Frome Town Council caused a minor sensation a few years back when the ‘Independents’ won some seats on the council and then won all of them. However, in an effort to ‘break the mould’ of old party politics they had instead just created a ‘one party state’ of independents. On 15th March Frome people have the chance to break that mould with an input of socialism and can vote instead for Labour Party candidate Neil Burns.
Neil, who lives in Frome with his wife and their two children, is standing for the Market Ward in the Frome Town Council by-election. Neil says “Every election is a choice: you can choose more of the same or you can vote for a party with a plan for change -and that is the Labour Party.”.
Challenging One-Party rule
Neil is able to use the Frome Independents own rationale against them and has picked up on a growing mood in Frome that the Independents have actually become victim of not thinking through their own success and have now become less democratic through their successes. Neil says “I heartily agree with the views of your former ‘Independents for Frome’ councillor when he said upon resigning that one-party rule is not healthy for the Town Council. Debate and accountability are vital.”
Staking his credentials for the post Neil adds “In my career, I have over 18 years of retail experience where I manage teams,projects and budgets. As your councillor, I will provide the scrutiny and accountability necessary in the management of Frome Town Council. There is so much potential in both the town and the people of Frome, but we need a diverse and democratic council that wants to serve you. Labour can do this. Labour changes society to bring equality and fairness in our communities. I will stand up for all of the people in the town, because that is what we do in the Labour Party. I want to give you a fairer Frome that works for the many not the few.”
4 Cornered Fight
The 4 cornered fight for Frome will be between
Neil Burns (Labour)
Mark Dorrington (Independents for Frome)
Drew Gardner (Liberal Democrats)
Elizabeth John (Conservatives)
IfF put out a self-confident statement saying “In 2015 IfF candidates won all 17 seats on Frome Town Council. The earlier this year one of our number moved out of the town – an event which had not been planned back in 2015. He hasn’t gone far and could have decided to continue with his role as town councillor but felt that, in the true spirit of democracy, he should stand down…..Whatever happens on March 15 there will still be a majority of IfF councillors on the Town Council (there are still 16 of us). “
The old school parties that have traditionally run the town, district, county and not long ago, the ‘country’ (in a disastrous coalition) are also trying to get a toehold back on the reins of powers. Tory candidate Elizabeth John is a former Town Councillor and a former Mendip District Councillor and is making the case for “ Efficient financial management” (presumably in the hope that people have forgotten the financial mess Tory controlled Somerset County council is currently in) and “..a wider range of retail outlets.” (Frome is well known for it’s dominance by Independent retailers) while Lib Dem candidate Drew Gardner is offering “stacks of enthusiasm and energy” and a promise to “walk through your ward most days”(albeit to get to his office).
Vote Labour on March 15th
Frome is an incredibly mixed bag politically with a Tory MP, 2 Green County Councillors, 5 Lib Dem, 3 Tory and 3 Green District councilllors and 17 independent Town councillors. It seems Labour really would be the alternative vote here.
Frome Town Council by-election will be on Thursday 15th March
Watch Neil’s election video here