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, 28 April 2016


You have work to be done next week to keep our democracy alive. Turn-outs can be low for council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections but, please do your best to place an X on the ballot paper. As Winston Churchill once said: democracy is the worst system of government in the world, apart from all the others.

250 years ago our country was full of corruption and nepotism: ministers and judges took bribes, government contracts were awarded to friends and families and large sums of public money lined private pockets. Those things don't happen now in the UK. Democracy has cleaned all of this up. How people living in two thirds of the world wish they had our systems of government.

But democracy needs to be used to keep it alive. On June 23rd I hope that 75% at least of people will turn out to vote about EU membership. Before we get to that: there is a chance next Thursday (5th May) to vote (in Plympton and Plymstock) on who you want your councillors to be and in the whole of the constituency who you wish the next Police and Crime Commissioner to be.

Naturally I would like everyone to vote for the strong Conservative candidates, but that is not the point of this article; the main thing is please get out and vote.

Local council elections this year are crucial. There is a real chance of a change of control of Plymouth Council. That is another aspect of democracy – it is important that there is a change in those in power every few years to keep new ideas and new energy being poured into the system. The new Council will make important decisions shortly about developing the green spaces in your area. Make sure you don't waste this opportunity to vote for candidates who will reflect your views on these important issues. I hope that the next Council will agree with me that the new town at Sherford is the place for the vast majority of new building over the next two decades, leaving the remaining greenspaces in our suburbs as public amenities.

On crime, whether we like it or not the Police and Crime Commissioners are here to stay. Make sure you look through the list of candidates and back a person who agrees with your priorities for local policing.

Elections matter. Democracy is not a right. We use it or lose it.

posted by Gary @ 09:38