But what are the ISSUES?
According to a recent IPSOS Mori Political Monitor survey, the salient NATIONAL issues are “Economy, Immigration and Healthcare”. Key to that debate is whether the recovering UK economy needs more or less austerity, the living vs minimum wage and of course how our taxes are to be raised and spent.
In this debate healthcare questions seem to focus on NHS funding and the prudent allocation of resources and Ipsos Mori’s Political monitor says that this very important to 46% of respondents.
The old chestnut Immigration remains a major national issue and is closely tied with the UKs relationship with Europe. Again it seems to be about jobs, resources and funding.
There are other national issues of course and it is likely that over the coming months the major national parties will jostle for pole position on how best to address these issues. These inevitably include education, transparency and the accountability of governance.We will all be asked to consider their manifestos and decide with a cross who is best to take the country into the future.
Locally we are faced with a similar yet strikingly different election.
Granted the economy, healthcare and even population flows are relevant for Uttlesford and Saffron Walden but in a completely different way.
I suggest we all wish to preserve our district and its near utopian lifestyle but we do need to consider how our council allocates our resources to maintain and improve our local economy.
Similarly whilst we realise that we need to accommodate new folk in our area and need to provide the necessary infrastructure and jobs for them, how we go about housing and accommodating them is currently a hot and complex topic.
Healthcare too is a local issue. As with all our local resources, we need more access to surgeries and to ensure that local funding priorities reflect the demands of our own community rather than those of Westminster.
It may be argued that the first priority for our local election is in fact transparency of governance and the accountability of our representatives to the folk who elect them.
It is surely only an accountable council that would put the public’s best interests before those of their national parties. We need a council that listens and a council that acts accordingly.
It is therefore essential that we consider our vote for national government completely separately from our local council.
So whilst we may align ourselves to a major national party in May we still ought to carefully consider our own local issues when casting our other vote – for district council.
The issues may be similar but they are definitely not the same.