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Talkback is for the residents and businesses in Liphook to voice their views and opinions about local issues and events.

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Help change the Political Landscape
- Trevor Maroney (6th Dec 2017  07:50:38)

Whilst canvassing for the Liberal Democrats in the 2015 district election, in the 2016 county by-election and again last May, several people I spoke to on the doorstep told me that they didn’t vote in local elections. Amongst the reasons given were “it was not worth voting as the Tories always win” and “we don’t believe that national politics should influence local decisions.” This concerned me at the time and still does so I thought that I would write to highlight a very rare (once in 17 years) opportunity for you to change the political landscape.

Ward Boundary Review – Have your say!

The Boundary Commission is in the final stages of a ward boundary review here in Bramshott and Liphook. Local Liberal Democrats have submitted a proposal splitting the village into 3 single-councillor wards: Bramshott, Liphook West and Liphook East. You’ll find a copy of our submission on the EHLD website. I know, two of the proposed ward names aren’t very inspiring, so do suggest alternatives in your submission. Our proposals have the full support of the Labour, Green, and Justice parties.

The Commission, in its draft recommendations, proposes retaining the current single ward with 3 councillors. Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council, a non-partisan body, voted unanimously at a public meeting on 24th July (Minutes 102/17) for 3 single wards. They voted unanimously the same way on 30th October (Minute 137/17). Conversely, our current district councillors want to retain the multi-councillor ward. Last Thursday they won the full backing of their fellow District Councillors. Councillors who in their own towns and parishes are demanding single-councillor wards.

Please write to the Boundary Commission by 11th December

If, like me, you feel this is undemocratic, all you need to do is write to the Boundary Commission and tell them why you think the current system discourages you from voting and how it could be improved by having an individually elected candidate in each ward. Just write to:

The Review Officer (East Hampshire), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 14th Floor Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP, or via their website:

consultation.lgbce.org.uk/...

or just email:

reviews@lgbce.org.uk. Please sent your comments this week if you can.

Single-councillor wards will create better electoral equality and give all parties, large and small, including independent candidates a fairer chance of winning and representing your views.

This is your chance to win for a change. So why not make a difference and drop the Commission a line.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Rob (6th Dec 2017  09:17:00)

Why do you think it should be changed? Surely it is the responsibility of someone who advocates change to seek out why it is a good idea and not just to use a "change" message. Contrary to what seems to be the current trend change is not necessarily a good thing.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- A.R (6th Dec 2017  13:15:11)

Why change something that appears to be still working.
In all honesty I find the present District councillors have been extremely helpful to Liphook, and always listen regardless of which political persuasion you are.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Guy Stacpoole (6th Dec 2017  18:55:45)

It was the Liberals who broke their word to their coalition and stopped the re- alignment of UK ward boundaries to make a fairer landscape within the UK for general elections. Now we see another Liberal trying to bend boundaries in their favour. No further discussion needed.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Trevor Maroney (9th Dec 2017  10:22:12)

I welcome the criticism: why change; it appears to be working, and Liberal Democrats bend boundaries in their favour if I am not mistake. Before I answer each point let me explain how the district elections work in Bramshott & Liphook.

We currently have a single 3-councillor ward and each of us has 3 votes. This means that your voting card normally has between 9 and 12 candidates. As a result the majority of voters don’t need to know the candidates or their policies they just vote along tribal lines. Just look at the past election results. After a while voters in smaller parties lose interest and stop voting. Political parties, too, lose interest but need to keep their profiles up for the county and general elections. So what do they do?

Smaller parties put up ‘paper candidates’ – they deliver a leaflet containing too few policies, as they know that they won’t get elected and have the opportunity to implement them. That’s if they can find suitable, keen volunteers to stand. As regards independent candidates, who in their right mind will want to stand at odds of 3:1 against? Try canvassing 3,600 houses on your own in a 6 week election! It’s impossible.

The changes we would like to see is restoration of the democrat principle of one person, one vote – single councillor wards. Making each councillor directly accountable to their own electorate. There would be an immediate incentive to open up district elections to real competition. Independents and smaller parties would have an equal chance of winning. The public would be offered a wider range of policies to choose from and the electorate may start voting again.

It appears to be working. Is it? The present system leads to a lack of accountability with the 3 councillors sharing the workload and the electors not able to determine properly who is doing what, apart from being seen in the press giving away our money to worthy causes. The current system creates continuous one party rules with no opposition holding them to account. But enough said, the impact of imposed cuts to services, creaking infrastructure and lack of facilities failing to keep pace with the growth in housing speaks for itself.

Regarding Mr Stacpoole’s specific comments, the parliamentary boundary reform was agreed to by the Lib Dems, on the condition that Lords reform was delivered by the Conservative – which wasn’t. The scandal of the unrepresentative House of Lords was put in the very long grass.

Are we bending the boundaries? No. All we have done is produce a workable division of the parish into 3 single-councillor wards along major features: the A3, Headley, Midhurst and London Roads and along the River Wey. The overall numbers in each are within the +/- 10% rule set by the Boundary Commission. We have kept the existing outer boundary of the parish untouched. Admittedly, the roads and river bend and there are a couple of roundabouts along the way but apart from that they are strong, acceptable features that are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

I hope that I have answered your concerns fully. Now if you agree with opening up elections to real competition you need to write or email the Boundary Commission before Monday and make your views known. You will not get another chance for the next 17 years!


Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Ian (9th Dec 2017  14:27:03)

Crikey Trevor, that was increadibly boring to read!!!

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Sidge (9th Dec 2017  17:51:34)

If you found Trevor's post so boring why bother reading it, let alone commenting?
I thought it was a well constructed, clear to read post.
Thank you Trevor.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Ian (9th Dec 2017  20:09:39)

Thank you sidge for your predictable response. The reason I read it was because I am passionately interested in our nations politics. However, along with so many others I am totally depressed by our boring uninspired lazy political classes who just spout the same boring cliches and are totally out of touch with the electorate. Cheap meaningless ideas from dumb politicians like Trevor deserve the contempt that they provoke.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Sidge (10th Dec 2017  11:34:37)

Calling Trevor 'dumb' is quite offensive, I have met him and he is a highly articulate and caring man. Perhaps if you are so offended by politicians stand yourself?

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Ian (10th Dec 2017  11:44:47)

“Anyone who wants to be a politician should be banned from being a politician “

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Trevor Maroney (10th Dec 2017  18:14:19)

This evening is your last chance to help change the political landscape in local district elections.

If you believe in the principle of one person: one vote then you need to email the Local Government Boundary Commission for England tonight at:

reviews@lgbce.org.uk

and demand single-councillor wards for Bramshott & Liphook or your own ward if you live elsewhere.

That’s exactly what all the towns and almost all the other parishes are doing. The single ward principle has the full support of the Labour, Green and Justice Parties plus all the district councillors representing all town and most parish wards.

This is your chance to make a difference. Don't leave it to others.

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Ian (10th Dec 2017  20:27:11)

Certainly don’t leave it to the Liberal Democrats!

Re: Help change the Political Landscape
- Trevor Maroney (11th Dec 2017  17:51:08)

The ward boundary consultation has now ended.

I would like to thank everyone who read this posting and has written to the Boundary Commission for supporting single-councillor wards. The Commission's final recommendations will be published on 6th February 2018.

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