There are a lot of letters in the Sentinel today about the referendum tomorrow.
Mark Breeze, from Hanley
makes the obvious point. He wants a NO vote just so the people get to elect any mayor and do not have to be led by a councillor. But he thinks a mayor will mean no closed door deals and no murky alliances! Just what planet is he living on at present then?
Mo Chaudry, from Waterworld
wants a NO vote because he thinks a mayor is better for regeneration. He thinks with a leader system there would be more fighting, scheming and power playing. But we’ve got the scheming and power playing now, it’s just it’s all in the hands of one mayor. There might be more fighting under the leader system, but bring it on, get the debate going. It’s far better than the labour/tory/libdem twits alliance just blindly voting according to whether the mayor gives them the thumbs up or thumbs down.
Councillor Pervez, Burslem South ward
wants a NO vote because he thinks it will give investors more confidence in Stoke-on-Trent. He points out that the governance commission’s report highlighted a need to re-engage with communities. But this report was written under mayor system, so it shows how badly it is working. You just need to look at the schools reorganisation issue to see that. If power were given to communities it would be sorted out in no time, but with a mayor, admittedly this mayor, it is a complete shambles that communities do not want.
Now my letter
addresses a different angle, picking up on the point made by Councillor Barnes in our PASSION ON THE POLITICS SHOW blog, that SERCO is a corporate partner to the New Local Government Network, which campaigns to have more elected mayors and for more services to be privatised. It makes me think this could explain why SERCO is forcing academy schools, controlled by private sponsors, on the people of the city and why Mayor Meredith continues to insist that academies are the way forward despite all the evidence to the contrary. I suggest that to vote YES for leader system may mean that we could seize back control of our schools for the benefit of communities.
Now just by the way, there is a great letter by T. Latham, from Trentham
who, like so many of us, was outraged by Ged Rowney’s comments
against the people of Trentham and their forward thinking vision for their school and their community.
There were a couple of good letters yesterday.
Mr Chadwick, from Trentham
admitted to changing his mind from a NO vote to a YES vote after giving it some thought. It shows to me that the YES vote is the thinking persons vote! Mr Chadwick thinks there are some councillors who will listen properly to the people of the city and has less faith that a mayor would.
D Brown, from Stoke-on-Trent
wants a YES vote because we get to elect councillors every year and they are in the best position to choose a leader. The point is made that with a mayor we take a 4 year gamble.
I have presented these letters in a biased way because I want a YES vote. But now it’s over to you, you can say whatever you like – so go ahead!