On Friday after the cities population have decided which system of governance is right for our city, attention will turn quite rightly to which person would be best to lead our city as either Mayor or Council Leader.
This is the time for us all to enter and partake in the very popular game of "Personality Politics"
In this age of reality TV, we as a nation love to pick the winner whether it's Big Brother, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing,I'm a Celebrity, and all the rest of the tat that tends to make up the majority of television programmes these days (god! I've just realised I sound like mt dad, scary!) We love to be the ones to make or break someone.
I don't envy the Americans much, but one thing I do envy is that they get to pick their president.
I suppose in the Mayoral System we have that choice but the we actively compromise the 60 councilors we elected to represent us!
So lets asses the candidates out there that could possibly end up the most important person in our city and in whom we will all place our trust.
Roger Ibbs (Conservative)
Probably the most unpopular councilor in history where the mention of his name in the Trentham area is now a hanging offence! and if you are caught even thinking about him that gets you a public flogging!
Ross Irving (Conservative)
Terry Follows (Independent)
The darling of the Trentham area and defender of the course to keep Trentham High open but is he known enough across the rest of the city?
Alan Rigby (Independent?)
I like to think of him as Joseph because he has a coat of many colours (BNP?, Tory?) apparently often seen to watch Deal or No Deal on TV for inspiration!
How can he be independent? Confused yes, but Independent NO!
Ann James (Independent)
Probably the most popular of the independent (confused) candidates, a good ward councilor and hard working.
Kieran Clarke (Libdem)
Will at some stage be contributing an article to our blog. A current portfolio holder for Resources. Has a bit of a job on really as the libdems don't field many candidates and the electorate don't know what they are about.
Jean Bowers (Libdem)
Leader of the Libdems and a hard working ward councilor who did herself no favours during the recent schools debate when she said that it did not matter where the schools were located. Try telling the people of Trentham, Berryhill, Mitchell (Bucknall) and Longton that! Also a portfolio holder although i fell asleep whilst reading the title (it's that long Honest!)
Gavin Webb (Libertarian, Libdem)
Gavin is going to contribute an article to us explaining libertarianism. Has had his fall outs and people say that he is a bit random (is that a bad thing?), he thinks out of the box and is not frightened of speaking out, ask the BNP! I think people like Gavin because he is an alternative to the mainstream without the extremism of the BNP.
Mike Coleman (BNP)
Very articulate and an effective ward councilor Chair of the Young Persons Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Regional Organiser of the BNP. Can debate issues and puts his parties beliefs forward in a reasonable manner (if there is such a thing with the BNP)
Steve Batkin (BNP)
See above and then think completely the opposite. Makes extreme public statements but has managed to hang in there and came very close in previous mayoral elections. Oh and good at shopping and gardening for old people. Once questioned the number of Jews killed in the holocaust. Is no longer Leader of the BNP locally.
Alby Walker (BNP)
Leader of the party locally and organiser of the recent march and gathering in Stoke which attracted some 400 party activists from around the country. Looks the part (nice shirts! funky hair!) very articulate and is passionate about the party beliefs, but would this city be denied investment from outside if blue chip companies were made to negotiate with the BNP given all that it stands for?
Joy Garner (Labour)
I have had a wee disagreement with Joy recently but now we have had a chat and cleared the air. I don't think that there is another councilor locally who sits on as many committees as Joy and I don't just mean in council. She is a tireless worker in her ward and a fierce opposer of the BNP and is not frightened to speak out against what she feels is wrong.She is the current Labour group leader, so does that make her favourite for the Labour nomination.
Mark Davis (Labour)
A truly effective ward councilor who I believe will go onto great things within the Labour Party. He attends everything that he's asked to and more besides, a calm straight talker who is probably the best councilor i have seen at negotiating the best possible solutions. On big question is how long Stoke will have him before the party whip him off elsewhere? From my experience though he's an all round good egg!
Mike Barnes (Labour)
Democracy4Stokes very own! I have seldom seen such passion from a local politician. Calm and articulate he blew Paul Breeze away in the recent live TV debate on the Mayoral system. I have no doubt that he can be a real contender for leader of our city and maybe he is the one that can galvanise the party after Thursday's referendum. If the City say NO at the ballot box however you wonder if Mike can bounce back, which would be a real shame because the guy has shown true grit in his campaign whist keeping a level head. He could be the one to claim victory in a Labour Leader contest because I think he is the one the public relate to the most.
Mark Meredith (Present Mayor)
In his reign there has been much controversy, The BSF, Dimensions, Care Homes, The Brittania Staduim Deal, this list goes on. I wonder if all of these factors have impacted on the Labour Party in the city and with what many believe to be a gagging order on Labour activists, it is hard to see how Mark could stand as either mayor or leader. If this city turns it's back on the mayoral system then Mark needs to take a hard look at himself and consider whether that would be down to him. His handling on the schools issues and other fiasco's are the reason I think we should go back to the leader system. If we choose the mayoral system now we are stuck with it forever.
To read the excellent Sentinel coverage of the debate follow this link:
These are my views and observations so now it's over to you let the game commence...........