This was a mischievous stunt I pulled off in 2014. It has limited relevance to the General Election, but – I’d argue – demonstrates my willingness to question the established powers. And it makes people smile!
Back in November 2014, you might have seen or heard about some ‘missing’ posters that appeared all around the community. (Click here to see the full poster.) They playfully flagged up that our elected councillors live faraway, are rarely around (except at election time), show little understanding of nor interest in the life of our community, and generally seem to do very little for us.
Well, it was me that did them.
I felt a bit bad doing it: I don’t like being negative about people, even in a light-hearted way. But I did it because I was totally fed up with our out-of-touch councillors, and wanted to get people talking about the poor state of local politics in our community.
I don’t think that’s unfair. There are a few great local councillors in this city: hard-working folk making a real difference. But sadly, after 10+ years here, I see zero evidence that the current City and Hunslet councillors seem able to do the same.
Interestingly, the posters created quite a storm, in the media (eg here and here), on various online blogs (eg here), all over social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), and in countless conversations.
So I realised that I wasn’t the only one who’s fed up. Everyone I’ve spoken with (including, surprisingly, many Labour members) agreed with the sentiment behind the posters. And some aren’t just fed up – they’re actively furious, feeling like the councillors talk down to them, ignore them, and just aren’t listening.
When I did the posters, I was just a hacked-off citizen taking action. I had no organisation behind me, wasn’t the member of any political party, and wasn’t planning to stand in the election. But when I saw the response, and got talking to people, it felt like I needed to act – and so I put my head above the parapet and stood in the election.
A year on from the posters, I’m afraid nothing’s changed: our elected councillors still aren’t pulling their weight, on any level. I – like many people – am passionate about our communities and our city. We’ve been badly let down, and we deserve better. So it’s time for change – and I’d love to work with you to make that happen.