As somebody who spends the majority of his working day in council meetings, it is fair to say I hear a fair amount of debate, arguments, exchanging of words, sparring… whatever you want to call it. Often it is heated, re-heated, passionate and enthusiastic. It can be very theatrical.

Debate is very important. In a purely selfish way, debate makes for good stories. Different views are, I feel, important for decision-making at all levels.

But debate is very different from arguing. The right to debate is not the right to shout and scream and be as rude as possible to each other, in the street, on the train, on Twitter or in website comment sections.

As somebody who strives to be impartial during council meetings I might completely and wholeheartedly disagree with what is being said. But it is very important for it to be said, to be heard, for other people to make up their own minds.

For it to be heard, properly, is important. Shouting and ranting Jeremy Kyle-style might make you feel a little bit better, might make your view a lot louder, but rarely will it solve anything.

Politics, not just at a city or a county level, but at a national and international level, and society, feels incredibly divided at the moment. Politics, it could be argued, is merely reflective of our society. You get the politicians you deserve, so they say.

That’s not something I really subscribe to but I do think that holding the position should come with greater responsibilities. You’re representing the people, the city, the country. If politicians cannot be civil with each other, cannot debate cordially, cannot discuss without reverting to vitriol, why should anybody else be expected to be friendly with each other? Especially when it comes to political views.

I’ve spoken to a lot of voters in the last few weeks. A lot of voters disheartened and disillusioned with politics and politicians, disillusioned with going out and voting. Important things like trust and hope are at a worrying low.

A lot of the time councillors of all stripes and persuasions manage to work together for the greater good. Tribalism and petty party politics are put aside for the good of the community. This should be celebrated.

The right to debate should never be at threat but it is definitely time we start being friendlier with each other.