A scarcity of true passion in our lacklustre election

COMMENT: The normal cut and thrust of local democracy has felt distinctly missing this time around as the candidates lumber towards the finishing line

Thursday, 28th April

camden council 5 Pancras Square Image 2021-02-24 at 14.37.51 (5)

‘There’s been a sense of weary exhaustion, perhaps post-pandemic, in the run up to next Thursday’s poll’

IS there an election on?

There’s been a sense of weary exhaustion, perhaps post-pandemic, in the run up to next Thursday’s poll.

The normal cut and thrust of local democracy has felt distinctly missing this time around as the candidates lumber towards the finishing line.

Labour is cruising to victory and the Conservatives are only really setting their sights on slim gains.

The Greens – often a voice of alternative ideas in north London – are standing in only about a half of the Camden wards. Only eight years ago they were able to field candidates right across the borough with a ‘full slate’.

And where are the Lib Dems? They also seem like a party in flux.

They have more or less absented themselves from hustings and events outside just three wards.

You might have forgotten that once – albeit for a short-lived period –they had the largest group at the Town Hall.

Many may feel their options are narrowing for when they head to the polling stations next week.

Well done to the civic groups who have actually spent the time setting up events and making sure the candidates know how important it is that their views are represented in the Town Hall.

But despite the good intentions, the hustings so far have been notable for the lack of real debate beyond promises to be greener, cleaner, fairer, safer and so on.

Candidates are haggling over the centre ground. Many may see parties looking to protect a status quo.

Remember the importance of the environmental crisis? Not so long ago, saving the planet was top of the political agenda.

But even that is being thought of once again in political circles as something that can be managed with pragmatism and compromise.

The traffic-stopping tactics of Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion are now branded as extreme by the ever-so-sensible Labour Party.

Anyone expecting radical change to environment policy in the near future may be waiting a very long time.

Sadly, and we won’t give them any exposure in our pages, there have been those who have stirred up hate in the south of the borough during these elections.

Meanwhile, crude leaflets that have been posted around about one young candidate should also act as a cause for concern.

In this most vacuous of council elections, with democracy dwindling, there is a danger that the most dangerous form of extremism, racism, will continue to churn up from beneath the surface.

Related Articles