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Who has all the power?

Democtracy talks this weekend

Written by . Published on July 4th 2014.


Who has all the power?

Is Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson too powerful, fortified by Labour councillors occupying  90 percent of the council chamber seats? 

In neighbouring  Knowsley, every council seat is held by Labour, with no opposition at all. 

Around the country more than 100 town and city councils are now dominated by a single party. 

A conference takes place in Liverpool this Saturday to pose the question: is it time to unlock democracy to ensure decisions are made by elected representatives reflecting local voting patterns? 

Leading the debate will be Alexandra Runswick, director of the national campaign group Unlock Democracy. Also speaking will be the Liverpool West Derby Labour MP Stephen Twigg who is also Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform. 

Emily Randall, Unlock Democracy Senior Campaigner, said: “May’s local elections saw dismal voter turnouts across the country and some very predictable results. Around 100 councils in England and Wales remain overwhelmingly controlled by one party. Our local group, Merseyside and West Cheshire Unlock Democracy, have been asking, “Are these election outcomes good for democracy? Is a decisive election result more likely to provide certainty and effective governance, or does it foster increased antipathy toward political elites and less public trust?”

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the impact of voting systems used for local government elections in different parts of the UK. More importantly, this event will be a chance to debate the impact how we vote has on Merseyside.” 

John Volleamere, Unlock Democracy Merseyside and West Cheshire co-ordinator, wants to see proportional representation introduced to give democracy a fighting chance of representing the wishes of local people. 

“I think we should have had a referendum to decide on an elected mayor. Having said that I have always opposed elected city mayors, but I support a regional mayor. 

 “A thriving, vibrant democracy must include a sense of public engagement with those who govern on our behalf and who seek active participation in their election. Voters in local government elections express a simple desire to see their ballot paper preferences reflected in elected councils, yet increasingly we witness the emergence of single and large majority party chambers, where dissent from, challenge to, and scrutiny of the dominant administration, is minimal, or even effectively absent. 

“Are these kinds of election outcomes good for democracy? Is a decisive election result more likely to provide certainty and effective governance, or does it foster increased antipathy toward political elites and less public trust? 

“This public meeting will provide vital information about the impact of voting systems used for local government elections in different parts of the UK. 

 *Merseyside and West Cheshire Unlock Democracy Group meeting on "What can be done to safeguard Local Government scrutiny in one-party authorities?

1pm Saturday July 5 at St Michael's Church, Horne Street, Off West Derby Road, Liverpool L6 5EH.

 

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AnonymousJuly 4th 2014.

But in Liverpool if there was Proportional Representation it would still be an overwhelming Labour stronghold. If the people of this city vote Labour because they want to be governed by Labour it would be grossly unfair to tinker with the system just to let others in. People here chose to go with Labour. The others may not like it, but heck, that's democracy for you.

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