Reports from the Local Politics Front Line

Surrey County Councillor, Chris Botten provides information about local politics and what is going on at Surrey County Council. Chris uses this website to keep his constituents informed about situations and events, and in particular, his own involvement in these.

Chris will post mostly weekly updates on his work on behalf of his constituents, as a County and District Councillor. He will describe the processes and possible frustrations associated with getting things done while in opposition, and also share the key issues on which he will be fighting. He hopes residents will find it helpful and informative. It will rarely be party political, but if it is, it will be obvious why.

After twenty years as a Tandridge District Councillor and thirteen as a Parish Councillor Chris is now one of the 81 County Councillors.

He’s in opposition, as he has been for most of that time; there are 61 Conservatives at County, so Chris will bechallenging, bringing a different perspective and trying to make things fairer. He has led the Opposition at Tandridge for a number of years.

Things fall apart………..

“Things fall apart- the centre cannot hold Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world………..” These words of WB Yeats resonate. The bizarre nature of our current politics degenerates still further and nothing seems to be co-ordinated or connected. Like some high risk Mad Hatter’s Tea Party each silo sits in a puddle of its own […]

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Austerity is not yet over!

Austerity is NOT yet over! The County Council has issued five consultations- on the future of Children’s Centres, the future of libraries, CRC closures (recycling centres) and cutting discretionary travel (bus passes). These can be found at and are open till 4th January. Cabinet yesterday agreed to top-slice the grant to schools to boost […]

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It’s not all Local Government’s Fault! Why successive national governments must take a lot of the blame!

It’s not all Local Government’s Fault! Why successive national governments must take a lot of the blame! It is not a recent problem, aggravated by the time consuming and damaging complete pre-occupation with Brexit. Since before 2010, when the austerity funding seriously kicked in, national government has shifted responsibilities to local government, passed over issues […]

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A Little Humility is required.

Surrey Children’s Services- a long history of failure. When the Ofsted Inspection of Surrey’s Children’s Services report was published this month, the outcome can have surprised few. Inspectors had been visiting regularly since the last Ofsted failure in 2014, and a whole series of letters and notices was drawing attention to a service which was […]

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Character Matters

Character Matters The painful suffering of Amber Rudd reminds me that we must, at whatever level we are in politics, retain a moral lodestone, which we fail to follow at our peril. Poor Ms Rudd is suffering from her predecessor’s performance at the Home Office. Theresa May allowed the dog whistles of the far right […]

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A Democratic Deficit

A Democratic Deficit Last week I attended Surrey’s Health and Wellbeing Board. This committee contains representatives from patient organisations, Clinical Commissioning Groups, (CCGs), the SCC Cabinet (represented, I have to say, by three councillors who are really effective and know their brief) and Borough and District Councils. Its remit is to take a strategic view […]

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Flayed Alive.

Flayed Alive. The last couple of weeks have been very difficult. Part of the problem is the intense frustration associated with failings of the system I can do little or nothing about. I am extremely upset that the Caterham Hill branch of the Children’s Centre is being evicted to less than ideal premises because the […]

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