Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Democracy and the Power of RECALL

OK, I can't see any immediate need for it in Stockwood. No matter what happens in the May elections, there's no reason to think we won't have decent councillors representing the ward.

Such things do happen, though. When, for instance, a councillor's personal circumstances change radically, making the job impossible to carry out. Or because their conduct gets that bit too outrageous for their voters to put up with . They've still got a four year mandate and everything that goes with it, and no-one can do anything about it.

So it's a pleasure to be associated with the Greens' newly stated commitment to the principle of 'recall' of any councillors who, for one reason or another, are thought unfit to serve.

Not that it would (or should) be easy to dislodge a sitting councillor. First it would need one or more electors raising a petition that calls for the member to stand down and gives reasons. Then they'd have six months to get close on 2000 other electors to sign it, and volunteer the final petition for checking by an independent scrutineer, all at their own expense. These safeguards have to be there to discourage 'party games' - malicious or frivolous political ploys to change the balance of the council.

Once past these obstacles, (and assuming of course that the councillor honoured their promise) it would trigger a by-election. Even then there's nothing to stop the deposed councillor standing again if brave enough!

All the Green Party candidates in the May elections, me included, will be making a voluntary 'recall' commitment. Although the other parties on the council knocked the idea on the head back in July, we hope that their candidates will follow the Green example with the same public commitment to the electors.

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