East Devon faces westwards to Exeter for much of its vitality, so we need to take an interest in what happens there. So, for those who have the chance to vote tomorrow…[Thursday, correspondence received yesterday]
… you would have to have returned today from at least a decade long holiday on Mars to make the catastrophic mistake of voting for the Conservative party on May 5th. There is no earthly reason for doing so, and almost endless very good reasons not to. The normal caveat that these are local not national elections doesn’t hold water because the current regime has taken local power back to Westminster in an unprecedented fashion, leaving all local authorities with budgets now well below the basic minimum clearly needed to meet their responsibilities and suffering the dead weight of egregious privatisation. We should note that the PMs claim that Labour led local authorities are badly managed is just more bunkum – the earliest budget defaulter was Tory run Northamptonshire – and many more Tory run authorities, just as those where other parties are in control, are suffering from chronic underfunding.
Let’s just re-read the list posted by Owl on 30th May (Southwest suffers from profound inequality) on a few of the pleasures of living in the southwest …
* Low earnings and poor pay are common in many parts of the region with four of Devon’s eight districts among the UK’s top 25 low wage “hotspots”
* Poor mental health outcomes for both children and adults
* Teacher recruitment, retention and training are challenges for isolated schools
* Schools have on average lower levels of funding than elsewhere
* The area has long travel times to pursue further education or work which has been linked to higher drop out rates
* Fewer professional jobs are available in most areas, which has contributed to a youth exodus
Not exactly Shangri-La is it?…
This ‘local’ election is a national poll and is a chance to make some important changes. We have a shambolic, seedy, shameless government lurching to the unpleasant and downright dangerous end of the right wing in politics. An urgent rebalancing is required, and the chance to start that happens tomorrow. Vote for whoever you like, but for God’s sake (just ask Justin Welby…) don’t vote Tory.
(And I didn’t even mention partygate, Rwanda, porn in the commons, misogyny etc., etc., etc.)