13/04/2012 Newsnight


13/04/2012

Emily Maitlis asks a political panel and live studio audience to debate what elected mayors could mean for democracy in the UK.


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Politics, activism, and apathy, there is ten English cities

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preparing to ask if they want to be led by a mayor. We dedicate this

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programme to who should represent us and how. Would directly elected

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mayors bring greater democracy or more showbiz politics? Our studio

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audience comprises representatives of numerous political parties and

:00:30.:00:40.
:00:40.:00:40.

of none. If you vote, we will clean up Bristol. Bristol is one of the

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places deciding to have a mayor, more power to the people, or more

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power in one person's hands. For all the noise in the debate in

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the Bristol lunchtime sunshine, draw back a bit and you can see

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only about 50 people here, some of whom have been clearly distracted

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in their lunch hour by the noise. George Galloway stormed Bradford,

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while Westminster slept, are our politics out of step with our needs.

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And, if the ballot box doesn't work, does the future lie in protest,

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petition, and the odd projectile. Good evening. Take a second to

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write down the name of your council leader.

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Done, excellent, don't worry if you can't, you will be in the company

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of about 80% of the population. Next month ten English cities will

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be asked if they want an alternative, in the form of a

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directly elected mayor. Greater democracy or a cult of personality

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politics. In a moment we will be looking at how we are represented,

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with the Government minister responsible for our cities, and an

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audience of many minor parties, and of no political affiliation at all.

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Have we outgrown our political system? A problem of analog

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politics for a digital age. Bristol certainly has an impressive

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past, but, what sort of future is in store for this city?

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Well, like ten cities across England, in the immediate future,

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there is a referendum on whether to have an elected mayor.

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Bristol has always been an outward looking city. It was from here that

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in the 15th century John Cabot sailed to discover New Foundland,

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from then on the city earned its fortune trading with the rest of

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the world. History tell us us doing some disreputable things, but

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nevertheless, supporters of a directly-elected mayor say having

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this will give it the entreprenurial spirit that made it

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so wealthy in the past. This is not the time for intellectual debate,

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it is old fashioned politics. Perhaps Bristol is saving itself

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for a big finish in the referendum campaign. By all accounts so far,

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the debate hasn't gripped the city in a frenzy of mayor fever. This is

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one of the most exciting ideas you could imagine. In an effort to

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introduce a bit of heat and light, the group at Bristol Speakers'

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Corner is hold ago debate. A mayor will be able to attract more fans

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to the city. Heading up the yes campaign in favour of a mayor is

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Jaya Chakrabarti. In a nutshell, why should Bristol have a mayor?

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Bristol has had seven changes of leadership in the last ten years,

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which has made it incredibly difficult for anyone making a

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change in the city to deal with the council. The council controls the

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city. Our leaders have tried to instigate change, we have tried to

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have an arena, a stadium, improve education and the transport system,

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we have some how failed to punch at our weight, let alone above.

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new mayor's powers have to come from somewhere, mostly they will be

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shipped out of the building behind me, that is the City Council. Not

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surprisingly, the City Council is kind of where most of the

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opposition to the new position is concentrated.

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The council has got into trouble producing a leaflet telling voters

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about the referendum, that the Government says isn't impartial.

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Nevertheless, councillors on the no side say having a mayor could lead

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to the politics of personality and gimmicks. Isn't there someone from

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Bristol who could step up and be a leader of this place, who wouldn't

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perhaps be attracted to climbing the greasey political pole, which

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is what you have to do to become leader of the council. In the past

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we have people like Cary Grant, now it is bald drik. The students would

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get on board there and they could possibly win, that is a danger.

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People might choose the wrong person? Yes, purely on the subject

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of personality. That's not a trust the people message, that is not an

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optimistic message about the capacity of the public to pick

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somebody? Unfortunately here in Britain we have one of the worst

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levels of participation in politics. It is true, some parts of the

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country have picked some interesting characters to be mayor.

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The man in the monkey suit in Hartlepool, for example. There is

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no sign of Bristol being about to follow suit. There is no sign,

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really, of Bristol about to do anything.

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For all the noise of the debate here in Bristol, draw back a bit

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and you can see actually how sparsely attended it is. You

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suspect that a few of the people on the periphery here have just come

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along to see what all the commotion is about. That is part of the

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problem. There is no massive appetite for these changes to how

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cities are run. The Government spent two months at

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the end of last year consulting on the question, of what can a mayor

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do for your city? They weren't inundate with replies, they only

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got 58, but once you strip away those from public bodies like

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councils, or interested individuals, like MPs, well, there were only 19

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members of the public who bothered to reply.

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Two big things are happening in my view, not just in terms of city

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governance, but in terms of Britain's politics as a whole. The

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first is, people are now pretty disgusted with politicians. Our u

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gof research shows this, 60% think politicians lie all the time. That

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is a terrible verdict. The second thing, increasingly people don't

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feel that political decisions make much difference to them. They think

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whoever will be elected will not affect their lives very greatly.

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They are open to somebody with the appeal of to say they are different,

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clean, not a normal politician, and because they are outside that

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normal party stranglehold of politics, I can do things

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differently and make your life better.

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In Bristol, there are various names being bandied about, independent of

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the political parties. One belongs to a prominent local architect, and

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restauranteur. Rumour has it you are Bristol's

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Michael Bloomberg! Well, I'm just me, you know. You want a mayor?

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very keen on us having a mayor, and an independent mayor, rather than a

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party political one. Some people suggest that should be you? Some

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people do. Any interested? I have said I might. I think it would be a

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fantastic project. I'm passionate about Bristol, it is a great city.

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I think it's the most interesting city outside London. But it doesn't

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punch above its weight. Thank you everybody, vote, vote, vote. Don't

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vote, boycott. So the debate comes to an end. It

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is not clear if anyone's mind has been changed. Most of the city

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doesn't seem to have noticed. One problem here is people are being

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asked to vote, without actually knowing what precise powers the

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mayor would have. Our studio audience represents the

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three main parties, as well as UKIP, the Green Party, BNP, the English

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Democrats, and Respect, and people with no affiliation at all. We have

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Greg Clark, Lord Adonis, who favours the move to elect mays, and

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Jon Lansman, who finds it elitist. Why are you against mayors?

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heard the argument, only one in seven people can name the leader of

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their council, or claim to, and half of them get it wrong. Bristol

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is the only major provincial city outside London that has GDP per

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head higher than the EU average. The fact we have such weak

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leadership in our cities, it is costing our cities and country dear.

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You can't have democracy unless people know who it is they are

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putting in charge and they can hold them to account. It is about

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replacing weak leaders? We heard how the public aren't very

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interested in constitutional reform. If we are going to promote

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constitutional reform, they need to be about making politicians more

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responsive to the public. This doesn't do that. At the moment a

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lot of these councils have elections every year, or almost

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every year, three out of four. The political groups re-elect their

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leaders every year. What we are going to be doing here is directly

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electing mayors who will be there for several years, with enormous

:09:40.:09:44.

powers, which will require two- thirds majorities to overturn, they

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will be dispensing lots of salaries and there are very few checks and

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balances. We don't know what powers they will have, what do you

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envisage? The powers they will have are the powers that the City

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Council has at the moment. And be very clear about that. There will

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be no difference then? Let me explain, the City Council in

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Bristol has exercise of over a billion pounds of spending. That is

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a huge A money. That is more than most Government departments,

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smaller Government departments have access to. That power will be

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vested in a mayor, it will make the Mayor of Bristol, and I dare say

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the Mayor of Birmingham and other cities, the most powerful voices in

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their region. Powerful more than many maebs of the cabinet. Is it

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possible they will have no more powers than council leaders?

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will start like that, as you have seen in Scotland and London, is

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once you have a strong voice, the next thing is what further powers

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they can have. I'm keen to build up that voice. Like what? Over

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transport, for example. Rather than the Department of Transport making

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transport decisions in London, I think they should be made locally.

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Let's talk to somebody who has experience of this.

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You were the young Mayor of Lewisham, what was that like, did

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you feel a connection with the people you represented? I feel it

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was interesting, you were put in a position where you have to be

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accountable to the people. The fact I was still going to college and

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around the young people who voted for me. It was interesting to hear

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their viewpoint, and make sure what I was doing was making their lives

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better. I think the idea of having an elected mayor, will keep people

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accountable in terms of those positions. It is important to make

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sure people stay involved in politics, not just voting, but

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going to local assemblies, and making sure they are holding people

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in power to account. That is a simple argument to understand.

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Chris, you were a mayoral candidate b you now oppose that, why would

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you oppose that? Very simply because you are putting huge powers

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into the hands of one individual person, which I believe is

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thoroughly anti-democratic, but also now, we have mayoral elections

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have devolved into a personality contest. People are being elected

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on the ground of their personality, in the north-east we have three

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elected mayor, two of whom whom were elected on their personality

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with no knowledge of local Government. I would say that

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neither of them have contributed as a mayor, they enjoy the position

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but don't use it. Interesting, if you take the position of Doncaster,

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where your party, the English Democrats are in power, they are

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having a rem referendum about whether they want a mayor any more.

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It has worked, the people going for having this referendum are Labour

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councillors who feel that they are excluded from running the council,

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which they feel is their God-given right for Doncaster. In effect,

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they are objecting to the current situation, which was voted for by

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the people of Doncaster. James, you are not a Labour councillor, but

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you may come to this from the Conservative perspective, you are

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resisting this kind of change, right? For lots of reasons. I think

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the gentleman at the back had some of the things absolutely right. It

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is putting too much power in one person's hands, with less

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transparency, less opportunity for corruption, but it is getting away

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from our traditional British system of representational democracy. I'm

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not sure if it is going to lead us to a presidential system nationally

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our system is tried and tested, it works well, it has checks and

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balances and it keeps the leaders on their toes. Under the mayoral

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system, they have four years, even if they make a mess of it you can't

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get rid of them. A quick show of hands, which of you feel that a

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mayor would lead to a personality politics situation? I think it is a

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good thing. I quite agree. majority of you think it would, and

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it would be a good thing. What's an election? What is an election?

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are going to put that, would it be such a bad thing, you were talking

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about a mayor who might not be directly accountable, and go on and

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on and on, if the people wanted that and recognised their own mayor,

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surely that is a good thing? In an authority, take Newham, where there

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isn't a single non-Labour councillor, the mayor there, is a

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member of my own party, can be re- elected time after time, and I

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suspect he will be, as long as he stands, he personally decides an

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awful lot of policies. He dispenses salaries to his cabinet and many

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other councils, which is a very good way of getting loyalty, there

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simply aren't the checks and balances in the system. It is not

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just that there is an directly elected mayor, it is how much power

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that has and controls them. sounds like you like the idea of a

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personality? Essentially what is an election, an election is who do

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people like more. That is about your personality. And what this is

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really about is the fact that people are sick of all three of the

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major parties. Both are pro-war, all three are pro-war, all three

:15:11.:15:14.

are pro-cuts, it is an option between cuts light and cuts

:15:14.:15:19.

immediate, people are going to die because of these cuts, privatising

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the NHS. I will come on to that a bit later, about disenfranchisement

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if you think it exists. Who here votes according to what they like

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in a politician rather than their policies? Esther Rantzen, you stood

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at an independent in Luton last year, what did it teach you?

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taught me how tribunal politics is, and how sad that -- tribal politics

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is, and how sad that is. Depending on the colour of the rosette,

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someone is either on your side origins you. In London, as you know,

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obviously, we have Ken, and those who like his personality will vote

:15:55.:16:00.

for him, but, on the other hand, if you don't, and if you think that

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Boris is someone with style and panache, you vote for him. That

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enfranchises us, that gives us an opportunity to decide what sort of

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character, and it is about character. If you substitute the

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word "personality", with the word "character", that is what you want,

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of your city, town and mayor. We should be voting for the

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policies not the colour of their hair. I'm going to bring you in

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here, you are standing as an independent in the mayoral contest,

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and you have heard the line that it is just a glad -- Gladiatoral

:16:42.:16:47.

fight? I'm the only independent mayoral candidate, I believe mayors

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can be great leaders, I we have to get different types of public

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leaders, otherwise the same disillusionment we have heard will

:16:57.:17:01.

be replicated in London. In London we have not only party politics

:17:01.:17:05.

pulling us down, but two macho personalities coming down, we don't

:17:05.:17:09.

hear about policies. Do you want to see more of the Ken and Boris show

:17:09.:17:14.

around the country? As I report as minister, the Mayor of London, and

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Lord Adonis I'm sure would confirm, that the voice of the London

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mayorality has been stronger than the voice of other cities around

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the country. I think that is not how it should be. I want the great

:17:26.:17:28.

cities of Britain to speak with a roar, rather than a whisper, as

:17:28.:17:35.

they do at the moment. It is a huge mistake, I'm a London Assembly

:17:35.:17:38.

member, I have been scrutinising Ken and Boris over the last 12

:17:38.:17:42.

years, it is a mistake to assume that what's going to happen outside

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in other cities is the same as what's happened in London. In

:17:46.:17:51.

London you have got a city region with 5.2 million voters, where you

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have got a strategic authority that can make genuine strategic

:17:55.:17:59.

decisions, like bidding for the Olympics, introducing the

:17:59.:18:02.

Congestion Charge, and making massive changes. All you are seeing

:18:02.:18:06.

in the other cities, that is on offer, is just bolting on a direct

:18:06.:18:09.

low elected mayor, to a bog standard council. It won't bring

:18:09.:18:13.

about the strategic change we need. We actually need regional

:18:13.:18:15.

Government rather than city Government.

:18:15.:18:17.

Let's look at the example of Nottingham, right, because that is

:18:18.:18:20.

also going to be part of a referendum on whether you want a

:18:20.:18:25.

mayor. You know you are against it. Why, would you like to see big

:18:25.:18:31.

personalities in a race, or is that what you fear? No, no, no, we don't

:18:31.:18:34.

want to see big personalities in a race, and we don't fear them. What

:18:34.:18:39.

we want to see is accountability, coming down to the local level,

:18:39.:18:44.

where people who walk the street, who talk to local people, who are

:18:44.:18:47.

elected democratically by their local communities, we want those

:18:47.:18:53.

people to maintain their role on the council. But a mayor walks the

:18:53.:19:00.

street, a mayor is more recognised. A mayor is elect, a mayor's

:19:00.:19:04.

decision can only be overturned by two-thirds of the majority of the

:19:04.:19:08.

councillors, that then means that actually you can pass a budget with

:19:08.:19:13.

only a third of the councillor, in my book that is undemocratic.

:19:13.:19:17.

Very briefly, Lord Adonis? other cities need to emulate London.

:19:17.:19:21.

Birmingham has a million voters, Birmingham does nationwide to punch

:19:21.:19:24.

much bigger than it does at the moment. There is no reason why

:19:24.:19:27.

Birmingham should be looking there, at London as the first city in the

:19:27.:19:32.

country and saying we can't possibly emulate if it in any way.

:19:32.:19:35.

It is one of ten local authorities in Greater Manchester, it is a

:19:35.:19:41.

small bit in the middle. On to the next theme, something fairly

:19:41.:19:46.

seismic happened last month, George Galloway stuck a metaphor kal and

:19:46.:19:49.

literal two fingers up to parliament, taking Bradford West by

:19:49.:19:53.

storm. Has the three-party system of

:19:53.:19:57.

politics had its day, is it time for the smaller parties to

:19:57.:19:59.

breakthrough. Nigel Farrage, if you look at the polls now, the three

:19:59.:20:06.

main party leaders are at a massive all-time low, why aren't we seeing

:20:06.:20:14.

smaller parties like UKIP? Look at what's happening in Northern

:20:14.:20:18.

Ireland and Scotland over the last 20 years, the only thing keeping

:20:18.:20:22.

the party system together in England is the "first past the

:20:22.:20:26.

post" system in the elections. have looked at that?

:20:26.:20:30.

alternative we were offered wasn't actually in any way a PR system.

:20:30.:20:34.

That's what's holding it together, there is massive change happening.

:20:34.:20:37.

I really do feel, if you look at the opinion polls, you have said it

:20:37.:20:40.

yourself, small parties are growing very, very quickly. It may be Ken

:20:40.:20:45.

and Boris, fighting it out in London, two big giants from two big

:20:45.:20:50.

parties, but I suspect, as mayoral contests develop across the country,

:20:50.:20:55.

you will see fewer Tory and Labour leaders.

:20:55.:20:59.

You are from George Galloway's party, was that just about his

:20:59.:21:03.

charisma? His personality, you don't think that Respect can

:21:03.:21:06.

emulate that across the country, do you? I think there is huge

:21:06.:21:10.

potential for Respect to emulate it across the country. What we showed

:21:10.:21:14.

in Bradford was four out of ten voters voting for one of the three

:21:14.:21:17.

main parties, that is because there was a clear line of division

:21:18.:21:21.

between what Respect stood for, against the war and the cuts, and

:21:21.:21:24.

what the three many parties stood for, which are different degrees of

:21:24.:21:29.

the same platform. Do you think with a mayoral system

:21:29.:21:36.

the BNP has more chance of gaining power? Yeah, we have got a chance.

:21:36.:21:43.

We have got a fantastic candidate, the only foreign candidate,

:21:43.:21:46.

Uraguayan born Carlos, he is a fantastic gie, we are doing very

:21:46.:21:51.

well on the doorsteps, on election night you will be very surprised at

:21:51.:21:56.

how well we are doing. I would like to ask the panel, if they are happy

:21:56.:22:01.

with all the Hustings they have, that there is only two or three

:22:01.:22:05.

parties there, there is seven mayoral candidates. And that is why

:22:05.:22:08.

you are represented here. It is not about Boris and Doris, there is

:22:08.:22:13.

seven of them, and we should all get a fair crack of the whip.

:22:13.:22:18.

Let me put the question to you, Greg Clark, if the BNP chose the

:22:18.:22:22.

mayoral stratta of politics to rise, would you welcome that? I trust the

:22:22.:22:26.

British people, I think they would see through them. The debate that

:22:26.:22:36.
:22:36.:22:41.

is are being had across the country, I think will expose that, I can see

:22:41.:22:44.

See that happening. When Ken Livingstone won in London first, he

:22:44.:22:48.

won against a Labour candidate asen independent. Darren Johnson's

:22:48.:22:52.

ratings are ahead of the party in lon -- Boris Johnson's ratings are

:22:52.:22:59.

above the party. Let's ask a disenfranchised voter,

:22:59.:23:03.

Angela Thomas, when you listen to the argument and it is about where

:23:03.:23:07.

we put our vote, would you be more inclined to vote for the smaller

:23:07.:23:11.

parties now, do you feel there is more affiliation? Not necessarily,

:23:11.:23:14.

in my experience, what I have seen happening, would lead me to suspect

:23:14.:23:17.

that the smaller parties, when they get into power, we have seen it

:23:17.:23:21.

with the Liberal Democrats getting into Government, perfighting

:23:21.:23:25.

against -- they are fighting against a system, they can't follow

:23:25.:23:28.

through on the promises and make the changes. I inherently mistrust

:23:28.:23:33.

the way the system is set up against the small parties. I just

:23:33.:23:39.

think that the whole thing is a distraction. I suspect that the

:23:39.:23:43.

mayoral, directly-elected mayoral campaign is a way of drawing far

:23:43.:23:47.

away from the main parties. In that way it is serving a role for the

:23:47.:23:51.

Conservatives and for the Labour Party.

:23:51.:23:54.

You have to come back to the key issue of what mayors will do, the

:23:55.:23:58.

reason for electing mayors is they will lead the cities more

:23:58.:24:01.

effectively than they are led at the moment. We need to get real

:24:01.:24:04.

about this. The big problem our major cities outside London have is

:24:04.:24:07.

they are poor. They have been poorly led, they have generally

:24:07.:24:11.

speaking a good deal of improvement needed in their public services,

:24:11.:24:15.

they have far too few private sector jobs, the further north you

:24:15.:24:19.

go the bigger problem it is. We need strong democratic leaders who

:24:19.:24:24.

can bring jobs and better public services to our cities.

:24:24.:24:29.

We have this talk aboutic leaders, really we need to look at what

:24:29.:24:32.

democracy means. We are thinking of this in a flawed framework, this

:24:32.:24:36.

whole conversation is flawed, because democracy isn't about

:24:36.:24:40.

putting an X in a box every so often, every few years, democracy

:24:40.:24:48.

is a real politics, which doesn't actually exist. How many of you

:24:48.:24:53.

have not ever voted at a ballot box? I'm not 18 yet. The most

:24:53.:24:57.

important thing for everyone to understand is Iraq under occupation

:24:57.:25:01.

a higher percentage of the people voted in their elections, than any

:25:01.:25:05.

general election which has been here for a long time. This idea of

:25:05.:25:09.

democracy in this country is pretty much a joke. If we are really,

:25:09.:25:14.

really going to engage with the issues, you know many tears have

:25:14.:25:18.

been cried over George Galloway's victory, the difference is he

:25:18.:25:26.

speaks with people rather than at them. Let's go to Furqan Naeem, you

:25:26.:25:34.

operate in Bradford, add mittedly at a student level, were you

:25:34.:25:38.

surprised by the decision in Bradford? It did take me by

:25:38.:25:41.

surprise. I was on the ground in Bradford, I saw on campus how young

:25:41.:25:44.

people and students really got involved in politics for the first

:25:44.:25:48.

time. It shows that young people and students, they care about more

:25:48.:25:52.

issues that affect them, rather than party politic. At the moment

:25:52.:25:55.

party politics now needs to resonate with young people and care

:25:55.:25:59.

about issues to do with them. In terms of the mayoral elections,

:25:59.:26:02.

with them taking place, one thing will happen is the mayors that will

:26:02.:26:06.

come in place, they will have to touch base with the young people

:26:06.:26:09.

and students and listen to the grass roots and their thought. That

:26:09.:26:12.

will bring in more accountability and transparency, which young

:26:12.:26:15.

people want. People say they are feeling disillusioned with the

:26:15.:26:19.

three main parties and they want other voices heard, if you put all

:26:19.:26:22.

your powers into the hands of one person, it is impossible for other

:26:22.:26:27.

voices to be heard. We need to look at other ways of reforming local

:26:27.:26:30.

Government, if we introduce proportion national representation

:26:30.:26:35.

we get a better spread of opinion locally. If we move away from the

:26:35.:26:39.

ballot box, we look at protest, pressure groups, we look at

:26:39.:26:44.

whatever it is that activates people, he want to hear your story,

:26:44.:26:48.

Fahim Alam, it is unique, I think it is unique, you were wrongly

:26:48.:26:53.

convicted of rioting last summer? wasn't convicted, I was acquitted.

:26:53.:26:58.

You spent six weeks in jail, that experience has presumably changed

:26:58.:27:03.

how you see the establishment and the political system now? No, I

:27:03.:27:06.

felt the same as I have felt previously. I want to go back to

:27:06.:27:10.

what my friend over here said about disillusionment, the problem is

:27:10.:27:14.

that people aren't disillusioned with politicians, politicians are

:27:14.:27:19.

disillusioned with the people. And when the people came out on the

:27:19.:27:24.

streets during the riots, and during student protests, they

:27:24.:27:27.

showed that he they were fully engaged with politics, and in fact,

:27:27.:27:32.

the politicians are not engaged with them at all.

:27:32.:27:38.

So the whole idea of apathy is lazy? You can't link the riots to

:27:38.:27:43.

that. Most of the rioting we saw. Those were political acts. I think

:27:43.:27:48.

it is important that people, that mayoral candidates now in

:27:48.:27:51.

particular do need to reach out to all sections of society. This is

:27:51.:27:59.

what we are fed up of hearing. The elite, white men, speaking. You are

:27:59.:28:04.

holding the same interests, that is the way you want to see it.

:28:04.:28:07.

Speaking apparently for the people. There are some women and older

:28:07.:28:11.

people here, I'm fed up with everybody saying we have to engage

:28:11.:28:17.

young people. The people. Women are the exception. The people who vote

:28:17.:28:20.

conscientiously and consistently are older people, that is because

:28:20.:28:25.

we do not think democracy is a joke, we think democracy is very, very

:28:25.:28:31.

serious. Democracy is about voting. You think democracy is about voting.

:28:31.:28:35.

Young people would vote for you. Excuse me a second young man, not

:28:35.:28:39.

to be patronising in any way. What we need in our great cities is

:28:40.:28:43.

talent, I don't think committees necessarily throw up talent, I

:28:43.:28:45.

think it would be possible for entrepeneurs, people like that

:28:45.:28:50.

architect we heard, people from the medical profession, people with

:28:50.:28:55.

real skills could take a city by the scruff of its neck and say.

:28:55.:29:00.

Everybody has real skills. No. political process is deemed

:29:00.:29:06.

irrelevant. To people. If it is about getting talented

:29:06.:29:10.

people. They could stand as councillors now.

:29:10.:29:15.

It needs personality so people will vote for them.

:29:15.:29:19.

Let me go to James, he's the only one who is quiet. Why can people

:29:19.:29:24.

not name their council leaders, why do we hear this continual reference

:29:24.:29:28.

to weakness of leadership and lack of talent, what is the council

:29:28.:29:37.

doing wrong? Lots of reasons, I don't think it is entirely fair to

:29:37.:29:41.

blame the leadership. Secondly, we don't have enough talent, that is

:29:41.:29:45.

true. Because there is not enough power? It is a difficult job to be

:29:45.:29:49.

a councillor. It is a boring, boring job. The power has gone to

:29:49.:29:53.

Westminster, during the 1980s we took away from local Government a

:29:53.:29:56.

lot of their ability to affect the lives of people living in their

:29:56.:30:00.

towns and cities, and it was handed to Westminster. That is why people

:30:00.:30:05.

don't vote in local elections. is true, it is longer ago than the

:30:05.:30:09.

80s. It is a longer period of time. You can't suddenly push people into

:30:09.:30:12.

a job that is extremely difficult, extremely demanding with very

:30:12.:30:18.

little reward. Would you be more likely to vote

:30:18.:30:22.

for a councillor or a mayor? would be more likely to vote for a

:30:22.:30:32.
:30:32.:30:32.

person who came and spoke to me. I have had my card on my mantle piece,

:30:32.:30:37.

and not one person has come to spoken to me. A councillor is more

:30:37.:30:42.

likely to speak to you than a directly-elected mayor. In

:30:42.:30:45.

Birmingham there are 120 councillors, one directly elected

:30:45.:30:50.

mayor, who you will not see. will not get anything done unless

:30:50.:30:53.

people know who it is that is leading them. Everyone knows who

:30:53.:30:56.

the Prime Minister is, everyone here knows who the Mayor of London

:30:56.:31:00.

is, virtually no-one knows who the leader of their local council is.

:31:00.:31:06.

More people inest mo of the cities outside the city, know who the

:31:06.:31:11.

leader of London is, the Mayor of London is than their own

:31:11.:31:16.

councillors, this is the problem we have.

:31:17.:31:20.

If elected mayors are such a good idea, we have had three elected

:31:20.:31:24.

mayors in the north-east for nine years or more, you tell me what

:31:24.:31:31.

advantage that has been. Greg Clark you have the last word.

:31:31.:31:36.

The leader in Middlesborough is more known than the leader of

:31:36.:31:42.

Newcastle. Birmingham is the second city in UK, the size of the council

:31:42.:31:46.

is the biggest in Europe, the idea that there are people of talent in

:31:46.:31:49.

Birmingham doing a fantastic job. You are seeing, before the

:31:49.:31:52.

referendum, members of the Shadow Cabinet, people wanting to quit

:31:52.:31:56.

their role of MP in order to lead the city. The current leader of

:31:56.:31:58.

Birmingham City council, our Conservative colleague, said he

:31:58.:32:01.

could do a better job as mayor than leader.

:32:01.:32:09.

We have run out of time tonight. That is pretty much it for this

:32:09.:32:13.

evening, the review show in a moment. The Icelandic capital has

:32:13.:32:22.

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