Friday, 3 May 2019

When a choice isn't much of a choice at all

Never mind world events, the major headline today is about the local council election results.

I don't know about other councils, but the turnout in our district was less than 33%. I don't know if that's because people think local elections aren't relevant, or that there's no point because we're usually a safe Tory seat, or maybe the voters are just fed up with politicians and everything they stand for. The headline, however, that Labour and the Tories have been hit badly by a Brexit backlash, would suggest that for some of us, at least, there was a point, whether at a local or a national level.

Where we live, we only had a choice between two candidates, one from the Labour party and one from the Conservatives. We're big believers in doing our civic duty (how can we complain about the incumbents otherwise?!) and tried to inform ourselves before going to the polling station. 

We had received a flyer from the Labour candidate (though I couldn't find it yesterday) but nothing from his rival. I don't mind cutting back on the use of paper that mostly goes straight into the recycling bin, and from a party point of view it must save on costs, so I don't have a problem with that per se. However, when we tried to find out about the candidates online, there was a statement from the Labour candidate but nothing from the Conservative candidate. Even via the council's own website, there was nothing to be found.

If that wasn't enough to decide us, the Labour candidate is opposed to Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. That's not the rail-link, but another road. Which did not go to public consultation. In an era when we are supposed to be trying to reduce carbon emissions and make more use of public transport, someone in the current government thought it would be a good idea to build another road - and they can't even keep the ones we have in a reasonable condition - to run loosely parallel to the railway line they are rediscovering.

I have no idea whether the Conservative candidate is opposed to the Expressway or not. My guess is not, since he doesn't appear to know where this end of his potential district is.

To quote a popular musical, "Jefferson has beliefs, Burr has none." But it's a pretty sorry state of affairs. I will be interested to find out how many people in our district spoilt their ballots.

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