Mayor referendum not in near future?

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At the last council meeting I put a question to the mayor asking her to confirm that she would be holding a referendum on the mayoral system as was promised before her election.

It is obvious the Labour Party will only allow a referendum if they think they will lose, after all they joined the Conservatives to defeat my motion to council before the last election to have a referendum because they believed they would win.

However, the mayor did confirm she will be holding a referendum, although she did not say when.

Since the meeting there has been a glossy Labour leaflet across the borough and a new monthly column in the News Guardian by the mayor.

In the leaflet there is a page of questioning about long-term plans for change and how her plans will take a long time to enact. There was nothing about holding a referendum.

Similarly the newspsper also does not mention a referendum. Perhaps the promise is the same as Tony Blair’s to let Gordon Brown be prime minister; it’s only going to happen when they no longer believe they will win.

The leaflet went into a lot of other detail, for example, finding a ‘£20m black-hole’ in the council’s books.

I was on the finance committee and the officers, who would know, claimed that there was not. None of them have been dismissed for lying so we have to assume that they are correct.

Of course there is the cant of an arrogant Labour Party with overall control. ‘Too many difficult decisions had been put off in the run-up to the election’. Probably, but then Labour deferred decisions made by the Conservatives because Labour had the most councillors and they could. So whose fault is the lack of decision-making?

Labour claim that wages haven’t kept pace with inflation and join on a statement about David Cameron allowing energy companies to ‘hike their prices’.

Wages have trailed inflation since 2008, that’s under Labour, and the rate of change has finally caught up apparently.

And energy prices have been increasing at the same rate they were under Blair/Brown, but they did nothing in the 13 years to control it, and it’s actually slowing now (although that’s probably temporary) so are Labour promising to freeze energy prices at a higher rate than they need to be?

Coun David Ord

Wallsend