Nomenclature (or “what we call things”)
This week he talked about the "niceness" of small town America and compared it to Europe:
When I lived in Switzerland, I was struck by how much people said ‘we’ about
public projects (e.g. "I see we’re building a new hospital"), where in
Britain people usually say ‘they’. People felt personally integrated and
involved with their communities in a way that I see when I go on holiday to
a Northumberland village, but really don’t see much either in Nottingham or
London. Hand in hand with that, people in small communities seem willing to be
more helpful to others, to an extent that would be viewed with some suspicion in
an urban environment (‘why is this stranger offering me a lift out of his
We know for example that residents rate individual local government services highly but not the councils that deliver them.
Perhaps it is the council (as an organisation), the bureaucracy, the machine, the system, that distances people from their local government. Or is at least a factor.
On this subject though one particular little bug-bear of mine is the way that in the UK the person, like Andrew, who heads up the organisation is called the CEO. That implies they run In the US the equivalent person is commonly called the City Manager. In the UK the person manages the council, in the US they manage the city. A touch inward looking I think.