Councillors should be willing to serve
A PARISH council is a local authority recognised by law and funded by tax payers’ money.
It’s meant to be local democracy, a representative locally elected body of 15 who make decisions as the democratic voice of Chalfont St Peter (CSP). But, if CSP PC insists on being a party political parish council, it can be neither democratic nor representative.
Imagine saying only Liberal Democrats can volunteer in our community library, only Labour Party volunteers can help at the Chiltern Open Air Museum or only members of UKIP can volunteer on the Chamber of Commerce?
It would be a ludicrous notion. What does political affiliation have to do with anyone’s willingness to serve?
It’s equally ludicrous then to suggest that only card-carrying members of the Conservative Party can serve on our parish council. Our only insistence should be that our PC consists of committed, community-minded individuals who wish to serve their village.
Having a party political parish council makes me very uncomfortable. It makes a large number of people in CSP uncomfortable, as the Facebook campaign CSP:People not Politics! shows.
A party political council is just not fair – not to residents who don’t get democratic representation, not to volunteers and not to parish staff caught up in political partisanship.
If being a party political parish council is better than being a politically neutral parish council, why is CSP the only parish council that insists on it?
Little Chalfont, Gerrards Cross, Chalfont St Giles and other surrounding parish councils are all non-political. They have councillors representing main political parties and a few councillors who serve independent of any political party. Some even have a majority from a single political party but nevertheless, they remain officially neutral and a-political.
That sounds like the ideal we should be demanding for our parish council.
KAREN DICKSON Chalfont St Peter Parish Councillor (independent)
I would like to be served by a councillor who wants to do what’s best for the village regardless of their political affiliation which can get in the way of doing what’s best.
FI IVIN via email