Hi, I’m Mike Rouse.
I’m 38 years old and I live in the Oakenshaw area of Redditch in Worcestershire with my wife and two children.
I don’t feel young, but according to statistics about the average age of Councillors I am (apparently) in the young category. We need the voice of younger people to be heard in council chambers. My generation of people – born in the 1980s – is going to be the first generation to have less and be poorer than the generations before.
That’s quite a claim isn’t it? I first heard it at a conference and have been looking into it. I’ve found a US-based source, and will provide additional sources when I can. Accountability and transparency in politics is important.
Altogether, just 15% of local councillors are under the age of 45, whereas 43% are aged 65 or over. The average age of a local councillor in England is currently 59, and 45% of them are retired, with just 26% working in full-time or part-time employment. Given that 44.6% of England’s population is aged under 45, this means that young people are vastly underrepresented.Intergenerational Foundation
I was first elected as a Conservative Councillor in 2018, having helped the Conservative Party with elections since 2003. Maybe I should have stood for election sooner, but here’s the honest truth on that:
I didn’t feel like I was worthy and good enough and I thought you had to have years of life experience behind you to be able to sit on a council. It took me years to build up my confidence and put myself forward.
I first stood in Church Hill for Redditch Borough Council and won my seat by a single vote. I then stood for Worcestershire County Council in Redditch South and won my seat there in 2021. This is sometimes called being a ‘double hatter’ – meaning I sit on both the Borough Council and the County Council at the same time. This helps me to get more things done for residents as they can come to me with any problems and not to have to worry about which council is responsible.
I get local government, so you don’t have to.
So, you want to know more?
PhiladelphiaCoventry born and raised, on the playgroundCommodore 64 is where I spent most of my days.
I was born and raised in Coventry and eventually moved to Redditch in 2011, having settled here with my wife and our two daughters.
Redditch is now my home and where I have chosen to raise a family. I want our town to be the best place it can be for everyone else who has chosen to raise a family here.
I’m the son of a lorry driver who died in 2003 from lung cancer when I was aged 20. My mother jumped around various jobs to help support the family until she was struck down with a series of disabilities and conditions in 1993 when I was 10 years old, transforming my siblings and I into part-time carers.
My parents split up in the early 1990s, with both of them remarrying. We would spend the start and end of our weekends going back and forth from the two homes.
One home was happier than the other, and at times things got really difficult for us young ones, but we all seem to have pulled through.
I decided to learn how to develop websites in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and this opened up some career opportunities for me that were otherwise probably never going to be there.
I have worked for a number of organisations over time, across lots of different sectors. I’ve worked on mental health wards, in back offices, sales, software development, management, and I’ve tried to set up a few businesses over time. It’s fair to say I was struggling to find my calling in life.
However, having joined the Conservative Party in 2003 I was able to find a movement that provided me with perspective, opportunity and the environment to suit me. In politics no two days are ever the same, even at the local level, which is something that seems to suit me.
I also enjoy helping people, especially those who are struggling to help themselves but really do want to find a way forwards. There is a great sense of pride in delivering casework outcomes, and an even bigger sense of pride when you hear about the positive impact of the assistance provided.
But politics is more than casework – it’s also detailed committee work and grappling with complicated council policies and procedures. At the heart of it all however is people who demand and expect us to work hard for the money they pay us.
That’s why I have some key ‘focus points’ in my political work.
- Turn up – on time, prepared and ready to engage
- If you can’t turn up, make sure you send apologies and you read and respond to the minutes/transcript
- Do what you say you’re going to do
- If you can’t do what you said you were going to do, be transparent about the reasons why and provide alternative ideas
- Don’t treat your voters like they’re children or stupid
- Don’t assume everyone understands local government and politics like you do
- People who vote for and support other parties are not the enemy – they are opponents and rivals, treat them with respect and expect the same in return
- Respect everyone’s right to disagree with you
- Keep a positive perspective, even when dealing with the darkest of matters
If you can think of anything I should add to this list, please get in touch.
If you need my help please get in touch.
I hope this ‘About’ page has been a bit more interesting to read than these pages usually tend to be. Have a nice day.