Listen to a podcast recorded with Brighton Councillor Daniel Yates (Lab – Moulsecoomb & Bevendean)

Reading time: 4 Minutes

Hello and welcome to the Politics is Rubbish Podcast.

My name’s Daniel Yates and I’m a Councillor in Brighton and Hove I represent Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Ward which is pretty much up near the University off the Lewes Road everything to the east of the Lewes road, all the way from the Vogue gyratory up to Falmer Stadium.

The idea of this podcast over the next few sessions is really to try to explain a little bit about local government, what does local government do why does your city council matters. And to talk about some of the issues that are going to be affecting people.

Mostly people say to me that politics is rubbish and that they are not interested in local politics.

Many people aren’t even interested in national politics but it’s always amazed me quite how often people then come to me moaning about things that are directly affected by politics.
Whether it’s moaning about the traffic on the roads whether it’s moaning about the number of students or the lack of students, the quality of accommodation they live in, the number of houses that they’re complaining about being built or the lack of housing being built.

People are affected by politics every day.

You know there’s almost no aspect of what you do once you leave your front door that isn’t directly affected by either local government or national government and I think it’s really important for people to try to get more involved in it and to try to be able to understand what’s going on and how they can really try to change things to make things better. That’s how I got into local government and that’s why I’m a Councillor because I want to make things different.  I don’t think everything’s perfect at the moment by any means and I think that there is something that people can do in order to improve things.  I joined a political party when I first moved to Sussex over twenty years ago now and the party I chose, the Labour Party and eventually the Co-operative party as well, I chose them because they were most closely aligned to doing the sorts of things that I thought were important for the society that we all live in. Now other people make different choices, most people don’t join political parties at all, some people might join the Conservatives, the Greens,  the Liberal Democrats who are a range of other parties that are out there but all of those people who are joining parties are joining them because they think that those parties are close to offering the ideal solution the thing that they want out of their lives the things that they think would be better for the society that they live in. So, after many years of being a member of the Labour Party in 2015 I stood for election in local elections here in Brighton and Hove and I was selected by my party to stand as a council candidate in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean and I was lucky enough to win.  So, three Councillors were elected for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean in 2015 all selected by the Labour Party all voted for by residents of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean and I was one of those three and I was elected for four years. So in a couple of years or eighteen months’ time I’ll be up for re-election again or I may not be standing again but they’ll be another round of opportunities for local people to say, do we still want those people representing us in local government or do we want a different group of people representing us?

So that’s where I got where I am, but actually much more about what I do is about wanting to be able to represent people’s views.  It’s not about me wanting to be in control of what happens in the city or how things are delivered or changed in the city. It’s much more important for me to actually know that I’m able to represent the views of the eleven thousand odd people who are voters in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean and the thirteen or fourteen thousand people who live in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.  No two parts of this city are the same, no two communities are the same even within my ward there are different communities they have different needs they have different issues, different problems that they come to the local Councillors with  and whether that’s about you know street lighting or about rubbish on the streets whether that’s about schools or hospitals or housing and the people all have very specific needs and even you know if you were to talk to your next door neighbour your next door neighbours are going to have a different set of needs, a different set of issues things that they think are wrong, things that I think are right compared to the those that you have. So being a Councillor isn’t just purely about being in control, it’s nice to be in control obviously. It’s nice  to be able to feel that you’re having an impact and changing things the way that you want to but not all Councillors are in that position some Councillors will be in opposition so their political party or their political group won’t have enough votes to be able to tell the council what to do and to change things directly and at the moment the city has no overall party  in control and that’s been the case for many years now.  So, every time there’s a vote every time there’s a decision taken within the council it needs the support of more than one political party more than one group of Councillors. So, it’s not the case that it’s Labour dominated or Conservative dominated or Green dominated it’s the case actually we need to reach consensus but here’s a secret.

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