Advertiser column: One party state in Manchester is bad for democracy

 

Does anyone honestly think having no opposition Councillors on Manchester Council is good for democracy?

Does anyone honestly think having no opposition Councillors on Manchester Council is good for democracy?

In last month’s local elections we lost a group of extremely hardworking Councillors and I want to pay tribute to their work for and with our community.

 

Bill Fisher defended our Library in Burnage; Andrew Taylor battled to fix our roads; Mark Clayton defended Marie-Louise Gardens from the council’s partial sell off plan. Victor Chamberlain’s successful council motion means 20mph zones in residential areas are implemented in parts of our city. James Hennigan established the ‘Levenshulme means business’ campaign to boost trade in the area and Mary DiMauro backed Northenden Library. Simon Wheale worked tirelessly to tackle antisocial landlords and fix local roads, and Norman Lewis was there for every single person in his area.

 

These councillors stood up for their local area when the council got it wrong. Sadly we now no longer have any opposition councillors at all to speak up for us.

 

Unlock Democracy launched a petition highlighting that, despite four in ten people not voting for Labour they have 100% of the Councillors.  In my constituency Labour failed to get half of the votes, but hold every single councillor.

 

The 1980s was the last time Manchester City Council was so dominated by Labour. We saw every council building re-mortgaged by Labour, which took 25 years to pay off, and they doubled council house rents. We see hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on VIP pop concerts and iPads – and new examples of waste appear frequently. We even saw Labour hand back a hardship fund of £600,000 for those struggling with paying their rent. This waste will just get worse without a strong opposition to hold them to account.

 

Whether you support a political party or not, Labour holding 96 out of 96 Councillors is bad for democracy. Last year the Manchester Evening News reported the Electoral Reform Society highlighting the danger of a one-party state.  Labour’s stranglehold on Manchester was compared to one-party states like North Korea and Town Hall bosses think they are ‘untouchable’ and given ‘carte-blanche’ to act as they wish.

 

As the only elected representative in  Manchester that is not Labour, I am determined to continue to give local people a voice in Manchester Labour’s one-party state.

 

 

3 responses to “Advertiser column: One party state in Manchester is bad for democracy

  1. “Bill Fisher defended our library in Burnage” This is the kind of misinformation that has lost the Lib Dems a lot of votes.
    I Like Bill and I think he is an honest man, but the campaign meetings that forced minor consessions from the council, was chaired by a Green party member and a third of the attendance at those meetings were Green party members who made a lot of the running, though the campaign was outstanding, in my 50 years experience as a community activist, by the contributions and work of about 25 regular attenders. Ether Alali and Tom Northey did excellent work for the campaign.
    Your politics are selling the community short John. Make the most of being an MP.
    Sam Darby

  2. Sam

    It seems to be you that is making the Burnage Library campaign political, trying to claim that it was all about the Green Party. This is clearly not the case. The Liberal Democrats put forward an alternative budget that would have kept the library being run by the Council, just as it should be. You might remember that at the public meeting held at the library I was attacked by my Labour opponent who claimed that we had set “illegal” budgets for years, implying that our budget to keep open the library in Council control was not possible. As I am sure you will be aware, an “illegal” budget cannot be put to full council for consideration at the Budget council meeting, so this comment by my Labour opponent was simply not true.

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