Four weeks today on May 4, you will be asked to vote in the Local Elections. You are being asked to select candidates who you think will do a good job of representing you within Aberdeenshire. You will be voting for your Local Councillors and not MSPs or MPs.
So what? I hear you say.
Local elections should not be about Brexit, being independent – or not, from the UK, the EU, or anything else national, local elections are exactly what they say they are, the are about what is important locally. Yes local politics can feed back to and influence national politics, and national politics absolutely influences and shapes local politics, but your Councillors should be working locally for the benefit of the communities in their ward.
Local Councillors should be fighting for local services and getting the best possible outcomes for the communities they serve and not just being there to toe the party line from Holyrood and Westminster. Locally you need Councillors who can question and challenge the recommendations and proposals put to them, to make the right decision locally and not because that is what the party wants nationally. You need local Councillors who are approachable, available and contactable and who will take the issues from the local communities to the council to try and resolve them.
Councillors should, in my opinion, live in the ward they are elected to, they should be using the same services as the communities they are working for. Living outside of the ward leaves you open to conflict of interest when it comes to some of the tough choices they undoubtedly have to make. How do you vote on an issue that will have a positive effect the community you serve but impact on where you live if you vote A, or if you vote B, it will positively affect the community where you live and be detrimental to the community you are elected to serve?
You need local Councillors who will take on the fight against anti social behaviour like dog fouling, littering, nuisance driving and inconsiderate parking. You want local Councillors who take action and speak out when services are proposed to be cut. If you live in the ward where you are elected you have a vested interest in these things.
There is also a need for an effective opposition within the Council, this does not need to be a single party, it can be a collective group of voices who will hold the ruling party or coalition to account. Opposition isn’t about opposing and trying to shout down every decision, it is about ensuring there is scrutiny and offering other possible solutions.
Now don’t get me wrong, not every decision will be able to be changed and there will, over the next few years, be some very tough decisions and choices to be made. Some of these will be quite cut and dried, all will affect the communities of Aberdeenshire in some way and some will have a major impact, there will be no one size fits all or right answer, it will be about making the best of what there is.
Well I think it is time for a change in how local democracy works, we need to shift some of the power away from the big parties with the national agendas and put that power in the hands of the communities through their elected councillors. That is why I’m standing as an independent candidate in Turriff and District on May 4 and I’d like your #1 vote, this is what I have to say
- I live and work in the ward where I am standing, so I have a vested interest in getting the best outcomes and I have no conflict of interest across ward boundaries
- I have never been a member of any political party so I am truly independent
- I pledge to work with the communities across the ward to get them the best outcomes locally
- I will use the needs of the individual communities, the ward and the Shire, in that order, to inform my decisions wherever possible
- I am self employed, I will maintain my current clients but not take on any significant levels of new work which would impact on my ability to work as a local Councillor
- I will be as open and transparent about my work as a local councillor, as I am able, so I can be held to account
To be able to vote you need to be registered, you are registered aren’t you? No? Ok well follow this link https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and you can register online, it only takes five minutes. You’ll need to do this by 17 April, if you don’t register by this date then you will not be able to vote in the May 4 local elections.
Once you are registered you can apply for a postal vote should you wish.