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A message from your County Councillor - April 2019

Why I fear for the future of our Democracy.

I am drafting this before the votes are counted in the Local Elections this year. This has been by far the most unpleasant campaign in my 32 years in Local Government, 43 years if you include my early years serving as a Member of Graveney Parish Council.

Even before campaigning started this year there were worrying signs. The larger than usual number of Councillors nationally choosing not to seek re-election. Of particular concern was the large number of these Councillors who had stood for the first time just four years ago in the previous Elections for these seats. Also, the disproportionate number amongst them who were younger and/or female Councillors who had chosen not to stand again. The abuse endured via social media was widely quoted as a major reason behind their decisions. If this trend continues, I fear we will slide to a position where it is only the angry mobs on both the extreme right and extreme left who take part, hurling abuse and I fear worse at each other. I am glad that earlier this Spring I completed my maximum four years as Constituency Association Chairman. It would be very difficult in the current climate to approach potential Candidates and urge them to stand. I am pleased that in the 32 years that I have campaigned I do not believe I have ever stooped to personal abuse or lies about my opponents. I do not intend to start now.

Stop Press

As I am sure most, if not all of you, will be aware by the time you read this I lost my Swale Borough Council seat at the beginning of May after 32 years. It has been an honour and mostly a pleasure to serve the residents of the communities where I was born and have always both lived and worked. Within those communities I have been lucky enough to work with and to get to know so many good and genuine people. People who do so much for their communities without, in most cases, seeking either reward or recognition.

I would wish to pay credit to all who offered themselves for election this year whether successful or not. I appreciate the time and effort so many put in and the ideals that hopefully motivated the vast majority of them.

To my successors I promise my support as long as they work for the benefit of our communities. Only if they put Party Politics first will I seek to oppose and expose them.

I shall continue my duties as your County Councillor. Already, in the first week following the Election results I have attended three Parish Councils, namely Ospringe, Newnham and Stalisfield.

Andrew Bowles Email: Mobile: 07778 629879

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