The last few weeks have shot by and suddenly here we are in the final run-up to polling day. Media coverage is building as Thursday approaches and I was really delighted to see this write-up by local political pundit Phil Rodgers in his annual election round-up:
Every indication is that Queen Edith’s residents will maintain the ward’s reputation for a high level of engagement – the Electoral Services team at the City Council report that Queen Edith’s has had both the highest number of applications for postal votes, and the highest rate of postal vote return to date. Our turnout in 2019 was 44%; I’m hoping that we’ll beat that this year, thanks to the great work that’s been done by the Queen Edith’s Community Forum in publishing candidate profiles and explaining the additional complications caused by running four elections simultaneously.
Local democracy really matters, and is not just the poor relation of national debates, so please do play your part and turn out to vote on Thursday!
In terms of my campaign, I’ve been continuing to answer residents’ questions. The majority relate to Highways issues, which are of course the remit of the County Council, but I have done my best to explain what residents can do to achieve the outcomes they want, given the dysfunctional and opaque system of local government within which we are all currently forced to operate.
I also submitted my response to the contentious planning application for an 18m high mobile mast and associated cabinets by the shops on Wulfstan Way, highlighting a number of reasons why this would be an inappropriate installation in that location. The other Independent candidate in Queen Ediths, Al Dixon, and I have both been active in raising awareness among local residents of the application, and I asked Cllr Jenny Page-Croft to ‘call in’ the application, in order that it will be debated by Planning Committee rather than just going through on the say-so of a planning officer. Jenny has done this, and the whole episode strikes me as a good example of how taking an approach which I would describe as ‘practical politics, not party politics’ can deliver better results for residents. I hope there will be opportunities for further practical co-operation in future.
Articles I’ve posted on social media this week include:
- How we need to building space for community into our neighbourhoods, looking at Ninewells as an example where this hasn’t happened;
- The scale of national government’s proposal for the ‘OxCam Arc’ development area, which has huge implications for Cambridge;
- Our failure to plan for how we’re going to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the widely forecast uptake in electric vehicles on our streets;
- The frustration of the County Council (yes, them again!) vetoing proposals for possible additional residents parking zones, even despite residents’ wishes.
With a view to how we should be addressing the future implications of climate change for the city, you might also want to take a look at my responses to the Cambridge ‘Doughnut Economics’ group’s survey.
Finally – and more than anything – I want to reiterate the point that while politics is about shaping and implementing the right policies, it’s also about helping people as they deal with challenging circumstances. This week I received an email from someone offering to host a campaign board in their garden. They wrote: “We want to support you, as no one else has done anything for us in this last year. We need someone like you to fight for us.” And that’s exactly why I’m standing.
I wish you all a good week. Because of COVID-19 precautions, counting votes in the City Council election isn’t starting until Friday lunchtime, with the Queen Edith’s results due late afternoon. Rest assured I’ll let you know how things have gone!
This week’s campaign videos:
Residents Parking Zones
…in which I explain why Queen Edith’s needs a strong independent voice to tackle the scourge of our streets being used as a car park.
Avoiding an electric vehicle charging disaster
…in which I discuss why we need forward thinking policies now on the implications of more electric vehicles, to prevent their introduction from being a disaster for local streets.
Building better new communities
…in which I ask what we’ve learned from our largest new development, and how an independent Queen Edith’s councillor will fight for better outcomes in new estates now being built.