Independents for Sutton
Sutton Coldfield becomes largest Parish Council in the UK
On Tuesday 1st March, the Parish of Sutton Coldfield came into existence. It is the largest Parish Council in the UK. to mark the occasion, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Raymond Hassall, handed over the chains of office, mace and mayoral robes that belonged to Sutton Coldfield before it became part of Birmingham in 1974.
Some fantastic press coverage over the weekend.
What? No politics?
For too long, local government has been ruled by politicians and political parties and NOT the residents; it is there to serve. There is a revolution across the UK to take back control of local government.
In 2011, Independents for Frome (IfF) took 10 of the 17 seats on Frome Town Council and took control back from politicians who were serving their own party rather than the residents of Frome. In 2015, residents were so pleased with the change that IfF took all 17 seats - voted for by residents.
Too many times we are told "it can't be done" or "it will cost too much" or "that's not what residents want" when in fact it CAN be done, it IS affordable and it IS what YOU want. Independent councillors can do that for you.
Following the election results in May 2016,
It’s been a tough campaign but also a fun and interesting one. It’s been great talking to residents on the street. Sutton Coldfield has 4 wards and we won seats in two of these wards. We won 3 out of 6 seats in Sutton Vesey together with 2 Labour and 1 Conservative. We were disappointed not to get 4 in this ward but delighted to get 3 of us in.
I was one of the elected councillors along with Cllr Claire Bennet and Cllr Louise Passey. In sutton Trinity we now have Cllr Claire Bennett plus 5 Conservative councillors. The votes were very close with one of our candidates only 100 votes out (achieved just under 2,000 votes) and the other 2 just 200 votes out (we only fielded 4 out of 6 candidates in each ward for strategic reasons to avoid the ‘split’ vote). In the other 2 wards the Conservatives ran a dirty tricks campaign where they said nothing about what they could do but tried to spread ‘dirt’ on independent candidates with a leaflet to every household. They were determined to get 24 councillors with phrases like “only Conservative councillors can negotiate with your Conservative government to get more powers devolved from Birmingham” (hmmm . . . negotiating with the wrong people there). Our MP referred to us as “headless chickens” and “rag bags”. We were accused one minute of being a Trojan Horse of Labour in disguise and the next minute of being UKIP. This negative campaigning clearly hurt us and shows what a sad state of affairs some political parties are. We had lots of really good coverage in the local newspaper and a last minute large donation meant we had an advertisement on the full inside back page. Our MP managed to use his ‘view from the house’ column as a party political broadcast for the Conservatives and to tell deliberate lies. We managed to leaflet most houses in the Town and we had lots of positive responses in all of our shopping centres on Saturdays and also at railway stations once a week in the evenings. It’s a real shame that to the political parties it’s all about control and power and they cannot see that independents genuinely don’t have an interest in that but want to make the Town Council succeed. We now have 4 councillors plus 2 allies in Labour who are happy to put aside their political flags and work without a whip. We are yet to see how the Conservatives will behave but we have made a statement that we wish to work with them in order to make Sutton Coldfield Town Council succeed. However, if they block vote on issues that are not in the interests of residents we will challenge them. A massive thank you has to go to Peter Macfadyen for his book Flatpack Democracy which has inspired us all and we’ve taken much of the advice from it. We tried to encourage people to vote to increase turnout, but this didn’t work and so we need to find better ways of getting to the 68% who didn’t vote in 2 years’ time for the next all-out election.
Who we are.