IT is a sad reflection on the febrile state of British politics that the outcome of next month’s local elections will inevitably be shaped by one national issue – Brexit.
This is regrettable. Town hall elections should be about issues pertinent to the area in question and which candidate is best placed to address local concerns.
Yet it did not stop voters – angered by the Parliamentary expenses scandal – voting out 291 Labour councillors 10 years ago and hundreds of hardworking Tory campaigners fear a similar rejection on May 2 because of the Government’s handling of Brexit.
But the political rot does not end here after the Electoral Reform Society confirmed that 300 council seats, affecting 850,000 potential voters, will be uncontested – and that large parts of England now risk becoming ‘democracy deserts’ as a consequence.
As such, it would, therefore, be helpful if further research could be undertaken to establish the reasons for the dearth of candidates in some areas and the extent of factors such as Brexit and the risk or fear of social media abuse.
After all, a democracy is only as good as the quality of its candidates – and the positive difference that councillors, and also Parliamentarians, can make locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.