Thursday, 1 June 2017

Lucky Hemingbrough - but another independent Councillor is needed!

Parish Councils are not associations’ charities, clubs or societies.  They are the first tier of Government.  Laws govern their role, duties, powers and behaviour. Their local residents fund them.  Most residents could not give a toss about them, until they have a problem.  Few people vote to elect them, fewer take any interest in their work, even fewer watch Councillors in action until they have a problem, then they turn up only for the first 15 minutes.

Therefore, it is your fault if a faction rules your Parish Council.  In Parishes where there are fewer Candidates than available seats, everyone putting forward their name is ‘elected’ without a contest in an UNCONTESTED ELECTION.  

Many times, ruling faction field the same number of candidates as seats to discourage new candidates (Sorry, we have enough Councillors, try next time!).  That is when Parish Councils can become Clubs, national rules can fly out of the window and angry Letters to local newspapers are ‘answered’ by a compliant Parish Clerk.      

At the Parish Elections in Selby District in 2015, only SIX Councils were contested.  SIXTY-THREE were uncontested.            

CONTESTED PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS, where some residents care.
Brayton, Hambleton, Hemingbrough, Selby (North), Selby (South) Selby (West)

UNCONTESTED PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS, where most residents don’t give a toss.
Acaster Selby, Appleton Roebuck, Balne, Barkston Ash, Barlby (Bridge), Barlby (Osgodby), Barlby (Village), Barlow, Beal, Biggin, Bilbrough, Bolton Percy, Brotherton, Burn, Burton Salmon, Byram Cum Sutton, Camblesforth, Carlton, Cawood, Chapel Haddlesey, Church Fenton, Cliffe, Colton, Cridling Stubbs, Drax, Eggborough, Escrick, Fairburn, Gateforth, Grimston, Heck, Hensall, Hillam, Hirst Courtney, Kelfield, Kellington, Kirk Smeaton, Kirkby Wharfe with North Milford, Little Smeaton, Long Drax, Monk Fryston, Newland, Newton Kyme Cum Toulston, North Duffield, Riccall, Ryther Cum Ossendyke, Saxton Cum Scarthingwell, Selby (St James), Sherburn In Elmet, Skipwith, South Milford, Steeton, Stillingfleet, Stutton with Hazlewood, Tadcaster (East), Tadcaster (West), Thorganby, Thorpe Willoughby, Towton, Ulleskelf, Whitley, Wistow, Womersley.

In Hemingbrough, there are enough residents turning up every month to keep the warring factions mostly in line.  They need it.  Of the eleven supposedly independent Councillors supposedly there to do their best for residents, three Gangs do their best for their own members.

Does it matter?  It you organise a club or society in Hemingbrough, for example, do you know when the Selby District Council Community Engagement Forum (CEF) has funds for which you can apply?  The most sought-after Parish Council ‘Committee’ is for attending the CEF. They hear of the funds first and they make the best contacts.  How often do they tell you?

Who are the Parish Council ‘Community Engagement Forum Reps’ again?  Bob Proctor, Vice-chairman, and Forbes Davidson – both Directors of the ‘Hall for Hemingbrough’ private Gang’.  The ‘Hagg Lane Green Gang’ held the posts when they were in power. The ‘Parish History Gang’ is lagging behind, and is short of money, and probably short of contacts, so maybe that’s why the old, flooded, diesel tanks, said to be deteriorating, with ‘no plans or drawings’ are heading towards Parish Council ownership.

Every Parish Council can expect a vacancy in its four-year term.  Sickness, moving away, or plain old fed-up.  Councils prudently set aside £2,000 to cover local election costs - what Selby calls “the Costs of Democracy”.  That senior council wants residents to vote for local, independent candidates. 

Many sitting Councillors will do anything to stop that; THEY WANT TO CO-OPT THEIR MATES, OR THE INDIVIDUAL FACTIONS WANT ANOTHER MEMBER.  They will dissuade anyone from standing, (What about the costs?  We will get you the application form, Sorry; it must have been delayed, etc)

In Hemingbrough, there are only two independent Councillors who don’t belong to, or side with one of the three gangs - Councillors Chilvers and Terry.  There could be three, but Councillor Sedman, a really nice guy, say’s virtually nothing whenever he turns up.  He is sometimes described as a ‘Friend of the Hagg Lane Gang’ as he was co-opted when they held the Council majority, but since three of them lost their seats in 2015, who knows?