Cllr Luke Wakeling will not stand for re-election this may

Jake Brewer By Jake Brewer Apr7,2024
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Cllr Wakeling has announced on Facebook that he will not stand for re-election this May.

Cllr Wakeling has been a councillor for the past 5 years, representing the Weymouth East Ward.

Statement by Cllr Wakeling:

“It’s been an honour to be one of the councillors for Weymouth East for the last five years. I’m really appreciative to all the people who voted for me in 2019, and to the (99% pleasant) people I’ve met and engaged with during my tenure. However, I have made a personal decision not to stand for re-election.
The truth is I’ve found being a councillor, enormously frustrating. There’s far more to being a councillor, than attending a couple of meetings a month. I guess somebody else could be elected, and do the absolute bare minimum, but I’ve never been that type of person. I will always give it my best shot, and it takes significant time to prepare, research, attend the briefings, read and respond to emails, etc. I no longer think that being elected as a councillor is a good use of my time, neither in community benefit, nor personally.

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Firstly, misinformation, and cyber-bullying are a real problem. It’s been getting worse, and I fear with generative-AI, you won’t be able to believe what you see and hear! I was a publican for 16 years, and I’ve been called pretty much every name before (that’s not a challenge), but you shouldn’t have to be so thick-skinned to represent your community. In this respect, society needs to grow-up, and on-line bullies should not be able to hide behind anonymous screen-names.
Sadly, the facts and the truth are normally quite boring, but that’s no excuse to; only-tell half the story, exaggerate or distort the truth, or just downright lie. You can’t have a healthy democracy, in this “post-truth” environment. Covid didn’t help, people being trapped at home for all those months led to a surge in; keyboard-warriors, poorly moderated facebook groups, conspiracy-theories, and click-bait journalism. Some political actors are fuelling this fire too. We’ve seen in the last few months, misinformation about asylum seekers, the barge, and the neighbourhood plan. (NB. No local council or councillors made the decision to house asylum seekers in this way, or to bring the barge here. This is a Conservative policy from the Government in Westminster.)
The second thing is about getting actual results for residents. Ninety percent of the council’s resources are concerned with keeping plates spinning – the things that a council must do; providing allotments, cutting the grass, emptying bins, keeping the beach nice, cleaning toilets, etc. It’s irrelevant who is elected, these things must happen anyway, and they are all done in very old-fashioned ways, like a cart with its wheels stuck in ruts. I’ve tried to strive to improve efficiency and output, but it’s been a pretty fruitless quest. From my dealings with the unitary, I believe things are even worse over the hill.
Of the remaining decisions that your councillors do get input on, it’s a very long process to get a decision to committee. Quite often the clock runs down, until options are constrained by the time available, which destroys any hope of anything innovative, or that challenges the established ways. After the run-around, you wonder why you even bothered trying.
I’m not going to disappear, I’ve got a couple of personal projects I’ll be getting on with, and I will still campaign locally on causes that are important to me.”

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