James Heappey Weekly Column

This week's paper is published on the day of our local elections. These elections have received remarkably little attention in the media as the Brexit debate has raged in Westminster and the growing possibility of holding elections to the European Parliament has attracted more interest. Added to that there is an anger aimed at politicians and politics in general that manifests itself as antipathy towards any further engagement in the political process. The result of this, I fear, is that we will elect our local councillors today with significantly less than half of the community participating. 

I don't want to abuse the column that I'm asked to write as your Member of Parliament by making a party political pitch so I will simply remind you that not one of the people standing for election locally today will have any direct influence over Brexit or the behaviour of MPs in Westminster. Whatever their party, they're standing for election because they've got ideas about local public services, housing, planning, recycling, developing our community and protecting our most vulnerable neighbours. They'll have ideas about how we should pay for all that which might mean paying more or less council tax, more or less for our parking, and more or less for other services delivered by the council. 

If you were thinking of staying at home today, please think again. Local elections matter a great deal. A significant proportion of the casework I'm asked to do relates to local issues that are principally the responsibility of our local councils and councillors. Your anger with national politics and politicians is understandable but there are decisions being made today that will affect how our community is led for the next four years. Please make sure your voice is heard - please get out and vote today.