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Is national politics ready to cede to the will of local, local, local?

May 3, 2015

ESTATE AGENT SIGNTHOSE addictive property programmes carry on constantly about location, location, location . . .

And it got me thinking about something as equally important.

This is the most potentially game-changing general election, possibly since 1945, and certainly since the late, great Mrs Margaret Thatcher showed the world how a grocer’s daughter could successfully run ‘General Store UK’ in the first of her three election triumphs in 1979.

But my message today – with around 100 hours to go to the opening of the polls on Thursday – is more about local, local, local.

Your born and bred WALSALL girl . . . who launched a business in WALSALL . . . and wants to do her best and see WALSALL finish up best.

The emphasis on local – whether it’s backing a Walsall-based business or coming from the world of newspapers who are heading towards hyperlocal websites for generating news – an article from the Express & Star political editor Daniel Wainwright caught my eye.

He tells the best-selling regional daily newspaper’s readers he’s not sure about the final outcome (are any of us?) of next week’s general election; who’s had the most impact; who the real winner might be; although he tends to believe the next government “will be formed as a result of discussions and deals done behind closed doors.”

I might not agree with all his theories but one sentence did resonate with me. He said: “While the parties argue it out among themselves, while they bicker over whether or not the real winner will be Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, the most important thing is going to be having a decent MP fighting your corner.”

He goes on: “What every one of us will need in Westminster will be an MP who is going to be the flea in the ear of the government, whichever party or parties form it.

“We need a professional pest, a squeaky wheel demanding grease.”

ALL FOR ONE, AND ONE FOR EACH REGION:  Are we heading for the choice of local MP being the only thing over which the ballot paper exercises any control whatsoever , says Express & Star political editor Daniel Wainwright.

ALL FOR ONE, AND ONE FOR EACH REGION: Are we heading for the choice of local MP being the only thing over which the ballot paper exercises any control whatsoever , says Express & Star political editor Daniel Wainwright.

And he sees the political throne that has been Westminster for centuries may be loosening its hold. “Ordinarily the best sort of person to have is someone who puts the national interest first,” he argues before adding that “there’s no longer any such thing.” He confirms: “Devolution is coming whoever wins the election.”

And he rightly detects that “we’re not all in this together anymore, not as a nation at least.”

He adds: “It’s going to have to be the West Midlands, with a population larger than Scotland, versus the rest in this new political order.”

He’s sure “another absolute certainty is more cuts.”

And then he notes: “Public resources will continue to be squeezed and if there is to be any money for it then it will need someone utterly and completely devoted to improving their constituency to get it.

That person might come from any one of five different parties, says the regional journalist.

Finally he concludes: “The choice of local MP is the only thing over which the ballot paper exercises any control whatsoever.”

Is national politics ready to cede to the will of local, local, local?

The voters will decide on Thursday whether they want to put local with a capital ‘L’ into the constituency of Walsall South . . .

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