Local government matters

I AM grateful to all those who voted in the local elections on May 2, and particularly grateful, naturally, to those who voted to give me a further term on the County Council.

It was disappointing although not altogether surprising to find that only one in three electors had turned out to vote.

Unlike the Observer, the national press persist in treating local elections as if they were a referendum on the ongoing performance of National Government.

It is small wonder that many people and some parties treat the elections as an opportunity to protest.

But in truth when it comes to the level of local taxes, the provision of services and – yes - dealing with potholes, those elected on May 2 will be taking those decisions, and we shall be there for the next four years.

While grateful for the chance to serve my community again, I rather wish that many more people would come to the realisation that local government costs each family a good deal of money and deserves to be judged on its own merits.

We need to be kept on our toes, and the best way of doing that is not to treat local councillors as cannon fodder for the pratfalls of central government.

I am truly thankful therefore to those who turned out to give me a fresh mandate and hope that in future many more of the electorate will come to realise just how much good local government matters to them.

John Barnes

East Sussex County Councillor for Rother North West