COMMENT: Westwell of Ely by Rosemary Westwell

PUBLISHED: 18:05 12 June 2017

Conservative Theresa May is now Prime Minister in a hung parliament. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

Conservative Theresa May is now Prime Minister in a hung parliament. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

PA/Press Association Images

Leaders may come and go but this election has shown that it is the people who form the majority and who should have a say in how their country is managed.

Leaders may come and go but this election has shown that it is the people who form the majority and who should have a say in how their country is managed.

In addition, now that our politicians are fighting for their places, they may have to listen more to our own wishes or complaints.

When one person has power to make nearly all the decisions it is so easy for them to go off the rails. Without anyone daring to contradict them, they feel they have a right to do what they like, irrespective of those who suffer the consequences.

At a recent education conference one of the speakers pointed out that head teachers who are under pressure to reach almost impossible goals are very tempted to think of themselves and the reputation of the school before the pupils they are supposed to serve. Challenging students could be denied a place and teachers could be made redundant so that head teachers could still have their pay rises in spite of the cuts. One head teacher has even been jailed for defrauding the education department outright.

We all know that big organisations present a formidable, unswerving front that protects their own interests while often behind the scenes the workers are scrabbling for funds and reasonable conditions. When I was a young teacher and was confronted with an unmanageable class, I asked for support but instead of receiving it, I was told that the sole cause was my bad teaching. The swearing and fighting among the pupils was my fault. I have since learned that this was not so, and that it is only with a more even democratic approach in school management that such problems can be reduced, more teachers can be given the support they need and recruitment can become less of a problem.

East Cambs Council has listed our rights as democratic citizens. Among these is the right to contribute to some council meetings. While we have a number of worthy councillors, they do not always understand what we want. A group at Littleport was so frustrated that it had to get High Court’s backing to prevent an eyesore being built. To avoid this having to happen again, I urge you to check the meeting agendas, and if you know a lot about one of the items, turn up and ask to speak, give your opinion and this will help our well-earned democratic cause, as long as the councillors listen.

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