Uncontested elections in local government seem scandalous. It was something I hadn't heard of before but democracy can't possibly work if people are unwilling to stand for election.
And I say this as a voter and supporter of a "one party state" borough in London. It is bad for the borough and the party if councillors are just waved into their posts.
The author is honest about the long-term prospect for a group of independents who formed out of dissatisfaction with the current system. However he points out that as the established parties reorganise and start to try to retake seats they are having to work harder. They cannot take the electorate or the tribal allegiances of party politics for granted. Win or lose the independents have put a shot across the bow of the established parties and forced them to consider the electorate more.
In the opinion of the author, voter disengagement outside of elections is not necessarily disengagement from politics but is instead the sense that having voted and appointed people voters then feel they don't have to concern themselves with the minutia of government.
More prosaically having elected a councillor the voters don't want to worry about the town fireworks themselves.
One of the interesting points made is that a group of independents doesn't necessarily need a manifesto. Just a statement about what they think needs to work better and a commitment to work together as a group.
There's an acknowledgement later in the book that outside of local politics this is more difficult because voters need standard commitments to certain behaviour (disavowal of racism for example) and even while manifestos are not binding where politicians use them there are a prime source of information for voters.
Bit of a dig at republicanism but at least he's sticking with beliefs.
Many local councillors are elected on negligible votes as so few people votes. Some elections are simply not contested. In one case no candidates could be found to stand for the seat.
Excited to start reading this book, the quality of the product and the writing is already better than I expected.