Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Local is Good

County Council elections are coming up in May and all candidates have to have some connection in the area. It may be that they work locally, more likely they live in the area. It is less likely but still possible that they own land locally. For the last two elections I have stood in Morecambe West. My road was the boundary and my side happened to be Morecambe South not West, so I was a fairly local candidate but wasn't able to vote for myself. I have been promoted this time to stand in my own council division.

So if everyone has local connections can candidates advertise themselves as local? Well yes as some people are more local than others, and it is certainly an advantage when your vote counts. It is certainly an advantage when the electorate are close to their elected representatives. The good news for me is that I don't think the Labour and Tory candidates will be able to vote for themselves.

I am not sure if UKIP will be standing and neither am I sure about the party called the Morecambe Bay Independents. They did stand in Morecambe South in 2009 but not in 2005. I am not sure how influential these 'independents' would be even if one of their candidates were elected to the county council as I don't know their policies for Lancashire and I don't know their natural allies. Still, they may be local.

Local is good, but there are limits. It helps to have an outlook that is appropriate to the tier of government being aimed at. Morecambe is a great area, and I would certainly aim to represent it effectively if elected, but it has to be borne in mind that the County Council covers a larger area, and County Councillors will make decisions that affect the whole of it. They need a wider outlook, but not so wide that it is built on purely national issues. So I'm happy to belong to a party which, while emphasising local decision-making, has a good track record at every level of government.

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