Friday, September 21, 2007

Back to Normal

Back to council business with a vengeance today, with a seminar on the various changes to local government which will come in the next couple of years. The Westminster government wants to revitalise our democracy but they seem incapable of realising that the only way to do that is to allow local people to elect councillors who decide on how to spend the money and deliver the services locally instead of having to fulfill central government targets all the time. It seems to be almost impossible to set a vision for the area in case we fail to deliver it in the required time frame - utterly stupid in my opinion. The result is that many people don't see any point in voting or getting involved because they find that it doesn't actually make much difference.
Once the new local government bill is enacted we'll be faced with making a choice between having a directly elected mayor who then takes all the important decisions and appoints his/her own cabinet to help in that, or a directly elected leader and cabinet as a slate so very little chance of a coalition ever again, or a leader elected by the council as at present who would then appoint his/her own cabinet and be in post for 4 years instead of the current one year. We know that the Independent groups on the council favour the elected mayor scenario because they seem to think that anyone who's not a member of a mainstream political party has more democratic credibility than someone who is. They're also convinced that people would reject the offerings of the main parties. They could be right on the latter point but they could be very wrong. Interesting times ahead.
An hour spent chasing up bits of work which hadn't been resolved while I was away was followed by a trip to the shops to restock the depleted fridge and cupboards. Then it was time to sort out Fairtrade goods to take to one of the local churches in time for their harvest festival stall on Sunday before going to celebrate my mother-in-law's 85th birthday with the other half of her family. It was exciting to hear our nephew's plans for going to university next year and to realise that he's also planning to be an engineer - the family tradition continues despite his father's departure from it!

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