It may have come as no surprise to anyone that I have decided to stand for election as a parish councillor in Stradbroke on 7th May 2015. On the other hand, it may have come as a surprise to those who think I already give up too much of my spare time to local organisations instead of giving up all that time to writing or being with my family.
So why am I standing?
I believe in the politics of openness. I believe in honesty. I believe in the right of the inhabitants of a village to make their views known, without fear, without intimidation, and for those views to be heeded and acted on. I believe that those who engage actively and proactively in the life of a village have a right to determine how that village moves forwards.
Stradbroke is a fine place. It is almost a rarity - a working agricultural village that has not been overrun by unneeded modern developments. I am determined to represent those who believe that Stradbroke is no place for massive housing developments, that it is no place for corporate and private profit to be put before considerations of tradition, safety, and community.
I believe in due process and transparency. Gone are the days where cabales and whispers in the corridors of power carried the day for vested interests. This applies top down, from national to local government. Everyone, elected or not elected, who engages in public life in any way, has to be publicly accountable. I would love to see 50 people at every parish council meeting so that councillors have to speak and act appropriately, so that every decision made is observed live and as it happens, so that every decision is backed up by an arguable process, so that the mechanisms of local government are exposed and observable at every stage, and not just through minutes, and not just through film and sound recordings.
I want politics to be popular. I want young people to become re-engaged with politics, no matter which party they might or might not vote for. I want young people to be at the heart of life in this village which may well be my final home of all homes.
I want this village to be one of aspiration, a village that sends its young people out into the world well-educated and well-equipped to make their mark on the world. I want them to strive to be the best they can be, I want them to understand that they can be the best if only they try, if only they put in the hard work and inspiration. I want this village to be the sanctuary they can return to after they have spread their wings, to be that warm place in their hearts and memories they can think of when times are hard.
There will be no negative campaigning from me. I will adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life, as should every candidate and every elected representative.
Please vote on 7th May.
Promoted by Richard Pierce-Saunderson of Spring Cottage, Church Street, Stradbroke, Suffolk, IP21 5HT.