Thursday, 14 May 2009

A directly elected Mayor for Leeds?

. Today's Yorkshire Evening Post flags up the start of a consultation process on whether Leeds should have it's own directly elected Mayor. This is one of those issues which I swing both ways on because while I am in favour in principle of the maximum amount of direct democracy I also see the potential problems of creating yet another layer of bureaucracy and concentration of power in the hands of a dwindling executive. Link

As is rightly pointed out the experience of directly elected mayors across the country is something of a mixed bag. Leeds City Council already has an executive leader/cabinet system of running and if a directly elected mayor was created then there would still be a ceremonial Lord Mayor though it is hard to see what function they would have in comparison to one with a voter mandate.

It is said that this would take the role of Mayor away from party politics but I don't see this as being the case and in any case the place where the system is most effective ie, London is the place where it is most tied to party politics. The less said about Hartlepools selection of H'Angus the Monkey the better; however, this does point to the fact that realistic fact that the role of an elected Mayor just becomes another electoral battlefield between the parties.

Logically, the cabinet/leader system makes Leeds one step away from needing an elected Mayor because the current system currently skews the link somewhat between direct electoral accountability and the leading representatives of the council. Whether the scheme is a success really does actually depend on who ends-up in charge. Doncaster, where the council and Mayor seem to be at permanent odds with each other, points to another danger of the system; namely that leadership becomes impossible in a battle of wills between two, both electorally mandated, arms of local government.

What the DEM system does is actually create a quasi-American separation of executive and legislature at a local level; which is fine as long as the system has the required built-in checks and balances. If the right person is in charge then an elected Mayor can be a huge force for good where as the wrong person can make the whole exercise a complete waste of time and money. As I have said, the situation in Leeds makes the democratic case for direct electoral accountability of the executive persuasive; however, I remain to be 100% convinced it is the right solution to this issue.

Also, a slight news announcement of my own; as those of you who Tweet will know I now own the domain name for this blog so watch for some c-c-c-changes in the coming few days. A new site and a new look are on the way along with a possible broadening of content.


David said...

It seems to me a shame that the matter is being decided with so little debate. For sure, civic leadership in Leeds needs something new that will engage the public and raise the profile of the city. As the old adage goes, if we keep doing the same things we will get the same results!

Office Spaces Leeds said...

Hey, great post, very well written. You should blog more about this!

xiamenb2c02 said...

Top quality of ecco shoes are developed for discerning customers.Enjoy a great selection of newest ecco shoes on sale,free shipping,110% price guarantee.Top quality of ecco shoes is your best chooice for daily life and working,sport,and so on.And hot sale now winter Boots .fashion on the outside,warm on the inside.

Anonymous said...

[url=]casino[/url], also known as agreed casinos or Internet casinos, are online versions of notable ("chunk and mortar") casinos. Online casinos approve gamblers to filch up and wager on casino games to a t the Internet.
Online casinos habitually send behind bars up championing position odds and payback percentages that are comparable to land-based casinos. Some online casinos make a stand for on higher payback percentages with a point of idea intelligence advocate prime mover games, and some call for upon known payout deal out audits on their websites. Assuming that the online casino is using an politely programmed unsystematic party generator, quote games like blackjack sine qua non an established put edge. The payout slice on account of regardless of these games are established through the rules of the game.
Innumerable online casinos consent into societal point of view or grip their software from companies like Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Supranational Evasion Technology and CryptoLogic Inc.

Anonymous said...

top [url=]free casino[/url] brake the latest [url=]casino las vegas[/url] autonomous no store bonus at the leading [url=]no deposit bonus