Jim Thornton Independent for Hertford St Andrews

JimOn 4 June I am asking the voters of Hertford St Andrews if they would elect me to speak for them at County Hall. I have no ties to any political party, and am grateful to East Herts people for allowing me space on their website.

Independent Councillors are a great idea:

If you vote for a Party Candidate, when push comes to shove, who comes first: the voter or the Party? I am an Independent, so only you can tell me how you want me to vote on issues that affect you.

  • There is no transparency at County: the party system means the important debates are all behind closed doors. As an Independent I can speak out without being gagged or shackled by Party Whips.
  • The County Council spends £1.2bn and in tight times you need to know that it is being spent well. According to the Audit Commission, its accounting systems are inadequate: it had £28m in Icelandic banks, and £128m of property seems to have gone walkabout which is why the 2008 accounts have still not been signed and are now eight months late. As an Independent, I can speak out on this.
  • Education, Adult Services, Care of Children-do you know what is going on? As an Independent I can ask embarrassing questions and speak out to the press and media.  

How do you know I will say things you agree with?

  • Because I will tell you what I will say, and you can tell me what you think.
  • How? Using the Internet and a Ward Newsletter.  We have to try using new technology to see if we can get better local politics.  I will use my allowance of £9828 per annum as a County Councillor to finance the printing and distribution of a Ward newsletter every two months delivered to your door. My blog will tell you what is going on, my website will tell you what the issues are, and you can email me and tell me what to do, and in turn you can see what other people are telling me to do.
  • My difficult job is to listen to as many people as possible and then make a decision on the basis of what is best for the Ward. You will not agree with everything I decide to say, but at least you will have the opportunity to contribute to the debate. 

So what do I want to say? Jim

  • Obviously I want to argue for tighter scrutiny of the Accounts Department, and I want to see that our money is being spent efficiently. I do this for my own business, and although Local Authority Finance is different, the principles are the same.
  • Of course the County Council does many good things well, and I want to support those things and see how they can be done even better.
  • I want  to argue for initiatives to help retain and create jobs: for example, a local bank like the Bank of Essex that Essex County Council are setting up
  • I want to see minimal bureaucracy in Education so that maximum cash can go to the front line teachers and schools.
  • I want to see an informed debate about a new Airport in the Thames Estuary that would take pressure off Stansted
  • I believe that loneliness is going to be an increasing problem  in society: I want to explore what the County can do to create supportive community in our Wards
  • I know how hard it is to get things done, having been elected previously to get a skatepark, cheap housing for teachers, a cinema and a charitable trust for East Herts. I underestimated the opposition from Party colleagues and council officers, but  at least I know what the problems are

Why should you trust me to speak for you?? Jim

  • Politicians have a poor reputation, none of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes, but I have a track record during my eight years as an East Herts Councillor of standing up to the establishment when  things go wrong.
  • My wife and I have lived in St Andrews Division for 26 years, my children were educated in local schools, and I am a governor of two of them.
  • I am a Reader at St Andrews Church, where I have to preach: if I did not at least try to practice what I preach I would have been thrown out long ago.
  • Professionally, I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and Builder, and I do an increasing amount of work as a trusted expert witness.
  • I am a Trustee of several charitable trusts, and on the Council of a Research Library in Cambridge.
  • I am a local businessman, running a group of companies in Hertford involved in property management.
  • I don't take anybody's money, and I pay my own way.  At East Herts Council I never claimed expenses, and gave my allowance to charity

Jim I really think I can make a difference:

  • I think we can all make a difference if we are determined enough, but it has to be a team effort. We get the politicians we deserve, and if we do not bother to vote, or we do not make demands of our elected representatives, then in one sense we only have ourselves to blame if we get awful politicians.
  • We need to find new ways of doing local politics, and I have put my money into East Herts People because I think there are new ways we should be trying.
  • But I need your help: I can keep you informed on the issues coming up, but when there is one on which you feel strongly, I need you to look at the arguments on both sides and give me your views.
  • There are pressures on all of us, on time, on money, but we live in a community and we have to help each other, if only so that perhaps in our turn when we need help, someone will be there for us. I believe we can find ways to build community, starting with the Ward in which we live, and for which we elect people to represent us.
  • What I want to see are more people coming forward who are not tied to a political party, but who are willing to be community leaders in their Ward and to speak out in local Government for the people they represent., and not for a Political Party.
  • Change has to start somewhere, and you can start the change by voting for me to speak for you at County Hall, rather than for the Party you might support in a General Election. 

Read my election blog

If you like what you have read then please support me.  Can you spare some time to help deliver my leaflets?  Do you have any questions about my proposals?  I would love to hear from anyone interested in my campaign. 

Please contact me at jim.thornton@ehpeople.org

Promoted by Laura Anstey of 4 Castle Gate, Castle Street, Hertford, SG14 1HD on behalf of Jim Thornton of 2 Castle Gate, Castle Street, Hertford, SG14 1HD