Local Elections, Councillors and the Mayor

In May 2016, Bristol will be going to the polls to vote on two local issues; a new Mayor and new Councillors. Quite important in the big scheme of things as these people decide on how much Council Tax is charged and what services the gathered taxes are spent on (as well as what services are reduced or cut). Here we are in February 2016 only three months from the actual election (in fact only ten weeks really) and the campaign is only just getting going for the Mayoral candidates;the campaign does not even appear to have started for Local Councillors.

In 2012 Bristol had a referendum to vote on having an elected Mayor and hardly anyone turned out to vote. Later that same year and hardly anyone turned out to vote in the first of the Mayoral elections. The poor turnout was blamed on lack on public knowledge about the actual referendum or the election itself.

I hope that this year will be better however it seems that there is still very little real information dropping through peoples doors. With only ten weeks to go not one leaflet from any of the candidates has dropped through my letterbox (for example). Speaking to my work colleagues and the same is true. Looking at the newspapers and listening to the radio there is some information however none of the candidates actually has much to say.

This is an important election for the people of Bristol, where is the information? Why can we not start sifting through the campaign leaflets for the Mayoral candidates? Are we supposed to just decide “oh, I’ve heard of that person and they are in the right political party”? One of my biggest gripes with our current Mayor is lack of adequate communication. As an example, all the electoral ward boundaries changed in November 2015 but there has been no information released about it. I expect that a lot of voters will turn up at the polling stations and have no idea that the ward they were a part of has changed size and area.

And what of the Mayoral candidates? Plenty of empty rhetoric about what should happen or about what a candidate might have done 20 years ago but no actual real pledges that this or that will happen. Nothing concrete so to speak.

So, please, to all Mayoral Candidates; give us a bullet point list with extra detail available of half a dozen concrete “I will 100% get this organised and actioned” pledges. Don’t do the woolly “I believe that this or that must happen” instead say “I will do this or that to make this happen”.

Remember, you are wanting people to vote for you so that YOU can serve their best interests. It isn’t about what YOU think is best for the people, it is about making promises that YOU will do something and then sticking to your promises — and ensuring that what you promise to do IS best for the majority of people in Bristol. It is about working for the people — all of the people — not just those that vote for you.

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