And that’s another year of trudging to the poll booths done with. And another demonstration of how as a nation we are truly pathetic. That is the only way to do justice to the apathy that demeans the local election process.
In Birmingham for example, alongside the traditional voting for local councillors, was a referendum to decide whether the city should be run by an elected mayor. It was one of 10 English cities holding such a ballot.
So when the populace gets its chance to vote for local representatives or use it as an opportunity to voice discontent at the national government, and at the same time is presented with an historic opportunity to change local governance, what happens?
Less than a third of those eligible can be bothered putting an x or a tick on a piece of paper. In secrecy. Without the need to…
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It seems any argument between supporters and opponents of elected mayors sooner or later reaches an impasse when each side declares their preferred model of local governance is ‘more democratic’ than the other.
For the ‘yes’ side, the principle of each and every voter having a direct say in who leads the city is seen as irrefutable proof that the democratic gods are on their side.
The nay-sayers dismiss this, pointing out that voters already elect the councillors who currently make that choice, and a democratic mandate therefore runs like a thread from the ballot box to the leader’s office.
What’s more, say those who object to mayors, local councillors are more in touch with the issues in their neighbourhoods, and therefore more closely represent the key concerns of the electorate than a distant mayor ever could. These individual ward-level local concerns together form Read the rest of this entry »
The Labour Party is continuing to ramp up its campaigning efforts in the run up to the Birmingham council elections on May 3, in stark contrast to the city’s ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which has made no effort to seek publicity in recent weeks.
A flurry of policy announcements by Labour during April included a promise to give a wage rise to 2,743 low-paid council workers and a commitment to appoint a “Victims Champion” to make sure that the voices of those affected by crime are heard in all local authority departments.
Further details setting out how Labour would go about making sure that the council uses its £1 billion-a-year procurement powers to buy goods and services from local firms is expected before polling day.
Labour’s 16-page manifesto – A Vision for Birmingham – has been regarded as Read the rest of this entry »
Mirza Ahmad has become the first of Birmingham’s mayoral candidates to suggest that he would be able to combine running the city with a second full time job.
Dr Ahmad, a lawyer, is promising to accept only a “fraction” of any recommended pay package for the mayor, but intends to continue to practice as a barrister from St Philip’s chambers.
The former Director of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer at the city council also took a sideswipe at his former colleagues, describing them as working in “highly overpaid, inefficient and ineffective structures”.
He made it clear that he would abolish the post of Read the rest of this entry »