The Thick of It


Thursday, January 15, 2009

WASP councillors?

The Local Government Chronicle reports today that the average age of councillors in England is now 59.

In their 2008 annual National Census of Local Authority Councillors the Local Government Association asked our locally elected representatives a range of profiling questions. The results reveal a clearly defined image of England's councillors:
  • 97% are white
  • 87% are over 45
  • 68% are male
It is not surprising that our town halls are run by older, white men. That doesn't make it right. Turnout for local elections is typically very low, at around 35%. Engagement in local politics isn't exciting for many busy people. However Local politics can never enthuse voters if it doesn't both change it's image and start to look more like the communities it represents.

I like to think that my pitch that as a young man I could offer representation of young people in the place of experience, at the 2006 local elections, helped me to significantly increase the Labour vote.

All of the major parties need to ensure their candidates look like the people they will represent. We need more young people, more women, more different people. I hope that I won't look at the same survey in ten years and see the same results.

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