VOICE OF THE FENS: Election candidates - feel free to say what you like and ignore the purdah mantra

CREEPING paralysis of the political system is upon us as we enter what bureaucrats love to describe as a period of purdah.

This has become the term to signify an election is almost upon which means announcements of a politically sensitive nature are usually avoided.

So far as Fenland is concerned it means council officials will be avoiding any mention of any councillor or policy. We have no argument with that since it ensures the ruling Conservative group do not take an unfair advantage of their position to tell the rest of us how brilliant they will insist they’ve been in the previous four years.

But purdah should not and must not be a term thrust at candidates as they attempt to hammer home their own messages. Even seasoned councillors seem to have gotten it into their minds that speaking to the press from now until the election will somehow contravene this ill-conceived and politically na�ve piece of poppycock.

Elections are about engaging with audiences. They are about ranting and raving through the columns of local papers. They are about taking pride in achievements and, conversely, having those same achievements challenged by dissenting voices.

Elections are about being free to say what you like, when you like, to whom you like, and for newspapers to offer a diet of impartial debate that straddles the whole political spectrum.

So to any council candidate of whatever party, colour or persuasion we offer this advice: if any jobsworth hovers over them with the mantra of purdah this or purdah that, tell them to butt out.

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And tell them the Editor of this newspaper told you to tell them so.

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