Although it can be frustrating to raise matters that seek to damage our nation and the people our nation is supposed to help, the reality is that every political party introduces new ideas and policies from time to time. Sometimes they are good ideas that could improve our nation and sometimes they are not. Unfortunately far too many of us have observed when Governments or Councils have ignored responses that have been raised on such matters by individuals or groups of people who then lose the confidence to raise their concerns moving forward. This has a huge risk for all of us and one very clear indication is how many people who choose not to vote during elections, despite the huge sacrifice our previous generations made to enable all of us to get the chance to vote. Of course the lack of a None Of The Above element on voting documents and a First Past The Post system adds to this challenge. One very clear way for politicians to begin to reverse this rejection approach is for them to respond in a positive manner and explain why they have made the decisions they have made or even better for them to acknowledge the views emerging from the community and respond accordingly. The suggestion that MPs or Councillors are accountable through an election is sadly made far too often and of course fails to deal with the many of the layers of process that take place and which means that most party based politicians respond to their party colleagues rather than the views of their constituents. It is of course widely understood that elected representatives are not appointed as delegates, and if they are members of a party to reject clear party principles would not usually be acceptable, but the idea that once the vote has taken place they will choose to ignore their constituents displays a great deal of arrogance that needs to be strongly addressed if we are to see a more confident democratic political setting arising in the future.
There are currently a number of challenges that have emerged at both a local and a national level and the nature of them demands as many responses as can be achieved. My views are of course personal and anyone taking the time to read this will have their own views on some or all of these issues and so our representatives clearly need to listen to a range of views before considering what they should do. However if they refuse to respond to these themes and issues there will potentially be a much bigger challenge further down the line. The first of these challenges is very local and it relates to what I have read took place at the end of last week as part of the Brighton and Hove City Council when a significant number of people turned up for the Council meeting and the door was closed for many of those who arrived. It is clear that such a problem is something for the Council to be very pleased about as a great many Council meetings take place with a very small number of observers and indeed in some cases no observers. Many Councils have experimented with transmitting their meetings via audio and video systems and indeed there is a very good company based in our city called Public i which facilitates such processes. However when people turn up to listen and watch what is taking place, their commitment to doing so must be treated as being a good thing and our Councils and even the Government need to work to provide the facilities for people to pay attention and indeed find ways for people to respond.
Another challenge that matters a great deal for me and many people I know is the proposal taken by the current Government to close down the Department for International Development (DFID). It is certainly very clear that when Boris Johnson was the Foreign Secretary, he paid almost no attention to what DFiD and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had achieved overseas. However it now appears that he is willing to review the closure of DFiD following strong views from many of us and let us hope that local MPs will also pay attention to this and call on him to change his approach. Then there is the issue which in 11 days time if we leave the EU at 11am will lead to at least 50 Conservative and 5 DUP MPs to want the Big Ben to chimes, even though it will cost half a Million Pounds. It is good news that no Sussex MPs have supported this publicly and perhaps they could suggest alternative benefits for the money that will improve our lives for more than a few seconds!