Yes or no?

3 05 2012

I’m voting Yes to an elected mayor in today’s referendum because Bristol needs better. This could be the only chance in our lifetime to profoundly alter the way this city is run. Local politics is moribund. A directly elected mayor would change all that, reinvigorating local democracy with a strong mandate and a voice at the heart of Westminster.

We may not yet know exactly what powers an elected mayor will have, but it matters not. An elected mayor will have the power to bring about real change for Bristol.

Bristol is already a great city, but it could be so much greater. A directly elected mayor will represent the people of Bristol far better than a leader of the council who has changed seven times in the last 10 years, and an anonymous chief executive. Name them both without Googling. Now name the incumbent Mayor of London.

I urge you to vote Yes today. Bristol deserves better.

Why elected mayors matter:
www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2012/04/elected-mayors

The case for Yes: www.bristolmayor.org

The case for No: www.bristolsaysno.org

From the Yes camp, Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie: “For anyone fed up with council-house politics, who wants vision, direction and ambition for our city, the answer is simple. Vote Yes.”
www.thisisbristol.co.uk/vote-Bristol-s-future/story-15958599-detail/story.html

From the No camp, Ashley ward Green Party councillor Gus Hoyt: “We need to be handing power back to communities, not taking it away.”
www.bristol247.com/2012/05/02/gus-hoyt-yes-or-no-lets-give-mayors-powers-back-to-the-people-88976/

Vote Yes in today’s referendum and get a Council House our children can be proud of


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8 responses

3 05 2012
Darryl W Bullock

I’ve voted ‘no’. Huge waste of money, massive risk of abuse by people motivated by self interest and virtually no accountability. Nothing more than an expensive ego trip

3 05 2012
Matt Crocker

Going to vote no because I don’t think the mayor will do any of the things you’ve mentioned and agree that it’s less democratic to have an unremoveable head of council.

3 05 2012
Dave Martin (@justan0therdave)

Thanks for putting up hyperlinks to the websites of supporters of both sides of the argument.

This line in your post, however, scares me:
“We may not yet know exactly what powers an elected mayor will have, but it matters not”. I think what powers are granted matters greatly!

3 05 2012
K Bryant

Since we don’t know what powers an elected mayor will have how can we decide if it is a good idea or not? A “no” means things stay as they are with no direct control for the voters on who leads the council. But what does “yes” mean? Seems that the post of leader will go, but there is nothing saying that the annoymous and expensive CEO gets replaced too (unless the new mayor proposes it and gets 1/3 of councillors to agree).

Having a mayor has to cost more in salaries, we gain a post (the leader goes back to being just a councillor). We don’t know what they get paid, I guess that will depend on their powers.

Unknown powers, unknown cost… I really want to use my vote, but how am I meant to decide wisely?

3 05 2012
spanneredbooks

“…a leader of the council who has changed seven times in the last 10 years…”

Is this right – I though the only two Council leaders Bristol has had since the ‘leader-less’ period that ended in 2002 were Holland and Janke?

And I’ve got to echo the above comments really: there are huge problems with the status-quo, but I can’t vote ‘Yes’ to a proposal that isn’t defined, has no power of re-call, and for which the main selling point seems to be ‘they can sit on a Council of Mayors with David Cameron’ – I’m not sure how any of that is going to help the people of the city that actually need support?

3 05 2012
Josh

Since Nottingham (I think?) are voting on whether to keep their Mayor, would it not be a good idea to test it and shelve the lot if things don’t end well?

3 05 2012
lechatdargent

I have also voted yes, with my take on it (and a plea for support in finding an inspirational candidate) here:

http://lechatdargent.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/vote-yes-and-help-me-find-an-inspirational-bristol-mayor/

As I undestand it, if a no vote is returned, there is still the option to petition for a mayor should it turn out that the powers are desirable.

My own plea is this: if we do switch to a Mayor model, please please please don’t sit back and wait for parties and wealthy independents to put forward establishment candidates. Instead, let’s seek out someone different and change the nature of Bristol politics.

5 05 2012
Links I like 12.05.05 « Benlowndes

[…] Yes or no? (bristolculture.wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Journalism, Links I like, Public sector Barbara Janke, Bristol, Bristol City Council, Bristol Post, Centre for Cities, elected mayors, elections, Kevin Jump, local government, local media, The Guardian ← Digital ambition doesn’t hide bad headlines for local press […]

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