The Mayor of Lewisham

"With no power comes no responsibility."
- Kick-Ass

The News Shopper has an interview with Telegraph Hill mayoral candidate John Hamilton, who wants to scrap the Mayoral system if he’s elected. Based at the Tea Leaf Art Gallery in Brockley Cross, he argues:

“This system just concentrates too much power in the hands of one person. The mayor is not bound by decisions made in council. I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to think I know best in all these things.”

We quite like the smack of firm government ourselves, or at least, we worry that collective decision making can lead to death by committee. A Mayor with power should be required to spell out their vision for the borough and held to account for its delivery. Given how little interest many people have in their local Council, a Mayor gives local politics form and a face, even if the form and face of Mayor Bullock is not what everyone would wish for.

If Brockley Central was going to re-write the constitution, we’d rather devolve more power to local ward assemblies. Borough Councils sometimes seem like exactly the wrong size to deal with most of the issues that matter.

Transport, health and education provision aren’t really helped by arbitrary Council boundaries, housing and spatial strategies are set at a Greater London level and might be better implemented at this level too. Meanwhile things like community policing and maintenance of the public realm are hyper-local issues and you’re arguably more likely to get better decisions made by people directly affected by the issues.

On the other hand, we’re happy to believe that the system isn’t really the issue, it’s the quality of the people inside it that matters, which brings us back to the forthcoming mayoral election...

If you were going to shuffle Lewisham's constitutional deckchairs, what would you do?