Well, got a little Parish Newsletter from our beloved rulers at the end of last week.
It's effectively one of those tick-box exercises so beloved of our government. In order to get 'Quality Parish Council' status, the PC has to produce a newsletter. There's nothing really to put in it, of course, but its required in order to get the extra funding, so we do it. Hmm.
Of course, it's designed to tell us all the great things the junta do for us (which basically boils down to a few community grants using our money), but it's also quite revealing about the state of our local system.
At the last local elections, every single councillor returned in Ilkley represented the Conservatives. This, I guess, is not much of a suprise (this is Ickley itself, the councillors from Burley and Menston are not Tories). This means, effectively, that there is an in-built Tory majority on our council. Machine-gun defended this at the time by pointing out the different views held by the different councillors, in order to suggest they were all their own person, as it were.
Which makes one wonder why they didn't all stand as independents as happens in many other areas.
To which the obvious answer is that 'they wouldn't have been elected'. If one looks closely, however, at their addresses, it's noticeable that our Tory regime includes outsiders brought in, presumably, for their political views. Ben Rhydding ward is worst; of the three councillors representing the ward, one, machine-gun, lives in Otley, while another, 'Shaka' Heslop, lives all the way away in Addingham (it's not even on the same side of the town as Ben Rhydding for Kali's sake!).
So what we have here is a bunch of councillors relying on an inbuilt Tory majority, parachuted into safe seats to keep the regime running. Which in turn means that decisions over what happens in the Parish, how the precept is set and spent, are not taken by voters directly but are taken by a handful of men and women in the local Conservative Club (or Ickley Golf Club...). Elected dictatorship...
As Homer once said, 'When will people learn, democracy doesn't work!?'