Login Register

Martin Kirby Column; Home Turf, Remote Shopping and Doing Their Bit

By Moanagram  |  Posted: May 10, 2013

  • Hall of fame? Where new Councillors will get down to business.

Comments (2)

Now all the fuss surrounding the local election is over, we can look forward to some common-sense decisions from the County Council, as members get down to the hard work of making Gloucestershire a better, fairer place to live.
Oh – sorry, I must have nodded off and started dreaming!
Where was I? Ah yes, the election.
Clearly, not everyone will have the person they wanted representing them, but that's the way these things work and for all its faults, I don't think there's anything better than the 'first past the post' system. What I do find strange is the wide area over which those who aspire to be our humble servants seem to live. Let's use my home turf as an example.
On polling day in Tuffley, we had four candidates to choose from but in my view, only one of them could truly identify with the people living in this area – Colin Organ.
I have no qualms about telling you I put my cross against his name, not because he's a Tory, but because I know him. He lives in Tuffley and therefore has as much, if not more, knowledge of what needs to be done on the patch as anyone else.
Without wishing to upset Mr Organ, I have to admit that for a short time, my pencil hovered over the UKIP candidate, but in the end I chose the local bod and to me, that's what it should be about. The Labour candidate, Tracy Millard, who was elected, lives in Abbeydale. Allen Prout, who contested the seat for UKIP, is a resident of Gorsley, near Ross On Wye, while Lib Dem Isabel Brazil lives in Kingsholm. I don't understand why people would want to represent an area some considerable distance from where they live. Why not stand for election in their own areas?
Successful candidates David Brown, Barry Kirby (no relation) and Richard Leppington, all live in the areas they have been elected to represent and I think that should be one of the conditions of putting yourself forward for local elections.
I'm not suggesting for one moment that Councillor Millard will not give it her best shot, but it stands to reason that someone who is acting for Tuffley but lives in Abbeydale, must be at a disadvantage.

Considering they are sitting at home in front of their computers, most people who do their supermarket shopping online would find it hard to understand how they can affect me when I'm wandering up and down the aisles, doing 'real' shopping.
However, I can assure them they do have an effect and sometimes it's a damned nuisance. At certain times of the day – it seems like all day – the aisles are packed with 'home shopping staff', busy filling carrier bags for those who have clicked their way through the weekly shopping list.
The packers seem to be everywhere, shoving their wheeled boxes in front of them and generally clogging-up the gangway so that my trolley can't squeeze through.
At peak times, the situation is almost unbearable and puts at least 15 minutes on my weekly visit. If it gets any worse, I shall have to start shopping online. If you can't beat 'em…….

It's a sad fact of life in the 21st century that the sight of two teenage lads with their jeans at half-mast around their bums, entering the front gardens of houses, arouses a certain amount of suspicion. But far from doing harm, the young chaps I spotted were delivering the monthly newsletter of the Three Bridges Community Partnership.
The TBCP is a run by some dedicated people who typify the 'big society' that the Prime Minister is always banging on about. As well as supporting small, local businesses, the TBCP organises activities for both young and elderly residents of Podsmead, Grange and Tuffley, and generally harangues the city council into providing services for the area. To find out more, or get involved, email steveoconnor23@yahoo.co.uk – any help is welcome.

Read more from Gloucester Citizen

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters


  • Mike_Smith_Gl  |  May 12 2013, 2:28PM

    I take your point that, in an ideal world, candidates in local elections should stand in the Ward/Division in which they live. I can assure him that UKIP's priority and, in all fairness, I suspect that of the old parties, is that this should happen. However, the situation often arises when we have two or more good candidates living in the same Ward/Division, especially in the very large County Divisions. Only one can stand. At the same time we have no suitable candidates in other Ward/Divisions. So, should we deny those good candidates the opportunity to serve whilst depriving the electors in the other Ward/Division the right to vote for the Party of their choice? We thought 'No, in a democracy people should be given the widest possible choice.' As it was we had complaints from people living in the couple of Divisions in which we were unable to find suitable candidates. They were disappointed that they were unable to vote for the Party of their choice. In the past we have been able to say to prospective candidates - "Put your name forward - don't worry, there's little chance of you being elected". Now, we have to say to people "If you are elected, are you able and willing to devote the (considerable) time to be an effective Councillor?"

  • SELINA30  |  May 10 2013, 1:15PM

    What total nonsense. If a doctor treats someone who doesn't live in his street does that make him a bad doctor? If Martin just reported events in Tuffley would that make him a better journalist? Perhaps Martin Kirby should stand for Ukip at the next elections as they don't like outsiders either.