Unopposed - WHY?

I have had some interesting responses by phone and e-mail to the newspaper article that appeared in the Weekly News mentioned in my last post. People are always welcome to e-mail me or to phone me to express their views, however there is a comments form at the bottom of every post on this blog; and the newspaper article specifically asks for a debate in its letters page.

90% of the 300+personal responses that I have had so far have been personal, mostly jocular, many supportive and a handful abusive. About 10% have been constructive and would be better made in a public forum rather than in private! I would encourage that 10% to make their comments known to the letters editors of their local papers, on blog comment forms, on twitter etc. This is an important public issue – so don't tell me personally what you think in private – tell the public what you think in public!

With 93 Welsh county councillors being elected unopposed, one county ward not even having a single candidate stand and more than 6,000 Welsh Community Councillors elected without contest, there is something wrong with the democratic process that demands that community reps are elected by the community! What's going wrong is, surely, a matter for serious debate amongst all of us who respect the democratic process!

Some of those who have contacted me have been other councillors who were elected unopposed in their various communities who feel, somehow, that my comments were a criticism of them. That, of course, is rubbish!

All of us who put our names forward for election did so knowing that an election was, at least, a possibility so we entered the fray honestly and it's not our fault that others couldn't be bothered to stand against us; but it must also be part of our responsibility, as representatives of our communities, to ask why there is such disinterest in membership of our county and community councils.


  1. I remember a joint submission to the Sunderland commission into local government elections by Radyr and Tongwynlais Community Councils saying that they would welcome elections but they couldn't afford them as it would absorb too much of their budget - do communities have to fund elections or does that come out of the county budget? If it does then that is one concrete reform - shift the burden of the expense of holding elections to county councils.

    As you know I have a piece on my blog on my ideas on community councils, which includes strengthening them, electing them by stv and parallel youth councils as as an introduction to local democracy with an encouragement to young people to stand for them.

    Political parties could do more too by actively promoting their young talent to stand for election to these community councils - maybe even (in winnable seats) preferring candidates who have served at least one term on community councils, or at least stood for them previously?

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