Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Local elections

I sent this letter to the local rag this morning - any comments?

My voting card arrived this morning. If this were a national election, I would be amongst the many that see nothing at all to inspire or excite amongst any of the main parties

This being a local election, however, local issues should be the focus on the decisions we have to make. I would, thus, propose three questions to all of the candidates:

1. Given that the matters over which local government has any real influence over have been drastically reduced, and the actual political decisions are made by a small coterie of councillors – the ‘cabinet’ – what is the purpose of so many additional councillors? Their role appears to be little more than an unqualified low-level welfare service, sorting out management failures of the council, given that they have no real political role any longer. Could we not manage with many less councillors given that no party is suggesting a return to direct service provision?

2. Would not a properly funded, trained, and independent Ombudsman service which operated locally be a more effective way of sorting out these problems? I accept that many councillors – including those in this ward – work hard and are sincere and genuine people – but its their actual role which I question, now that they have no political ‘say’ any longer unless a Cabinet member.

3. Given that Sefton Council has no overall majority and no party is principled enough to walk away from power, what we have is essentially an officer-run authority with an all-party coalition cabinet. Why, then, so much inter-party bickering in election literature when the decisions being criticised are the responsibility of all three parties?

I will be interested to receive any responses – my vote is up for grabs!

No comments: