What is it about Asian councillors that makes us feel they should be available 24 hours a day? And when they aren’t, why do we so aggrieved?

Much of our expectations of councillors comes from the manner in which they are elected and how politicians are generally perceived in the Asian sub-continent.

In some, not all wards, people are encouraged to vote along caste lines. Even the most ardent opponent to this comment cannot discount the belief that we are still electing people like our forefathers did in their native Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. It is based on family connections and whether the person is an Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

The majority of the people elected are male, middle-aged and from a certain background. You only have to turn up at a rally or meeting ahead of any local council election to find the same faces vying for the same spots.

What happens next?

Once elected them we feel we ‘own’ the candidates. It was after all our family or wider family who got this person the seat. He or she must therefore act instantly when called upon to solve a problem we are facing.

Yet, the fact is, the councillor can only do much. As well as issues within our neighbourhood, we also expect the councillor to have a wide range of knowledge on geo-political issues, religious edicts and immigration. And when the councillor is unable to assist we will call him or her ‘charlatan’.

Someone who ‘goes missing’ when the world needed them most. I cannot imagine a councillor in a non-Asian neighbourhood being put into the spotlight as much someone who is elected within a predominantly Asian ward.

Most people will not even be aware who their local councillor is. You only have to look at the number of people who turn out to cast their vote.

Some wards struggle to get more than 500 voters but in an Asian neighbourhood turn out is normally five times as much.

On the face of it the local councillor is normally someone who is keen to represent his ward in the council.

Someone who wants to help with everything from keeping the streets clean to traffic safety.

An ardent community worker who wants to make a difference in any way he or she can. Of course as their experience grows, so do responsibilities.

There is also a great fallacy that councillors are being paid a decent wage to conduct their activities. The fact is the allowances are minimal to say the least. Normally around a few thousand pound a year.

There is also a notion that if a councillor is doing well for himself he must be ‘corrupt’. Or he must have some unknown powerful connections within the local council which will help to pass my cousin’s double-story extension without any questions asked.

Much of these perceptions, like I said, come from our widely held beliefs about how politicians act in the lands of our grandparents and parents.

A place fewer and fewer people frequent. To blame the constituents like this is at times unfair.

Some councillors will personally go out of their ways to create a mystic of ‘power’ and ‘infallibility’.

Visits abroad, leading processions and grandstanding at dinners helps to create a belief that they are far more powerful than they actually are.

I say ‘some’ because most soon find themselves swamped with problems from constituents eager to show others around them that they have some sort of connections.

It can become all consuming and we, the Asian community are guilty of inflating expectations and are disappointed when those expectations are not met.