Thursday, April 05, 2007

Some more mayoral posting

Tuesday's full council saw a motion passed that would ensure that if a valid petition come forward from the required 36,000 residents, then the mayoral referendum would take place forewith.
The debate as such was restricted to the original mover, seconder, and the succesful amendments mover and seconder. Thus there was no time for me to make this speech:
I rise to speak in favour of the amendment.
I don’t want to enter into the debate today on the pros and cons of elected mayors. We all had the opportunity to do that on 14 Feb in the Evening Mail’s so called “Big Debate”.
Until 6 weeks ago I didn’t know very much about elected mayors. There are less than 10 of them in the country out of the 410 local authorities in England and Wales.
On the whole referendums have come about in those towns because of failing local government.
Local government where there has been long term failure.
Local government where there has been allegations of corruption, complacency and patronage of members and officers.
Local government where there has been a long-term one party state.
Birmingham doesn’t fit any of those descriptions now.
The Evening Mail has done a fine job of reporting the debate so far. But they have left out crucial pieces of information.
What many in this chamber will not realise, because it hasn’t been reported anywhere, except on my blog, is that Mayor Ray Mallon, during the big debate in this very chamber, said: “Birmingham is not broken, so it doesn’t need fixing.”
The Middlesboro mayor was effectively saying Birmingham doesn’t need a mayor.
In the last 6 weeks or so I’ve done quite a lot of reading on the subject of elected Mayors.
I must admit that the DCLG does provide some quite user friendly advice on how to call a referendum.
This advice includes a sample timeline showing how you progress from referendum to mayoral election.
The arguments being put forward by the opposition about the costs of the referendum or mayoral election are extremely specious.
It would be possible to keep costs down by running a concurrent local election and referendum, that is true.
But if the referendum happened to be successful, then the legislation is quite clear that the mayoral election has to be held on the third Thursday of October.
Now, as far as I know, there are currently no plans for an election of any description on 16 October 2008.
So the full costs of running an election would be incurred.
Lord Mayor, we all know that nothing comes for free. So this will be a cost that council tax payers will have to cover. Or does Sir Albert want to cut something so that we can afford to run his beauty contest.


At 1:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry as I am to have to correct your speech there are 12 elected mayors in england and wales

apparently the one in watford is quite good...

At 12:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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