Democracy in Action?

Well that’s it for the next four years – apart from the promised EU referendum of course and whatever the SNP have to throw at the rest of the country!

I’m very despondent about the elections. The one minor positive aspect as far as I’m concerned is that Nigel Farage has resigned as leader of UKIP, and UKIP have, thankfully, only got one MP.

We’ve lost an excellent constituency MP and gained someone who has only moved to North Devon in the past few months and is known to have made hugely disparaging comments about rural people.

The Lib Dems were a successful moderating influence on the previous administration and that’s now gone. I don’t understand why the Lib Dems have been punished for doing a good job. Possibly it was the fear engendered by Cameron of might happen if the Conservatives didn’t get in i.e. a Labour SNP alliance.

Now we still have the distinct possibility of the SNP holding the rest of the UK to ransom. Given that they got 56 seats with only a 4.7% share of the total votes cast that is truly bizarre and very unsettling. In fact they won 56 out of the 59 Scottish seats with only a 50% share of the Scottish votes.

To all those people locally who were concerned about issues such as the closure of community hospital beds, the abysmal adult social services, the closure of the Youth Resource Centre etc. All I can say is “you ain’t seen nothing yet”!

As far as localism is concerned forget it. The previous administration made much of their localism policies but in fact major issues were still determined centrally. Issues like planning for example, where the views and wishes of local people now have very little sway indeed.

The Huffington Post has an amusing, if scary, ‘translation’ of Cameron’s victory speech here.

My dislike of the major political parties has only grown. But unlike Russell Brand I don’t advocate not voting. What I do advocate is engaging with the political process. Keep an eye on your MP, check his attendance record, check his voting record and if it displeases you make your views known. Do the same with your local councillors and the District Council.

The good news is that your two re-elected district councillors (John Moore and David Worden) do actually live in the town, do know what the local issues are, do now how local government works, know how to use the system to best advantage and above all they do care about South Molton and its residents.

The two Conservative candidates for the District in contrast, whilst nice well-intentioned people, don’t have a clue how local government works, don’t really know what the local issues in South Molton are, and haven’t shown any sign of being engaged in local issues. Let’s hope they start becoming involved.