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Letters / What is the point?

The SIC is staging an event on Monday aimed at encouraging more women to stand for the council.

Ordinarily I would applaud this, but right now and until we see some major reforms to our utterly broken political system, being an elected councillor is almost a total waste of time.

And I would go further by asking a few questions which a growing number of people are also asking here in Shetland and throughout Scotland, as more and more folk turn off from the almost total lack of any meaningful democracy.

So outside of running the statutory local services which is done by paid officials and having meetings about meetings in the town hall,

  1. what is the point of elected members (councillors) when they will not or cannot do anything meaningful to properly and fairly represent the community?
  2. what is the point of elected members that have little dialogue with the community?
  3. what is the point of elected members that repeatedly say that their hands are tied?
  4. what is the point of elected members that open their arms wide to any money waving corporation with loads of bulldozers?

That’s just a taste of some of the questions ordinary people around Shetland and Scotland are now asking, and apart from general elections, bye-elections and local elections every few years, ordinary local people are waking up to the fact that we have no say in anything at all that affects our lives in the communities we live in.

I will not repeat my previous and recent comments on how big money, Viking Energy, The Orion Project and the Aker Offshore developments, show how the democratic deficit, but I will add that various conversations with present and past elected members here in Shetland and on the mainland reveal much frustration, sadness and at times anger at how politically sterile elected members feel.

It matters not what your gender is in all this, but if you have loads of time to read masses of reports and blether about them without any tools to make meaningful change or improvements to community life, go ahead; and if you have nothing better to do, go ahead; but be warned.

In the present political climate, there will be precious little reward for giving up a huge part of your life.

Vic Thomas