Independent forum: label is a throwback

Ballot box
Ballot box

In reponse to Brian Betts’ letter in last week’s Chad, there is no other word on the Electoral Commission’s forms for a collection of people who want to join together to focus on local issues in a more democratic way than parties.

The Electoral Commission’s forms should perhaps be more flexible in their terminology to accommodate alliances other than ‘parties’ - a label which is a throw-back from times past. There is more diversity in the electoral process now.

Mansfield Independent Forum does not operate like a party - this very word has connotations with a bunch of people having a good time. We don’t sit around in a bar at the Civic or swan around in a chauffeured stretch limo at tax-payers’ expense. Nor do we claim for duck houses, Mars bars or ‘John Lewis’ type house and garden adornments, etc.

Mansfield Independent Forum members are free to speak and vote in the interests of local people and we do not receive instructions from a central or regional office remote from the local area. We are not cowed or constrained by a party whip.

We aim to respond to the local community in a way that serves the community interest and not a party political interest.

Independent Forum members believe that often national party dogma does not translate well to local government .

We believe that sound local governance depends on people who listen and acknowledge others – and yes, even those who proclaim by their poster that they hate Independents whom they perceive ‘are lower than vermin’.

We believe that good local governance depends on people of goodwill and hard-working commitment who can arrive at sensible decisions on their merits for the good of the community which they serve and who are not driven by higher party allegiance.

Promoting petty squabbling and macho-type insults is a time-wasting luxury that Mansfield District cannot afford.

Cllr. Christine Smith

For Mansfield Independent Forum

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