Monday, April 21, 2008

Another nail in the coffin for local democracy

Hot on the heels of my post about the May 1st elections I have more sad evidence that local democracy is being eroded.

A couple of years ago the residents of Letchworth Garden City elected, in a full local referendum, a town council. In line with the laws of this country that referendum followed the same laws as any election - allowing postal votes, all day polling stations etc.

Now Letchworth Garden City is a strange beast (I won't go into the full quaker, tee-total, cooperation-based history here) which means that the local council has always been slightly contraversial. We already have the local council (NHDC) who are, like all councils, tasked by central government to perform certain functions. On top of that we have the Heritage Foundation, who essentially look after the history and character of the town, and now we have the Town Council, who are intended to represent the people of the town.

I particularly like the town council because they are constantly asking the residents' opinions and obviously care.

Anyway, someone in the town (I shant name him here) has decided he doesn't like us having a Town Council and has discovered a little used strategy to get rid of them.

He has called a poll. Different to an election, the poll can still disband the council. Crucially however, the poll doesn't follow UK election law. The booths are open 4-9pm today (I have a client dinner tonight) and no postal votes are allowed.

So there goes my democractic right, because one man isn't happy. And potentially there goes my Town Council.


1 comment:

hyperism said...

I live in Letchworth too, and yes it is a funny old place, shame about the town council!

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