Answer, a local politician. I have to be careful here, because if things get bad enough I might feel obliged, on the, if you can't beat 'em principle, to enter politics myself. However the way I feel right now is that if politicians are scum on the surface then local politicians are something even more mucky swimming just underneath.
I simply cannot help feeling that the vast majority of these people enter the game because they like controlling events and especially the people around them. They also seem to have a propensity for spending other people's money on their own pet projects and moaning that there isn't enough money at the same time.
And so, the local elections are nearly upon us and the question for me is whether to participate and vote. For years as a travelling liveaboard yachtsman I could not vote in any election, not even by post. I've been told by American yachtties that they can get a postal vote, but for Brits it's different. If you live abroad you can get a postal vote, at least for a certain number of years, even if you have no intention of moving back. And actually I think that people who've paid UK taxes for years, who maybe have a pension from the UK should have a say permanently, without limit. Many are ex forces too and although I'm a pacifist if you served your country you should have a say wherever you are, whenever you are.
However if you're travelling, even temporarily, a postal vote is a problem as you need a 'permanent' address abroad to get one. So I got out of the habit of voting. I will certainly vote to stay in Europe, at my age the turmoil from leaving would probably rumble on until everything goes dark for me, but actually I think its better if we stay for subsequent generations too.
Locally however, where I live now a vote for the Tories would probably be a wasted vote anyway, but on current form I wouldn't vote for them at any price. That leaves Labour and the Lib Dems. Nationally I'm pretty pissed at the Lib Dems for abandoning the path of peace and voting (most of them) to fire missiles around in Syria with no actual strategy. Locally I need to check who holds the power round my way at present Lab or Lib, because whoever is running the show I think they're at least as bad as the picture I painted in my opening statement.
They're selling off a Carnegie Library to become a bar, they say the building is in disrepair and its not economic to do otherwise, but they've been the ones maintaining it, or not. All over the place Councils are asking library volunteers to sign contracts as if it were a paid job, clearly a deterrent and clearly underhand tactics are no problem for local politicians, probably aspiring to greater things.
Labour controlled authorities in Hastings and Waltham Forest are 'Licensing' landlords who've never had a complaint made against them, ever, employing case officers and making small investors pay to have themselves investigated as if they were criminals. A great way to manufacture jobs that make nothing and provide nothing. Clever. It could be even more clever, by which I mean underhanded, if the real aim is to get everyone to sell up.
And so there we are back to voting for the lesser of three evils, just as if I'd never been to sea; but if you do that these self important loonies tell themselves its a positive vote for their pet projects. It isn't. In Stannington for example we have a new twenty miles per hour speed limit, twenty four hours a day. Twenty minutes drive away (at twenty miles an hour) there are roads with fifty miles an hour limits, or higher, with potholes perfectly designed to kill cyclists and motorcyclists and wreck car suspensions and puncture tyres. I don't know what all the road painting and road signs cost in Stannington, (or how much they got for the library at Walkley down the road) but there's no money to fill in pot holes elsewhere apparently.
Still I can hear people saying a twenty miles per hour limit could save children's lives and I agree it could, but I don't see any evidence of past accidents, OK prevention is better than cure, so why have these geniuses left a thirty miles per hour speed limit past the village school? If I vote I guess it will be Lib Dem, but goodness knows I don't really want to encourage any of our brainy local bureaucrats.
On a more cheerful note, some of my products!