Ask anyone which way they vote and they will usually tell you. But, for the most part, the answer they give would be one without reason or logic.
Our electoral system leaves much to be desired in terms of proportional representation but leaving that to one side, confusion seems to reign between a General and District election; conflating the two is a mistake that many make and can generally benefit the candidates that stand as party members attracting the default vote. Step in: Shepway District Council.
Historically, Shepway has been, and still is, a Conservative area. Based on national policies, everyone has the right to choose their own areas representative in terms of political party at General level, and rightly so. The only conundrum that we all have is balancing the qualities of a local MP against that of towing the party line on national issues. An example of this was personified by Michael Howard, who was an excellent local MP, but left the electorate, other than staunch Conservative voters, in a quandary when voting in a General election.
But are the local electorate missing a trick when it comes to voting in a District election with a population of 108,000 people, against circa 67,000,000 in a General election? Moreover, the policies of the local District Council, in this case, Shepway, will impact lives much closer to home, and depending on the Leader, CEO and Cabinet members, this could be a disaster for many Residents if their views or wishes are totally disregarded. Ring any bells?
For the moment, let’s look at the Lorry Park situation: Here we had our MP, Damian Collins, calling for 250 acres to be concreted over to build a pointless Lorry Park, supported by District Councillors Monk, Hollingsbee and Carey, followed by many other cabinet members – all Conservatives: Tribes people, Apparatchiks. Here they be below.
We now have the misfortune of ending up with the above, alongside their chums. This is the result of voting ‘Tribal’ as opposed to recognising the merits of individuals. These individuals have simply jumped on board the default vote to secure power as career politicians, feathering their nests. Had these individuals stood as ‘independent’ candidates their faces wouldn’t be featured here. In fact, we would suggest that as politicians, representing electorate’s views, they wouldn’t be seen anywhere. So could we be accused of being unfair if we described these individuals as a waste of space or devious?
Getting back to the Lorry Park, we were told it’s useless to fight it, it’s going ahead. A political knee jerk reaction which has already been detailed on our website. If we had a District Council that represented Residents views, and also had a modicum of Highways logistical knowledge, they would have supported the views of local people. It’s called doing the right thing. Evidence, as if evidence was needed, that we are ruled by our inferiors as a consequence of tribalism. So, could the quote below from the Greek philosopher, Plato (c.428-347 B.C.) bear witness to the state that we find ourselves in today?
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato
Thanks to numerous groups here in Shepway; Shepwayvox, Save Princes Parade, SOS Kent, SECN (David Plumstead), No Otterpool Town and Numerous Parish Councils, notably, Monks Horton, Lympne, Stanford and Saltwood, Residents voices are being heard, loud and clear. We are just one of many conduits where opinions are scribed.
The tide is gradually turning with more and more Residents showing their heads above the parapet, but more needs to be done. Should we keep reminding ourselves of the words of Edmund Burke (apologies to Women):
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke
It would be right to question, what’s the alternative for ridding our area of uncaring ‘so-called’ Councillors or MP that couldn’t care less about Resident’s feelings or concerns. It’s clear that their hidden agendas are more important to them than the majority view.
Earlier in the year it was revealed, at a local Hustings. that all political parties, except Conservative, we’re against the developments at the Stanford West Lorry Park, Otterpool New Town and Princes Parade. so there are alternatives to the crooked Council that we have at the moment. Residents only have to ‘wise up’ to the shenanigans of the incumbents.
S&DRA’s mantra has always been: There is no place for politics at District level. The system that we have at the moment, like it or not, is one that we are stuck with. So forget politics and speak to the opposition, speak to Candidates at election time, speak with all the groups already mentioned. There are good people locally among Lib Dem’s, The Green Party, Labour and UKIP (The new Leader, Henry Bolton lives in Folkestone and will be on Question Time this Thursday, 30th Nov at 10.45 BBC1). Independent candidates are usually in touch with the ‘grass roots’ with a wealth of knowledge and should always be seriously considered. There are also Conservative voters that are embarrassed by Leader Monk and his SDC cronies, creating an atmosphere of corruption and hidden agenda’s. Is there a Conservative Councillor that actually disagrees with the en bloc voting system that exists at SDC?
We only have to look across the border in Canterbury to see that the default vote was kicked into the long grass in favour of Rosie Duffield (Labour). If it can happen there, it can happen here.
Spreading the message is up to you as individuals, whether you been down the pub, at a coffee shop, wherever, strike up a conversation on local politics with friends and family, enlighten them to the dodgy dealings here in Shepway, but whatever you do, don’t go ‘Tribal’.