Tag Archives: Local Election

Local Election – don’t elect a Muppet.

We must make sure that we do not waste our vote in the forthcoming local election.

There was a time when party politics had nothing to do with local elections but sadly, that is no longer the case. Hopefully, one day local politics will return to choosing individuals who are best-suited to manage and control local issues and budgets.

Every party has individuals who are good at what they do. Their abilities have nothing to do with political allegiance. Within the present system – those are the people we should be voting for. The converse is also true.

At local level, we should not be voting for Liberals at because we have a good Liberal MP. We should not be ignoring any able Conservatives just because they do not appear to have the benefit of strong leadership at national level. The Labour handling of the banking crisis should not influence us if we have a Labour candidate who looks as if he or she has a contribution to make.

What should influence us is simple – which INDIVIDUAL do we believe can be entrusted with the responsibility of representing us most effectively on the Council. Blind partisan voting will only give us a random chance of voting-in the finest. At best we will elect a few good people – at worst, we will vote-in a single party, many of whom will just be “ballast”. Remember Blair’s Babes or the present crop of Cameron’s Cuties? They sit, nod or shake their heads like Muppets while those with proper views do the talking and decision-making.

There is too much political posturing at local level. Too much energy is given over to political in-fighting rather than concentrating on the needs of the rate-payers. Many of our local councillors appear to be playing at being in Westminster – consequently a local election result is now considered to be a vote either for or against the Government.

There is a rarely-printed saying in politics – “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

For those voters who do not quite understand local politics, it may well be worth describing that most council chambers, are organised along Westminster lines. There is a Council Leader (Prime Minister), a “cabinet”, disciplined Westminster-style voting (so that most councillors only have backbencher status) and various committees. Plus, the whole thing is supported by a permanent civil-service-like structured bureaucracy.

Since the gradual separation (at local level) of economic leadership from political leadership, the calibre of local councillors has doubtless fallen.

Nowadays, individuals who are economically important within a community do not necessarily have an interest in local government. Whereas years ago, a typical councillor may have been a land-owning or business-owning member of a well-established local family, nowadays, individuals who run substantial businesses are very rarely long-standing locals.

Corporate senior managers and directors are often imported from other parts of the country or even abroad and although they may have the skills to manage and govern, they do not have any particular interest in local goings-on,  because often they know that their job-tenure will be short-lived.  In addition, they know that it is central government policy and not local government which is crucial to their company’s profitability.

In 1967, the Maud Committee on Management in Local Government stated that many “councillors see council work as a supplement to their lives”. Some of the reasons which have been  given for becoming a councillor – prestige, recognition, seeking a better social life, vanity, stepping-stone to a career in Westminster, self-improvement.

Luckily, there are still people out there who are local, feel strongly about local issues, want to serve the local community and are not on a power-trip or an imaginary (in most cases!) practice-run for Westminster.

In local politics, the “management classes” have largely given way to the “talking professions” because the ability to debate has become a more precious skill than the ability to manage a budget. The old-fashioned free-thinker has given way to the party pack-animal who will normally vote as the party tells him – the ideology of the party has displaced the common-sense of the independent individual.

In spite of all this, we do need local government . The  usual voting turnout during a local election (below 40%) gives strength to the “centralist” argument  which is in favour of power being taken away from local councils. That is just one of the reasons why it is important to vote – if we do not vote, then we give the impression that we do not care about or want local government. For all its faults – “use it or lose it.”

Finally, remember that not all Liberal candidates are vegetarian lecturers and Guardian-reading white-collar public-sector workers. Not all Conservatives are barristers, middle-managers and skinheads and not all Labour candidates are teachers, media people and union members.


The time has come once again,  to vote for the individual and not the rosette.

There is a rarely-printed saying in politics: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”

……. Do they mean us?!

For those voters who do not quite understand local politics, it may well be worth describing that most council chambers are organised along Westminster lines. There is a Council Leader (he is the equivalent of a Prime Minister), a “cabinet”, disciplined Westminster-style voting (so that most councillors only have backbencher status) and various committees. Plus, the whole thing is supported by a permanent civil-service-like  bureaucracy.

Since the gradual separation (at local level) of economic and political leadership, the calibre of local councillors has fallen.  Nowadays, individuals who are economically important within a community do not necessarily have an interest in local government. Whereas years ago a typical councillor may have been a land-owning or business-owning member of a well-established local family, nowadays, individuals who run substantial local businesses are very rarely long-standing locals.

Nowadays, local companies often “import” senior managers and directors. They arrive from other parts of the country or even abroad and although they may have the skills to manage and govern, they do not have any particular interest in local goings-on,  because  they know that their job-tenure will be short-lived.  In addition, they know that it is central government policy and not local government which is crucial to their company’s profitability. They tend NOT to stand for election – which is a shame, because they have organisational skills which are often lacking in elected local politicians.

In 1967, the Maud Committee on Management in Local Government stated that “many councillors see council work as a supplement to their lives”. Some of the reasons which have been  given for becoming a councillor – prestige, recognition, seeking a better social life, vanity, stepping-stone to a career in Westminster, self-improvement. (Yes, I KNOW that I omitted the “to serve” mantra).

Luckily though, there are still people out there who are local, feel strongly about local issues, want to serve the local community and are not on a power-trip or an imaginary (in most cases!) practice-run for Westminster.

In local politics, the “management classes” have largely given way to the “talking professions” because the ability to debate has become a more precious skill than the ability to manage large amounts of money and to organise.  The old-fashioned free-thinker has given way to the party pack-animal who will normally vote as the party tells him – the ideology of the party has displaced the common-sense of the independent individual.

In spite of all this, we do need local government . The  usual voting turnout during a local election (below 40%) gives strength to the “centralist” argument  which is in favour of power being taken away from local councils. That is just one of the reasons why it is important to vote.  If we do not vote, we give the impression that we do not care about or want local government. THAT is one of the most important reasons why we should all vote in the local elections.

However, if you do decide to participate in the local election, make sure that you do not waste your vote.

There was a time when party politics had nothing to do with local elections. Hopefully, one day local politics will return to choosing individuals who are best-suited to manage  and control local issues and budgets.

Every party has individuals who are good at what they do. “Comeback Kid” Ken Clark (C) has to be admired for his no-nonsense political skills and tenacity. Harriet Harman (L) is universally liked and respected and is a very skillful Westminster operator. Norman Baker (LD) is an outstanding MP who is doing an excellent job on behalf of his constituents. Their abilities have nothing to do with political allegiance. They are good at what they do.

We should not be voting for Liberals because we have a good Liberal MP. We should not be ignoring any able Conservatives because we’re temporarily unhappy with the Chancellor. For those with long memories – the Labour handling of the Iraq problem or the apparent ineptitude of the last administration should not influence us if we have a Labour candidate who looks as if he or she has a contribution to make.

What should influence us at local level is simple – which INDIVIDUAL do we believe can be entrusted with the responsibility of representing us most effectively on the Council.

Blind partisan voting will only give us a random chance of voting-in the finest. At best we will elect a few good people  – at worst, we will vote-in a single party, many of whom will just be “ballast”. Remember Blair’s Babes? They sit, nod or shake their heads like Muppets while those with proper views do the talking and decision-making.

There is too much political posturing at local level. Too much energy is given over to political in-fighting rather than concentration on the needs of the rate-payer. Many of our local councillors appear to be playing “Westminster” – consequently a local election result is now considered to be a vote either for or against the Government.

Finally, remember that not all Liberal candidates are  vegetarian lecturers or white-collar public-sector workers. Not all conservatives are  barristers, middle-managers or skinheads and not all Labour candidates are teachers, media people or union members.

The Muppet Factor.

Today, many United Kingdom voters are going to “dump” their votes. They are going to dump them either by voting  for a fringe party or for an Independent. In the United Kingdom, fringe parties (quite rightly) are tolerated but that doesn’t necessarily make them acceptable.

For instance – this is a quote from the leader of the BNP Party, Nick Griffin: “……the chimneys from the gas chambers at Auschwitz are fake, built after the war ended.”

Although we tolerate this type of Party, many of us have no idea exactly what they really stand-for because we do not really believe that anyone would seriously hold such views. If you Google BNP and have a click on “IMAGES”, you will see the type of view that the BNP expresses on its posters and slogans.

Let us have a look at  Local Elections – they tend to be the ones with the lowest voter turnout, yet on a day-to-day basis, we are affected far more by our local politicians that by the Westminster Mob. Currently, our perception of members of Parliament has taken a big “hit” and we now regard them as a load of unscrupulous self-serving Muppets.

There was a time when party politics had nothing to do with local elections. Hopefully, one day, local politics will return to us electing individuals who are best suited to manage and control local issues and budgets. Unfortunately, the local politician, much like his Westminster cousin is a pack animal rather than a free thinker who only has your interests at heart.

Every Party has individuals that we can all admire, irrespective of our own political affiliation. Ken Clark (C) for instance, has to be admired for his “no-nonsense” political skills and tenacity. Gordon Brown (L) was arguably the best Chancellor that we had for many years. Norman Baker (Lib) is also a great Parliamentarian and has developed a reputation as a campaigner and conscience of the House. These three are examples of three politicians who are or were good at what they do, but importantly, their skills and abilities have little to do with their political allegiance or Party.

You should not be voting Labour in your local or European election because , for instance, you have a good Labour MP within your constituency. Conversely, you should not be voting for a total unknown of indeterminate political persuasion because you have been upset by the Westminster expenses scandal or by the excesses of a particular Conservative, Liberal or Labour MP.

At local level, we should all be asking ourselves just one question: ” Can this individual be entrusted with the responsibility of representing us  effectively in Europe or on the Council and will he (or she) have our best interests at heart.”

Forget expenses, forget Gordon Brown’s leadership issues, forget the fact that the Tory front bench is portrayed as a bunch of “yaboo-sucks-to-you” Toffs and forget Clegg’s silly hair. Vote for the European or Local candidate that you believe will do his best for YOU.

There is too much political posturing at local level – many of them fantasise about being at Westminster  consequently, too much energy is given over to political in-fighting rather than concentrating on the needs of the voter.

Finally, remember that not all Liberal Candidates are vegetarian lecturers and white-collar public-sector workers. Not all Conservatives are barristers, middle-managers and skinheads and not all Labour candidates are teachers, media people and union members. But DO remember that all BNP members are Euro-sceptic Fascists.

At local (and European) level, vote for individuals and not (just for the hell of it) for the wrong political party.

Avoid the Muppet Factor.