This article first appeared in the Ludlow Advertiser on 8 December 2016.
In politics, it has been a long and curious year. When people who don’t usually get engaged with politics turn out to vote, democracy can throw up unexpected results.
A majority of people in the UK voted for Brexit, including here in Shropshire. David Cameron walked away from his job and Theresa May took the keys to Number 10. Donald Trump is preparing to move into the White House. None of these events were predicted. All will change our futures.
People I talk to are fed up with the political classes. They believe that once MPs arrive in Westminster, they lose touch with local concerns. They dislike decisions about Ludlow being made in Shirehall.
So why do I remain engaged with politics? It can difficult at times, particularly when I don’t agree with some national Lib Dem policies, such as renewal of Trident and rerunning the Brexit vote.
For me, being in the Liberal Democrats is like adopting a family. The party provides me with support in my role as a councillor, including specialist training. Of course, like many families, we argue a lot and have different ideas about where we are heading. But we stick together.
Would our country be better off without political parties? If councillors and MPs were independent, I’m sure they would form into alliances pretty quickly. They’d soon get labels and we would have political parties in all but name.
Most of what I do as a councillor doesn’t involve politics anyway. My day to day life is concerned with helping people and trying to get the best deal for Ludlow.
But we must recognise that the way that most politicians think is not the way that ordinary people think. If MPs and councillors didn’t know that before, they do after 2016.