Sunday, 8 May 2016

Thanks, but no

Mayors are a bad idea. Having them promotes the idea that one person should be in charge. And by creating such a position, powers will gravitate to that position and away from the people and those they elect for their district. And when that singular person is given powers they will inevitably buy into the misapprehension that they have a mandate to impose their stupid ideas and faulty moralising on to an otherwise functioning city that got on perfectly well without.

Worse still, we then get into US style identity politics whereby things like colour and faith, which are simply not an issue, become entirely central to the debate. For some reason it is a big deal that the London mayor is of Muslim heritage and that the Bristol man is black. Could anything matter less?

Because we focus on individuals and not outcomes we end up knowing more about their family lives than their ideas. And really that's what the media wants rather than what we need. I'd quite like to know what London intends to do about its runway capacity problem yet for some reason I know the mayor's dad was a bus driver. Like I could give a tinker's damn?

And then there's this faulty idea that our cities need leaders. Where do we need leading to exactly? And we know how this works in reality because there is the American experience to draw from. What it means is arranging everything not for the advancement of the city but to hold power within the tribe for its own sake - buying off key interest groups with public funding. Rather than being an enhancement of democracy it is the precise opposite of democracy. It's electoral cronyism.

Moreover, the last thing we want to do is entrench a hierarchical system. We elect people for our own districts to serve us. If the city has a higher office which can overrule the most local representative, without seeking collaboration or cooperation we might as well ditch the idea of councils entirely.

The fact we have them at all is another landmark on the road to our democratic endarkenment. Our morons think the answer to our political ennui is to have more empty voting rituals, and the more votes we have the more democratic we are. Yet all we achieve is establishing yet more expensive tiers of government which do little to improve anything - but create yet more busywork for nonjobbers who produce nothing, making yet more decisions which are none of their business, further entrenching political disengagement and disillusionment. They just don't seem to get that whatever the problem is, the answer is never "more politicians".

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