Saturday, 19 March 2011

Thoughts on the local elections

As the local elections for borough councils grow nearer I call on the political parties to leave the national politic point scoring for the national parties and not for the localities. I also call on you the voters not to vote thinking along party lines but for who will and has represented you on the councils well.

The landscape of national politics has changed somewhat in the last year, distorted by the massive deficiet and the change of government. The Coalition government has passed responsibility for spending cuts to the borough and county councils around England, and rightly so. Who else is better suited than local government to decide what the localities need and what is surplus? Would a single all encompassing national government edict that slashed and burned services regardless of geography and demographics be either wise or welcomed? No.

Local government knows what it can slim down and more importantly they know what YOU want.
Don't let local authorities tell you it is the government's fault for all of the cuts. They have the power to decide and it is they who have the responsibility. Yes the national government is responsible for the edict of "Cut your expenditure by 8%," but they decide where the axe falls and they should be listening to you, the tax payer, voter and citizen.

Some parties will use the cuts to their advantage, either by blaming the coalition and saying they would never cut if they were in power but then having too when they are in power because that is a national edict. Or and I think more disgustingly, making savage cuts and closing sure start centres, sacking staff etc and then blaming the coalition, just to score political points for the opposition party. If Mr Clegg's figures are correct, as stated in last Sunday's speech, in his comparrison of Sheffield and Manchester city councils then serious questions need to be asked. Sheffield, a LibDem council is only laying off 200 staff members, Manchester a Labour council, 2000! In Medway, the council is laying off two hundred workers. Now I admit that in Medway the Tory led county council is far from perfect and in recent times it has become happy go lucky with its money in respect to the new HQ building at Gun wharf, the new bus station and the whole City branding fiasco but they haven't closed a single sure start centre, cut valuable public spending or services. What is the response from Labour? Critiscism. They're opposing for oppositions sake, clinging to the safety blanket of opposition safe knowing they don't need to prove anything.
Well I say this:

Do not vote in protest to national politics! Vote for those who have either run your council sucessfully and performed good damage reduction OR get the party that has failed to do so out and a party that listens to the people and what you want in, be they Liberal, Tory, Labour or even Monster raving loony party, whichever makes the most sense and provides the best quality to you. That is what Democracy is about your voice and your representitives.

Lets face it... If you don't vote Libdem because you don't agree with Mr Clegg anymore or because you are angry about tuition but if the Libdems are ring fencing sure starts etc then surely that's not a clear headed decission. Also, Mr Clegg will still have a job!

(Of course as a disclaimer any party in opposition would do the same thing as Labour in other districts.)

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