Monday, 7 May 2012

Some good Councillors lost on Thursday irrespective of Party.

One of the sad things about Local Elections is that because of because of a reaction against Westminster politics or council polices , we see often very good councillors lose their seats.Sometimes by people who have no real connection with the ward and who will  not put in the hard work that their predecessor had.

I remember a newly elected Plaid Councillor, in the 1980's who told me that his first duty  was to arrange a funeral for a family with learning difficulties. It was a duty he felt rather than he was obliged to carry out . He was an example of  those who feel that they represent the people of their wards first and they should do their utmost to help them.

Last Thursday he lost his seat As did a number of other councillors who felt the same way.Whether they were Plaid, LiberalDemocrat,Independent and yes even Conservatives.

And yes  previously the same thing had happened to excellent Labour councillors who suffered the backlash when they were in power in the 13 years after 1997.

For voters even for those who support an other political party . there is often dilemma between voting for the person who is best to serve and reacting against Westminster or the policies of that council ,.

I faced the dilemma in the Beddau ward . The Labour candidate Richard Yeo had won the seat in a byelection in three way fight between Labour Plaid and an Independent only to lose it a year later to the Independent when there was no Plaid candidate.

Since then he has nursed the ward and looked like the best candidate. Luckily for me I was able to realise he was going to win this time and could safely vote Plaid. But if I had thought he was going to be beaten by the Independent I may have voted for him. and would have if there was no Plaid

And if I lived in the Trealaw ward . Where the new Labour Councillor Joy Rosser held the seat comfortably what would I have done?

Because I Have known and liked Joy for a number of years her husband Paul is one of my favourite musicians and over 10 years ago with a group of other friends, we climbed Ben Nevis together  and believe me you get to know people going up Britain's Highest mountain..

So in Trealw even if they looked like they could win. I would have probably have voted for Joy unless I really knew the Plaid candidate and he or she was equally capable.

But that's the problem with an electoral system . If we had STV I could vote firstly for the Party I want but at the same time give my second vote to someone I thought would be a good councillor from another Party

All over Wales people will be finding that the councillor who would respond to their complaints vigorously is no longer there. We must ensure that we don't lose our best because we don't like the Party they represent at the time.


Cibwr said...

STV really puts the power in the hands of the electorate, and as you say enables you to vote with both your heart and your head. Yet another commission (The Sunderland Commission) reported in favour of it for Welsh local elections, and yet again it was ignored. Perhaps Plaid should make it a condition of entering a coalition.

glynbeddau said...

Cibwr: I think Plaid should insist on this for community councils at the least. But should Plaid go into coalition from a position of weakness? Or concentrate on being an really effective opposition a role they need to improve on.

Anonymous said...

In wealthy parts of England, the funeral assistance to a family with learning difficulties is provided by the local vicar, a higher paid social worker, and significant input from charitable and community organisations. It's telling that the measure of a 'good councillor' in RCT is to manage a such events better than another councillor. If 'party' politics has any role in local government it is not to be a better managers of poverty, but to change the political governance that allows such problems to exist in the first place. (Sorry to go a bit Bevan there). Being a good councillor, 'doing the caseload' admirably does not solve the issues. It is for this reason that linking 'local' politics on a party level to a 'political philosophy at national and UK level brings rewards. Whilst Plaid condemns the 'send Cameron a message' basis of the Labour election campaign, the reality is, that it worked. There are some awful councillors, mainly Labour. that got re-elected, some who are dormant in the community. Sadly, being a good 'caseloader' often results in comments like "excellent man, hardworking, a credit to the community' shortly after they loose their seat.