While we are waiting for our new Prime Minister it would be fantastic if some radical themes could be promoted by us locally and nationally. It is unlikely that the new Prime Minister will spend a lot of time to listen to ordinary people unless we can campaign strongly. The candidates did accept some calls during their campaign as people in areas that they visited raised concerns. However sadly they also ignored many of the people who were promoting significant issues. When Truss and Sunak visited Sussex ending in Eastbourne one promise that arose was for the Hospital to be rebuilt. This was accepted by them even though it has been one of the 40 promised new Hospitals that has been on their list for many years. Sadly, however there was no acknowledgement from either of the two candidates to the call from many local people who were raising a significant theme for our government to focus on climate conditions. It would be fantastic if local MPs would be willing to respond to this and indeed to call for the new Prime Minister to focus on it for the future even though they ignored it two weeks ago. We know that Caroline Lucas who is the MP for Brighton Pavilion will continue to call for it in Parliament on a regular basis. However, it would be very helpful if MPs such as Caroline Ansell and Nusrat Ghani who represent Eastbourne and Wealden and took part in the recent event would be willing to challenge their newly elected leader. Sadly, few of the members of any dominant political party appear willing to ask for radical changes from their government. So given that our current Government is made up of most of our local MPs we clearly need to find other ways for the important calls to be promoted at both a local and a national position. It would be very significant if the focus on the climate could emerge and enable agencies such as the Friends of the Earth to be listened to from whichever party is our government. There are of course a number of other themes and ideas which arise from people which would benefit significantly if the Government was willing to listen seriously, even though they may not be part of their own ideas.
A few days ago, a local Independent Councillor in the Brighton and Hove City Council raised a call to benefit her local residents and yet tragically the reaction was very negative from several people. The challenge is that there are three Councillors who are meant to represent the Rottingdean Coastal Ward. One of them is Bridget Fishleigh who is the Independent Councillor and she raised a concern that the other two Councillors are both very unwell. So, she recommended that the Council should enable two new candidates to be selected to take over those roles. This approach is very similar to the challenges that face a number of Constituencies in the UK when MPs are unable to continue on the basis that they got elected. Sometimes it is due to illness and sometimes it is due to bad behaviour. In the case of bad behaviour, the Political party’s often remove MPs from their membership, and they tragically become treated as if they are Independent MPs. Yet in most cases their Independence is nonsense as they continue to support the same political party, even though they have lost their membership. Yet there is no simple way for local people to call for a new MP or a new Councillor unless the individuals are willing to step down. If they want to remove an MP it has to be under very precise rules and they need a major number of residents to campaign for the MP to be challenged. We clearly need the Government and Councils to review both the health and the behaviour of our representatives and to replace people who are no longer suitable for the role.
Another theme that is very much appreciated by many of us is the way in which we select our representatives. Proportional Representation would dramatically improve the Government and in some cases could improve Councils. During General Elections here in Sussex, the Conservative Party obtains about 50% of the votes and yet they achieve 70%-80% of the MPs. This is tragic across the whole of Sussex and is also frustrating for people whose local votes mean that often they do not obtain a representative that they would wish to have access to. That would be true for Conservative voters in Brighton and Hove as well as Labour or Green voters outside of Brighton and Hove and any Liberal Democrat voters currently. There is also a clear need for a way for high quality independent candidates to become elected.