DAVE GOODERHAM: Time for a person with a new outlook

A personal view
A personal view
Have your say

For someone who studied government and political studies at A-level, I have never really taken a great interest in politics.

I could argue that – at a national level – political parties often became too blurred, interested more in soundbites than matters of real interest to me and my kin.

But in truth, it was my choice to show little interest in the state of the political nation.

In a personal sense, I was generally happy to go about my day-to-day business, paying little regard to what the government of the day or even my local MP was talking about.

A wrong attitude I know, but one quite typical for many twenty-somethings in this country.

As I have got older, my priorities and interests have changed. Well almost.

I still find myself turning off national politics. But on a local level things are different.

You would have had to have been living under a rock not to know about the furore surrounding David Ruffley in the last few months.

In hindsight, his silence never helped matters and his departure was always likely.

But this column is not going to look at the past, but the future.

Mr Ruffley’s exit from a seat he has dominated for 17 years gives a big opportunity – regardless of the political party.

A new person with new attitudes, new priorities and a new outlook on my area.

Even for someone who has only taken a passing interest in politics for much of my adult life, you cannot help but be excited about this.

From a Conservative point of view, there has been predictable interest in taking over from Mr Ruffley in what should remain a safe seat.

A list of 94 interested people has been whittled down to 11 who will be interviewed on Saturday, October 25. A final election will then be carried out on Tuesday, November 4.

I only know one of the 11 and I was hugely impressed by our brief recent meeting.

But regardless of who is chosen, and whichever party our next MP represents, I hope one thing is abundantly clear.

In a perfect world, they would be local to our area and know exactly what is important for residents of Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and beyond.

If they are not local, they need to become local pretty quickly. Engage regularly with their communities, get under the skin of the key issues and become one of us. They not only must reside in their constituency but also spend a good percentage of their time here.

Only then will full trust be given and a real difference made.