9 June 2014
GREENS SUPPORT CALLS TO ABOLISH CABINET IN PETERBOROUGH
Greens in the Peterborough local authority area strongly recommend the abolition of the cabinet system of government. We support moves to achieve this here.
Adopted by the council at the turn of the century, the period of Cabinet government has more or less coincided with a period of majority Tory control. The last half of this period has been dominated by savage cuts made by a national government which failed to secure a national mandate for them.
During this time a damaging perception has grown up that the city is actually governed by only one person. Councillors have expressed themselves increasingly unable to hold the executive to account in any meaningful way. The city’s reputation has suffered as innuendo is heaped onto suspicion and gossip. Leadership of the city has become thoroughly unattractive, described by the man who currently holds it as a “poisoned chalice”. This period has also seen “Consultation” become a dirty word, offering an illusion of hope but causing little but real heartache and grief and a sense of betrayal to those trying to engage with the process.
Nobody could describe any of this as healthy or good for any of us.
THE GREEN PARTY STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THE RETURN OF THE COMMITTEE SYSTEM
Our experience as a national party is that returning an administration to a committee system can take about three years to complete.
However, we note with some concern that the electoral fortunes of the Tory majority had to shift before the abolition of cabinet took centre stage.
We hope that elected councillors of all colours will make sure that abolition of the cabinet system is not seen as just another dart for party point scoring. It can’t and won't be done in the heat of this or that particular moment. Nor would it be right to put the idea to one side just because the balance of power has shifted. Abolition of cabinet needs to be considered properly and fairly as one of the best ways available to the city to improve its governance, its representation and its democratic accountability.
We strongly urge councillors not to let cabinet abolition get confused with or bogged down in day to day party tit for tats, alliance building or infighting. Greens are not advocating abolition of cabinet because we have it in for any person or persons or because we prefer one party over another.
NOR DO WE BELIEVE ABOLITION OF CABINET WILL BE THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING
It is simply that we strongly believe that government by committee is significantly better. We are advocating the return of the committee system because we believe it to be more democratic and accountable. We think it in the best long term interests of democracy and Peterborough if councillors were to work together altruistically to abolish cabinet and return the city as soon as possible to the committee system of government.