I like to keep up with what my local council are doing. Much was made recently of some of the council spending post election on TV’s for offices and murals at the Civic Centre, which got me to thinking about who gets to authorise all this. If you check the council website, and also as published lately in Hillingdon People Magazine, there are 65 councillors in the Borough, of whom 46 are Conservative and until recently 19 were Labour (Now 18 whilst one of their number is on suspension from the party). The council is run by a cabinet of 10, all of whom are Conservative, and none of whom were elected by voters in the South of the Borough. Surely, if there are 10 cabinet members, and the stat’s above represent voting patterns across the Borough, then at least 3 should be Labour to represent the spread of public opinion? Yet this does not happen, and what is more, it leaves a section of the borough disenfranchised.The leader of the council is elected not by the people, but by other politicians, and can only be removed by other politicians so long as he retains his councillor status in what is effectively a ‘safe’ seat.
So how can this situation be rectified, and how can democracy be served for ALL of the people of Hillingdon?
A little known statute from 2000 allows for the election of an Executive Mayor, who has similar powers to the leader of the council and can select his own cabinet, but is voted in to office by the people. So, if you don’t agree with certain spending or policy, you can vote him out of office in the same way that you can remove your councillor or MP.
Some councils already have an Executive mayor (Including our neighbours in Watford), and so have a much bigger say in how their area is run.
I am organising a petition to call for a referendum on an elected Mayor for Hillingdon – For more information, please contact me via email