Monday, December 12, 2005

A Vote too far?

Certain people within the council have come up with quite the daftest idea yet for increasing voter interest in local elections - they want us to have a directly elected executive. Seven people to be directly elected from across the whole Borough (that's two parliamentary constituencies) to replace the present cabinet elected by the council from its members. Somehow these seven people are going to be able to come together the day after the election, understand how the system works and start sharing out portfolios and buckling down to work. This despite the fact that they might be from a mix of political parties or none, elected on completely different manifestos. Is the world completely mad I ask myself.

For some strange reason the Tories agree that it's a good idea.

One of the suggestions made is that it provides a defined career structure for elected members - what a load of rubbish. Elected members are exactly that - elected. If you decide not to elect us next time that's it - we're out. There's no career structure at all. Some might hope that if they make a good showing at local level they'll get a chance to stand for Parliament in a seat where they have a hope of winning but most people go into local politics to make a difference in their own area.

What it does mean is that ward councillors will be further away from influencing the decision making - Executive members can claim that they were elected on a particular policy platform and they needn't take any notice of other councillors. Do we really want this?

Apparently the Labour Government at Westminster has indicated that more powers could come to local councils if they go along this route. BUT the very powers people want - those over planning, licensing and policing their areas, are being more and more centralised to a regional or national level. Where's the honesty in that?

No comments: