Sunday, November 21, 2010

A new political party for St Neots?

I received an email a few months ago about setting up a political party for St Neots. I have considered this very carefully. In doing so I asked myself a series of questions. These are:

1) Is there a need for another political party? The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have really wrapped up this Town between them. The Labour Party is virtually non-existent. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are doing a bad job. That in itself could be the calibre of Councillors. To be honest there is a problem with the number of people willing to be proper candidates rather than just paper candidates.

One answer is to join the current political parties. But I disagree with them and oppose several of the current councillors. So the answer is to set up a new political party.

2) What to call the party?
The First Party concept has some traction. But what would putting St Neots First actually mean?
Action Party seems a good name. But what action are we talking about?
Is this Independent in wanting to leave the UK or Independent is wanting to leave Huntingdonshire?

3) The ethos of the party?
This is always the sticking point of any new party. It is no good just saying a "Better St Neots" if I don't define what better actually means. 
Now I'm a bit of a libertarian in that I believe in transparent government at all levels and minimal government at that. What do I mean by minimal government? I believe all Government does too much and is also too far away. Communities should take responsibility for many of the services. The community should be in charge of local police, fire, schools, planning, emergency planning, planning of utilities, transport, lighting, ambulance, rivers, parks, leisure, local roads, street cleaning, social housing and many other services. 
I also believe taxation should be local with the community able to raise taxes through business rates, personal taxation, council tax and other charges decided locally. The community would then be able to decide the service levels and the taxation to fund these services. 
If St Neots wants a gold plated services and is willing to pay for them then fine. On the otherhand if the community wants low taxes then services would have to be reduced accordingly.

I'm for low tax - low services. To me that is a better St Neots. Others may want high taxes - high services. That is their better St Neots. A new party does need principles which it can promulgate to the St Neots electors.

4) Am I willing to spend my time doing politics for a new Party?
Time and money is always the sticking point. Currently, the Town Council pays minimal expenses and no salary. The District Council pays a basic salary of roughly £4,800. County Council is £7,600. Pretty abysmal pay really. I know at District and County levels more money is added with more responsibility. But these Councillors are in charge of a budget and aren't paid enough to encourage good new entrants.

In conclusion:
I am not willing to put time an effort into organising a new party for St Neots. Producing leaflets, running websites, campaigning on the ground to get a job as a Councillor with abysmal pay. This is a vicious circle. By not paying politicians enough then people aren't willing to put the time and effort into running for office. Those that do are open to ridicule. So less want to stand and it is harder to get people to stand. The Council Officers who do get well paid are left to rule the roost as they have all day to think up schemes. Councillors don't.

I want to see a political class of properly paid politicians standing for election to fewer seats. Then they have something to lose and are very likely to campaign on the ground to win. 

When I started this blog I asked "Why are they being so quiet?". This is probably the main reason why!

1 comment:

Bill said...

An interesting consideration that you have given that email. I understand what you are saying.

Your blog is excellent, please keep it up.

But, I do have to ask - what next?