I have heard a number of people say recently that they don’t know who to vote for in the local elections. Some people say they don’t know what their candidates stand for; some are not aware of who their candidates are. This post won’t tell you who to vote for, but it will, I hope, enable you to find the information you need to make up your mind. It really is worth 1/2 hour of your time to do a bit of research.
Firstly I would say: Please do it! Please vote and encourage others to do so. The people that are elected will be deciding where funds are spent in Cornwall for the next four years, and influencing policy-makers in Westminster for even longer-term plans and funding. Voting is on Thursday 4th May, between 7am and 10pm. You can vote at your local polling station. Your polling card will tell you where to vote, but you can vote without having to take the card with you. It only takes a few minutes of your time.
Why I would vote for the party, then for the person
I would advocate choosing the party first, and then the person. Many people choose to vote for a candidate that they believe is caring and has integrity. This is good. But if your chosen candidate honestly and genuinely thinks the opposite from you on a number of key issues that matter to you, they are still going to do what they think is best and will not make the decisions you would wish them to make.
Information to help you decide
Now – on to the information!
1. Who are your candidates? Check the list here for names and political parties standing for election in your Division: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/25992495/noticesofpollweb.pdf
2. What does their party stand for? The parties are listed in alphabetical order with link to their manifesto. Some parties also have websites for local branches, it would make this post to long to list them all here but a quick internet search should find them.
Obviously they don’t have a party, although previously some Independent Cornwall Councillors have formed a group to work together on some issues. Skip to the next step to find out what your Independent candidate will be focussing on if they are elected.
The Liberal Democrats in Cornwall:
Manifesto: I will put a link here when I have found it, in the mean time there are some useful blog posts on their website below.
Cornwall UKIP Manifesto (link to website)
3. Find out what you can about your local candidates.
- The internet is your friend! Search online, many candidates have a profile on their party’s website (often under their local branch), or have social media profiles. Some have featured in news stories. Some may have already established a reputation locally as a Town or Parish Councillor.
- If they are already a Cornwall Councillor, you can find out what they are interested in by checking which committees they have worked on. You can also check their attendance record. Go to the Council website and put your postcode in the box: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/my-area/. You should see a lovely photo of your current Councillor; click on the Contact box under their name to get to their profile.
- Read any leaflets etc that come through your door, speak to your candidates if they come round door-to-door, or go to any public meetings and size them up in person.
4. Time to decide… if you haven’t made up your mind already from what you have found, you could pick one or two key things that really matter to you for the future of Cornwall and weigh up what you would like to see against what you have discovered from your research.
My preference would be for deciding how to vote based on the things that will make the most difference to Cornwall (e.g. social care and inequality; balancing affordable housing vs overdevelopment; funding for the arts and cultural activities that inspire and celebrate and open minds; greater local power to make budget decisions; lobbying Westminster to include Cornish issues in Brexit negotiations) rather than the very local issues that some people appear to raise with their Councillor based on leaflets I have seen (e.g. potholes, speeding, overhanging trees), however annoying these are. A good Councillor will be able to do both but they will be making key policy decisions on your behalf!
Now go! Vote! Remind your friends to vote! It does make a difference.
PS If you have voted in the past and been disappointed, please carry on voting! But you may also like to join the campaign for Proportional Representation: www.makevotesmatter.org.uk
PPS I am not affiliated to any political party or organisation. I wrote this because I hoped that some people would find it helpful and because I believe it is important that people use their vote. If you find information here that is incorrect or out of date, please let me know or post a comment below and I will probably amend this post when I have time.