For those of you who don't already know I was not the successful candidate for Drake Ward, instead current councillor Steve Ricketts was re-elected. I was not shocked with the defeat as it is very difficult, as an independent, to get into politics. What did seem clear is that people were voting with the general election in mind and went for tactical voting rather than voting for the individual they actually wanted to be their councillor.
Before I chat a bit more about Tactical voting I wanted to share a few observations from the count and declaration of votes held at the Plymouth Guildhall. Basically here are my own personal criticisms:
All of those involved with the event were given free parking permits and the car park adjacent to the Theatre Royal car park was closed to the public; what exactly is it about councillors that means they don't have to pay for parking or can't use public transport? Why should the tax payers of Plymouth lose a days parking revenue?
Why were over 75% of successful candidates obese or morbidly obese? What example does this set to the people of Plymouth? Have these overweight politicians read the Governments change for life initiative?
Why is the Guildhall bar still a private tenure? Shouldn't the bar have be run by Plymouth City Council (PCC) for PCC taxpayers? Why are the Guildhall kitchens still out of use so that any major or minor function requires food to be brought in externally limiting the potential use of the building? Why has the newly refurbished guildhall tower not been opened up to the public?
Why did the count need copious amounts of expensive looking floral displays throughout the guildhall that, no doubt, were paid for by taxpayers?
Why is the Guildhall still not properly promoted as a a venue, it is poorly advertised on the internet, overpriced when you consider its lack of facilities and underused because of its limitations. Perhaps PCC should take some ideas from the newly refurbished Devonport Guildhall to see how a building can be fully utilised to offer the best to the community.
Anyway, I digress, back to the results; Tactical voting has also affected the general election with people cowardly voting for Cameron even though they may have actually preferred to see Nick Clegg as leader. What saddens me is that we are now stuck with an almost identical local council as we had before and we still aren't clear as to exactly who is going to govern us nationally either. It seems that already people have forgotten about the MPs expenses scandal; we have seen no criminal action against any accused MP and even in Totnes, where we saw one of the worst examples of abuse of expenses from Anthony Steen, another Conservative was elected in for the area.
In many ways I am relieved that I did not get voted in as I know that although the role of councillor is meant to be part time I, no doubt, would have attempted to change the ward overnight and would have been ploughing in way more hours that I could have coped with. I had been excited at the prospect of tidying up the ward, looking at the idea of introducing gull guards to replace the ridiculous Hessian sacks we have at present. I was even looking into the idea of a new community centre within the ward to provide more opportunities for both old and young.
So now it is back to normality and time to concentrate on both the art of dance; we will be re-applying for Community Interest Status and will be expanding into our current timetable to include some youth classes in conjunction with Neighbourhood policing as well as some specialist classes for voluptuous ladies who want to develop their self confidence and posture whilst toning up and increasing their fitness. The Pole Dance Community also requires my time; we are slowly introducing standards and guidelines into the pole dancing industry to clearly define modern fitness as an amazing way to stay physically and mentally fit..
As for Drake Ward I am afraid I expect to see little change. If our 2 current councillors, Ricketts and Fox, haven't made changes in the past I doubt they will introduce them now. Expect to see the same problems with litter and fly-tipping as we have seen over the last few years, expect the same council decisions to misspend our money and sell of our assets and don't necessarily expect to get a reply to any e-mails you send - I hope that I am proved wrong on this one but doubt that I will be.
Thanks to those of those who did vote for me and who offered me support throughout the election. Thanks again to my husband for being my election agent and to my Mum and Chris for helping me to canvass. Thanks also to David Santillo for offering me support and advice. There is of course one thing I can continue to do to support my ward and that is to continue to frequent the fabulous local real ale houses throughout Greenbank! (see previous posts for a list of pubs and links to their locations). I think I also have every reason to hassle my councillors to do their job properly!
p.s. If you do want to know more about what I will be getting up to in the future check out my Herald blog - Pole Star Health Tsar.