Voters Deserve Better from their Councillors in 2019
By Merilyn Canet
Many voters want their councillors to offer something better than national politicians have delivered at Westminster for the last three years. If they can't, candidates in at the local elections in May can expect tough treatment.
Honesty is the first essential, spelling out what can really be delivered. Making fantasy promises, and pretending they can be carried out for free, has done huge damage to trust in politics.
Second, listening properly to voters and communities, and developing ideas with them which bring people together is what will heal a divided country. We've had enough of politics that tries to manipulate people and drive them apart.
Third, we have to show that we can make a difference that residents see in their lives every day. Safer streets in our towns and villages, fixing broken roads and pavements, reducing pollution and congestion, protecting green spaces, making sure that affordable family homes get built - all make our communities better.
Fourth, councillors must look ahead, and plan for inevitable challenges. We must make it easier for all of us to reduce our impact on the environment and our contribution to climate change. We have to develop more homes that work for increasing numbers of older people.
Helping local businesses respond to economic change and new technology, creating conditions for rewarding jobs, is part of the council's job. As ways of working change, as our High Streets are challenged, councillors can shape the future of towns.
Local councils were set up over a century ago to do all these things in the first industrial revolution. It's time to reboot for the 2020's.
Opposition Leader on Sevenoaks District Council