OPINION: Which way should you vote this Thursday?

  Posted: 04.05.21 at 08:35 by Darren Greenwood

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After ruffling a few feathers with my views last week on central government imposing it's will over climate change and lockdown, could Nub News actually tell its readers who to vote for this Thursday?

Well, yes and no!

No, I am not going to say vote for this party or that party, or even which individual candidate, but when it comes to deciding who to vote for, there should be a few things we need to think about.

I do not think we should blindly willy-nilly vote for or against a party slate at local level. These are local elections after all and it should be determined by local issues and the local candidate.

So Boris and Carrie's decorating arrangements and funding have nothing to do with it, but rather more mundane things like potholes or whether someone should be able to build in this or that field.

It also means that it also boils more down to an individual councillor at ward level, how good they are at representing their community and how hard they work for it.

So, when it comes to looking which way to vote, see if the candidates views are in tune with your own on local issues, issues where your local council can actually make a difference, not on national matters where they cannot.

It means looking at their experience too. How and what have they delivered so far if they are already sitting councillors. Yes, experience matters, what they know about how councils operate and how to deliver.

Of course, if they haven't delivered much in their term or terms of office, it might well be time for some fresh blood.

Do you want to be represented by a sheep, or 'nodding donkey' , who loyally toes the party or group line and sits silently at meetings, apart from raising their hand when told to do so by the leader?

Or would you prefer someone prepared to stick their neck out and make a stand?

On the other hand, a councillor might achieve more by having a quiet word with someone out of public sight.

Some years back, I knew a councillor in another part of the country who served his community well, but sadly his party nationally fell out of favour and he lost his seat.

I was sad about it too, as he was a good, local councillor, though I would never vote in a General Election for the party he was a member of and represented. Should decent, local councillors pay the price if their party is unpopular?

Many of our candidates for the Lincolnshire County Council elections are already sitting councillors on South Kesteven District Council.

That is a great help for many as we can see what the candidates have achieved so far. Some are sitting county councillors too and can also be judged on their records that way.

There are Conservative candidates with sound records as councillors, they have been good committee chairs, decent, hard-working sorts, who have achieved for their electorates. Such people are worthy of election or re-election.

There are also candidates who are not Conservative, and have records to be proud of too in how they represent their areas and deliver for them, people who also deserve election or re-election.

Opposition members also carry out the much needed role of scrutinising the ruling Conservatives (a role some Tories also undertake), keeping the ruling group on their toes, and helping them with their decision-making. A better opposition often leads to better government.

At least a couple of councillors on South Kesteven District Council spring to mind, who have come up with ideas so good and useful, that the ruling Conservatives have then adopted their polices. Such constructiveness on both sides can only be applauded and those councillors also deserve election or re-election to the county council.

And of course, we need to assess the county council itself. Do we think it is doing a good job? Could anyone else, any other grouping, a 'hung' council, work any better?

In my work which has taken me around the county, I can say compared to other county councils, Lincolnshire County Council seems to be doing a good job, though I do not follow its workings as closely as SKDC.

Potholes aside, which everyone moans about nationally- and the county can point to reports saying it is improving its record- the main grumble I hear is that LCC seems a bit 'distant.'

I don't think that is the fault of any of its councillors or officials, but rather the vast, sprawling, rural nature of a relatively sparsely populated large county like Lincolnshire.

Yes, Lincoln seems a long way away, even from Grantham, and I often hear from the Deepings that even Grantham is distant, so I can understand the concerns about a 'super council' covering the whole of Greater Lincolnshire.

I remain to be convinced that a large super-council will be better than our district and county councils. Maybe smaller Unitary Councils like what we see in Rutland might work but either way, local government is not just about 'efficiency' but being local and serving and representing people and communities well.

No doubt that is an issue for another day, but perhaps voters should quiz all their candidates on the matter, especially as the county council will have some influence on what may or may not happen.

In the campaign to date, Nub News has invited candidates to set out their stall and we have published what we have received. There is still time for those who have not to email their articles and photo to [email protected]

In the meantime, all I can add, is consider the options, read what you can about the candidates and their polices and go out and vote this Thursday.

If you do not, then you cannot really complain if things don't turn out the way you like!

This is an amended version of the 'newsletter only' article sent out with our newsletter on Friday. To subscribe, please add your email address in the coloured box underneath the story.

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