Whether you were from Scotland or not, many of us were discussing the issue of the Scottish Independence Referendum for many weeks.
There were many of us outside Scotland asking the same questions as the Scots. Questions like, why can’t we have more localised and less Westminster-centric governance over our communities? Or, how do we find a way to change the current structure of a government that some feel are drastically reducing social mobility and our life chances? Well, irrespective of the relatively slim vote for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom, the die has been truly cast and the agenda for constitutional change has begun. These questions and more should drastically shape 21st Century politics and governance since women gained the vote in the early 20th century.
And what of local governance and the disenfranchised voter? Many voters ask how useful our local political system helps or hinders the direction and aspirations of our communities. Is it fit for purpose? Should disengaged mainstream politics dominate within town, district and county councils? And why aren’t there more local people willing to stand and be counted as Independent altruistic councillors whose sole purpose is to represent communities without being attached to a political ideology?
Given the many questions we ask ourselves about how disappointing and unengaging local governance can be, I strongly hope that members of our local community will consider standing as local Independent councillors in next Mays local elections, as it is about time we had a system that works for the many and not the few. A system that is unhindered by political ideology. Lewes has a rich history of independent thinking, Tom Paine being one good example, and the time has come for the electorate to change the way we make decisions about our own communities with more Independent councillors. Independent councillors who will focus on local issues and not Punch and Judy politics.