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  • Writer's pictureTunbridge Wells Alliance

The Alliance represents a new kind of politics

Paul Curry

I was elected Councillor in May 2023.

Nearly a year on, I'd like to share with you how things have shaped up over my first year in the exciting world of TWBC, and what it's like - because I want to encourage you to get involved, too! Now, more than ever, candidates in my age range are coming forward and being elected. Even with full-time jobs, we find it rewarding work.

In my case, I first got involved with Speldhurst Parish Council. I really enjoy how locally-focused an organisation like this is - the work has a direct impact on our immediate community. From there, my interest grew to wider local politics - decisions at TWBC were affecting the community I live in. Why not have a voice there too?

The Alliance stood out as the best party - they are a good fit to my values and work ethic. I didn't want to join a national party, and I wasn't prepared to stand alone without support - I had no prior experience of Borough politics! Having a broad range of like-minded councillors to talk to while I found my feet was reassuring, a time-saver when figuring things out, and gave me context for complex decisions which came before I joined.

Further, with no whip, my vote always represents the interests of my neighbours who voted for me, which is very important to me. After hitting the campaign trail, meeting plenty of dogs behind letterboxes, and listening carefully to resident's concerns, to my delight, I was elected.

Learning how local government operates by being part of it is an eye-opening experience. You get to see just how much of what local government provides is devolved to wider government. You soon learn which department or person is best to handle issues and enquiries, which can be surprisingly effective for getting matters resolved. Residents have a wide range of enquiries. It's very fulfilling being able to help your neighbours and being an important part of decisions that affect your ward and wider borough.

Ultimately, I really like people representing their local area in local government. Things start to get a little murky when larger parties stand candidates in areas they don't live anywhere near, or when they oblige their Councillors to vote in a certain direction which doesn't work for their constituents. That, to me, isn't what local politics should be.

As a growing party, we are paving the way for the next generation of government; breaking free from outdated stereotypes. I can honestly say that it is exciting at times!

To that end, The Alliance is hosting a winter warmer with jacket potatoes, hot chocolate and mulled cider by the fireside. Join us for a chat or if you are interested in standing to represent your local community! Come along for some food and fun at Hawkhurst Scout Hut on Sunday January 21 from 5pm to 7pm. It's free to attend, with fabulous prizes available in a raffle and a sparkler or two.

This article appeared in the Times of Tunbridge Wells, 17th January 2024.

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