aspirations and interests of the people in Helensburgh in a constructive and positive way.

Embracing diversity within our communities is key to neutralising many of society’s ills whether it be bigotry, homophobia, racism, or gender inequality and as a local councillor I am determined to champion diversity in all its forms to create greater unity with our society.