Posted by: John | October 12, 2007

Labour’s democratic deficit

Londoners might not believe it having the GLA and all that – here in Stockport we are part of the AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) – it’s a loose collection of authorities with no real decision making powers compared to a regional or city-wide assembly. There are ten borough that make up AGMA and there have been recent meetings about the voting rights and voting balances of the Strategic Commission on Economic Development. This is concerned with the new arrangements for AGMA for Economic Development of the Greater Manchester area.

The ten Borough Leaders have one vote each to decide these issues.

6 of the authorities are Labour, 2 Lib Dem and 2 Tory or with Tory dominance. Some in AGMA were arguing that the majority of the voting representatives should be from the business community leaving elected representatives in the MINORITY. Thus people that are elected representatives are being usurped by unelected business people.

I’ve often said that I’m pretty relaxed about business people (and indeed trade unionists, small business people, social entrepreneurs, voluntary sector) advising, being consulted etc etc – however, this is a new thing them having actual voting rights and being in the majority! Where will it all end – business people with votes in the Town Hall?

Our Group mandated the Leader, Cllr Dave Goddard, to reject that option and ensure elected majorities were derived from Councillors. He was more than happy to do so. The result? You guessed it – Labour voted him down, the two Tories abstained and the two Lib Dem leaders voted against and with the people.

This was in contradiction to what the Conservatives said at Stockport’s Full Council meeting – one said to the effect that `on this we are backing Cllr Goddard all the way.`

Apparently Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester Council, thinks it would be crazy NOT to have Business people with a voting majority on such a board!

 Is it any wonder when Brown’s `little sister` says this:

The following paragraph is taken from the paper submitted to Ruth Kelly in July 2006

“The membership of the Commission must reflect the priorities set out.  It will be private sector led: it is anticipated that the Business Leadership Council will provide the Chair and a majority membership.  Key national and regional agencies (LSC/JC+/NWDA) will also be represented at a strategic level to ensure that there is an effective mechanism for aligning national and regional programmes and targets with the city-regional economy.

This is just one of a number of ways that nu Labour are grossly debauching the political system. When are the senior people in our party going to take Cllr Goddard’s lead and courage and take proper democratic renewal and reform to the country?

Ming, Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg – speak up!


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