A local blogger has vowed he will “end Liberal Democrat dominance within Eastleigh” by standing for election as an Independent and by launching an online campaign.
The blogger, Hedge End resident Ray Turner, has started an e-petition which aims to “Prevent Councillors from serving on several Councils”.
If successful, the e-petition could eventually reduce the number of roles that the leader of the local Liberal Democrats and leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Cllr. Keith House, can hold concurrently.
Other Liberal Democrat Councillors will also be affected.
Besides his leadership responsibilities, the roles that Cllr. House currently holds are Hampshire County Councillor, Eastleigh Borough Councillor, Hedge End Town Councillor, Bursledon Parish Councillor and Board member of SEEDA (South East England Development Agency).
E-petitions are a recent innovation of the coalition Government, which enable any UK citizen to petition Parliament on matters of concern to them. If 100,000 signatures are obtained, there is a chance that the matter will be debated in the House of Commons and a possibility that the law might be changed.
Ray’s petition states:
We have a situation in Eastleigh where local Councillors serve on the Borough Council and can vote to approve a particular measure. That measure is then referred down to the Town or Parish Council for approval, but because those Borough Councillors also serve on the lower tier they are able to vote on the measure again.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Borough Councillors also pop-up on the local area committee and can vote for it a third-time. The result is that certain measures (good and bad) can be easily swept through the various tiers of local Government, irrespective of what the constituents think.
It is most undemocratic and very unhealthy. I want the Government to prevent this from happening and to strengthen local democracy, by making it against the law for Councillors to serve on more than one tier of Local Government.
“I have felt for some time that the Lib Dem stranglehold within the Borough of Eastleigh is unhealthy. We recently had a good example of how that power can be used to stifle local debate and opposition and force through measures which have already been decided at a much higher level.
I’d like to see a completely different set of Councillors serving at each tier of local Government, to reduce the likelihood of this sort of suppression of local democracy from happening again.”
“Although my petition specifically mentions the situation in Eastleigh, it could easily arise in other parts of the country. I hope the petition will attract wider support, across the whole of England & Wales, not just within the Borough of Eastleigh”
He claims his blogging activity has enabled him to make an impact in local and national politics.
“Since I started blogging in 2008, thoroughly frustrated with the deteriorating economic situation and the Government of the day, I’ve become steadily more involved in politics.
“I’m sure that many local and national politicians have at least read what I’ve been writing, even if they don’t always act upon it.
“This regular activity, commenting on current affairs, issues of the day, anything that gets me thinking really, has now brought me to the point where I feel obliged to take the next logical step and stand for election myself.
“I’ve therefore decided to stand in the Hedge End St Johns ward, in the 2012 Election for Eastleigh Borough Council. I don’t feel comfortable with any of the main parties, so I will therefore be standing as an independent candidate.”
Eastleigh News asked whether his photo,above, taken from The Complete Works of TGR Worzel sum-ups how Ray feels about mainstream politics and the local Liberal Democrats.
“It does”, said Ray.
“Its not terribly polite, but it does show how I feel.”
“I suspect I’m not the only person who feels this way. If anybody else would like to stand as an independent, I’d encourage them to stick their head over the parapet, bite-the bullet and do so. We can’t allow this Lib Dem stranglehold to continue in Eastleigh…”
Ray’s petition can be found here:
Follow Ray Turner’s Twitter feed @TGRWorzel