INTERESTED IN POLITICS BUT VALUE YOUR INDEPENDENCE?
EVER THOUGHT ABOUT REPRESENTING YOUR COMMUNITY
ON THE LOCAL COUNCIL?
There are four Independent councillors on Bassetlaw District Council and we are encouraging good citizens to come forward to stand as Independents in this year’s County Council elections and to fill vacancies on the District Council in by-elections. (Whole-Council elections for the District are not due until 2023.) There are currently three vacancies on the District Council, in Tuxford & Trent, Ranskill and our own Sutton Ward.
Ideal Independent candidates are very engaged in their communities, for example as members of parish or town councils, as school governors, leaders of youth or uniformed groups, with the local church, and so on. Age is not important, nor are qualifications and background – just a desire to represent your community. But, to be an Independent, you should not be a member of another political party, pressure group, or whip. However, who you vote for at, say, a General Election, is your personal choice.
Being an Independent means that councillors can vote for what’s best for their communities rather than along party lines. And to find out what ‘best’ looks like, Independents tend to be more involved at grassroots level with their communities.
For electors, there are benefits in having an Independent candidate: they vote for a person with a local track record, not for a party. An Independent candidate gives a viable alternative for voters. It’s good for democracy.
Being an Independent does not mean you’re undecided. It means you have the freedom to vote for what you think is best for the community – and that may be a motion or proposal by one of the main parties, or, as has happened, by the Independents. It was the Independents that proposed a major change to elections to the District Council: their motion called for a move from one-third of councillors up for election in each of three consecutive years (elections by thirds) to all-out elections once every four years. This was implemented in 2015.
Independents follow the Bell Principles, named after Martin Bell, the former BBC foreign affairs correspondent, who stood as an Independent on an anti-sleaze ‘ticket’ against Conservative Neil Hamilton – and won. These principles include:
- abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership
- be guided by considered evidence, our real-world experience and expertise, our constituencies, and our consciences
- be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip.
If you’re interested, Leader of the Independent group on Bassetlaw District Council, currently the majority opposition, Hazel Brand welcomes your interest. Please contact Hazel by the Contact Form on this website.
How will you vote at the elections on 6 May – in person, by post or by proxy? Cast your vote however it suits you. You can apply for a postal vote by 5pm on 20 April, or for a proxy vote by 5pm on 27 April #GetReadyToVote electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/h