SHORT DEBATES: WHAT ROLE FOR INDEPENDENT COUNCILLORS?

Cllr. Jonathan Gay, Independent, Radstock

Both Jonathan Gay and his mother are Independent Councillors on the Bath & North East Somerset Council. They stood at the last election as they did not think the candidates of the Labour Party would serve the ward effectively. Jonathan is also one of the two Trustees of the Institution nominated by the Council.

Cllr. Gay considered he fulfilled a useful role in the ward but found the long hours in committee irksome. In the Council chamber there was little effective debate as two of the three parties has decided their policy beforehand at closed party meetings.

The general discussion followed on from the previous debate. Would better candidates and those more independently minded persuade more voters to the polls? There was a large majority opinion that press comments constantly denigrating elected representatives at both local and parliamentary levels probably put off high calibre candidates from standing. The three councillors present all stressed that there seemed little awareness of the amount of time they spent on trying to solve individuals' problems in their wards.