It is symptomatic of the public’s disillusionment with local politics in the UK that new political parties are forming. The latest is one in Oxford called the Independent Oxford Alliance (IOA). They have the usual gripe that their elected councillors from the major political parties are not listening to their concerns about the LTNs and other issues. To quote from a report in the Daily Telegraph: “We’ve come to the conclusion that the only way we can change things given that the councils are not listening to residents is to actually change things from within”. In a statement, the party added: “The last straw for many residents has been the disastrous local transport policies imposed on Oxford and the rigged consultations to justify them. IOA believes it is wrong for councils to deliberately cause congestion with LTNs and effectively tax all but the wealthy out of their cars with emission zones and parking charges”.
There was a new party formed in Chislehurst where I live called Chislehurst Matters who won seats at the last council elections based on a manifesto for change – exactly what they wanted was not totally clear.
On the national scene we have the Reform Party who might achieve 10% of votes according to a recent YouGov poll, more than any other of the smaller parties and enough to undermine the Conservative vote.
In all these cases, it is a coalition of disaffected voters supporting the new parties where they think the main Conservative and Labour parties are not representing their concerns, or are pushing policies such as Net Zero Carbon that are increasing their costs and attempting to change their way of life (such as stopping the use of cars to travel).
My view is simple: local politics should be fought on local issues and the public should vote for who they think will represent their views, not on the national party labels.
On other news it is good to see the BBC has “shelved” Top Gear for the foreseeable future. Let us hope it now dies quietly. I suggested on the 12th September that it was overdue to be killed off – see https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2023/09/12/time-to-kill-off-top-gear/
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