Letter: Local democracy was election’s biggest loser

Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 9 May 2012 09:30

Usually, your paper is used by successful councillors, and unsuccessful ex-councillors thanking their electorate for support.

However, I believe none of us successful councillors should gloat about themselves or the success of their particular political party.

The local elections were an almighty disaster for local democracy.

Although some of us, achieved victory with the majority of the votes cast – most didn’t, and none of us got elected with a majority of those who could vote!

Basically, a quarter of the Peterborough electorate voted . . . we have a city council representing a minority of the Peterborough public.

Not a very happy situation to be in, for any of us.

For years I’ve been a firm advocate of “Compulsory Voting” and I never fail to share my views to those around me.

What really pleased me while canvassing and “telling” at the polling stations, within my own ward of Dogsthorpe, is that many people who voted considered it their public duty to do so, stating: “If you don’t vote, then you shouldn’t moan”.

“If I were you Adrian, I wouldn’t help those who come to you for help, when they freely admit they didn’t vote and never do”.

Something has got to change, and change radically in our democracy.

We simply can’t go on suffering national governments and local councils being elected with minority of votes cast. This is a recipe for social unrest and only gives us elected dictatorships.

I got 60 per cent of the votes cast in my own Ward – but around 75 per cent of the local electorate just couldn’t be bothered.

I share many of their frustrations with politicians and political parties, but not exercising their right to vote effectively tells the millions of people who died in the two World Wars that their sacrifice was not appreciated. That the suffragettes were historical jesters.

The current electoral system stinks and the sooner people are taught to appreciate their current freedoms of action and expression, and duly exercise their vote – then our governments and local councils will end up doing more of what they want without recourse to what the general public wants.

We’ve ended up with a city council the majority of the Peterborians never elected into office, along with a government we are going to have to endure for another three years!

Cllr Adrian Miners
(Dogsthorpe Ward)
The Liberal Party