Why I voted no to a #brummayor this morning
I voted against the creation of an elected mayor in Birmingham today.
Whilst it’s not an issue I feel particularly passionate about, there are three main reasons why.
1. There is a lack of clarity around what powers a mayor would have and there are too few systems of accountability for the mayor once they are elected. Essentially, they will serve a four-year term without a way of recalling them. They also have the power to appoint a whole range of unaccountable special advisors to support them. I think the role is likely to reduce democratic accountability rather than increase it.
2. The mayoral electoral processes I have seen so far do not fill me with confidence. People potentially elect a mayor at odds with the formation of the council creating a difficult relationship. Where as, a council leader has some confidence from the councillors and has to work to form consensus in local government. In some UK elections, the mayoral position has been used for protest voting, which whilst I am not against this per se, it appears to have benefited parties like the BNP and helped elect individuals such as the guy whose policy ideas relied on dressing up as a monkey. I am also convinced that the process will encourage those who are egocentric, egotists or seeking power to stand and will favour those with the biggest campaign funds.
3. The evidence shows that women do not tend to stand for single positions of power to the same extent as positions within a collective democracy (i.e councillors). The move to elected mayors, elected police commissioners etc. is likely to reduce the number of women having roles in public life when we should be working to increase the representation.
Make sure you vote if you haven’t yet. And vote no to an elected mayor ;-)