There are two main problems with party politics at this level: 

  • party manifestos have little or no relevance at Town Council level. Have a look at  the role of the Town Council. Yet Town Councillors are often or always expected to follow the ‘party line’. In particular, this may mean that they follow the lead of their party at North Somerset Council level – without considering what is in the best interests of the residents of Portishead.

  • The Town Council has discretionary powers that should be used to improve the quality of life in the local area. Councillors should take account of the views of the residents and the local context. Yet, party-based election manifestos cannot anticipate, or be appropriate for, the level of powers and decisions within Portishead Town Council. In addition, ideology may take priority over individual knowledge and understanding at a local level.

  • elections to the Town Council take place under a ‘first past the post’ electoral system. Consequently, many people’s views are not represented at all, or are represented poorly. In addition, because most people vote consistently for one party, it means that only marginal seats offer the possibility of change.