Saturday, February 19, 2005

Not only Cook... but Campbell!

Yep, no sooner has the warm glow left by Robin Cook faded than no less than Alastair Campbell arrives in Leicester!

He however is not opening himself up to the public, only to City of Leicester Sixth Form. He is there at Keith's request and, check this Vaz fans... help launch Mr Vaz's new website which is being designed and put together by the school. Website eh? Leicester Mercury, Spin doctor revisits his old school.

More news you want? Slimmers lose pounds in pledge to fight fat.

More elected mayor news? Two letters: A change that gets my vote is not, I think, entirely sensible. Downside to elected mayor I think is entirely sensible. I hope my recent letter to the Mercury comes out so sensible (or even comes out at all). Well done that girl.

The idea of an elected mayor is a seductive one - one person to speak out, one person to blame, one person with whom the business community can relate.

That sounds so simple, but actually life cannot be solved just by one person doing all these things. One person's answer to that important question - what is the best thing to do for us all in Leicester? - is not healthy nor, in my view, safe.

Leicester's great strength is its people, with our great diversity and cultural variety. How can one person represent us all?

If we elected someone they are in power for four years. If we don't like what they are doing there is nothing we can do to remove them from power for their four years.

That is very different from our current system where political parties and group discipline on the council mete out controls.

I would not pretend that the current system makes us all feel in touch with our council and the decisions it makes on our behalf. There is a great deal more to be done and many of the new ideas about neighbourhood delivery offer us some new hope about influence in our communities.

Perhaps councillors should look on this debate as an opportunity to re-launch their roles.

But an elected mayor takes us in the opposite direction, one individual to represent us all, much more distant from communities with total control over how much power they share with any of the other councillors, who would see their roles greatly reduced.

With the pressure there has been on council finances and council tax levels and the crying need for more investment in our services, do we really need to waste at least £200,000 on this ballot? I think not.

Katherine Kerswell, Leicester.

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