As my elected career ended in May, and I have returned fully to the private sector, I thought it might be worthwhile to put a few thoughts down about what is seriously broken and doesn’t work in local government, and what you the voter can do about it… Surrey Heath is not materially different from all the other 400+ Councils in the country… Their illnesses are the same, and their completely dysfunctional approaches are now accepted by the public as the “new normal” in how local politics should run. The current perversion of local politics is really only come to pass in the last 20 years.
The Council bureaucrats are banking on the fact that you the voter are two things: too lazy to do anything about what they are doing, and too stupid to understand it. The foundation of their actions is that you will not take the time to find out what they are actually doing wrong, and then if you do, that you will not exercise your rights to do anything about it. In short they are assuming, and usually quite rightly that you are too “English” to dirty your hands with the truth…
First thing wrong: the structure of the representational process.
Councilors at both borough and county level and MPs are present to represent the actions of the Councils and Government to you the people, not the other way around. They don’t represent you, they represent the government to you.
What can and must you do?
1-set term limits to a maximum of 2 terms, take the career prospects off the table and get real representation. That way Councillors are not driven by their own self-interest, as they are today
2-change the political party group process to enable change. Once a totally useless leader gets in it takes a vote of 75% to get them out of that position. You the voter could get this changed, but most will neither read the Council’s constitution to see how to do it or take the actions to do it. It is how Surrey Heath got saddled with the most useless leader in history, Moira Gibson.
There will be another four or five sets of things you can so on this, so keep posted as we go through the other things that are broken and that you the voter can fix…