Sunday, 6 October 2013

All Up Elections

At the next Full Council meeting, all 51 councillors will be making a decision as to whether Southend should elect all it's councillors every four years or continue to elect a third of its councillors, one from each ward, every year with what is known as a fallow year in the forth year.

For there to be a change to the current arrangements it will need the agreement of two thirds of councillors. Whilst I am not necessary sure that the proposal will receive backing, I will be voting for the new proposals.

By electing all councillors once every four years it is estimated that it could save £50,000 every year. Whilst I complete accept the concept that you can not put a price on democracy, we elect MP's and MEP's once every five years and I do not get a sense from the residents that I speak to that this is undemocratic.

The reason why I do not believe that this proposal will get the required two thirds support is that ultimately turkey's do not vote for Christmas. I also suspect that the opposition parties will not support the move is that they would struggle to find 51 candidates. I have no actual proof of this but the fact that the Lib Dems have not been able to field a full slate of candidates for the past two elections would suggest that I might be on safe ground with my assumptions.

I would also go slightly further than the report suggests as I would have reduced the number of councillors. Again, this would never see the light of day as turkey's would not vote Christmas but if America can run with just 100 senators does Southend need 51 councillors? Even the House of Commons was looking to reduce by 50 odd seats until the Lib Dems got cold feet.

Ultimately, if we are asking the public to accept the savings that we are having to make then I think the political classes also need to do their bit and reduce our costs. Saving £50,000 a year without making any cuts to front line services is something that warrants serious consideration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your point about the US Senate is a little disingenuous. They also have a 435-member House of Representatives.

Do your proposals extend to creating a second chamber for Southend?