Posted 1 year ago

Politics! Many of us, I know, are fed up with politics, nationally. We have heard very little but Brexit! Brexit! for the past few months, and the date and details for our leaving the European Union are still far from sorted. Often it seems as if the political parties are focussing on what is best according to their own party’s needs, rather than the best interests of the country. Living in a democratically governed country, as we do, politics are an important part of the structures.

Last month there was a call for the Prime Minister to stand down, and for a general election to be called. I have to admit; my head was in my hands! I really wasn’t sure that that was such a good idea during the frustrating negotiations with the EU. I’m glad this suggestion did not come to fruition – I believe it would have just added to the chaos. (At this point I must make clear I have no political allegiances.) The lack of vision for the common good, the vacuum, the scarcity of hope and what seems to be complete inertia, is extremely concerning.

If you feel like me, you might be wondering whether you want to even consider who to vote for in the local council elections. Traditionally, these elections see a much lower level of turnout of voters, but these elections determine who will run our local councils, and what emphasis and priorities the party in control of the Council has. Our every-day life is affected by who is elected and therefore every vote counts. Will you be voting on 2nd May 2019? If we don’t vote, do we have a right to complain? At the time of writing, there is also the real possibility of European Elections having to be held on the 23rd May. I do so hope our Brexit ruminations can be sorted so that governmental money does not have to be spent on such an exercise but, on the other hand, European elections could bring a real shake-up within the political parties in our nation – we shall see!

For Christians, the Bible teaches us to pray and thank God for all people, and for kings/queens and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Society today seems more than happy to complain about the way things are done and to disagree with priorities decided upon by others; but are we willing to get involved in the work that the councillors do on our behalf, or to do the job ourselves?

Do you know who the candidates are for the local elections (in the Lothingland ward) and which, if any, party they are affiliated to? Tracy Cameron (Conservative), David Drewitt (Conservative), Adrian Myers (Independent), Hilary Williams (Labour). In seeking to decide on which candidate to vote for, I ask myself questions about: what their interests are and whether they will represent the interests of the area, well? what experience do they bring to the table? how have they served the local council or the borough in the past? how active and involved with the local community are they? whether it is possible to discern their motivation? will they be servants of the people, or seek to follow their own agenda? will they enable the Council to govern well?

Some of these questions are not easily answered but taking time to at least think about them means I will make a reasoned choice in the one/two crosses I put on the voting slip. In listening to the sound-bites that the national parties want us to hear, we might be wooed to vote one way or another. But what about the local issues? I don’t want to hear all the negatives, the sniping, and the blaming; I want to hear what each person stands for, how they plan to make a difference locally, in my neighbourhood and borough-wide. I want to know that they know about the social, political and spiritual challenges facing our area today, and that they will work at improving the lives of people on the margins or our society, as well as maintaining the practical issues of day-to-day living.

What about you?