LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Little could be worse than the current situation where one party has effectively a dictatorial position with policy being determined beyond the reach of many elected members
As one of the local councillors who were collectively identified as shameful in your paper last week I thought I had better explain myself.
I cannot speak for the other East Cambs members in your article but imagine that like me they struggled with their consciences before leaving their respective political groups.
As readers of your paper will recall I was for many years a strong supporter of the Liberal Democrats, and was group leader for the East Cambs Council Group for a time.
I assume that some of my supporters voted for me as part of a political party and some because I had been active in various other ways in the community, I have no idea what the proportions have been but accept that the political affiliation may be important.
The manifesto of a political party is the reason that support might be given to a candidate standing under that banner, or at least the basic ideals of that party.
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For me the falling away of matters of principle by the party that I had been happy to support, policies that attack the poor and vulnerable supported at Westminster, the shameful tuition fees U turn, the cynical targeting of the ‘Labour’ vote were all reasons that I felt I had to quit party politics.
If as I imagine many people that voted for me as a Liberal Democrat feel similarly disenfranchised, borne out by opinion poll ratings, then I am still fairly representing them. I continue to be active at the council, speak regularly on policy and ward issues and have not changed my political opinions in the fifteen years that I have been a councillor.
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Incidentally your correspondent stated that political groups are essential in local government to get things done. East Cambs had no political groups prior to 1999 and made progress.
I have been involved in a hung council which ensured robust debate, little could be worse than the current situation where one party has effectively a dictatorial position with policy being determined beyond the reach of many elected members.
(non aligned member for Haddenham Ward)