This Friday, over 56,000 people could be wiped off the Birmingham electoral register! New government rules mean you must register personally by this Friday, 20 November, to be able to vote in local and national elections. Continue reading
Due to the recent sad death of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Bob Jones, an election will take place on Thursday 21 August throughout the West Midlands police force area. Continue reading
Carl Rice is again elected councillor for the next 4 years. Congratulations to him. Continue reading
This is a very important role and we need to get the right candidate elected.
The Polls close at 10pm today! You can read about the new PCC role and what the candidates stand for by Clicking here.
Furthermore, if you are concerned about the validity of introducing privatisation into the Police Force using large organisations like G4S, then read on….
The prospective candidates for today’s election have recently been emailed by local citizens using the 38 Degrees (See * below) model and analysis of responses.
Essentially, the questions posed were:
- Can you promise not to privatise West Midlands police services?
- Will you allow companies like G4S to get involved in the running of West Midlands police?
- Do you have any connection to companies that might be interested in police contracts?
The responses obtained by 38 Degrees were:
Bill Etheridge (UKIP):
I will never privatise West Midlands Police. Thats a definite promise
I will not allow private companies to have involvement in running the police
I have no involvement or links to any private companies like G4S
Bob Jones (Labour):
1 ) I have consistently voted against the Business partnership for the Police Privatisation process & have committed myself from the start that BPP will end and core policing services will be accountable to the community not to private shareholders.
2) i will totally review procurement arrangments to bring in ethical/international law compliance criteria plys support for local economy re local suppliers & apprentices
3) My only shareholdings are in the Severn Valley railway which has no plans to get involved in Police privatisation. I have no other connections with any business enterprise.
Cath Hannon (Independent):
Thank you for your e-mail, as your West Midlands PCC I will review processes & procedures across the force area to increase efficiency and provide the public a better standard of service. You can see issues I have raised regarding privatisation at http://www.cathhannon4pcc.com/hot-topics.html.
With regard connections to companies that might be interested in West Midlands Police contracts I have none.
Derek Webley (Independent):
I believe a visit to my webpage http://www.derekwebley.co.uk would help to address the issues raised below and give a more indepth view of my manifesto
Matt Bennett (Conservatives):
No response forwared to office
Mike Rumble (Independent):
I have promised from the start of my campaign, that I support in-sourcing not out-sourcing. To make it clear, NO, I do not support privatization of any of the West Midlands Police services. I have also stated my support for the federation and unions and have completed the Unison questionnaire to that effect. My pledges are costed and deliverable, not vote catching sound bites.
I will not allow any privatization, G4S, Serco, Amey or whoever.
I do not have any connection with any company that might be interested in police contracts.
Ayoub Khan (LibDems):
No response forwarded to the office
*About 38 Degrees:
Quote: “38 Degrees is the one of the UK’s biggest campaigning communities, with over 1 million members. We share a desire for a more progressive, fairer, better society and come together to decide which issues we campaign on and the actions we‘ll take to help us achieve that.”
This article by:Geoff Caine
This is a reminder about the election next Thursday the 15 November to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands. It tells you how to vote (different from Parliamentary and Council elections) and who the 7 candidates are.
If you are registered to vote you should by now have had a Poll card through the door telling you where and when to vote.
You should also have received a leaflet shown left.
To read about the new PCC role and about the candidates Click here.
The turnout overall in Birmingham was 28.35%.
Birmingham Says NO to an Elected Mayor
The results are out, and 57.8% voted No and hence 42.2% voted Yes.
Votes No=120,611 Yes=88,085 Unmarked=4,757 Both boxes marked= 627.
So, Birmingham will continue to be governed by a political Leader and his Cabinet (See below).
My opinion: I think this is a sad day for Birmingham. Liverpool and Bristol will flourish where we will struggle for funds and Government support. We need a Boris!
Council Seat Results
The results are:
Labour 77 (+20)
Conservative 28 (-11)
Lib Dem 15 (-9)
So Labour gained overall control of Birmingham City Council from Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. Share of the vote: (51% Labour, 24% Conservative, 14% Liberal Democrat)
Kath Hartley, in this poll the only Ladywood Labour Councillor seeking re-election, was successful.
The others continuing as Ladywood Councillors are Sir Albert Bore (Leader of the Labour Group of Birmingham City Council) and Carl Rice.
We have a new Leader of the Council – Sir Albert Bore returns as leader!
One of our three elected Ladywood Councillors, Sir Albert has returned as Leader of Birmingham City Council, a position he held from 1999 to 2004.
He has had a distinguished career to date in public life and was once a lecturer in Nuclear Physics at Aston University.
See Wikipedia for more of his history.
What should we consider in deciding how to vote on 3 May?
Joseph Chamberlain Mayor of Birmingham 1873-6 – a man of energy and ideas – he would have made a worthy Elected Mayor!
Time is short – the referendum is IMPORTANT and it is on this Thursday this week 3 May – please pass on the link to this article to those you know i.e. http://www.brumcitycentre.com.
There are two main questions:
- What additional powers and funding would a Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) have?
- How do we sack one who is no good?
1 Powers and Funding
Additional Powers Categorised
The Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) would have “Co-decision” and “Exclusive” powers.
Co-decision powers are shared with the Council and relate to budget setting and policy. Proposals made by the DEM can be overruled by a two thirds majority of Councillors.
Exclusive powers are not too well defined at the moment but are quasi-judicial powers over decisions on planning and licensing, and certain ceremonial, employment and legal decisions.
Nine Councillors can be appointed to the cabinet by a DEM in a Cabinet system as we have currently. The DEM can delegate powers, either to them as individuals, or to the Cabinet committee, or to subcommittees of the Cabinet committee. In practice, the DEM remains personally accountable, so delegation and hence dilution of his/her powers has not happened frequently elsewhere.
Obtaining Additional Powers and Funding
December’s Cabinet Office prospectus, Unlocking Growth in Cities, stated that cities wanting significant new powers and funding would “need to demonstrate strong, visible and accountable leadership and effective decision-making structures”. This is widely interpreted as having a DEM.
This document launched the Government’s policy of ‘City Deals’ – bespoke packages of new powers, projects and funding sources, negotiated with the leaders of individual cities, in exchange for an agreement to work with the Government, the private sector and other agencies to unlock these cities’ “full growth potential”.
Ministers want to negotiate individual City Deals with elected mayors; and can’t say what any particular deal will consist of until they know who they’ll be negotiating with.
So, as a voter, you won’t know what you’ve voted for or against unless and until the election of a mayor completes and government deals start to happen.
Additional funding and support may well be available without electing a DEM.
Liverpool realised this and its Council decided on 7 February to get moving and have an elected mayor without consulting their electorate. Then the election of the actual mayor will take place on 3 May.
In advance of this Liverpool has negotiated a City Deal with the Government. This will provide substantial funds for the city to enable business to grow more readily. This is not supposedly dependent on there being an elected mayor but is conditional on the city demonstrating the necessary accountability as described above. The Government has indicated that an elected mayor system would satisfy these requirements.
2. Removal of a DEM
When elected the DEM would be in office for four years.
The Government has said that a “recall procedure” (removal) would be implemented at a later date which it believes is in time for the need for any such action to arise. No information on how this could work has been forthcoming – what would be grounds for removal and who would be able to enforce this and how.
Person Dependent Role
A lot will depend on the person elected as DEM and the outcome could be very good , very bad, or no change. It might help to put down character traits that could affect the outcome.
What a successful candidate might have:
Entrepreneurial skills – achiever, vision, salesmanship, management ability, establishing policy and direction, influential and convincing
The right objectives – working for Brummies, not constrained by a national political party.
The right character – selflessness, open agenda, incorruptible
What an unsuccessful candidate is likely to be:
Biased – inflexible and unlistening
Constrained by the past
Influenced by the wrong things – central Government or political party
The wrong character – egocentric, prone to self-gratification, driven by power lust, monetary reward and/or self-esteem
3. My Conclusions
- We don’t really know what we are voting for or against on 3 May.
- David Cameron believes this is the way forward, so one’s decision may depend on your view of his motives and direction.
- Getting Government help for the City would seem to be easier with a DEM.
- Government support will be dependent on the actual person to be elected as DEM (and therefore perhaps his political colour?)
- Government control over the running and funding for growth of the city may well increase.
- If we choose carefully and elect the right person, the city will benefit substantially, and the converse will without doubt apply.
- It may be very difficult to remove the wrong person and the means does not currently exist in law.
- Finally, as David Cameron wants all major cities to have a DEM, can we afford not to have one?
- If we vote Yes, then we will need to examine very carefully the platform and personality of those putting themselves forward for election as DEM.
4. There are now two organisations intent on converting you to their way of thinking on this:
The Yes campaigners – Yes to a Birmingham Mayor.
The No campaigners – Vote No to a Power Freak.
5. Below are those who currently intend to stand for a DEM plus links to websites with information about them:
Submitted by Geoff Caine – these are his views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Committee of the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum