I am writing in response to the letter from Councillor Linda Bromley extolling the virtues of being an independent councillor.
In my view the councillor is giving a very misleading view of political reality. Freedom of thought does not disappear upon joining a political group. The party system groups together men and women who share core values. Membership gives the opportunity to share ideas with like-minded people, to learn from others input your own experiences then arrive at a mutually agreed course of action that will best serve constituents.
Believe me as a former councillor I do know the in-depth, often lengthy discussions that lead to a consensus within the Labour group - every member having the opportunity to say their piece. Obviously I have no knowledge what goes on at other party group meetings.
But the idea of a group of independents with a group leader, I find confusing. To what purpose do they hold group meetings prior to council meetings? Surely there’s a contradiction here somewhere.
Cllr Bromley suggests that voters at local elections should vote for candidate not party. This view is expressed by people in the work-place, in pubs, shops and on the doorstep, but in reality when it comes down to putting cross on paper the vast majority do vote for party.
Any candidate, man or woman who stands under a political banner is making a statement telling you what they believe in. No banner, no way of knowing.
A final thought. If there were 40-plus independent councillors at a district council meeting would it ever end, with everyone wanting to have their say? Perhaps if they formed like-minded groups, ah!, but then they wouldn’t be independent would they?
Roger Smith, Warwick Branch Labour Party