The first votes for seats on Hampshire County Council will be cast today. The postal ballots are arriving on people’s doormats and many people put a cross on the ballot forms and send them back straight away.
In all the New Forest County seats, it seems to be a straight fight between the Tories and the Lib Dems. There are some other candidates, but Labour and the Greens have never won a County seat here in 50 years of trying and UKIP seemed to have folded, not even putting up candidates in Totton.
The Tories, I think, will have a tough time persuading people to vote for them. In almost every policy area, they have been found wanting.
They can’t claim to be “in touch” when most of their Councillors are invisible, they only post out an election leaflet/ letter just before the election and the local MP and his staff won’t even use e-mail.
I know a lot of former conservative voters who are extremely angry about this.
The Tory Police & Crime Commissioner seems remote and disinterested in this area. Hardly anyone voted him into office anyway. I suspect most people would like better local control over police and resources than the Tories think necessary.
On housing, it seems that the Tory government are going to push through development on much of our remaining green fields, whether or not we have the infrastructure to cope with it.
Again, local Councillors are floundering around powerless to do anything and they have already thrown in the towel on an appeal to build houses on green land in Calmore.
Even I was surprised when the Tories decided to get rid of 80 mini recycling sites in the New Forest area (including Totton & Marchwood) before the elections.
Add this to new restrictions, charges and the threat of closure to the household waste tips and it is not surprising that fly tipping has increased.
As to being good with money, the Conservatives pulled off the amazing feat of increasing Council tax to double the inflation rate, cutting services such as highways maintenance, traffic management, library services, bus subsidies and wasting millions on stupid schemes such as beach hut improvements, (£1.2 million), Devolution (£1 million) – something that didn’t happen anyway and even local schemes like the Eling Experience (now going to cost an extra £300,000), because of project management delays.
I only have to say two words… “paddling pool” to further reinforce the message.
Maybe it is what happens to any party when they have been in power too long. They become arrogant and out of touch and stop listening.
As always, I have faith in the democratic process.