Monday saw the start of the election process at the council. Prospective candidate and election agents gathered together in the council chamber to hear about key dates, postal vote procedures, who can and cannot stand, which forms need completing, who can help complete them and about how our electoral system is shrouded in law that will not be compromised.
This is the third candidate briefing that I have attended and it was nice to have some company on this occasion. There wasn’t anything massively different in the information presented – other than the introduction of voter ID which is a big change and could have significant implications for voter turn out. The opportunity to ask questions of the election services team is always welcome and they are a fabulous team who are always willing to answer the most basic of questions.
So here I am preparing to stand again… You may ask why. To be honest I’ve asked myself the same question several times over the last month. Third time lucky? Can I ever win? Could I even close the 1859 vote deficit?
In the 3 years I have been pursuing this role my reasons remain unchanged…
I believe that Oakwood needs someone with a fresh perspective to represent them. I am someone who lives in the community and uses the local services and facilities on a daily basis. I have a young family, who will grow up in the area, and so my mind is firmly fixed on the future of Oakwood and ensuring that is not only thrives but flourishes.
I believe that Oakwood needs someone with the energy and drive to facilitate new initiatives. I want to be able to bring the community together and get different groups supporting each other. Whether it is the Safer Neighbourhood Team, churches, youth groups, businesses, residents association, councillors, community centre or other groups, we all share the same desire – to create a community spirit and make Oakwood an even better place to live. I see part of the councillor’s role to bring these groups together, to liaise with them and encourage them in their activities.
I also believe that Oakwood deserves the same service as our neighbouring wards. In the last year particularly, I have become aware of lots of new initiatives happening in Chaddesden and Derwent. There has been the formation of the Traders Association, which led to a community Christmas tree and lights, Easter activities in Chaddesden Park, surgeries, neighbourhood board meetings, deep cleans, fireworks, speed watch, compactor days, parking clampdowns, litter picks and general neighbourhood improvements. Maybe it’s more noticeable because these councillors actively promote these activities on Facebook but I’m not aware of any similar activities going on in Oakwood and really think there should be. (I would be thrilled if you could prove me wrong.)
Finally, I believe that Oakwood residents need an alternative choice to the main parties. In a time when party politics is ruining our country because MPs have realised that party lines don’t fit with their values and the opinions of their constituents. As a non-party candidate I would be representing, not the views of a party, but the views of Oakwood residents. Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and whilst I would not be able to please everybody all of the time, I can put my views aside, consult, listen, respond and represent the people of Oakwood in the way that I vote.
So there you have it. I hate that I have to promote myself in order to get the role of Oakwood Councillor. This is not about me. This is about you – Oakwood residents. Some people can win elections without doing anything but what I face now is 6 weeks of intense campaigning. Without a party behind me I have to rely on family and friends, who are willing to put their faith in me, and a growing team of volunteers , who I am humbled will spare me their time, in order to get leaflets delivered. I have a limited budget from my own pocket to spend on campaign materials and the inability to work due to electoral rules about being employed by the council during the election period.
I care passionately about Oakwood and the people that live here. The increase in votes between 2016 (316 votes) and 2018 (469 votes) gives me a mandate to continue and I will fight for better representation for Oakwood on the council.
All I ask is that people have the ability to make an informed choice on 2nd May. Please spread the word that I am that alternative choice. People can find out more about me by following me on Facebook (Alex Dann – Oakwood Independent Candidate), Twitter (Alex Dann – Oakwood Independent), Instagram (alexdannoakwood) and by reading my blog (oakwoodindependent.uk).
If you are able to support my campaign, in a small way, by displaying a poster or garden board, wearing a badge or delivering a few leaflets please get in touch to email@example.com.