Thursday, October 12, 2006

Know your place, citizens of Birmingham

Tuesday saw a tiny number of Birmingham residents (well, most of the live inside the city - although the current leader doesn't see fit to actually reside within the borders of Birmingham) decide that you or I won't get the chance to decide if Birmingham should have an elected mayor.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Tilsley wrought revenge upon his Tory leader, Mike Whitless - who still harbours ambitions of becoming the Mayor himself (sadly, his ignorance of Birmingham's electoral makeup hasn't improved). Tilsley moved a motion that required the council to oppose any government attempt to impose an elected mayor. The fact that the goverment won't do any such thing is irrelevant. What is more, the Tories and Liberal Democrats, who have managed to glue the regressive partnership together for the past few years, don't reckon that you or I are up to making that decision. The motion would only allow it if both the Council and the electorate agreed.

I've made my views on the mayor idea clear in the past - and I see no reason to shift - but I'm always ready to support a decent discussion about the whole thing.

Why won't the Lib Dems and the Tories allow it?


Bob said...

Comrade, I think you have already answered your own question. In the previouis posting on a Mayor over a year ago you rejected the call for a Mayor saying... "so let's ignore the pressure to elect one and get on with electing councillors who can select their own leader and exercise control over that leader."

There seems to be no point in this exercise at all. The Birmingham Mail want it so they can push some celebrity bore on to the people of Birmingham, and then the Government will further denigrate democracy by making it a vote for a Maor of the 'City Region'.

It is fundamentally an attack on local democracy. In France, they do have Mayors, but they also have communes with real power. 80% of the communes have less than 1,000 residents... now that is democracy, not this rubbish.

PoliticalHack said...

I'm not a fan of an elected mayor for Birmingham and I'm not convinced that an elected mayor for the City Region (whatever it is called this week) is a much better idea. London was a peculiar example where it does benefit from a unitary structure. I don't think that the same applies to the West Midlands and know it doesn't apply to Birmingham.

That said, that is solely my view.

My problem with the motion in particular was that it means that even if the people of Birmingham rise up as one and demand an elected mayor, the Council still holds a veto.