I'm not usually that bothered about who gets elected in local elections. Whatever the outcome the same tired old officers run the council with elected members being little more than rubber stamps who get rewarded once a year by being given a few percent of the budget to squabble over and play pork barrel politics. Of course I'd like to see environmental issues being given more weight and so am inclined towards supporting Green candidates, although politically they are too far to the left for my tastes.
However in today's election I am genuinely hopeful that Jon Rogers (above right), the Lib-Dem candidate for Ashley ward, will win through. That is not because he is a Lib-Dem but because he is Jon Rogers. I'm not easily impressed by local politicians but I believe he has genuinely tried to act as a bridge between the concerns of local people and the machinations of local government, making good use of the medium that matters most these days - the Internet. That is surely what councillors are there for, yet few perform that role as energetically and effectively as Jon Rogers.
He is also concerned about environmental matters and takes a particular interest in transport related issues including of course impacts on walking and cycling. He has taken over leadership of the Cycling City project and those involved seem to think he is doing the right thing there in getting some revision of the unrealistic plans adopted by Labour. As noted elsewhere he played a prominent role in defeating the West of England Partnership's plans to turn the Railway Path into a bus route.
It so happens that Ashley is also the ward most likely to be won by the Greens, whose candidate is Daniella Radice (above). I've nothing to say against her but a victory for her would mean Jon Rogers losing, which in my view would be a very sad thing. Jon has proved himself to be an extremely effective councillor and Executive Member whereas Daniella is as yet an unknown quantity. I know that many others take a similar view. We'd like to see more Green councillors but not at the expense of the most effective 'environmentalist' on the council.
Were I an Ashley voter I think I would split my vote - Jon Rogers for local councillor and the Greens for Europe. If you are an Ashley voter please think twice before giving Jon the boot. It really would be a great loss to Bristol.