More than just voting

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Who do elected councillors work for?

These are the statements made by my elected Labour party councillor Michelle Cook from the ward ‘Broomhill & Sharrow Vale’ in the STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Group) Facebook group.

“It is my understanding that warnings would be issued, then suspensions and finally dismissal from the Labour group, to use the work analogy and yes most councillors and the HMRC consider our role a job:) the sack.”

“It is not at all helpful when mine and colleagues’ private emails to our clients are constantly being shared amongst this group.”

“The administration operates under a strong leader model and our policies etc are whipped.”

“I have made it clear that I will not defy my party whip, as is my right, as is your right not to go against your own work boss.”

“If you don’t like our policies or us you don’t have to vote for us”

“I could carry on as an independent but that’s no use for people who would like a Labour candidate.”

The number of important misunderstandings in Coun Cook’s statements is overwhelming and deluded to say the least, so let me remind her and other Labour party backbench councillors of what their role and responsibilities are as an elected representative.

Firstly, don’t refer to your constituents who communicate with you as “clients” as though you have a business arrangement with them. If we wish to share anything you have communicated with us, we’re perfectly entitled to as you are in public office.

If you are worried about people reading your emails, I suggest you try to be more careful what you write in them. Whatever the reason for your secrecy is, it can’t be a good one!

The Labour party is your party and NOT your boss and your so-called “strong leader” is your leader and NOT your boss. That’s because this is at least supposedly a democracy not a dictatorship.

You work for US and not your party and you serve ALL constituents, not just those who voted for you.

Last time I checked you are paid by the taxpayer and not by the Labour party.

To treat this honourable role as a job is disgusting. Democracy is about more than just voting, and when we do vote we’re not giving you our full blessing to do whatever the hell you or your so-called “strong leader” wants.

You have been chosen to represent our views. You are meant to support and represent the views of your constituents and that should also reflect in how you vote. Saying you will not defy your party whip is immoral and disgraceful.

You and other councillors who hide behind your party whip fail their primary duty of representing their constituents and should not be re-elected. There is absolutely nothing stopping you defying the whip except your own political/monetary interest.

I wonder how many times you used the line “I will not defy my party whip, as is my right” when canvassing your constituents for the votes of the people you now ignore?

If I’d known I was voting for a gutless sheep I wouldn’t have wasted my vote on you. And when you knock on my door next election time please make sure you bring your whip!

Your behaviour has sadly made me (a lifelong Labour member) leave the party I’ve so loved and believed represented me.

Lividly, Your “Client”, Mrs W

by email