John Harris

Journalist & Author

Don’t look to national politics for hope: you’ll find it thriving in local councils | John Harris

Councillors are paid a pittance and face hostility. But from tackling obesity to saving high streets, good ideas are growing

Last Friday morning, my head spun. Having voted in two local elections – for our town and district councils – and then spent the first few hours of the next day following the results, my partner and I got our polling cards for yet another contest. This caused a brief fit of amusement about Brexit Britain’s weird addiction to sending us to polling stations, before we realised we had effectively received our tickets for an awful reality TV show.

Thanks chiefly to Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and the pithily named Change UK – the Independent Group – many of the contestants in the looming European elections form a rum old crowd. From a former BBC newsreader, through superannuated Tories and newspaper columnists, on to the former editor of the lads’ magazine Loaded, with the independent candidate who calls himself Tommy Robinson as the rubbish punchline. God knows what the poor souls who have diligently served as MEPs must feel about this sudden gatecrashing of their world: here is yet another woeful instalment of the Brexit drama, now replayed by celebrity leave and remain campaigners as a pantomime of futile gestures.

If councils are to attract and retain new people, they need not warm words, but meaningful power

Related: Local elections 2019: Conservatives see huge losses in England – as it happened

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 6th, 2019 at 10:04 am and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « My England is in a mess. Scotland’s case for splitting away is stronger than ever | John Harris | Lowborn by Kerry Hudson review – growing up and returning to Britain’s poorest towns »
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