When I was a lad, to enter the civil service was a career to be proud of and not that easy to get into. It was honourable for a lad – and a few lassies – to work in services, providing something for others.
Councillors were elected without pay, allowances or expenses, in many cases to oversee the work of the said public servants. It was a career dedicated to providing help to people.
Those councillors were selected by political parties on the basis they were people who had shown they were willing to give time and dedication to their community.
Independents who wished to get elected free from politics had to show the electorate they would work for the common good.
Things have changed. Large sections of society no longer see the civil service working for the government or council as a matter of pride or achievement.
Councillors now receive allowances and expenses and an electorate is much influenced by national party dogma at the expense of local service.
Finding a candidate in whom one can put one’s full trust, who is prepared to serve all the electorate in an open fair manner and use personal judgement rather than party prepared statements, is difficult. The idea the council should provide services has largely disappeared, replaced by private companies operating for profit.
Councillors therefore can no longer be held to account. It is far from easy to get anyone to take responsibility for service failure.
Knotts Lane Colne