Calls for people to stand as independent councillors

Harrow Times: Richard Turner, Linda Robinson and Georgia Weston all hope to stand as independents in the May elections Richard Turner, Linda Robinson and Georgia Weston all hope to stand as independents in the May elections

Three wannabe councillors hoping to stand in this year’s local elections say they want to see a change in local politics.

Members of the public are being invited to an information event next week to find out how to become a councillor.

The Harrow Times spoke to three prospective councillors hoping to run in May’s elections as independents, and who are calling on others to get involved.

Georgia Weston, who will be running in the Headstone North, said: “I don’t think many people realise that anyone can stand as a councillor and you don’t need a political party to back you.

“It would be great to see an independent standing in every ward.

“I believe all councillors should live in the ward they represent. They should use our shops, walk our pavements and throw rubbish in our bins.”

Linda Robinson, who hopes to stand as an independent in Stanmore Park ward, said: “My main reason for standing is to give something different to people in Harrow.

“I think councillors should listen to the concerns of their constituents. Personally I'm very interested in sustainability issues in borough and doing more for the environment."

Richard Turner hopes to run in Headstone South. She said: “I have always been interested in politics both nationally and locally but I don’t think any of the parties really speak for what I believe in.

“I think there is a real lack of engagement between councillors and the electorate and there needs to be something done to improve communication.

“I think there is a lot of dissatisfaction from people when you look at the national picture and it’s the same with the council.”

Currently Cllr James Bond is the only independent member of the council who has not belonged to another party.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a councillor is invited to the evening at Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road on Thursday January 30 from 6pm.

Those interested can email council democratic services at democratic.services@harrow.gov.uk

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:46pm Tue 21 Jan 14

HappyDebs says...

Having a councillor that really knows about where we live really matters. They know first hand our concerns. Having a councillor focused purely on our local issues is important.
Having a councillor that really knows about where we live really matters. They know first hand our concerns. Having a councillor focused purely on our local issues is important. HappyDebs

6:53am Wed 22 Jan 14

diligaf says...

But it will mean nothing with Cllr hall at the helm she'll put paid to any plans if he doesnt fit in with her agenda....
But it will mean nothing with Cllr hall at the helm she'll put paid to any plans if he doesnt fit in with her agenda.... diligaf

3:34pm Wed 22 Jan 14

PraxisReform says...

This is certainly a nice idea.

At the moment, we have three main political parties, but I don’t think you could fit a cigarette paper in the gaps between their policies, because they’re all so much alike.

To my mind those main political parties all seem to take the attitude of suck up to big business, stand back in awe of incompetent City Banksters, forget any sort of forward planning further ahead than a couple of years and ignore the people that voted for them.

So, I wish these Independent candidates the best of British luck. But caution them that whilst the electorate knows more or less what to expect from the big three political parties; as Independents, the electorate really has no clue as to whether you are honest, hard-working and reliable political experts or bungling fools so incompetent that even the main parties wouldn’t dare associate themselves with you, or even whether you’re BNP members trying to sneak into power through the back door.

All too often in previous years, I’ve seen well meaning people put themselves forward as candidates but have been forced to ignore them at the ballot box because I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever of their policies, views or opinions - they hadn’t bothered to set up a website, post me a leaflet or make it in any way easy for me learn about what they stood for...
This is certainly a nice idea. At the moment, we have three main political parties, but I don’t think you could fit a cigarette paper in the gaps between their policies, because they’re all so much alike. To my mind those main political parties all seem to take the attitude of suck up to big business, stand back in awe of incompetent City Banksters, forget any sort of forward planning further ahead than a couple of years and ignore the people that voted for them. So, I wish these Independent candidates the best of British luck. But caution them that whilst the electorate knows more or less what to expect from the big three political parties; as Independents, the electorate really has no clue as to whether you are honest, hard-working and reliable political experts or bungling fools so incompetent that even the main parties wouldn’t dare associate themselves with you, or even whether you’re BNP members trying to sneak into power through the back door. All too often in previous years, I’ve seen well meaning people put themselves forward as candidates but have been forced to ignore them at the ballot box because I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever of their policies, views or opinions - they hadn’t bothered to set up a website, post me a leaflet or make it in any way easy for me learn about what they stood for... PraxisReform

11:11am Thu 23 Jan 14

Anthony Tobin says...

Sorry but I don't agree with some of the Praxis Reform’s comment above. The “caution” they give is not really valid in my opinion because none of us know “what we are getting” from any candidate, be they independent or affiliated to a political party, unless they are active locally or have a media profile.

I don't know "what to expect from the big three political parties” apart from they will vote the same way their party palls do, like a bunch of headless sheep. Just look at the past year in the council cabinet; All sorts of dodgy deals going on, splits in parties, a bunch of incompetents running the place for a few months, assisted by Susan Hall and chums, and now she's running the council. All well and good for them but at what point was any one of them representing me? They’re only interested in their party group and sucking up to their ‘great leader’, regardless of which party they belong to. They’re all the same.

Let’s face it; in some areas you could stick a baboon up for election. As long as it belongs to the ‘right’ political party it’ll get the votes!
So it's got nothing to do with being in an independent candidate OR a party candidate.

Councillors should work hard to earn our votes. I’d rather a “well meaning” local person than someone on the other side of the borough just trying to get up the greasy pole in order to get some business contacts or just using the council as some stepping stone to becoming an MP for one political party or another and not really interested in representing us at all, just interested in creating some sort of political career for themselves.

So, like the Praxis Reform, I also wish this three good luck but I will add that they need to get out there, be active in their community and find out how they can represent ‘US’, the residents of Harrow.

I’m sick to death of ‘party politics’ so I’m just itching for any alternative to the same old same old.
Sorry but I don't agree with some of the Praxis Reform’s comment above. The “caution” they give is not really valid in my opinion because none of us know “what we are getting” from any candidate, be they independent or affiliated to a political party, unless they are active locally or have a media profile. I don't know "what to expect from the big three political parties” apart from they will vote the same way their party palls do, like a bunch of headless sheep. Just look at the past year in the council cabinet; All sorts of dodgy deals going on, splits in parties, a bunch of incompetents running the place for a few months, assisted by Susan Hall and chums, and now she's running the council. All well and good for them but at what point was any one of them representing me? They’re only interested in their party group and sucking up to their ‘great leader’, regardless of which party they belong to. They’re all the same. Let’s face it; in some areas you could stick a baboon up for election. As long as it belongs to the ‘right’ political party it’ll get the votes! So it's got nothing to do with being in an independent candidate OR a party candidate. Councillors should work hard to earn our votes. I’d rather a “well meaning” local person than someone on the other side of the borough just trying to get up the greasy pole in order to get some business contacts or just using the council as some stepping stone to becoming an MP for one political party or another and not really interested in representing us at all, just interested in creating some sort of political career for themselves. So, like the Praxis Reform, I also wish this three good luck but I will add that they need to get out there, be active in their community and find out how they can represent ‘US’, the residents of Harrow. I’m sick to death of ‘party politics’ so I’m just itching for any alternative to the same old same old. Anthony Tobin

7:56pm Sun 26 Jan 14

PraxisReform says...

For those that don't know what to expect from their "party" candidate, I present the Praxis Reform pin stickers guide to political parties - you might want to print this out and take it with you on Polling day.


Labour politicians: Tax the electorate and squander the money on daft schemes that don't benefit anyone. These guys think that 1984 was an instruction manual, but give them half a chance and they'll break the economy. Their MPs tend to become involved in financial corruption scandals.

Tory politicians: Tax the electorate and give the money to their friends in big business, so that they will end up with highly-paid, cushy Directorships once they leave Office. Will organize a fire sale for any assets not bolted down, and then blame the poor once the country runs out of funds. Their MPs tend to become involved in sexual scandals.

UKIP politicians: A sort of UK version of the Tea Party, but without Sarah Palin and witches, so not quite as interesting, although Godfrey Bloom made a good attempt to help out. They've never had any MPs elected, but the Tories let them set the political agenda to help them feel like someone is taking them seriously.

LibDem politicians: Dangerous liars that figure they've not got a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected, so they can promise anything and everything to the electorate. If you can name more than half a dozen LibDem MPs, you are officially allowed to call yourself a political expert.
For those that don't know what to expect from their "party" candidate, I present the Praxis Reform pin stickers guide to political parties - you might want to print this out and take it with you on Polling day. Labour politicians: Tax the electorate and squander the money on daft schemes that don't benefit anyone. These guys think that 1984 was an instruction manual, but give them half a chance and they'll break the economy. Their MPs tend to become involved in financial corruption scandals. Tory politicians: Tax the electorate and give the money to their friends in big business, so that they will end up with highly-paid, cushy Directorships once they leave Office. Will organize a fire sale for any assets not bolted down, and then blame the poor once the country runs out of funds. Their MPs tend to become involved in sexual scandals. UKIP politicians: A sort of UK version of the Tea Party, but without Sarah Palin and witches, so not quite as interesting, although Godfrey Bloom made a good attempt to help out. They've never had any MPs elected, but the Tories let them set the political agenda to help them feel like someone is taking them seriously. LibDem politicians: Dangerous liars that figure they've not got a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected, so they can promise anything and everything to the electorate. If you can name more than half a dozen LibDem MPs, you are officially allowed to call yourself a political expert. PraxisReform

1:31pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Georgia x says...

Hello Praxis! Georgia here.

Your comment (directly above this one) did make me titer. You have a really good sense of humor. :)

Personally I don't think there should be any parties in local politics. There never used to be, when it was the Ratepayers Alliance.

I had a lovely chat with a couple of our Senior Citizens who told me that many years ago, before the parties got involved, each area would have a representative (of the the Ratepayers Alliance - actually there were 4 or them) who would represent the views of the people from that area in council. They would hold regular meetings, so they were good at communicating issues from the Council to the people and then from the residents (or ratepayers) back to the council. It appears, according the the two gentleman who were part of that scheme, that it worked well and despite what I hear from the local party candidates, there is no reason why this set up shouldn't work just as well in the here and now.

If every area had two or three of it's local residents, representing 'them' in the council I think we would have a much more engaged electorate.

What we have now is a group of people who, if they get on with their group leader, will get popped in to a safe seat and be given a position in the cabinet. It doesn't matter where they live, they have 'Friends in high places' and so their political career is pretty much sewn up for them in a kind of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' situation. All well and good for the selected few.

Local people mostly just vote for the party they vote for nationally and I have asked many people over the past few months; who their councillors are and, despite voting for them, many have not a clue as to the name of the councillors representing their ward or where those same 'representitives' live.

So the question I started asking myself is why do we have local councillors if all they seek to do is represent their political group? Why not just depence with local councillors all together and just put the local MP's in charge of the decision making at the council - they can make decisions in accordance with their political party?

If a local MP, working for whoever the government of the day is, ran Harrow Council then we wouldn't find ourselves in the unenviable position (as is often the case) where the local council is at odds with national government as often we find our local party is not the same as the national one.

I know that over the years that local Councillors have felt coerced into voting against their own views and against the views of the people they represent in order to please their party whip or party leader, in order that their group can 'win' in the council - but this seems to me to be anti democratic. Who are they representing? Their group, or the people in their ward? They can't represent both.

Each issue that arrises should be judged on it's own merits in accordance with the views of the people it will attract the most and not just via some vague notion as to how central government might want things to work (your pin stickers guide to political parties might come in handy here).

So how do we have true local democracy? In my mind each Councillor should live in the ward they represent and represent the people in that ward buy keeping in touch with them, holding regular public meetings and by working closely alongside residents as the issues, that compel them to come together, take place.

To my mind ALL councillors should be INDEPENDENT of each other and vote for what they believe to be in the interests of the people in their ward.

That's democracy in my opinion and all this internal wrangling between political parties within the council is anti democratic.

If the people in Harrow and the UK want parties to run everything then lets just close the whole local council / local democracy thing down and just put our MP's in place to make the local decisions - that way central government can have it's stranglehold on each and every one of us and we can just relinquish our rights and all our own wishes regarding our local area to them, opting for that one simple general election vote every 4 or 5 years.
.
gx
.
Hello Praxis! Georgia [Weston] here. Your comment (directly above this one) did make me titer. You have a really good sense of humor. :) Personally I don't think there should be any parties in local politics. There never used to be, when it was the Ratepayers Alliance. I had a lovely chat with a couple of our Senior Citizens who told me that many years ago, before the parties got involved, each area would have a representative (of the the Ratepayers Alliance - actually there were 4 or them) who would represent the views of the people from that area in council. They would hold regular meetings, so they were good at communicating issues from the Council to the people and then from the residents (or ratepayers) back to the council. It appears, according the the two gentleman who were part of that scheme, that it worked well and despite what I hear from the local party candidates, there is no reason why this set up shouldn't work just as well in the here and now. If every area had two or three of it's local residents, representing 'them' in the council I think we would have a much more engaged electorate. What we have now is a group of people who, if they get on with their group leader, will get popped in to a safe seat and be given a position in the cabinet. It doesn't matter where they live, they have 'Friends in high places' and so their political career is pretty much sewn up for them in a kind of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' situation. All well and good for the selected few. Local people mostly just vote for the party they vote for nationally and I have asked many people over the past few months; who their councillors are and, despite voting for them, many have not a clue as to the name of the councillors representing their ward or where those same 'representitives' live. So the question I started asking myself is why do we have local councillors if all they seek to do is represent their political group? Why not just depence with local councillors all together and just put the local MP's in charge of the decision making at the council - they can make decisions in accordance with their political party? If a local MP, working for whoever the government of the day is, ran Harrow Council then we wouldn't find ourselves in the unenviable position (as is often the case) where the local council is at odds with national government as often we find our local party is not the same as the national one. I know that over the years that local Councillors have felt coerced into voting against their own views and against the views of the people they represent in order to please their party whip or party leader, in order that their group can 'win' in the council - but this seems to me to be anti democratic. Who are they representing? Their group, or the people in their ward? They can't represent both. Each issue that arrises should be judged on it's own merits in accordance with the views of the people it will attract the most and not just via some vague notion as to how central government might want things to work (your pin stickers guide to political parties might come in handy here). So how do we have true local democracy? In my mind each Councillor should live in the ward they represent and represent the people in that ward buy keeping in touch with them, holding regular public meetings and by working closely alongside residents as the issues, that compel them to come together, take place. To my mind ALL councillors should be INDEPENDENT of each other and vote for what they believe to be in the interests of the people in their ward. That's democracy in my opinion and all this internal wrangling between political parties within the council is anti democratic. If the people in Harrow and the UK want parties to run everything then lets just close the whole local council / local democracy thing down and just put our MP's in place to make the local decisions - that way central government can have it's stranglehold on each and every one of us and we can just relinquish our rights and all our own wishes regarding our local area to them, opting for that one simple general election vote every 4 or 5 years. . gx . Georgia x

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree