Local elections 2021: are politicians interested after the campaign stops?
All the flyers have been delivered, thousands of doors across the county have been knocked down by enthusiastic activists, the votes have been cast and the results are known.
It appears that upon their arrival, the 2021 local elections are over.
During a campaign, it can seem like all local politicians and candidates want to talk to potential voters. Once the elections are over, they tend to withdraw, not to be seen for another four years.
It can be frustrating for voters who have been made promise after promise on the doorstep. Especially in cities where people are crying out for change.
Take Amber Valley, where the the borough council has changed hands twice in as many years. After years of Conservative control, the Labor Party took the lead after the 2019 election. Last week’s results have made a difference.
This is enough to make the people of Belper, Alfreton, Ripley and Heanor and the surrounding areas feel on a political swing. But more specifically, are they getting the services they and the city need?
We traveled to Alfreton to find out what people think about the second change of administration in two years and, most importantly, what the Conservative board needs to do now to keep its many election promises.
Mel Bond, who recently retired after a career in water production with Severn Trent Water, was not happy to see the Conservatives take over the board, for reasons of national policy as much as anything else.
âI am a former Conservative voter,â he said, âbut to be completely honest I would like the Conservatives to step down from government. I think they are akin to a mafia. I have no confidence in them.
âI’m against Brexit, I’m against Boris and I don’t really believe in conservatives at the local level. They havehed Covid and are running on the NHS laurels.
The campaign battle in Amber Valley has been undeniably difficult, if not sometimes distasteful. Mr Bond said the way she was fought and won was disheartening for him as a voter.
âThere was very little information about them [the parties]. I didn’t know what I was voting for. Everything has been done on slander and vindictiveness.
Work political issues in Derbyshire have been well reported, and reflected in a grim set of results for the party that once dominated the region.
One of the problems the party faced over the past week, and it went far beyond Derbyshire, was that its own natural support base was pulling out and choosing other left-wing parties – dividing the left vote in the process.
Katie Cullen designs and sells gifts of all kinds at her store, Katie Abey, on Cressy Road in Alfreton. She says even though she voted Labor in the past, she just couldn’t do it this time around.
âI voted for the Green Party. It changes every time, sometimes Plowing sometimes Green, but always on the left. I watched their [the Greens] political and they seemed a little more loyal to me this time around. I think sometimes it’s better to vote for yourself rather than tactically, so at least it’s a genuine, genuine vote.
Naturally, opinions vary wildly in support or dislike for the major parties. And people have long memories. Roy Ludlam, who lives near Derby but was in Alfreton when we visited, was a Labor voter before Tony Blair’s time, but not now.
“I will never vote against Labor again,” he said. “I voted for the Conservatives this time, and I was a great Labor.”
But there are also a lot of people who feel that local politics is not interesting or does not directly affect them.
Turnout in Derbyshire in the county elections rose slightly this time from 2017 – 40.2% from 38%. In the arrondissements and districts, this percentage fell to 25%.
And speaking to the folks at Alfreton, there are many who only vaguely knew that an election had taken place.
Chris Winfield, who runs The Quirky Gift and Vape Shop on Alfreton High Street, says he hasn’t voted because at the moment more important things are happening.
âThey should focus on sorting out Covid, not having an election,â he said. âI used to vote, but I didn’t think they should during a pandemic. To me, they are all the same.
“The [national] The government did very well during the lockdown to help businesses keep going and help them pay their rent and their bills. They were brilliant at it.
“What local elected officials need to do now is get rid of their backs and start regenerating the city.”
John Gooding, a retired computer and software developer who lives in South Normanton, said local politics are not as interesting or as important as what’s happening in Westminster.
He said: âI am not too bothered, it is the nationals and the vote for an MP that are important to me. A lot of things are not that different between the parties at the local level. “
But whoever is responsible – and the Conservatives should take note – Mr Gooding said problems in cities like Alfreton need to be addressed, especially to support businesses and jobs.
âI will vote for the party that does a good job and supports businesses. There are shopping streets where big companies are closing. They are decimated.