Sometimes government can seem like several factions of warring children, and policy itself seems to have been thought up by preschoolers, so here is my daughter Marianna’s thoughts on some policy areas from the current government.
“The Lady [Theresa May] wanted to shut all the hospitals”
“The nasty lady [Theresa May] wants the doggies to hurt the foxes, its bad”
“The Silly Man [Boris Johnson] doesn’t like all the other people”
“The Scary Lady [I assume Theresa May] doesn’t want the babas to have food or toys, when they want pizza and dolly’s and we should give them some books”
” I like the other people”
“[Bombs] are bad, because they blow up peoples houses and the poor baba’s”
NB: Neither I nor Marianna’s mother have ever taught her to refer to Theresa May as nasty or scary, this is just a conclusion she has drawn for herself, along with calling Boris Johnson the silly man.
This is the third in a series of posts trying to de-mystify politics for everyday people.
What on earth does local government do? Its a tricky question to answer. There are 55 unitary authorities in England and 22 in Wales and whilst the duties of each individual council differs from council to council, most are responsible for the maintenance of highways, social care and education, as well as small schemes provision and local jobs creation schemes.
Councils will be made up of directly elected councillors which will then form a cabinet and decide on matters of education, social care, housing etc. Councillors will work with permanently employed officers of that council to set a budget and deliver policy for the areas that are devolved to that particular council.
Most people have the misconception that councils are funded entirely by council tax. This is wrong. Whilst council tax is my highest monthly bill after housing, in order to cover the entire cost of running a council I estimate that my council tax would have to go up by about 1000%. Councils, get somewhere between 75-90% of their funding from central government. So this is why it really annoys me when people complain about council services, using the old line “I pay my council tax” to justify whatever they’re griping about,because the majority of the councils money comes from Westminster or the Welsh Assembly and actually seems to be going down year on year, whilst council tax goes up and up, without being too much of a burden on the rate payers.
Hopefully this post answers some of the questions you have about local government, and with the elections coming later this year, you’re bound to have at least one or two that need answering.
So today I was going to do a massive post about the political conferences of the week but illness precludes me from doing so, also it would probably be better to do a post mortem of conference season after all the conferences are over.
However in order to keep my content fresh and new here is a piece about the upcoming Welsh Assembly elections. For those that didn’t know there are approximately seven months until the Welsh Assembly elections (as well as the elections to the Scottish Parliament, Various English local authorities and the London Mayoral elections all taking place) so here’s a quick guide to the election in Wales and a brief history of the Welsh Assembly:
Candidates will be fighting for 60 seats on the 5th May 2016
There are 40 constituency seats that will be fought on a first past the post system
There are also twenty seats that will be decided on a proportional representation system.
Each registered voter will receive two ballot papers one for their constituency and one for their region.
The average turnout for assembly elections is between 45%-50%
There has never been an outright majority government in the Welsh Assembly the closest is the Labour Party with 30 of the 60 seats forming a government.
The Welsh Labour Party has been the majority party at every Welsh Assembly Election and has formed all four Welsh Assembly Governments.
There have been two coalition partnerships in order to form Welsh Governments, the first being between The Welsh Labour Party and the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 1999-2003 and between the Welsh Labour Party and Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) from 2007 until the most recent election in 2011 which saw the formation of a Minority Government of the Welsh Labour Party.
The Welsh Conservatives are currently the only party represented in the Welsh Assembly that has never formed a government and is currently the official opposition the Welsh Labour Government by dint of being the second largest party in the Assembly.
Polls for the election will open at 7 AM on Thursday the 5th of May 2016 and Close at 10PM with results being counted and announced thereafter.
Hope that clears everything up for you all and now I know that like the rest of us politicos, you’ll be counting the days until the election…is over. Have a lovely weekend people.