#Lewisham2014

Zod: I win. I always win... Is there no-one on this planet to even challenge me?
- Superman II

The Council elections are coming up on May 22nd, which means that Brockley Central and a host of other local bloggers will be covering the various local election races, which Labour will invariably win.

To try to help people keep track of the discussion and debate, some of us will be using #Lewisham2014 to tag our articles and commentary on Twitter. Please feel free to do the same.

26 comments:

Chris Wheal said...

Does anybody care? I mean I am interested from an amateur psephologist's point of view, but it is all a waste a time and money. A tiny proportion of the population vote so some councillors with no power get generous allowances and expenses. Nothing changes. Most of the income comes from central taxation and most council decisions are restricted by central government diktat.

Ala Skrakowski said...

I care! And I think for all the people that do, it's our responsibility to make those who don't care or know, to care and know what is happening in the local community and why. More participation from the community will reap better results on the whole. Or that's what SHOULD happen anyway.

Chris Wheal said...

Direct participation from the community has much more impact than local elections.

Monkeyboy said...

What if you don't have time or the skills but want to influence who will decide things on your behalf? I'm all for a bit of community spirit but local groups are only accountable to their own little special interest group. We get the politicians we deserve, take an interest and vote....although I accept that politicians should make an effort to engage those who are disinterested rather that chasing the few who are.

Chris Wheal said...

What incentive do politicians have to do that? Labour win. The lower the turnout the more certain they are of that. Remember, in the referendum on whether or not to have an elected mayor 18% voted at all with 9% in favour and 9% against. The margin in favour was statistically insignificant. Lewisham's hilarious CEO Barry Quirk, hailed it a triumph. Labour then did a stitch up, shoe-horning Steve Bullock in.

Who Lewisham gets as mayor, and who your local councillors are, is decide by the members of the local labour party and nobody else. If you want to have influence over that, you need to join Labour and turn up to meetings.

Interesting that you say voting is for people who won't make the time or believe they have no useful skills. Personally I think they are just excuses. We all can contribute to our communities. Those who don't have chosen not to. Voting is the cop-out alternative.

Monkeyboy said...

Helping in the community is great, for example the brockley common project. Who would be willing to give up there time to decide which local service to slash? And do you thing that decision should be left to whoever volunteers first? Someone with no mandate. Local decisions are more than planting bulbs. You dismiss those who vote far to easily and dismiss the good work of people like Darren and dean, who also support and promote the very actions you prefer.

Chris Wheal said...

What mandate was there to have a directly elected mayor on an 18% turnout with the vote split effectively 50/50?

I am glad you think Darren Johnson is great. I've been on the receiving end of his and the Green Party's attempted bullying and intimidation, so I take a different view. He didn't like the fact that I mentioned in Time Out that he claimed more expenses than any other GLA member, excluding the leader and deputy, during the GLA's first year. His expenses totalled £3,400 (average £2,600) - on top of the salary - that was close to £50,000 even in those days.



Do you know what the turnout was to elect Boris, the buffoon who called for trade union strikes to be outlawed unless they got a 50% turnout in a ballot? Overall it was 45%. Not a single London borough had a turnout of 50%.



Tony Blair became the first prime minister ever to be elected with more of the electorate not voting than voting for the party that won.


Mandates? Not in my name.

anonymous said...

Agree with Chris. It’s wrong for Steve Bullock to be able remain in
power for 12 years and beyond? Surely it’s a time for new ideas and new
leadership.

Monkeyboy said...

Sorry, what's your alternative? Scrap local politics? All decisions taken at central government level?

Monkeyboy said...

Same question to you, how should we reach that state of nivana? They have local elections and select their representatives. Chris has a vauge idea that local groups will appear and perfectly represent the best needs of the residents. Thing is, if lots of people chase the same roles someone will have to choose. Now it could be left to Chris to dole out the responsibilities or we could get them all to put their names on a list and everyone gets to select one. The most Xs get the gig. We could call that "voting" of course we can't compel people to vote, in which case they have lost there chance to influence their representative.

Monkeyboy said...

Also, I agree that boris is a fool. Are you dismissing him because of a low turnout? A difficult argument because he's using that poor argument to dismiss strike ballots.

You can't force people to participate in any collective endeavour. I think you have an obligation to be interested and our representative (be it unions or politicians) have a duty to attract greater participation.

Monkeyboy said...

well i do both so that makes me exactly 100% more engaged than you.

Chris Wheal said...

Oooh! Is this a game of citizenship Top Trumps?

Darren Johnson AM said...

Chris - I am sorry to hear you had a distressing experience with a GLA Green Group staff member back in 2001 regarding this story. Bullying journalists has never been my style and, in fact, far from the spat with Time Out you refer to being initiated by me I was dismayed at the time and energy that had been wasted when our then Press Officer phoned me to tell me she had spent more than half the day trying to disprove your figures. By all means hate me for my expenses bill in 2000-2001 (a couple of overseas delegations pushed it up that year I recall). But please don't hate me for initiating any bullying of you or any other journalist. Darren Johnson AM

Chris Wheal said...

Thank you Darren. Apology accepted. I'll tell my then commissioning editor too, as she was on the receiving end of the calls.

Emma said...

I do find it odd that more countries don't have compulsory voting like Australia has. I'm originally from there and do feel it at least means that politicians actually do their best to think of what everyone in Australia, the state or local area could benefit from not just those most likely to vote.


The country usually gets around 95% turn out and only about 3-5% of votes are invalid either because people didn't fill them out correctly or they chose not to complete the voting form. So you definitely know what the majority want.

Max Calò said...

Nice way of putting it. Quite true, I think much of the reason of the disengagement comes from the fact that local elections are in large part proxy wars between the national parties fought on a myriad of local grounds and this is off-putting for many. Local issues are lost in discussions on things that local are not.

Chris Wheal said...

Emma, if it is compulsory you have no idea what people want. All you know is what they were forced to choose. Voters are forced to go into a both and choose between red, yellow or blue when they either don't want any of them, want a bit of each but not all of any, or would quite like one but don't trust the people in charge to deliver it. Those are just a few examples.

Emma said...

What you are talking about being forced to choose is true whether voting is compulsory or not and with compulsory voting you can still choose not to vote by not filling in the ballot paper. However you definitely get a better idea of what the whole population want rather than a minority number that can actually be bothered to vote.

Anon said...

The elected Mayor was supposed to take party politics out of local councils it was meant to get speedy decisions and drive for projects. But there are numerous Lewisham projects that are delayed or fall by the wayside. So is the process any better than the old way or does it just increases the power of a politician over others. And we know politicians love to weald power.
The majority of councillors don't seem realise they don't have to agree with the elected Mayor, they can openly challenge his decisions, but sit in on council meetings and for the majority party the Mayor can do no wrong.
Nearly every cabinet meeting has documents or discussions where the public are excluded because of 'commercial reasons'. If you think of the cartels, price fixing etc over the years why should local councillors give a stuff about large corporate companies that want Lewisham Council's business?
I'm fed up with politicians blaming the system as if it's nothing to do with them. One the first decisions made by Steve Bullock in 2002 was to create an education establishment at Spurles Road that wasn't asked for and withered on the vine within 10 years. It had a domino affect beginning with 39 pupils unable to have a secondary school place and ending up at Lewisham College.
Parties should be banned from local politics because far to often the party comes first and the electorate come a poor second.

Anon said...

As witnessed by Jeremy Hunt's actions (changing the law) over Lewisham Hospital A&E, national politicians will talk about 'localism' but don't want to lose control and by providing 80% of what a council spends means they have local councils by the short and curlies.
With computerized systems why not take a portion of a persons income tax and diverting directly to their local council rather than all the nonsense of government grants, allowances and funding formulaes. Or increase Council Tax and lower Income Tax so the funding is more evenly balanced.

Max Calò said...

Because it's not compulsory here wins who can motivate more people to go and vote, and it's usually against something rather than for.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Local housing hustings happening on 15th May, 7-9pm at The Albany Theatre. Hear from the candidates on this important issue for Lewisham. pic.twitter.com/hmTZsT5VQA

Brockley Nick said...

Interesting. What candidates are attending please?

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Hi Nick, this is the information, we've been given by the hosts of the hustings.


"The Greens, Labour, Conservaties, Lib Dems, TUSC and People before Profit have all been invited.

Greens and People before Profit have confirmed attendance ...waiting on Labour, Conservatives, TUSC and Lib Dems. We will be trying our best to ensure this is an open discussion with the range of local parties represented so are busy following up on those who are late to respond!"

Housing Hustings said...

Hi Nick,

I've been arranging the hustings. The Tories have now also confirmed their attendance.

Sadly Labour have not gotten back to any of my emails or voicemails - we will persevere until we get a response as important for them to be part of the discussion.

All the best,


Lewisham Defend Council Housing

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