Successive attempts to thwart democracy have failed
IN LAST week’s Echo (September 7) Craig Jordan had asked residents of Loughborough Ashby ward to inform him if they had received contact from Coun Harley Hachem.
In my experience as a Loughborough ward councillor many of the requests for help that I receive from constituents are of a sensitive nature.
Therefore, I suspect that if Mr Jordan requested that they inform him of any contact Southfields residents have had with me, he would not receive a response even though I am contacted several times a week.
Since I assumed my housing responsibility on the Cabinet, I have regularly numerous requests for assistance from individual Labour and Conservative councillors in Charnwood who need help in dealing with housing mat- ters. In most cases, I have been able to deal with them myself and, when I cannot, I refer them to officers.
When the Labour Party made its first (unsuccessful) complaint about Councillor Hachem, I submitted a letter in which stated that he had contacted me on a number of occasions for advice on both housing and planning matters.
In that letter, I also stated that I had never been contacted by his counterpart, Coun Bradshaw.
The May 2015 local elections coincided with a general election and in the run-up to the two campaigns the-then Labour parliamentary candidate spent a lot of time encouraging Loughborough students to vote.
Partly as a result of his activities the students did vote in large numbers and one of the conse- quences was that Labour failed to win what is historically one of their safe wards. Instead, Harley Hachem, who unambiguously stood as a student, was elected instead.
Labour’s latest complaint is that because he was a student he spent several months working in London as part of his course.
He is now back living in Loughborough.
One of the problems with local government is that it does demand a significant amount of time and energy and, as a consequence, relatively few prospective candidates come forward who have full-time jobs.
The majority of those Charnwood councillors who have a job find attending every single meeting a challenge. If we continue judging councillors on their attendance record we run the risk of discouraging would-be professionals from even considering standing for election, many of whom have impressive careers, talents and skills that can enhance the service the Council provides to all of its residents.
Likewise, the Labour Party cannot claim that it believes that students and young people should take part in the democratic process and the moment that they do not vote for their candidate start complaining about them.
The simple fact is that Coun Hachem was democratically elected by the majority of residents who voted in Ashby ward and successive attempts by Labour to challenge the validity of that election process have failed.