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This from Conservative candidate, Steve Sheridan, Ed
I have just read Phil Jordan’s letter dated 12 April alleging ’sham and deception’ and would like the opportunity to respond to what I believe are the many misleading points he makes.
Mr Jordan seems to believe that voters are so dumb that they won’t realise that the person appearing on their voting slip for parish or town council without a party name is the same person whose name appears on the County Council voting slip which they will be handed at the same time. I think our voters are smarter than this and that nobody is having the wool pulled over their eyes.
Politics in town and parish councils
He then goes on to state that it has been standard practice for years for parish council candidates not to declare party allegiance. He goes on however to draw the entirely false and fanciful conclusion that parish council candidate should be ’non political’.
Since the very definition of politics is about making decisions in groups, I fail to see how any person standing for election to a group decision-making body whether it be a town or parish council could be non-political unless they plan not to attend any of the group decision-making meetings.
It is a trifle misleading to then say, as Mr Jordan does, that parish and town council nomination papers “allow for political party entry”.
In fact, nomination papers have a box marked ‘Description’ and the Electoral Commission has this to say about that box:
“At parish and community council elections party and independent candidates can, at the discretion of the Returning Officer, use a description not registered with us. As long as the description does not exceed six words in length and cannot be confused with a registered political party.”
It is simply not the case, as Mr Jordan tries to imply, that candidates are asked whether they belong to a political party and that many people aren’t answering that question.
Town and parish councils run by political parties?
He also suggests that town and parish councils are actually run by political parties.
Meetings I have observed have always adopted the democratic system of voting by individual members and, when observing such meetings, I have often seen councillors from the same party vote differently which I don’t think would be the case if Mr Jordan’s claimed ‘whipped’ system actually existed in reality.
Write to Electoral Commission
To suggest that it is a distortion of democracy for ‘politics to take over town and parish councils’ is a very peculiar allegation given the definition I mentioned earlier.
Mr Jordan may not like the fact that the rules governing elections to parish councils are different to those which apply to other levels of local government, but that is a fact and he should direct his correspondence towards the Electoral Commission if he wishes this to change.
Place of residence
I note that Mr Jordan is standing for three positions in the forthcoming elections:
- As a County Councillor for Ryde North West (no address given, no description given);
- As a town Councillor for Ryde North West (no address given, Our Ryde, Our Town) and:
- As a parish Councillor for St Helens (no address, no description)
I don’t know where Mr Jordan lives or is registered to vote but he does seem to be hedging his bets a bit here and the slogan ‘Our Ryde, Our Town’ would ring a bit hollow if he actually lived somewhere else (such as where he was standing to be a parish councillor), wouldn’t it?
Important to be accurate with the truth
Sorry to pick you up on so many points Mr Jordan, but in politics I believe it is important to be accurate with the truth.
I also believe that most electors will select their preferred candidate by reading their literature and listening to what they say rather than just seeing which party they may belong to.
As an aside, I note that the Labour candidate in Ryde North West – Phil Truckel – is taking the same approach as me: party affiliation at county level, but no description at town level. However, he seems to be missing from Mr Jordan’s list of “undeclared party candidates”.
Anyone would think that Mr Jordan didn’t want to highlight another contender for the seat he is hoping to win.
I, on the other hand, am happy to highlight Mr Truckel’s candidature. I fully expect Ryde North West to be a Conservative vs Labour battleground.
[Promoted by David Pugh, on behalf of Steve Sheridan, of 30 Buckland Gardens, Ryde, PO33 3AG]