Enter your email address to stay in touch

Local votes count too

For many voters it’s not just about national politics
Douglas Beattie, Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Unquestionably the focus this Thursday will be on the knife-edge general election long predicted by pollsters.


However it’s worth remembering that around England a series of local elections are being held too. Have no doubt these battles are every bit as crucial to Britain’s future as the race for Commons’ seats. The sheer scale of what’s taking place for a range of local bodies tells us that it must be the case.


UK, Commonwealth and EU citizens will be able to vote in direct elections to all 36 English metropolitan boroughs outside of London, nearly 200 second-tier districts, various mayoral posts, close to 50 unitary authorities and almost all parish councils.


I was one of the lucky ones last May when elected as a Labour councillor in the Borough of Camden in London. After a punishing battle with the Liberal Democrats, Labour retained all three seats in our Kilburn ward.


The important point in all of this is that we as Labour councillors can see the difference we are able to make to people’s lives, by advocating on their behalf.


We have struggled against the monstrous Tory cuts to our funding which have hit places like Camden far harder than the leafy shires.


Despite the sizable obstacles placed in front of us by Eric Pickles we are building schools and social housing, creating apprenticeships and protecting vital portfolios like adult social care.


It’s an uphill struggle but even the small changes we can make in a deprived area can make the world of difference.


Alongside our Labour MPs – Frank Dobson and Glenda Jackson, both of whom are standing down – we have fought against the Bedroom Tax, and for the Living Wage.


As Jennie Formbie, Unite’s Political Director, says: “It’s imperative for Labour to have a really strong base of councillors, because these are the people who really shape communities through their ties to activists and residents groups.


“People need to make sure they vote locally as well as nationally on Thursday,” she says, “it’s hugely important if we are to make sure we get a fairer deal for people right across the country.”


So don’t be too quick to scamper from the polling booth – first make sure you have done everything possible for your country and your local community too.



Related Articles