Well, as many of you will know, I was elected, and by quite some margin! I always anticipated that the prospect of getting elected as the County Councillor for the Lydeard Division was going to be a tough one. While I came close in the Taunton Deane elections two years ago (I missed out by 8 votes!) there were many more votes available in those elections so it was surprising and gratifying to win by more than 600 votes in this election, an election in which I’d never previously stood. In addition to my election, another Independent, Hugh Davies, was elected, to represent the Watchet and Stogursey Division. Three other Independents were unsuccessful, including Steve Ross who came within a hundred or so votes of representing the Upper Tone Division, which includes Wiveliscombe and Milverton. A little of the shine was removed from my election by the fact that the Conservatives retained their majority at County Hall, boosted from 1 seat on election night to 3 with the victory of Marcus Fysh in the delayed election in the Coker Division a little over a week ago. As readers of my blog will know, I have been disappointed with much of what the Conservatives have done during their first term at County Hall. I was hopeful that the elections would yield a Council under no overall control, a ‘hung’ Council, in which more moderate voices would hold sway. Well, that didn’t happen. However, I have met John Osman, re-elected as Leader of Somerset County Council and, despite earlier perceptions, see the possibility of a more considered administration than that in evidence during much of the last 4 years. Partly as a result of their reduced majority and partly due to the non-election of some more ‘extreme’ characters on the Conservative benches, I believe the administration will act in a more collegiate fashion; I believe that I may be able to work with them. I may be wrong about this, and if I am I’ll be sure to let everyone know and devise a strategy to combat their actions.
I have been appointed to the Audit Committee and will use that position to hold the Council to account in the money that it spends. But I will spend the majority of my time as a County Councillor fighting to maintain services in this Division; seeing that developers are held to their promises, that our roads are kept in decent condition, that planning decisions are made on a sound and sustainable basis, that vulnerable people are cared for, that our schools are properly funded and managed, that sustainable transport solutions are implemented, that the flytipping scourge is curbed. In short, I will work to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people of this Division.