Jack Dart - Why I'm standing for Torbay Council

(Last Updated On: April 26, 2019)

In 2015 I began writing songs about the mess our town was in. ‘Welcome to Torquay’ & ‘Welcome to Torbay’, amassing tens of thousands of views, clearly hit a nerve.

I covered the pavilion, 20 grand palm tree’s, expensive council funded beach huts, and the lack of shopping options in our town centre.

There was no chance back then that the anger, disappointment, and frustration that led to the creation of those songs, the highlighting of those issues, would later be channeled into an attempt to solve them.

But here we are and here’s why I’m standing in the upcoming local elections on May 2nd.

I was born in Torquay, I grew up and spent 22 years of my life working, studying and enjoying the beautiful views of this picturesque slice of heaven.

It was only until I moved to London, to study, did I realise just how much I love this place.

Because of that realisation, and the passion I developed whilst campaigning on national political issues, I knew to stand as a candidate in my home town was an important and necessary next step.

During my 22 years here, I worked in retail, wholesale, nightlife, and even at a car wash.

I’ve traveled to every corner of our town and have seen the decline, facilitated and abetted by a decade of crippling cuts to local government, spearheaded by austerity measures at a national level.

I’m standing in the ward of Ellacombe, one of several areas that desperately requires investment.

I’m not knocking on doors offering the world, promising to fix everyone’s issues but to say that I’m actually willing to work hard.

After all, the same councilors that have been at the helm, and have watched as the town has declined, do exactly that.

They turn up on your doorstep a few weeks before the election begging for your vote. It’s seen as ‘politics as usual’, and that’s unacceptable.

The council has struggled and will continue to do so, but more effort must be offered by councilors to ensure the town can still thrive and develop during this difficult time.

Sadly we have councilors who are happy to see the decline of a once prosperous tourist hotspot, providing they keep their seats on the council. This must change.

There should never be a safe seat on the council; seats should be earned and maintained through hard work and dedication.

A friend of mine who writes blogs on councils and government once named Torbay council as the second most dysfunctional in the entire country.

Think about that for a moment. 2nd most dysfunctional; there are over 350 councils in this country. Frankly, it’s a disgrace, and something needs to change.

On the 2nd of May, tens of thousands of people will march to polling stations in Torbay to vote for the next swathe of councilors, and their contribution to your lives will be huge.

Decisions made at council level affect your lives directly, so going out to vote is of great importance.

I can’t tell you how to use your vote, and I don’t want to. But please go and vote, it could herald a new beginning for this town, just when it’s needed the most.

Thank you, Jack.

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Jack. 24 years old. Journalist at We Are South Devon and a national political campaigner.