A fairly brief question on our Facebook page was enough to provoke a mini outpouring of opinions recently, which suggest the general public is indeed disillusioned or disconnected with local politics.
Less than one in four of us turned out for the Durham County Council elections, while the turn-out for the Aycliffe Council elections were no better.
The best in the County election was Aycliffe East, with a 25.75% turn-out, while Aycliffe West had 23.09% and Aycliffe North and Middridge 21.38% respectively.
It represents an alarmingly ever-decreasing figure, and it begs the question, do we care about local politics?
In a brand new feature on Aycliffe Today, Aycliffe Councillor John Clare – newly-elected to Durham County Council – answers some of the views, opinions and questions posed by our readers.
Joseph Erskine said: “Because most councillors can’t be trusted anymore and doesn’t really matter who’s in power nothing changes so my philosophy is why bother voting which is why I never have and never will.”
“This, too, is a point worth making. Central governments of both colours have been steadily reducing the powers of local government since the days of Margaret Thatcher.
“This present government is making a big deal of ‘localism’, saying that it wants to give local people more control over their own decisions… but it is slashing the amount of money they have to the point where the only thing local councils can do is to decide is where to make the cuts.
“So ‘Tory localism’ is nothing but empty words as far as I am concerned.
“Ironically, however, I think that this makes it more important than ever to get involved in local politics.
“At the moment, local government is under threat. But local democracy is precious – one of the guarantees of our freedom and rights – and it would be a tragedy if we were to wake up one morning and it had disappeared because we ‘couldn’t be bothered’.”
John Clare is a Labour Councillor, representing the Byerley Park, Horndale and Cobblers Hall wards of Great Aycliffe Town Council and the Aycliffe North and Middridge ward of Durham County Council. The views expressed in this feature are of John’s own opinion, and not necessarily Aycliffe Today’s.