The only real ‘winner’ in this month’s election was the ‘Did Not Vote’ cohort, who took the election by a landslide. No doubt there was a ‘Covid effect’ which affected turnout, and disillusionment with central government and the general state of the world will also have taken its toll, but the results for each ward that we show below are really very depressing.
A healthy borough council needs a balance of opinions, with a strong opposition to stimulate real debate and sound decision making. Following this election, Havant Borough Council’s consolidation as a ‘single party state’ is near complete, with 36 of the 38 seats now occupied by Conservative councillors, leaving just one seat each for Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
For those who thought that the standard of debate, the clarity of vision and the objectivity of decision making by Havant Borough Council was poor before the election, the future’s not looking any brighter.
Our message to the new Councillors:
Please listen to your ward residents regardless of their voting intentions. When they contact you, take the time to understand their position and respond. At the end of the day, it’s the local issues that matter and it is inevitable that these will sometimes clash with your party’s current national agenda. When you take part in a debate, offer fact-based support to the motion or have the courage to challenge it. Do not be swayed by party politics and above all do not allow yourself to be intimidated by ‘senior’ members of the council. Your voice counts with equal weight and your fresh ideas should be heard.
The more the Council are perceived as ignoring the needs and concerns of the residents, the less inclined the electorate are to vote.
Our message to the non-voters
Before the next election, we’ll do our best to explain why you should vote. We’ll show you how easy it is to use a postal vote without even leaving your house and we’ll remind you of how much of your hard earned money you are giving to the council and just what they are supposed to be doing with it. Above all, we’ll explain why this matters to you and to the kids of the town.
It’s easy to blame the UK’s archaic ‘first past the post’ electoral system but the real villain of this piece is the fact that most of the population of Havant Borough can’t be bothered to vote.