I recently was elected uncontested on the Llandeilo Town Council. As pleased as I am with the result, I must confess I’d rather have won an election and a democratic mandate with it. It was six candidates for six posts in my ward. The neighbouring ward has seven candidates for six seats – also not huge competition and choice.
But this competition has actually caused contempt as ‘some of the candidates are going to miss out’ and ‘it costs the council money’. Candidates with political affilation have been accused of “politicising the council work“.
Elections should be welcomed and budgeted for as the solid foundation of democracy.
It should be the electorate who decides who ‘misses out’.
People with party affiliation need to declare them. It shows their colours and gives a clearer indication of their likely voting behaviour in the council.
In other elections, candidates got into the county council uncontested, or there was a choice of two or three only; making us chose for the lesser of two evils, or at least chose between two unwanted choices.
You might say: “Well, it’s all about winning and tactical voting.”
Yes, to some degree it is. With the flaws of the first-past-the-post system, without the possibility to state a second preference or a run-off between the top two, people tend to vote only for candidates that stand a chance, not necessarily with their heart. That’s very sad and a huge limit to democracy. The public refused a change in the voting system, sadly. But, is it a wonder that so few people bother standing ina system like this?
Something to ponder about.