The overwhelming victory for the Liberal Democrats in the May elections brings with it one of the greatest challenges for the party that democratically elected representatives can face – that of self-scrutiny. The lack of effective opposition, and the opportunity to implement radical changes without oversight can lead to a dangerous road for the BANES residents.
For while the party undoubtedly has received a mandate for its manifesto, the reality is that local people rarely engage with local politics, until of course those politics threaten the lifestyle they have chosen and expect to continue. Local consultations, much trumpeted by politicians, are peremptory at best, excluding those who are not internet savvy and who do not hang on the council’s every word. Much more must be done to engage those affected by council decisions, including well-publicised public meetings and direct communication with those immediately likely to be affected by any changes.
The role of the fourth estate here is also essential and the Council must engage with local democratic reporting, including if necessary funding, to ensure that council decisions and deliberations are more widely reported.
I hope that the newfound majority encourages all councillors to confront the over zealous, to question information laid before them and to vote with their primary focus their constituents, not the party line.
As my daughter has to (frequently) say to her 4-year old, ‘Listening ears ON please’.
Letters to the editor are welcome – the editor has the right to edit or shorten letters. Space is always an issue in the newspaper but less so on the website.
Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Bath website: https://bathvoice.co.uk/news/
Bath Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/bdtf2kep Also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bath_voice Read the newspaper online at :https://issuu.com/bathvoice To advertise to thousands of Bathonians call Erica on 07402 441485 or email her on email@example.com
Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Website:www.harrymottram.co.uk Mobile: 07789 864769