Over the last few weeks you have published several letters from readers G. Metcalfe (‘Councillor power’, August 19th) and Colin Eastwood (‘Time for change’, August 26th) who seem very angry about our democratic process and the quality and effectiveness of our local and national politicians. As a newly-elected Colne Town Councillor, I would like to respond.
Although I have had a keen interest in politics all my life and from time to time have worked hard to become a councillor or to help another person become a councillor and/or MP, I finally got elected in May after 40 years.
I have never benefited financially from all this effort and time. The opposite is true as I have always funded myself and supported my party as best I could.
Also, G. Metcalfe needs to be aware that as a town councillor I receive no payment at all and claim no expenses in any way. I am sure I speak for the rest of my fellow town councillors here in Colne and other areas.
I would also like to inform G. Metcalfe I am not disconnected from the real world. I live in it. I don’t tell bare-faced lies and, rather than waste taxpayers’ money, I and the rest of the councillors work very hard to get the best deal for the small amount of money we have control of. The actions of all elected parties are also very closely monitored. I am not myopic and my children attended their local comprehensive and primary schools.
Someone once said “democracy is a very poor form of Government but I defy you to find a better one”. No one ever claimed it was perfect but if politicians don’t do well they risk not getting re-elected.
As in any walk of life, there are bound to be some politicians who fall short of the task the voters have given them. In my limited experience, I haven’t seen any of this. Rather I see good people who care so much about their community they are prepared to give up hours/days of their time, without any financial reward, in an attempt to make their communities better.
Finally, I would like to ask G. Metcalfe (who is very close to becoming Mr/Ms Angry) and Colin Eastwood the following questions:
Do you vote?
Do you belong to a political party (daft question) and have you ever thrown your hat into the ring and stood as a candidate in an election?
Or is it just more fun to stand on the side line and shout abuse at those few people who have?
Colne Town Councillor for Vivary Bridge