AS I SEE IT: It’s people, not political parties, that count at local elections

As the political dust settles and the fallout is examined, we see the Lib Dems received the kicking they deserved.

The electorate decided nationally to remove their control on nine Lib Dem councils and locally in the Ribble Valley they lost three seats.

These results are obviously on the back of the coalition government and the individual disgust of people around the UK at the deviation from a manifesto the Lib Dems stood on prior to last year’s General Election. Notably, university fees trebling – having informed their supporters they would abolish them.

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In certain quarters these results are unfortunate as these were local elections and nothing to do with the national picture. Forgetting political persuasions, there will have been many exceptionally hard-working people who have fallen by the wayside because of national mistakes made by their party.

This can be highlighted in the Clitheroe Town Council election and the failure of Simon Entwistle to be re-elected.

Nobody has worked harder than Simon over the years in promoting Clitheroe to visitors. His ghost walks are famous the length and breadth of the country and he is Clitheroe through and through. Simon is “Mr Clitheroe” and one of the few people who knows what is best for the town.

As a mark of his esteem in the town, he was due to assume the role of mayor last Tuesday, but as he was not elected to the council sadly this could not happen. I know Simon will agree this is democracy and I am the last person to argue against one of the few things left in this country that we can decide upon.

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However, I cannot help thinking there is something very wrong here. At local elections we should be voting for the person, not the party. We should seek to elect people that can best serve our communities not candidates that are looking to score cheap political points.

In parish and town council elections I consider you should live within the boundaries the local council serves. I am not sure whether the people of St Mary’s are aware they have just elected candidates from Bolton-by-Bowland and West Bradford to represent them on Clitheroe Town Council.

While no rules have been broken, I fail to understand why the two new councillors want to represent the Clitheroe ward of St Mary’s from villages outside town. If they are keen to look after residents’ interests on councils why did they not stand for the parish councils where they live?

I hope St Mary’s residents do not live to regret this decision. I also hope they will join with me in checking the meeting attendances of their councillors at Clitheroe Council meetings and assessing their input into the community.

By Steve Rush, East Lancs Chairman, UK Independence Party