Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Next May why don't you stand for the council? Yes, you. In Plymouth and the South Hams there will be elections for seats throughout this constituency. All parties will start to select candidates in those seats where there are vacancies from October onwards. No party has a long queue of quality candidates pressing to take on these responsibilities. Why not get stuck in and offer yourself?
I am perfectly serious.  You don't yet need to know much about politics, or even currently be a member of a party, you just need energy and ability and a desire to serve your community. When David Cameron called for people from a non-political background to become MPs two years or so ago, hundreds responded. Some of them are now MPs, one of them in the next door seat! She is a breath of fresh air. The same applies at local council level – we are on the lookout for fresh talent.
The new government is very serious about devolving more power to councils. The job of a councillor is already very worthwhile, and with added responsibility this job satisfaction will only increase.  I realise that some people are put off by the party political nature of some of the debates, but most of the discussions and decisions are not like that, they are just about good people trying hard to do the best for their community. In the same way as Prime Minister's Question Time does not accurately reflect the sober and solution seeking nature of most of our debates at Westminster.
I realise you may not have time.   Employers are obliged by law to make some time available, but there is no hiding the fact that early retired people seem to be in the optimum position to serve as councillors – plenty of experience, but still bags of energy.
If you are interested how should you proceed? Contact the party that best fits in with your outlook on life – remembering that there is no such thing as a perfect party.  Express an interest in standing for your local council for your ward and find out if there are any vacancies. You may have to work your passage, but that can be fun and a useful learning curve. You might be pleasantly surprised how quickly it could all happen.
Above all don't leave it to all the others – they will only make a mess of it. If I can help, contact me.

posted by Gary @ 09:17