When I write a post about the iniquities of Anglesey County Council they often receive upwards of a hundred comments; when I write posts on how the Council could be improved to give better value to residents, the comments rarely reach double figures. I hope that this time we can buck the trend.
As I have argued previously, the Druid believes that one of the main reasons why Anglesey County Council is dysfunctional is because our councillors lack a shared vision for the Island and a policy roadmap of how to get there. This is particularly so for the ruling group, the 'Original Independents', because they all stand individually in each ward as Independents without issuing to voters either individual or group manifestos - i.e. a statement of where they stand on various issues and what they should like to do if elected (this is also true of the other smaller groupings, such as 'Anglesey Forward' and 'Menai Group' etc). Such a situation is intolerable because:
- Voters can only vote on personalities - however when you consider that the current average councillor to elector ratio is 1:1,270 it is laughable to think that each of those 1,270 voters are able to know intimately the personalities of each of the candidates. Furthermore this situation will worsen at the next council elections when, following Local Government Boundary Commissions changes, the number of councillors will be reduced from 40 to 35, and the councillor to elector ratio will increase to an average of 1:1,451.
- As they are elected as Independents they are effectively beholden to nobody but themselves and are certainly not constrained by any kind of group manifesto or 'party discipline'. As a result they are free to behave pretty much as they please - leading to the myriad problems of ill discipline we are currently witnessing at the council
- Without knowing in detail what you are voting for, it is impossible for residents to then evaluate their councillor's performance as a councillor when the next council elections come around.
Accordingly, as the Druid is of the opinion that our councillors will only change their ways when threatened with losing their seats, I floated the idea a while ago of forming a 'Good Governance' movement on Ynys Môn. Such a 'grassroots' movement could develop its own 'people's manifesto' and then urge local candidates to sign up to it; in exceptional cases it might even consider putting forward its own candidates to stand against particularly intransigent sitting councillors.
Anyway, prompted by a discussion on what shape such a 'peoples manifesto' might take below this post yesterday, I have decided to devote this thread to allowing commenters to post what they would like to see in a grassroots manifesto for the Island. I would suggest that commenters might like to think of policies/proposals under the following headings - which represent the major portfolios held by members of the current IOACC Executive Committee:
- Education & Leisure
- Social Services
- Housing & Community Safety
- Highways, Transportation & Maritime (including matters relating to the Port of Holyhead)
- Legal Matters
- Economic Development & Tourism
- Finance and Information Technology
- Environment, Property & Smallholdings
- Corporate Management
It is often said that, due to voter apathy, people get the governments they deserve. Judging by the sheer mass of comments which accumulate below Druid posts critical of the Council, I don't think it can be said that Anglesey residents particularly suffer from apathy or are disengaged from the political process. Accordingly, go ahead: comment and make your voice heard - the Druid (and anyone who wants to help) will then compile a 'People's Manifesto' from your comments.
Is this over ambitious? Maybe. Is it worth a try? Considering the current mess at the council: definitely yes!