When Jeremy Vine dances across his election map at some point on Friday, and declares it’s been a good night for the Tories, or a bad day for Labour, what he’s actually saying is ‘Local democracy is failing.’
Because local politics should be about local issues. It should be about people engaging with the issues affecting them locally and getting the chance to choose between candidates who, while loosely representing political parties, are slugging it out not on political colours, but important local matters.
National politicians, however, don’t seem to see it that way. And for as long as that doesn’t change, then the chances of people really engaging with their right to vote in local election in the sorts of numbers we saw in previous decades remains slim. The game of politics wins, the strength of local communities diminishes.
Local politicians always wring their hands at low turnouts in local elections. But what do they expect when the prime minister uses phrases like this: