Marlborough needs a positive new voice to challenge today’s recession declares Lib-Dem candidate
A much more proactive person with a positive new voice is needed by voters in Marlborough’s East Ward where a record five candidates are seeking election to Wiltshire Council on May 2.
That is the view of former West Berkshire unitary councillor Sue Knowles since hitting the campaign trail for the Liberal Democrats in Wiltshire after becoming a Marlborough resident three years ago.
“I’m knocking on doors to meet Marlborough East residents as it’s always been important that people should see and talk to the person asking for their votes,” 56-year-old Sue told Marlborough News Online.
“I’ve had a very positive reception as it’s clear they haven’t seen or heard from anyone in a long time. Being a unitary councillor – I served West Berkshire for 13 years – requires being pro-active and a lot of stamina.”
A former secondary school teacher who has also worked in a Job Centre, Mrs Knowles is seeking election against Councillor Peggy Dow, who quit the Lib-Dem party last year and is now an independent.
And she is also up against Stewart Dobson, leader of the Tory group on Marlborough town council.
“My own son and daughter, aged 28 and 24, are now grown up, but I still have a great interest in education. Young people are our future, and it’s tragic that so many can’t find work or good training schemes.
“My elderly parents have also thrown the spotlight on Wiltshire’s approach to those who are vulnerable and need help. You need someone who can challenge, question and speak up for Marlborough East.
“I believe Marlborough needs a new voice to represent it. A Wiltshire councillor should be approachable, accountable and above all active on behalf of all the residents of Marlborough. “Marlborough East is an unusual ward as it has no schools, doctors, or leisure centres, and only a handful of shops, pubs and businesses.
“However, residents need and use all the facilities in Marlborough’s West Ward, and a good Wiltshire unitary councillor will have an understanding and curiosity about the services, issues, businesses and organisations of Marlborough and the rest of Wiltshire.
“I’m not serving or standing on the town council as I want to focus all my energies on Marlborough and the county. The scale of the responsibilities of a Wiltshire councillor requires a high level of commitment and the ability to understand the operation of a complex organisation, and that is what I can offer.”
Mrs Knowles also has her own views on party members who quit or defect, as was the case with Margaret Thatcher’s Poll Tax for the Tories and the Iraq war for Labour’s Tony Blair supporters.
It also hurts if people think they will lose their seats because of a national swing against them,” she added. “However, many continue to serve their local communities and make the best of what is never any easy situation.
“Where one political party has dominated a council for many years, it can be difficult to challenge, but likely to be more effective if done by a group of like minded people or people who come together on a particular issue.
“This won’t happen when people have no interest in the bigger picture. Liberal Democrats have an excellent track record for campaigning in communities and trying to improve services for the more vulnerable and lower paid, and this is why I’m standing for them.
“Independents may be free to say what they like, but so are many other local councillors, whose attendance and general conduct is accountable to their constituents, as well as the party they represent.
And she revealed: “Marlborough is situated in a lovely historic landscape, with many kind people, but the cost of housing, living, and business rates present enormous challenges.
“While I was looking after my elderly parents I had a stall in the Shambles in Devizes selling bric-a brac and low value antiques, intermittently for a year. However the rent was such that several of us gave up, so I do feel very sorry for the stallholders facing a rent rise this year.
“I believe every encouragement should be given to markets to keep Wiltshire’s market towns viable as such. With the recession, many have turned to self-employment, and help should be given to small businesses.”