Cllr Bob Piper, the author of one of the more entertaining councillor blogs, wrote a very interesting post about loyalty to the "party" a couple of days ago. I think it must be weighing on his mind because today he follows up with another post on the relevance of political parties. Perhaps this is a result of reading the Power Inquiry Report which articulates what many people have been feeling that "The current way of doing politics is killing politics."
Our experience of Politics at the local government level is not entirely positive. Often disagreements between parties in closely contested councils causes officers to shy away from activities that engage with the public and the biggest turn off during the I’m a Councillor is when Councillors of opposing parties bitch about each other in a unconstructive manner.
That said, our experience of local politicians who do take part is generally pretty good. In the majority they put aside party politics to find out what young people think and when party politics do come up they try to explain their differences in a mature constructive way (with the occasional tongue-in-cheek dig).
Our advice to councillors when engaging with young people (and the same holds true I believe for not-so-young people) is to say what you stand for clearly and concisely without making it the party line.