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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on February 28 2015 at 12:28:37

District and county councillors should act solely in the interests of the residents who vote for them and represent the area they have been chosen to speak up for . . . how difficult can this be?

Yet we hear complaints that councillors have to act against the interests of those who elected them, or are simply not acting very much at all, as far as their electors are concerned.
And what lies behind this conflict? Party politics, of course, which, as we’ve pointed out many times before, has no place in local government.

It so happens that around here, if it says “Conservative” next to your name on the ballot slip there’s a very good chance you’ll get the voter’s mark (UKIP supporters may think this time will be different, but that remains to be seen).

In other areas, it may be that a red rosette does the trick, as the outgoing MP for Labour-supporting Grimsby pointed out last month. We’re not being biased in any direction: we just don’t think party politics serves the people very well at the local level.

Firstly, there’s a chance that duff candidates will be voted in, just because they are Tories – people who just don’t have the skills required to communicate effectively with the people they should be representing and to act successfully in their interests.

Then there’s the problem of toeing the party line. This could be local pet projects of the leadership or, worse, following diktats issued from party HQ 100 miles south of here . . . both of which might not be in the interests of the villagers the councillor should be representing.

We are, then, heartened to see what’s happening on the other side of Bromsgrove, where two independent councillors, one at county and one at district, are encouraging like-minded people to stand at the forthcoming elections to the district council.

Steve Colella and Rachel Jenkins are both standing as independents for the Hagley ward in the election on May 7 and are urging “like-minded people, especially in the parished areas” to do the same.

As they are already independent councillors, they can offer advice and support – and they hope to form an independent group on the district council, once elected, to take on the party political system.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of what happens when independent councillors become members of the Independent Party, we wish them well. It can only be good for democracy which, we fear, is not being served well by the current system.

Steve Colella can be contacted at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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