I would like to say thank you to the people of Illogan who took the time and trouble to vote in the recent Illogan Parish Council by-election – whichever candidate they voted for. I believe that it is important that more people engage in their local community and having a say in how the parish is run is important. Of course, it goes without saying that I am especially grateful to those who were kind enough to vote for me.
I would like to thank my opponent, the Labour candidate Steve Richards, for running a very positive campaign. I note the comments that he made with regard to local government at parish level needing to be based on consensus. I also note that he very much has local needs and concerns at the top of his agenda. However, I can't agree that politics can altogether be eradicated from what is, after all, an institution that is political by nature and construction. I would also suggest that in order to remove party politics from the agenda a candidate would need to stand as an independent. The Labour party is certainly a London based political party even if its members in Illogan are locals. I believe that any Labour candidate would find it hard to gain credibility when arguing that housing needs to be primarily for local need when the Labour party was responsible for the policy demanding the constuction of 68,000 new houses in Cornwall (including up to 11,000 within a stone's throw of Illogan).
As I went round the parish, knocking on doors and introducing myself, it became clear that many of people did not feel that they had been informed properly about the election – polling cards had not been distributed and apart from campaign leaflets many would never have been informed about the election. I am acutely aware that it seems a bit rich asking you to come out and vote when you do not feel that you have been given sufficient information to do so. This problem is one of the first things that I will be looking into as a councillor and I will endeavour to discover how the decisions regarding polling cards and publicity for by-elections are made.
The parishioners of Illogan have already provided me with quite a number of issues that they feel need to be looked at and I have already started working on these on their behalf. Some people felt that politicians were only interested in their opinion when there was an election taking place. I take that criticism on board and encourage anyone who believes that they have issues that I can help with as a Councillor to get in touch with me. I cannot promise that I will always be able to help but I do promise to do whatever I can when I can.
The Illogan Parish Plan is well under way now and has reached the second consultation stage. There was an excellent response to the initial survey. Now the results of the survey are being taken around Illogan parish by way of a ‘road show’. It would be great if people could take the time to visit the road show and make sure that everything that needs to be covered has been.