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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Newbury Weekly News: 28 March 2011


Dear Sir,

It was with a wry smile that I read the many letters in last weeks paper from political representatives of the main parties, attempting to claim to be apolitical in their decision making, or protest organising, regarding the cuts to Day Care Centres, all of them avoiding the word. I wonder, have I struck a nerve?

It was my intention in establishing the Apolitical Democrats Party, to hold a light up to the hypocrisy of tribal party politics within Local Government.

I have for many years now, witnessed the process leading up to the Local Elections, where the two main parties on West Berkshire Council run around cajoling, pleading and sometimes bullying people into standing as candidates for the 52 seats on the District Council. Each side sees that the inability to field a full complement of candidates would be seized upon by the other as a weakness, a lack of support.

Agents and activists from both sides spend the final weeks running up to the deadline for nominations, pleading with reluctant potentials to allow their names to be put forward, sometimes to the point of promising that there is no chance of them being elected.

Once campaigning starts proper, the goal posts are moved, and these seats are actively targeted on behalf of a person who doesn’t want to win. Reason? To remove the big guns from the opposing benches.

Party HQ in London sends a celebrity big name MP, to come and be seen by the electorate as they flood the ward weekend after weekend with activists. Their intention is to oust the better person.

This process drives down the quality of our representation within the Council Chamber. Someone who may have devoted years to the community they represent, is replaced by someone, who is at best, a reluctant participant. This is beneficial to the Parties, as it leaves the Council Chamber full of yes men, half of whom couldn’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet seat, and the ruling executive can implement at will, directives sent down from their party masters in Whitehall. At which point Party Politics in Local Government becomes less about good governance than about control, and ultimately about power.

The promotion of Party Politics in local government is the worst expression of tribalism after racism.

Yours faithfully,

David Yates

5 comments:

A Northern Bloke said...

I worked for 27 years in local government, almost exclusively in the north east of England.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Mind you, the truth hurts and I'm fairly sure you will have incensed a few of these people!

Charlie said...

Jack Nicholson's famous line springs to mind "You can't handle the truth!"

Anonymous said...

How can you have an Apolitical Party?

Charlie said...

"The Apolitical Democrats are, by definition apolitical, ‘politically neutral, unbiased, non-aligned’, and democrats ‘believers in the democratic right of people to choose who represents them in government’. Our aim is to provide a counter balance to discredited, big-party tribal politics."

Does what it say on the tin.

Charlie said...

Apolitical Democracy is synonymous with nonpartisan politics which political science denotes as an election, event, organization or person which is free from party affiliation, bias, or designation.