Council’s welcome move to increase engagement in democratic process.
DESPITE doubts as to whether they can carry their success into next year’s general election, it would be fair to say that the gains enjoyed by Ukip in last month’s local and European elections were a wake-up call for the political establishment.
The plain-speaking for which their leader Nigel Farage is renowned has been a major factor in his party’s rise – so it’s little wonder that others are now taking a leaf out of Ukip’s book.
Whatever the motive, it’s good to see Leeds City Council embarking on a campaign to finally ditch the bureaucratic jargon and cut down on red tape.
It says the aim is to engage more people in local politics and decision-making, with council meetings made more accessible and easier for the public to speak at them.
Apparently in the pipeline for a while, this intervention could not be more timely.
There is a growing apathy toward politics – at local as well as national level – with many saying that they feel increasingly disconnected from those who represent them and make decisions that affect their daily lives.
That has potentially dire consequences for democracy, which is why Leeds City Council is right to make this long overdue move. This is not about boosting support for a particular party but about renewing public faith in the political system itself.
Stop turning a deaf ear to waiting times
MANY are rightly concerned by what they see as the creeping privatisation of the NHS.
Yet when outside agencies are able to deliver services more efficently, they have to be given proper consideration.
The reason that waiting times for an NHS hearing test in Leeds are the longest in the country is that in other areas patients can be referred to have the test in chains like Boots and Specsavers.
However, in Leeds such a system isn’t funded, leaving patients facing those lengthy delays.
With waiting times in the city now over five months, can health bosses afford not to act?