There were no elections in Shropshire unitary area yesterday. Next door in Telford, Labour bucked the national trend and gained seats. This followed a lacklustre performance by the Tories and a very strong Labour vision for the future of the town. That message, about delivering local priorities, worked in Telford.
Lib Dems and independents gained across the country fighting on local platforms. The Greens did very well too. Labour lost seats when they should have been gaining in mid-term election. The Tories suffered dis-May, losing hundreds of seats and dozens of councils.
Few people turned out to vote. The consistent message I hear is that is voters are disgusted with politics that have become obsessed with the survival of politicians and parties. Politicians looking to their careers at the expense of ignoring the interests of the people they represent.
Today was one of the most curious local elections. Usually, national politics only predominate in local elections when local voting coincides with a general election. But everyone is angry with the total mess of Brexit. It has become the Schrödinger’s cat of politics. Will it happen? Won’t it happen? When will it happen?
The Tories were seriously punished yesterday for their incompetence over Brexit. Labour just about held its head above water but it should have been swimming ahead rather than losing seats.
Few people love politics any more. Perhaps they never did.
We need to think of different models, especially at a local level.
I went to my first council meeting around 1973. Local councils have become more politicised since. The bigger party groups have become obsessed by power.
Shropshire Council is ten years old. It has always worked on an authoritarian model. “We Tories rule. You do what we say.”
The election results today tell us that people want a different model. They want a more collaborative system. The national failure over Brexit shows us if you don’t work together, nothing will be achieved.
We need to change the shape of local politics.