Why Stand for Local Government?

April 30, 2018 11:36 AM
By Steffan Aquarone

Steffan AquaroneLots of people care about political issues, but feel that local politics can't affect the things that 'really matter'.

I thought about this myself when I was deciding to stand for election last year.

I was conscious that I was about to pour six months of my life into getting elected when there was virtually no chance of my party being in charge.

There are without doubt areas of policy that the Liberal Democrats on Norfolk County Council have had a big influence over. But even more important than this is the work that we do as liberals to give people a voice.

There are lots of ways to make change. Making a difference to people's everyday lives needs as many hard-working, emotionally intelligent people in local politics as it does progressive, liberal values in Parliament.

The councillor who makes the effort to help the couple who have been sent in circles by local bureaucracy over a fostering issue, or the person whose sister is being greatly let down by mental health service provision, or the young people who want a decent skate park, will start to be seen as someone who actually gives a damn.

For the voter who has been routinely ignored by their representatives, that bus shelter that has never been repaired represents so much more than a bus shelter: it represents the arrogance and laziness of the political class.

It's our job as liberals to change this. And we can start to do this in a minority group of one.

Steffan Aquarone is County Councillor for Melton Constable Division, and deputy group leader on Norfolk County Council. His book, Fourth to First, charts the entertaining story of how he won his seat in 2017.