Don’t they know there’s a local election on?

ballot box

Some people will have got a surprise when their postal votes arrived this week. Instead of the one ballot paper that they were expecting for the General Election they also got one for a local election.
I always think is sad when a local election is held on a day with another election because so often the important discussion of local issues is subsumed into a general debate on the wider issues. This is especially true this year because I have yet to find any mention of the fact that there is a local election on May 7 in any of the local media. I think this is a major mistake on behalf of the media. Many people vote in different ways at the two elections and so they should.
It is, of course, possible that people think the Government is doing well but that their local council run by the same party is doing badly. The opposite could also be true.
As I go around the doorstep not only in my own Church Ward but also in wards such as Greenbank, Warbreck and Mossley Hill it is clear that this is going to be the case big style in Liverpool on May 7th.
Nationally people are taking a view on austerity, the need for it, who caused it and who will get us out of it. I don’t always agree with many people’s conclusions on this matter but I respect the right of people to have those views on that election. However in the local election a lot of people will be voting on issues like the waste of money by the council, the threats to green spaces, the lack of transparency and openness of the council. I respect those issues too and more although, again, I don’t always agree with the conclusions.
There are two Parties that are hoping that the national issues will prevail instead of local issues in the local election on May 7th. The Tory Party and their mates in the Labour Party. The old two tired war horses who still hope that people will vote on class lines because locally they have little to offer.
Let’s take the Tories first. It is more than 20 years since the Tories last elected anyone to anything in this City. They had been an irrelevant rump for more than 20 years before that. We have no idea what they would do for Liverpool because they have no idea. Their Parliamentary candidates are largely from outside the City and most of their local candidates have been losing elections in Liverpool for all those 40 years!
Labour want to cover up how badly they have been doing in our city. Iffy property deals; poor management of our finances; laughable lack of scrutiny; lack of vision and direction. In many ways we do not need a Tory Party in this city when we have Joe’s Blue Reds!
So how should people vote locally? Well there are two reasons for voting at any level. Do you trust and respect the people who are standing and do you trust and respect the Party that they represent? In local elections the question of the individual is one that many people choose to vote on. I believe that the area I represent is not just a way of getting me to the Town Hall so that I can ‘be important and wave my arms around’. So can I suggest five questions you should ask a local council candidate (if you see them) or you should ask yourself about them if, as is incredibly likely, you should ask yourself about them if you don’t.
1. Have you seen them in the past 4 years?
2. Do they communicate with you regularly?
3. How do they know what the key issues are in this area?
4. What have they done about those key issues?
5. Who do they put first you or their Party?
Too many councillors in Liverpool do only pop up on a four yearly basis. They forget that being a councillor is a privilege and a way of serving the people. Too often it is an ego trip which can pay quite well in the side.
It is the duty and responsibility of the local media to raise issues about people and policies in local government at local election times. Our local media is NOT doing its job and is being incredibly lazy by just concentrating on a national election which is being well covered by the national media and not concentrating on the local issues which should be its strength. So come on the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside; City Talk; BBC North West and Granada pull your finger out and do your job.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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One Response to Don’t they know there’s a local election on?

  1. joedd says:

    Answering you Questions

    1 No
    2 No
    3 I don’t know perhaps there in touch with Doris Stokes
    4 nothing
    5 they put their party first – they are like a private members club – the them and us mentality.

    My Councillors are –

    Councillor Beatrice Fraenkel ‘never seen her in Kirkdale’ in fact never seen her.

    Councillor Malcolm Kennedy ‘never seen him in Kirkdale’ ….. I emailed him recently re the late publication of Councillors Allowances – he couldn’t answer my question in fact he seemed to be quite bewildered, and his officers openly lied.

    Councillor Joseph Hanson ‘never see in Kirkdale’ until the other day when he was posting flyers in my street ”he left me out” how about that for being unprofessional and showing biased towards me……

    Having Mayor Anderson and his administration in power is like being in the twilight zone – Power via the ballot box…..

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