This is the main letter in the Haslemere Herald today, written by Jeremy Barton, standing inHaslemere South ward in the town council election:
Should there be an SNP candidate for Haslemere’s Town Council?
Of course not! There is no logic for a candidate to bring national politics to our parish council, HTC. From recent correspondence in your paper, it seems everyone agrees on this. So what possible reason is there for any prospective town councillor to be affiliated to any political party in the context of this parish council election?
Perhaps the logic is to align with a party’s policy or with a controlling party’s decisions at Waverley or Surrey cabinet levels. If so, why bother with a town council at all? Why not simply manage all town matters from the County or Borough executive offices?
Perhaps the thinking is to appeal to “people like us”. As a Haslemere resident, I shall be voting for a candidate in the General Election who is affiliated to a national party, but I definitely wouldn’t dare to presume that fellow residents of Haslemere who vote differently from me in that election are not just as committed to Halsemere and its best interests as I am. It is a nonsense to equate fervour for a particular party with fervour for Haslemere, or to claim party allegiance alongside free representation on Haslemere’s parish/town council.
To argue otherwise is simply… well, it’s simply perpetuating party politics in our parish and town!
I am affiliated to Haslemere. That is the only affiliation or allegiance I believe is right, on Haslemere Town Council. Being independent, in this context, means freedom from any manifesto, dictat or “messaging” from party office – or from whichever majority party prevails at either County Hall or Borough Offices; it means not feeling obliged to be consistent with policy announced by my local Member of Parliament or the Leader of County Council; and it means deciding relevant town matters in Town Council meetings and committees, and nowhere else. I commit, if elected, to listen to, and represent, the people of Haslemere in an open, transparent and independent-minded way, serving the furtherance of our precious town’s best interests.
Independent Candidate for Haslemere Town Council, Oversted, Scotland Lane, Haslemere Surrey GU27 3AW