4 May 2017: a chance to vote against hard Brexit
By * Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive in Liberal Democrat Voice
In 2 weeks most of the UK has a chance to vote in an election.
The 2017 elections are a national opportunity to push back against hard Brexit. Unlike so much else that supporters and opponents of Brexit can cite as evidence of public support for their side, the success or failure of each side is measurable, public and real.
On 4 May 2017 there are elections, in England for:
· All 27 county councils in England,
· 7 out of 55 unitary authorities in England,
· 6 large regional mayors (covering several counties and cities each) and 2 city mayors.
All 32 local authorities in Scotland and all 22 of them in Wales are to be elected. There are no elections in Greater London. The capital will be 'all up' in 2018. In all, about 18 million UK voters have one or more ballot to cast on 4 May 2017 - 46% of all UK electors - to fill around 2,400 council seats.
Local elections matter in themselves. The average county council in England, for example, spends 8 times per head what the EU does. The policies of the councillors elected have a big impact in their area on economic development and public services like social care, health, libraries, highways, housing and open spaces.
Local elections also have national importance. They are the mid-term tests that, like Parliamentary by-elections, show how government is being received by the public. Bad local election results contributed to the fall of Margaret Thatcher and the end of the poll tax. At different times, strong local elections results gave Tony Blair, Charles Kennedy, and David Cameron credibility which they later turned into Parliamentary Seats.
If we achieve the election of as many council candidates as possible who personally oppose Brexit that will send a strong message, one which the media and the government will find hard to ignore. It will point the way to what may follow when a Brexit General Election takes place- in 2020 or before.
In the "anti-Brexit" camp we can put Liberal Democrat, Green, Plaid and SNP candidates. I urgently wish Labour would be clearly against hard Brexit (or at least in favour of a further vote for the public). I implore individual Labour council candidates to come out against Brexit personally. For Conservative supporters I recognise the pull of party loyalty. But Brexit is bigger than party. Please, this time, send a message by giving your support to candidates who are against Brexit.
Every person who wants to do something constructive against Brexit should get in touch with their local election candidate. If you live in an area without elections it's not far to places that do have them. Helping a local election campaign isn't glamorous . But if you give them a few hours of your time to deliver leaflets, make phone calls or give a donation to help them contact more voters in a better way than the pro-Brexit candidates, then it can really make a difference. If you want to come and help me win in Faversham, Kent, plese just drop me a line at mail @ favlibdems.com
On 4 May, let's delivering a resounding message against the hard Brexit government.
* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.