Costwold campaigner brands local elections a "sham"
AN ACTIVIST has called on people in the Cotswolds to wake up to a local election "sham" that is keeping "real community interests" out of politics on every level.
Dressed in a sandwich board and armed with leaflets, Alex Steel took to the streets of Cirencester last week to tell people why they would never become Prime Minister.
Alex from Poulton said that out of 94 parish and town council elections in the Cotswolds last year, 76 were uncontested because not enough candidates came forward.
He believes this is not down to public apathy, but because the positions are "poorly or negatively advertised" by councils to "rig" the outcome and protect the interests of majority political parties.
"This stops ordinary people from getting into entry level politics, which also fixes every level of election and political post above," he said.
On Cirencester Town Council, six out of 15 councillors were elected uncontested.
CTC’s chief executive officer Andrew Tubb said: "Clearly, we would welcome more interest in standing for election and to have a democratic vote in each ward."
He said there were many reasons why more people did not commit to becoming a local councillor and highlighted a lack of interest in the 2011 vote in some wards, with more than 50 per cent of people failing to vote in two areas.
CDC’s returning officer Nigel Adams said that for all elections, public notices were produced for display on notice boards in the relevant area and were also published on the CDC website.
He said information on how to become a candidate at county, district and parish level was also available to view online.
He added: "In the end, it is up to the individual to decide whether to come forward as a candidate - and for us to ensure that opportunities are advertised in accordance with the laid down procedures."
Now Alex, who unsuccessfully ran for Poulton parish council in 2011, is calling on Cotswold communities to be more proactive and choose representatives to stand for future elections.