We live in what is known as a representative democracy. Every four years we elect a person-or persons-to represent us as either an MP or a Councillor and as elections are near perhaps you should ask: What do I want from my Parish Councillors?
Some suggestions; They would actually do something. They could show they listen and learn the art of communications. A Councillor should have a basic understanding of how to read a budget proposal. That they bothered to consult with residents ie: Land purchase and house building. They stop being the arbiters on taste on planning matters when they have no mandate. That increases in the precept above 1% require approval from residents. A council that decides its future budget is last year’s plus X percent is failing. It means the Clerk has prepared a budget with little or no effort and Councillors have run out of steam and failed to communicate with their electorate. It is not the way to set a budget. Many people do not vote because they are either misinformed, have no knowledge of the local candidates or more importantly think their views will be ignored. If you do not attend PC meetings, if you do not ask councillors questions then yes you will be ignored. Ask yourself; Could I do better? If the answer is yes then stand as a candidate. Councillors are elected to do something for people, not to do something to people. Anston Parish Council is like a garden, it needs tending. Without attention,care and pruning it becomes a wilderness. A long standing chairman is not a cause for celebration to be rewarded with a visit by the Mayor.It is a sign of a deep seated malaise where nothing changes and the community stagnates. The same clique voting for the same person to chair meetings year after year shows how institutionalised they have become. A strong democracy needs a free press and an informed electorate to be effective. Democracy is about listening and talking, in that order. A good councillor should listen to those who elected them and talk to persuade others to do something to enhance the community. This blog is not anti parish councils, it is anti bad parish councils-like Anston which has become bloated and stagnant. Being open, honest and transparent is simple.