Now that the dust has settled on last week’s local elections, we can try to make sense of what it all means. The facts are that 33 local authorities have seen labour take control. None of this was as a result of bad performance, trickery or incompetence – it was all the result of the activities and policies (good or bad) of a dozen or so cabinet ministers in Westminster. It is ludicrous that the control of local authorities, whose jobs are totally different to that of central government, should be decided by voters wanting to “send a message to the government”. If people want to send a message to the government they send them a letter, not clobber their local area with what may be a totally incompetent group of councillors.
We can anticipate a similar result in the county council elections a year from now when, assuming nothing changes for the better in our economy, a slim conservative majority will be turned into a labour majority – once again, nothing to do with how well or badly the present incumbents have performed.
In my opinion, the solution to this “second hand” voting is to return to the days of independent people representing their constituencies on local councils. Removal of the party label from local councillors will allow them to act in the best interests of their constituencies and the council, and they will not be attacked at the ballot box because of the antics of national politicians. In order to give the voters confidence that they will not be wasting their votes, it would be necessary to demonstrate that there are enough independent candidates standing to be able to control the council. This means that the independents need to get organized.
If you are interested in standing as an independent in the county council elections next May, and think your chances would be improved by being a member of a Derbyshire Independents Group, please e-mail me on john.evans@arbitrator–uk.com. If there is sufficient interest, we can all get together and discuss a group approach.