Tribune Member Article

Who do our Councillors represent?

Here is our first member contributed article, by our Youth Officer - Olly Monk

I have been involved in politics for the past five years and my general take away is that most of our Councillors do not represent the people who elected them; they represent their own political ideologies.

Between the use of the whip system (whether used or threatened) and a desire to follow national party agenda, our Councillors vote on issues irrespective of what is best for their wards. On top of that, Councillors who don’t wish to support an issue but at the same time can’t or won’t vote against their fellow party members, will abstain. When they abstain they represent nobody. We elect them to be our voice!

Councillors from different national parties always have and always will blame each other for historic decisions. The current leaders will blame the previous administration for their decisions whilst the opposition will complain that they had great plans in the works before losing power. What you won't often hear is the working towards a solution with input from each group, just a 'this way or no way' approach. Which of the existing parties actually has control is irrelevant and interchangeable; the dialogue remains the same.

Unfortunately this is again brought about by national political ideologies. Whilst everybody will undoubtedly have an ideology by their very nature, it should not dictate actions and local policy. Too often we hear Councillors arguing about problems such as the balance between social and commercial housing, accusations or insults against national party leaders and heated disagreements over issues that a local authority cannot affect - like the wages of nurses or immigration.

Anybody that has attended a full council meeting (which I strongly encourage ALL to do in order to better understand what your elected representatives are actually doing) will be familiar with all of the things I have mentioned above.

I myself first got into politics because I believe that local Councillors should predominately work for their residents. I believe they should do this by voting, working and enacting policy with the benefit of their ward constituents in mind. What is best for the people of Northgate may not always be what is best for the people of Bradwell (or vice versa) and I would expect those Councillors to argue and amend GYBC plans accordingly - even if that means voting in opposing ways to their party colleagues.

In short, it is time for a new way of doing local politics and that begins with the removal of national ideologies at the local level in order to free up Councillors to make appropriate decisions. To do this, the long-standing Councillors who are set in their ways must be replaced – and that is why I joined Tribune.

 

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