ONCE again the political process of the local election is over for another year with the main parties slugging it out in the Examiner’s letters page.
Political point scoring appears even more futile considering the fact that all the major parties to one degree or another are implementing austerity packages.
Indeed, whether it is the cuts or the Local Development Framework, local government is less about representing the interests of ordinary people and more about enforcing the orders of central government.
The functions of local communities are more and more subject to larger and more detached bureaucracies led by people more interested in perpetuating their own privilege than serving the communities. More and more the individual is becoming alienated from a political process that limits people to participating in community politics once a year in a very limited fashion by placing a cross on a piece of paper.
There is indeed a need to transform local government so ordinary people and workers who provide services can determine the nature of those services devoid of interference from central government or detached bureaucrats.
A radical transformation in local politics is needed to this end.
Local council casualties
NOW that the local election dust has settled we can see the die that has been cast.
In my ward (Kirkburton) we had an extremely hard working councillor by the name of Adrian Murphy. Adrian, who I have had cause to call upon for guidance in certain matters, has unfortunately failed to retain his council seat.
His downfall was due to the fact that he was a Conservative councillor. His demise had nothing to do with his work ethic or his love of the area which was exemplary.
Adrian lost his seat to the Green candidate by 23 votes.
Now, unlike some, I do not have a party that must be supported but if it is not broken why try to fix it?
Our Green party candidate posted his blurb through our letter box and I diligently read through his message.
There was, however, one thing missing from his blurb and that was his vision.
There was no mention of a plan or what he would fight for or what he would like to support/oppose or how he saw our area progressing.
In short, I saw nothing to make me want to vote for this candidate.
The electorate as I see it have voted to give the Coalition Government a bloody nose and at the same time play into the hands of our council leaders who have no vision for Huddersfield and its villages.
This seems very shortsighted to me. If you have a problem with the way the country is being run and the ideas which the Coalition have put forward then you should write to your MP.
Don’t moan and groan about it, make your feelings felt to the right people. We need good local people to resolve local issues and problems.
So, overall, there was no change. Well that just about sums it all up along with Huddersfield’s future.
R J Bray
An anarchist’s view
I READ with interest the views of Examiner readers who insist that as our freedom to vote in elections was so hard won, voting should become mandatory.
But what about those who genuinely, after much time and consideration, have no faith in any of the parties standing for election? Should they be made to vote too? Certainly at the national level it would be like insisting we choose which gurning Oxbridge millionaire we’d like to see treading all over working people more than the others.
Voting changes nothing. Your next millionaire Prime Minister is going to have been to the same schools and be as close to big business as your last millionaire Prime Minister. And this will be despite the colour of his or her rosette.
When you’ve worked that out – and it’s there for all to see – why support it? Better still, can you in good conscience endorse it?
Generally though, I don’t think the electorate are lazy but why waste the shoe leather when nothing ever changes for the better?
The government, just like every local authority, wouldn’t dare to do it but I’m sure the ‘none of the above’ option on the ballot slip would see more people turning out to the polling stations.
Personally, as somebody who never misses an opportunity to vote, it would be a nice change to just tick a box rather than write it on myself.
Our right not to vote
THERE have been a small number of people writing to the Examiner castigating anyone who does not vote and calling for voting to be made compulsory.
They cite the sacrifice made by people during the Second World War to reinstate lost freedoms as justification for this.
Freedom means exactly that – freedom of individual choice. To be ordered to do something by Government negates this freedom and is something the British people have never had and most do not want.
The backlash against any such effort could force people to rebel and give their votes to extremist totalitarian parties who would, if given the chance, then eliminate any opposition.
Shades of 1933 here I think. Be careful what you wish for is, I think, wise advice.
For only the second time in my life I did not vote in the local elections. I was only offered the traditional triumvirate of political dross. I perceived this as an invitation to be hung, drawn or quartered, none of which I fancied.
As politicians have for decades now chosen to actively ignore and deny any chance of the public voice or choice being heard when it opposes the official one, so I decided to ignore and deny them my vote.
As politicians wallow up to their necks in the stagnating flotsam of their reputations, dishonesty and public trust, they still refuse to represent the majority of their constituents which is why the majority increasingly refuse to sponsor them at election time.
With the rising support for extremist parties across Europe we live in dangerous times.
Free prescriptions plea
I’M delighted to read that my MP, Jason McCartney, has taken the trouble to learn something about Cystic Fibrosis as illustrated in the article in Monday’s Examiner.
I would now, publicly, like to ask him to support the CF Trust campaign to provide free prescriptions for all people with CF.
When the condition was first identified there wasn’t a great need for this as most sufferers didn’t live long enough to have to pay for their medication but as medical advances have extended life expectancy there are now around 3,000 adults who have to pay for their prescriptions.
The current system of providing free prescriptions for people with long-term conditions is a lottery where people with diabetes, cancer and hypothyroidism have automatic entitlement but those with other, equally or even more serious conditions, do not.
The CF Trust commissioned Ipsos MORI to carry out a survey of adults from March 30 to April 5 and 83% of respondents thought that all long-term conditions should be exempt and 88% thought that all people with CF should be exempt from prescription charges.
I look forward to a follow up article from Jason telling us what he is going to do to further this campaign. Public opinion would be on his side!
Mental illness on TV
I NOTE that TV’s Emmerdale is to cover the issue of mental illness in one of its story lines where Zac Dingle has it and his son Cain worries how the family will react to it when they find out.
Mental illness is little understood as it can’t be seen as in the case of physical illness, but it can be a hard thing to deal with both for the sufferer and the friends and family around them.
Mental illness can hit anyone at anytime, leading to job loss, bereavement and marriage breakdown.
Ill health is often the cause as these effect the mind of the person and the stress of dealing with the problems take its effect.
More suicides are often due to depression than other causes and this is because proper help has not been given in the early stages by the GP or by the person failing to visit a GP who has an understanding of this.
Mental illness is nothing for anyone to be ashamed of having.
Remember, the brain if a part of the body and it can suffer ill health like the rest of it so I’m glad Emmerdale has highlighted this little understood issue.
Help after burglary
AFTER my recent burglary I would like to say a big thank you to all the sections of the police and Trafalgar access control for the prompt attention and help received during a very harrowing time.
Their help and support was much appreciated.
A grateful pensioner