Wednesday, March 07, 2007

As suspected

A damning letter in today's Echo from a Mr Barker. He writes "Myself and my wife are firmly against an elected mayor for Darlington. As an ex-resident of Middlesbrough, I personally fear the consequences of having a local despot. My wife Linda signed the petition for a mayor because she was told that it was a petition against a mayor. I just wonder how many have been similarly misled?"

Indeed. Did the petition organisers spell out that the cost of consultation and the referendum/election of the Mayor would set the town back at least a quarter of a million pounds? Or that the plan concentrates power in the hands of just one person, as feared by Mr Barker? I guess not. It'll be interesting to see if there are any further conned residents like Mr Barker writing to Hear All Sides.


Ian White said...

Nick you mention 250K, what price democracy? As for Mrs Baker is it not possible she misheard? Finally people who live in glass houses should not comment on wasting money!

Darlington Councillor said...

I would have some sympathy with your point, Ian, had not both husband and wife understood that the petition was against an elected Mayor.

What price democracy is a moot point - if I was a gambling man (which I am) I suspect that a lot of people will feel that after a comprehensive set of local elections in May, competitively fought between the three parties with some independents in the mix, this spend is a complete waste of money.

Ian White said...

What like the massive overspend on the PHart, and all the money wasted on the Hurworth merger, life pulse (wherever it is)not to mention your 10K car park sign, fair do's so 2 people sadly missundertood the petition is that why DBC is srutinising it with a fine tooth comb to find as many disqualifications as possible? Clearly someone is worried by its being submitted. However I did have to laugh at the mere thought and irony that DBC was of late concerned about money wastage

Darlington Councillor said...

Firstly, Ian, the Council is obliged by statute to check the signatures on the Referendum to make sure the document is kosher.

Secondly, we actually have an excellent track record for delivering services which are value for money (if you don't believe me, ask the Audit Commission). One off problems like the Pedestrian Heart, down to unforseeable difficulties like the gas main, don't make your point.

A waste of money is precisely what the whole Referendum business has been, and I think that view will chime with a number of people across the town.

Ian White said...

Well Nick we shall see come voting day, I for one am familiar with the taste of humble pie if it happens to be on the menu.

ian holme said...

oh nick, the gas main an "unforeseeable difficulty"!!!,

it was only "unforeseen" because the survey work was not sufficiently comprehensive, that makes it incompetent not unforeseesble.

As far as the petititon goes, quite alot of publicity surrounded this (as you have frequently refered to) and can only assume this example was a simple misunderstanding.

Certainly anyone who took the time to engage with those raising the petition would have been under no illusion as to what was being campaigned for.

Rather odd that you think the referendum is a waste of money, considering that its objective is current government policy.

Darlington Councillor said...

I think it's a waste of money in the context of the Borough-wide elections in May when everyone will have a chance to decide the shape of the Council for the next 4 years, Ian. I believe a lot of people may agree with me.

Anonymous said...

Despot, for that see Darlington villages MP & PM Tony Blair. I doubt the elected mayor could be worse, Hurworth school & Iraq war spring to mind. Roll on the vote in May & referendum, when hopefully Darlington Labour Party will pay !!. I would vote for anyone to defeat Labour.

Anonymous said...

Or that the plan concentrates power in the hands of just one person

As opposed to it being in the hands of one person, JW?