September 7, 2016
Communities go for representation
The fact that candidates for local council elections are either organised along party lines or stand as independent candidates has always seemed like a missed opportunity in terms of connecting local democracy to local communities. There is no rule to prevent communities from putting forward their own candidates and, given how remote and disconnected many communities feel from their local council, it’s strange that community candidates aren’t more of a feature on the electoral landscape. The recently formed West Dunbartonshire Community Party could be the first of many.
Councillors Jim Bollan and George Black of West Dunbartonshir Council have joined forces to help create a new political party.
‘West Dunbartonshire Community Party’ aims to have local policies set by local people.
These policies will revolve around local issues or areas that directly affect local communities, such services in The Vale of Leven Hospital, new council homes building projects, Trident transportation throughout West Dunbartonshire and a total ban on fracking.
They aim to make sure decisions are taken more at community level, look at council spending, help attract employment and business to the area, look at the River Leven and the Clyde in both an environmental and commercial way and hope to introduce greater democracy into West Dunbartonshire Council.
The party is made up from a wide range of different political backgrounds, some who have not been in a political party for decades and some who pride themselves on being community activists. They are also joined by Jim Bollan and George Black.
Jim had decided to retire next May and George has been independent for several years, but Jim has decided to stand again for his Leven ward and in election for West Dunbartonshire’s community Party in 2017. George has decided to leave his independent status and stand for election in his Dumbarton ward for the new party.
George Black said: “This area needs political direction that is based on the needs of the people not on party political expediency. We need to concentrate on providing local services for local people.
“We have to return to democratic decision making and a first step in this process is to increase the frequency of council meetings to be held in public. We also need to insist on a guaranteed future for our local Vale of Leven Hospital for example. Support us, we are here to serve you.”
Jim said: “The formation of this local party by local people was the main reason I have decided not to retire at the next election but stand again for re-election under the WDCP banner which will concentrate on local issues being raised by communities across West Dunbartonshire.”
WDCP is hoping to attract like-minded people to come forward and represent their communities in the council elections in May 2017.