The vast majority of politicians, at all levels of government, are decent, hard-working people, writes Ian James, Green Party spokesman for East Hampshire.
Perhaps it is a rather over-inflated ego that makes them think they can do some good. Many actually manage to do so.
I hope to become one of them, having been selected as a Green Party candidate for Liss in the district council election on May 4.
I believe a good local councillor works hard at resolving local issues. Potholes or parking. Fly-tipping or waste bin emptying,. Drains that can’t cope or whatever else comes up.
I have also always lived with the Green Party mantra “Think global – act local”. Many of the columns I have written for this feature of the newspaper concern what local councils can do in helping to control climate change.
If elected, I would expect the residents of Liss to hold me to account for anything East Hampshire District Council does.
One of the more important functions of a district council is planning.
In Liss, a development of 80-plus houses has recently been completed. A new footpath was included in this development.
It ends with a crossing over the main road through Liss. A short flight of steps takes the new path up to the level of the road.
There is no mobility ramp. People with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility scooters cannot use it.
This is a clear failure on the part of the planning authority. A case for the local district councillor to take up.
But the local councillor can do nothing about it directly. Like much of East Hampshire, Liss lies within the South Downs National Park. The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for planning decisions.
The SDNPA is a quango. A quango is a “quasi autonomous non-government organisation” – a body that is largely funded by the government but not controlled by the government. The SDNPA has a lot of power but no public accountability.
Rowlands Castle is the southernmost ward in East Hampshire. It is not in the South Downs National Park.
East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) is responsible for planning decisions. Portsmouth Water is building a massive new reservoir in the Rowlands Castle ward.
Since EHDC granted planning permission for building it, a new feature has emerged. It is now planned to pump treated sewage into it.
Portsmouth Water serves most of the population in the southern part of East Hampshire and our recent canvassing in the council ward of Horndean Downs shows this is an emerging concern for the voters.
The Green councillor Blossom Gottlieb has now taken up this issue.
I’m sure many people find living within a national park has advantages, but it does take away important aspects of local democracy.
Not so long ago the post of police and crime commissioner was created, a democratically-elected person to oversee the local police force. Perhaps we need a democratically-elected commissioner for local national parks?