HAS the cause of the underprivileged and vulnerable found a champion in the local elections? Sarah Rommell is standing as an anti-cuts candidate in the fight to gain a seat on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council elections – but is it enough to get her elected in South West Holderness? In the third part of our series looking at the four campaigns to win your vote, we explore Sarah Rommell’s campaign.
Sarah Rommell is probably considered the underdog in this election. An Independent candidate and a self-funded candidate she clearly hasn’t got the party machine or the resources to get her message out there as widely as the other party-backed candidates can. But what Sarah Rommell does have and makes her unique in this particular election, is a powerful anti-austerity message aimed at a very defined constituency.
She doesn’t support cuts in police, fire or National Health Services, neither does she support ‘fairer’ or ‘nicer’ cuts in services – No, she says she will fight cuts! The accepted wisdom from the main political parties in the South West Holderness election spurred on by the national whips is that austerity is a natural state of affairs – but from Rommell we get the stirring proclamation “Protecting public services, Fighting cuts, People before profit!”
At the heart of her campaign, based on her experience as a long-term campaigner on the issue, is defence of the NHS “on which people’s lives literally depend”. The poor response times from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to emergencies in the Holderness area has featured in other candidates’ election material, but Sarah Rommell goes further and she has backed an ongoing campaign to ensure that fully trained paramedics are on all ambulances that respond to emergency 999 calls. A campaigner, a petitioner, a marcher, a demonstrator – Rommell is the real deal when it comes to political activism to defend the NHS.
“Being disadvantaged or ill shouldn’t be a barrier to participation,” says Rommell who as a councillor on Hedon Town Council, and against the stream of popular perceived wisdom, has sought to:
- provide events and activities for children experiencing learning and physical disadvantage;
- upgrade the Town Council’s hearing loop which she believes is inadequate to the job;
- install a modern stair/wheelchair lift in the ancient town hall building.
On these issues she has upset the prevailing mindset that says that during austerity money spent on enabling greater access – when there is no proven or demonstrable demand for that access – is perhaps money not well spent. Sarah Rommell has doggedly pursued these causes in the belief that even if only one constituent benefits that is sufficient, but confident that better access will improve participation.
‘Doggedly pursuing her causes’ is probably a good turn-of-phrase to describe this candidate, who has identified the vulnerable, the disadvantaged, – the underdogs in society – as her constituency.
A definition of underdog is ‘one that is expected to lose a contest or struggle, as in sports or politics’. Well this underdog just might surprise us. Her constituency, united with their carers, their families, their friends just might pull off a surprise and support Sarah Rommell’s election. If so, we could see the underdog becoming one of the ‘topdog’ three councillors elected on Thursday 7th May 2015.
There are eight candidates standing in the election for the three seats from South West Holderness Ward on East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
|Candidates (√ = have sent statement)|
|BLACK, Neil √
|BRYAN, Mike √
|DENNIS, John √
|GALLANT, Steve √
|ROMMELL, Sarah √
|STEEL, Sue √
|STOCKDALE, Brian √
|WEST, Terry √
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