Sunday, 7 June 2009

No Opposition, No Democracy

Francis Pym was a minister in Margaret Thatcher's first cabinet. I remember seeing him on Question Time during the 1983 election. Labour didn't have a chance and the Conservatives were going to win easily (I corrected a typo that read 'sin easily). The question was about landslide governments and Francis answered the question honestly by suggesting that a Thatcher landslide was not the best thing for the country. He was sacked very soon after this. If there is no opposition then there is a very limited democracy.

I went to the count for the newly formed Morecambe Parish Council today (6th June). Labour did badly even under a different name. The Conservatives did badly with no name. The Liberal Democrats gained the only seat not taken by the Morecambe Bay Independents. I summed this up as a sad day for democracy.

I spoke to a few people. One Independent councillor didn't understand what I was talking about. I am not sure how far their political thoughts have been refined. I hope you have managed to follow this blog because I think it is fairly obvious that democracy works by having an effective opposition. Another Independent councillor said that just because they all vote the same way did not mean there was a strong party whip. It was just coincidence that it looked like they all voted the same way. I told him that the frequency of agreement meant that coincidence was unlikely. I told him that it was more likely that it was the power of persuasion. He agreed with this. I went on to explain that this is party politics by smoke-filled rooms. Democracy has died at Morecambe Parish level.

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1 comment:

  1. "I think it is fairly obvious that democracy works by having an effective opposition"

    Spot on Michael.

    "Democracy has died at Morecambe Parish level"

    Again imo Michael your spot on. Anyway if it all goes pear shaped Michael (and I hope for sakes of us ratepayers/customers it does not) at least it be easy to identify those responsible - the MBI party!

    I did a comparison with the last Torrisholme ward election result re: the City Council elections in 2007. I think there has been some minor boundary changes since then.

    (it will be interesting to view the City Councils analysis of the Parish Councils elections when it gets published)

    Out of those standing in both elections:- Day,Dennison, and Sowerby increased their votes slightly. However Marsland (MBI) jumped up from 657 to 744.

    I was surprised by this as I have contacted this guy a few times over local public accountability issues and found his attitude arrogant, unhelpful and he did not seem to care. However I must say its no different to all the other Councillors I've contacted in the past.

    When I contacted him about this years massive inflation busting City Council tax and Parish council tax rises he said I was wrong and that
    the Councillors had agreed on a council tax rise less than the rate of inflation! He later came back and advised that I was indeed correct and tried unsuccessfully to explain how the increases had come about. He adnmitted in the end that he did not understand it himself and delegated the matter to a Council Officer who sent me a short letter which provided an explanation as clear as mud!

    Interesting to see the turnout increase from 36% to 49%. Me wonders what caused that?