A new post from BelperStuff
In every election there is something that stands out, something that captures the mood. In the 2010 general election it was the myth of Labour debt and hug a husky; in 2015 it was the false spectre of the SNP pulling Labour's strings; then in the 2016 local elections it was the inability of the Tory Amber Valley Borough Council to respond to voters wishes to oppose housing developments on green fields.
So what has struck me as being the motif of 2017 and the fight for control of Derbyshire County Council?
It was the Labour candidate for Duffield and Belper South, Carol Angharad, speaking passionately last week about the anger she feels at the damage to local services caused by cut after cut of central government funding of local councils (since 2010 a reduction of 37%). Following her barnstorming performance I really wanted to interview Carol for the BelperStuff blog, to find out where she gets her energy and what drives her. Carol is retired after a lifetime of caring for others, her children, grandchildren ........ and also the many children and adults she helped during her career as a social worker.
In the past I have canvassed with Carol, going from door to door speaking with voters of all persuasions and what I learnt very quickly was that it was best if I did not try to match her walking speed. Carol's energy and drive put me to shame. She set herself a mammoth task of calling on as many of the homes in the electoral division as possible and I know that she is still out there, visiting yet more of the 4,927 homes in the district. She has been at it for months.
At the hustings Carol mentioned some of the stories of those she had visited and stressed that 15% of the households in the division were occupied by single pensioners ............ that's 740 pensioners living on their own. She spoke of those in need of care and it is a salutary lesson to learn that in the Duffield & South Belper division there are 1,384 folk receiving unpaid care. No wonder Carol is angry at government cuts. She reminded me that some parts of the country care services have been halved following swinging Tory cuts. No wonder Carol is angry.