In the 1960’s my parents were hippies and then they became activists. In the 70’s they had kids and had to settle, because you know, cannot politick when you are breastfeeding or at work most of the time! This was the 70’s remember! My mother did remain involved as a mother, with our schools and with the local elections. My father was a Union man, TUC and AEEU, ending up in the 1990’s as regional then eventually national rep. They always said to me (and my siblings but I am pretty sure I was the only one who listened!):
“Don’t just vote, hold those you vote in accountable.”
They showed us how to do this as well, gave us practical examples and though I cannot say I agree with their personal politics they had raised me to question, including debating with them, my parents.
Fast forward to the TwentyTeens, 2017 to be exact. I am 37 this year and for the first time in my life went to see my Member of Parliament (though technically she is a Labour Candidate), Louise Ellman. I did not expect much, I went to hear answers to my questions and to see how in touch she is with her constituents. I got a rumour debunked (about Liverpool Women’s Hospital being closed down) and she told me there were plans to move it so it was closer to better resources. What I think she needs to do is to have a page on her website called “Riverside Rumours Debunked” and then address common misconceptions. I think educating people about local politics and how Westminster works and what the Labour Party are doing would be good too. Both in person and online.
Though her Twitter account was very good her website was lacking for me. It’s a WordPress website – so of course that was not the issue! – but the design was dated, unresponsive and the info the average constituent would want (and perhaps need) wasn’t there. It was better than it was a few months ago, but it looked more like a blog (which had not been updated at all in April) then a politicians webspace. Online presence is something that is important nowadays and perhaps something local politicians could improve (using Skype to speak to constituents for example – so the housebound get to get involved). I am sure there is someone in the Labour party or this constituency who would volunteer to update it the website (as in the design not the content).
All in all I was glad I went and I intend to do more. I want to pursue the issue of the pavements in the area and how wheelchair unfriendly they are, and also get in contact with local councillors.
I encourage everyone to get involved in local politics, how else can we hold those we vote for to account?