It hasn't been the greatest few weeks for Norwich Green Party. Just before Christmas, the leader of the Greens on the County Council defected. To the Tories. It was unbelievable, and apparently came right out of the blue (no pun intended). He said he felt he was out of step with his party, or his party were out of step with him, and he thought that the Conservative economic and environmental policies were quite sound. So now the voters in his ward find themselves with a Tory councillor, despite only 20% of them actually voting for them.
And to add to the disarray, a Green city councillor was sent to prison today for fourteen months for arson. It's a sad case - the poor chap was suffering from depression, and tried to kill himself by setting fire to his flat. Of course people could have been killed, but thankfully, nobody was, and for the life of me I can't see what good sending him to prison will do - if he's depressed now, he'll be even more depressed when he gets banged up.
It does make you wonder, though, about the mental state of some of our local elected representatives. It used to be said, half jokingly, that some of the members in the Council chamber shouldn't even be part of the community, let alone making decisions on behalf of the community. Local politics seems to attract its fair share of people you would cross the road to avoid, as well as the sort of people who got bullied at school, and want to take out their revenge on society. Some may suffer from a low self-esteem, and probably feel that by trying to help other people, they'll feel better about themselves.
Some are just idiots, and shouldn't be left in charge of a spoon.
In the last few years, Norwich has seen a councillor commit suicide in jail whilst waiting trial for raping his daughter, and another one sent down for perverting the course of justice (she claimed some-one else was driving the car...sounds familiar?), as well as other discretions committed by members of all the parties which verge on illegality, and somehow managed to be swept under the carpet.
In the end, it's up to the political parties to choose the right calibre of candidate through the selection processes, but when it's becoming increasingly difficult to persuade rational people to become involved and stand in local elections, that choice is often impossible to make, and we get the government we deserve.