Costwold campaigner brands local elections a "sham"

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Alex Steel in the Market Place in Cirencester Alex Steel in the Market Place in Cirencester

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.

Comments (5)

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8:36am Tue 20 Nov 12

Pentheus says...

Well done Alex you also have spotted how the system works....Politicians love apathy with "Elected" positions being taken with very low electorial support...... The real issue is the corruption and sleaze that is prevalent in both local and central Government and members of the public not wishing to be associated with it.....with the vast majority of MP's seen as thieves , bound together with the common theme of " It's not what we can do for you it's how much can we get out of it ?"
Well done Alex you also have spotted how the system works....Politicians love apathy with "Elected" positions being taken with very low electorial support...... The real issue is the corruption and sleaze that is prevalent in both local and central Government and members of the public not wishing to be associated with it.....with the vast majority of MP's seen as thieves , bound together with the common theme of " It's not what we can do for you it's how much can we get out of it ?" Pentheus

1:34pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Cotswoldlakes.org.uk says...

It’s always good to see the political system being questioned, but I think Mr Steel makes a sweeping generalisation. For example, South Cerney Parish Council is apolitical, and the lack of elections in recent years has been for the want of candidates, not publicity.

Philip Nicholas

South Cerney Parish Council
It’s always good to see the political system being questioned, but I think Mr Steel makes a sweeping generalisation. For example, South Cerney Parish Council is apolitical, and the lack of elections in recent years has been for the want of candidates, not publicity. Philip Nicholas South Cerney Parish Council Cotswoldlakes.org.uk

4:25pm Tue 20 Nov 12

David Broad says...

Well Alex certainly knew about the election, he lost by 11 votes, but lack of candidates is a problem, there were 13 candidates for 7 seats when I first started as a Parish Councillor at Chedworth in 1991 and 4 for 7 seats in 2011. There is little doubt that the need to declare "Interests" is putting a lot of people off as was the now disbanded "Standards Board," with its draconian rules, but the idea that Councils conspire to rig elections is laughable. As a wise man once said,
"If at first you don't suceed jack it in and try something else."
Well Alex certainly knew about the election, he lost by 11 votes, but lack of candidates is a problem, there were 13 candidates for 7 seats when I first started as a Parish Councillor at Chedworth in 1991 and 4 for 7 seats in 2011. There is little doubt that the need to declare "Interests" is putting a lot of people off as was the now disbanded "Standards Board," with its draconian rules, but the idea that Councils conspire to rig elections is laughable. As a wise man once said, "If at first you don't suceed jack it in and try something else." David Broad

10:21pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Crispin Mount says...

Mr Steel has good reasons to feel cheated given his experience in May 2011 when a cabal conspired to keep him off Poulton Parish Council. Funny that.
Mr Steel has good reasons to feel cheated given his experience in May 2011 when a cabal conspired to keep him off Poulton Parish Council. Funny that. Crispin Mount

11:41pm Thu 22 Nov 12

watchman_28 says...

Anyone who's actually met Alex will tell you he's little more than a crackpot with an obsessive fixation on the 2011 Poulton Parish Council election. Essentially, he's just a sore loser who for some reason won't accept that he lost (and I say that as someone who would gladly see a certain Poulton councillor run out of the county...).

Besides that, he also goes by at least three different first names at different times, which does very little for his credibility.
Anyone who's actually met Alex will tell you he's little more than a crackpot with an obsessive fixation on the 2011 Poulton Parish Council election. Essentially, he's just a sore loser who for some reason won't accept that he lost (and I say that as someone who would gladly see a certain Poulton councillor run out of the county...). Besides that, he also goes by at least three different first names at different times, which does very little for his credibility. watchman_28

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