CROYDON COMMENTARY: Our loyal reader questioned whether this site could, or should, be carrying articles from local UKIP representatives. Far too right wing, they suggested. But the Sage of Waddon, ARFUR TOWCRATE read the piece about local democracy and saw in it some worthwhile ideas
In this modern digital age, there’s no reason why referenda should be expensive, nor why they can’t be dirt cheap – see http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ as just one example. If the national government can do this, why doesn’t Croydon Council?
I like the idea of Californian-style democracy where citizens can put forward their own propositions and see them taken forward. In Croydon – as elsewhere in the UK, whether locally, regionally or nationally – we are governed by the elite of an elite, by party hacks serving their own interests, or those of big business, rather than those of the people who elect them. We get lied to repeatedly and we are taken for fools.
This point is very neatly illustrated by the incinerator fiasco, with LibDem Sutton, Tory Croydon and Labour Merton conspiring to foist an unpopular facility on all of us. Here in Croydon, the leader of the Labour group says that if elected, this decision will be reversed. According to the Stop the Incinerator website, Merton and Sutton Conservatives are also opposed to the incinerator, as are the LibDems (in Bedfordshire, that is).
If it weren’t for the distinct impression that they give of being racist, motorist swivel-eyed loons, I might even vote UKIP. As it is, I’ll split my May 2014 council votes between the Greens and Labour, the latter mainly to kick out the Croydon Tories, who have run our town into the ground.
As a Waddon resident, I feel unusually privileged, since people like me hold the balance of power in determinining who runs Croydon Council.
Sadly, the same isn’t true in being a constituent of Croydon and Sutton in the London Assembly elections, or of Croydon South in parliamentary elections, where a snake in a Savile Row suit can get elected (and often does). Safe seats are anathema to healthy democracy.
For that reason, at the next General Election, we can all enjoy the spectacle that will be the fight for Croydon Central. If current opinion polls are anything to go by, Gavin Barwell’s political career is toast.
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