Published in the July issue of Valley News.

Party politics at Westminster dominate the headlines and dwell on revelations and banal chit-chat.

In Wiltshire, it’s not much different, but the Tory turbulance at Trowbrige is not given the same prominence as at Westminster. Prime Minister Mrs May resigned. The battle to take over was not conducted in statesperson-like public debate, mainly because electors are not interested in individual manifestos. The leadership candidates were only saying what they believed people wanted to hear.

At County Hall, long-term in-fighting was controlled. It was easier for Baroness Scott than it was for Prime Minister May because the baroness had an overwhelming majority of Tory councillors, and anyway, the Tory policies are decided and dished out by the small number of cabinet members who rule the roost.

But discontent has been growing among Tory councillors about the system of cabinet member appointments – some even questioning the qualifications of those appointed to high office.

The baroness is stepping down to stimulate a leadership ‘election’, of Tory councillors by secret ballot, using the first-past-the-post system. At least four candidates in the running.

Questions are being asked about how effective a unitary council has been for rural Wiltshire, without Swindon, and only one major city –

Whatever is said, local taxpayers are paying more for less services, relying more and more on volunteering and charities to shore up paid-for services.

Now, Dorset has become a rural unitary authority – without a city, but with a separate major connurbation of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.

The two counties are a vast rural area which must be given a fair share of facilities.

David Parker, Editor

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