Monday, December 04, 2006

Do They Mean Me?

Much of the last few days has been spent with my councillor's hat on, reading through a couple of hundred pages relating to Asda's planning appeal in the ward that I serve. (That's Walmart for you American types).

What's amused me most is the line tucked away where it describes the ward councillor as being 'well organised'. I think they mean me - which is odd. In my 48 years, none of my relatives, friends, teachers or employers has ever called me 'well organised'. I'm quite touched ...


Trevor said...

Methinks you are too modest Chris, I always thought of you as one of the better organised and well prepared Councillors I worked with. I bet there are a few Councillors who would not even read a couple of hundred pages for a planning appeal.

Roger Owen Green said...

Chris- As a big fan of Instant Runoff Voting, I found this interesting...
Four in five peers would be elected in reform plan
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Published: 30 November 2006

Eighty per cent of the members of a new-style House of Lords could be
elected under a plan backed by the Cabinet to break the logjam over
reform of the second chamber.

In an unprecedented move, when MPs vote on the Lords shake-up in the
new year, they will rate the different options in order of preference
so that one proposal eventually enjoys majority support after second
preferences have been redistributed.

The method, similar to the alternative vote system used in elections
in Australia, will ensure that the Commons reaches a clear view on
how the second chamber should be modernised. Three years ago, hopes
of reform were sunk when all the options were rejected by MPs.

The Commons' decision would have to be agreed by the House of Lords,
where some life peers threatened with extinction may oppose the
shake-up. But ministers who back reform believe the Lords would
endorse change if MPs speak with a clear voice.

Jack Straw, the Leader of the Commons, who chairs a cabinet committee
on Lords reform, is proposing the preferential voting system. He
wants only half the members to be elected, with half appointed to
prevent the Lords challenging the primacy of the Commons.

However, ministers believe the Commons is likely to come out in
favour of an 80 per cent elected Lords under the Straw voting plan.
This option was rejected by only three votes in 2003 and is backed by
Tories and Liberal Democrats.

A White Paper being drawn up by the cabinet committee is expected to
suggest that elected peers be chosen at the same time as a general
election to prevent the second chamber having a fresher mandate than
the Government. A proportional voting system would reflect each
party's share of the vote on a regional basis.

The 92 remaining hereditary peers would lose their right to sit and
vote in the upper house but some could become life peers. The
existing 607 life peers would disappear more slowly, with the reforms
phased in over three parliaments.

The Government's proposals have been beefed up by the committee after
pressure from two ministers who will stand for the deputy Labour
leadership - Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary and Hilary
Benn, the International Development Secretary.

They want ministers, as well as Labour backbenchers, to have a free
vote so that they can support a fully elected second chamber. They
oppose Mr Straw's plan for party leaders to continue to propose 30
per cent of the members to an independent appointments commission,
which would itself choose the other 20 per cent.

Mr Hain and Mr Benn want the Prime Minister to lose his right to put
forward names in an attempt to draw a line under the damaging "cash
for honours" controversy. Although Tony Blair hopes to make progress
before he stands down next year, the legislation would have to be
passed by his successor. Gordon Brown, the clear front-runner, is
keen on reform, which could form part of a package of measures to
restore public trust in politics.

Under the White Paper, the size of the Lords could eventually fall
from 740 to between 500 and 550 members, who would be paid a salary
rather than allowances for attending. New members would be allowed to
serve for a maximum of three parliamentary terms and, after leaving
the Lords, would not be able to become an MP for five years.

Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

I write this blog in a private capacity , but just in case I mention any elections here is a Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Ron Oatham, 8 Brixham Close , Rayleigh Essex on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 8 Brixham Close.