Here's the latest Argus column by leader of Torfaen County Borough Council Cllr Anthony Hunt:

TORFAEN Council’s AGM this month marks the end of my second year as leader, thanks to the support of my colleagues.

No leader is perfect – we all make mistakes.

My experience has led me to challenge many of our perceptions about what makes a good leader.


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For me, real strength in leadership is not about talking, it’s about listening.

It’s not about setting yourself up as the superhero to save everyone, it’s about building a team that can work together.

It’s not about pretending you alone have all the solutions, but rather looking at the evidence and making reasoned choices.

As a leader, people will approach you with simplistic solutions, often badged as ‘common sense’. Unfortunately, when you delve deeper you’ll find that they seldom work without consequences elsewhere.

After all, the problems we face are problems, precisely because there is rarely an easy solution. A solution that works for one person or group may have unintended consequences for another. Or more often than not these days, you’ll find that the best solution is unaffordable due to budget cuts, so you’ll have to find a compromise that will be financially sustainable.

We have two major problems in politics today. Firstly, a lack of money caused by austerity, meaning that services are overstretched and underfunded, however hard our staff work and however much money we direct to priority areas like schools and social care for the vulnerable.

Secondly, we have a multitude of politicians selling simplistic, populist solutions to the challenges we face. It’s the age-old story – ‘vote for me and I’ll solve everything’ – but it needs to be challenged now more than ever. Because a politician selling simplistic solutions is wittingly or unwittingly selling false hope, usually in order to further their personal agenda.

If we’re not careful, decent politicians’ response to this challenge can be to offer impossible promises of their own, when the strong thing to do is to be brave enough to say that you’ll merely do your best. It may not work on the front of a leaflet or win political soundbite of the year, but at least it’s honest and you’ll maintain your integrity.

Because in reality, hope lies not in sensational headline grabbing leadership, but in the strength of our communities we see every day. As a Leader it has been a pleasure to witness the dedication both of council staff and local volunteers. The Trumps and Farages of this world merely depress me. You all inspire me, and it is your example I seek to follow as I serve you.