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LTNs gone - but a more fundamental issue.....

The LTNs may (mostly) be gone but like other British politicians in history many Ealing councillors failed to understand the political climate of the day. After over 16 months of restrictions the last thing people wanted was more control and more restrictions - they want their freedoms and their normal way of life back. But whether or not you believed that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were a good or a bad idea, and notwithstanding any policy from central Government or finance from TfL, whether it’s the LTN fiasco or other issues such as high rise towers or Victoria Hall  the whole saga is symptomatic of a more fundamental issue. That is:  the abuse of position and the erosion of democracy.  With their dogma and their own political agenda they become arrogant, don’t listen, think they know better than the people, and that residents should subscribe to their world view. Driven more by party political agenda than respect for the wishes of the local community, they have lost touch with the residents they are supposed to represent. Ill-thought-out policies alienate local residents, creating an anger and resentment which in itself does not promote a healthy and harmonious community. There are a few very good councillors, but generally our party political system does not produce competent individuals suitable for running a local community for the benefit of its residents. As the respected linguist, historian and political activist Noam Chomsky observed, there are always those prepared to reduce our democracy in order to further their agenda. The same people are still in council and there remains an existential threat to our communities and our democracy. But whatever your political persuasion, residents should remain vigilant else there is the risk of more of a ‘Culture of Control’ and an increasingly authoritarian administration. Local communities do not need party agenda driven politicians. Local communities do need honest and trustworthy people as councillors, who are competent, without party-political ideology, and who listen to the local residents who elect them to office to represent their majority wishes. Certain councillors may not like it, but it’s called democracy. Councillors are our local public servants, not our masters - they are not in power, they are in office at our sufferance. They might do well to remember this. 

Mike Davidson ● 11d85 Comments ● 2d

Croydon: Borough’s voters choose directly-elected Mayor system in referendum

Support for a change in the governance arrangement was overwhelming (by DAVE HILL)Croydon Council will be led by a directly-elected Mayor (DEM) in future after voters expressed a strong preference for switching to the mayoral system at a local referendum held yesterday.Of the 58,897 people who cast votes, an overwhelming 47,165 chose to adopt a mayoral model, while only 11,519 opted to retain the current leader-and-cabinet set-up, under which the council leader is elected by fellow councillors rather than by voters. Turnout was 21 per cent.The referendum was held after a petition raised by pro-DEM campaigners last year secured enough signatures of borough electors, five per cent of them, to require the plebiscite to take place.The leader of the Labour-run council at the time, Tony Newman, was opposed to switching to the mayoral system. However, following Newman’s departure a year ago amid severe financial problems at the borough, his successor, Hamida Ali, took a more conciliatory approach.Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets have had directly-elected Mayors since early this century, and governance referendums held in the latter two boroughs in May saw local electors vote strongly in favour of retaining them.The workings of the mayoral system can vary, however, with power concentrated in the hands of a Mayor or devolved to councillors in different ways and to differing degrees. Croydon Council says its Mayor will appoint a cabinet and delegate powers to it “so that decisions are made collectively, as at present under the leader/cabinet model.”Both the mayoral and the leader-and-cabinet arrangements are termed executive models of governance, with most decision-making powers held at cabinet level.Labour in Croydon has been divided over the governance question, with local MPs Steve Reed and Sarah Jones opposed to adopting the mayoral system while key activists in the south of the borough have favoured it, along with Croydon South Conservative MP Chris Philp.The referendum petition was supported by a political coalition embracing Labour, a former UKIP candidate and residents’ groups unhappy with the “growth borough” policies of the council under Newman, particularly its enthusiasm for more house-building in a borough that has experienced a rapid population increase.Advocates argued that candidates seeking to become Mayor will have an interest in seeking support across the whole of the borough and tailoring policies accordingly, rather than concentrating their efforts on electoral wards they know they can win. Criticisms of the pro-DEM campaign have included claims that it is motivated by a desire to prevent more homes being built in affluent areas.SOURCE:,7KNWT,M4M0DR,UU03B,1

Rosco White ● 4d5 Comments ● 4d