Thank you Bude & Beyond Community Website for giving me the opportunity to post about being a candidate for Bude-Stratton Town Council on Thursday.
My name is Tom O’Sullivan, I have lived in the Bude area for the last 32 years, I run my own Veterinary Practice in Marhamchurch.
Over the last 3 weeks, as well as running my business I have been out doing every thing I can to speak to as many as possible of the approximately 4,000 electors eligible to vote in Thursday’s by-election. This has given me a wonderful opportunity to listen to your concerns and hear what you would like from your Town Council. The fact there is a General Election campaign going on at the same time inevitably has meant discussion of national politics has formed part of the conversations. These conversations confirm the worrying disillusionment among ordinary people with the state of our democracy; putting it bluntly, people do not trust their public representatives whatever political party they belong to. While BSTC cannot single-handedly change that perception, I think it places a responsibility on those of us who are standing for or are already public office holders to be honest with the people we serve. It would be easy for me for example to claim the successful opposition to BSTC’s proposal to take over the neighbouring rural parishes was solely down to me, but to do so would be dishonest. In truth, it was a team effort by not only Marhamchurch Parish Council but also representatives and parishioners of the other potentially affected parishes. I really enjoy being part of a team, working across administrative boundaries and with people of different political opinions.
Bearing in mind the lack of trust in public representatives especially among the younger generation, there is one thing I would like BSTC to consider and that is to set up something along the lines of a Youth Council. I think there would also be potential here through civic responsibility to address the drug problem which many people are concerned about. I think this is something BSTC could involve the neighbouring rural parishes with also.
Not surprisingly healthcare issues including ambulance response times, consultant appointments locally and of course Stratton MIU have been raised repeatedly. I would like here to pay a special tribute to the League of Friends of Stratton Hospital, a charity whose volunteers have done an incredible job of fundraising for vital equipment etc over nearly 50 years. They continue to do everything possible to ensure the continuation of the 24-hr service at the MIU. In an area like ours, we are so lucky to have so many people who give of their time on a voluntary basis for the benefit of others. Public representatives need to acknowledge & support the work of those volunteers.
Once again it seems to be vital to be able to work across political opinion as well as administrative boundaries to ensure the best possible healthcare facilities for our area. I believe BSTC should & could explore the potential advantages of working for example with Holsworthy, our nearest neighbouring Town Council. There are of course very strong historical & cultural links between Holsworthy and especially Stratton.
Even before I had any thoughts of standing for election to BSTC I began attending their monthly meetings. I have attended all of the last 6 meetings. If I am elected on Thursday I will be ready to make a full and active contribution to proceedings.
Finally, whoever you choose it is very important that you take the opportunity to vote on Thursday. In many ways this is a very significant by-election as it gives you the opportunity to influence the future direction of your Town Council. Many people across varying political opinion have told me they feel very strongly there is no place for party politics in Town Council proceedings. There is a clear choice between myself as an experienced parish councillor independent of any political parties and either of the candidates standing for their respective political parties.