THE week after North Tyneside Council elections on May 3, the News Guardian printed a letter from Sandra Graham, newly elected councillor for Whitley Bay.
She thanked voters and also the Conservative candidate she defeated for the work he had previously done for the town.
There followed a somewhat disrespectful letter from Alison Austin the new Conservative councillor for Monkseaton North, which sought to drive home the divisions between the two main political groups in the borough, and perpetuate the untruths coming from her party.
I would like to thank Joan Bell, the previous councillor for Monkseaton North for the many years she spent contributing to making council policy, especially in education and children’s services.
Joan did not want to retire from the council but suffered the internal long knives of the right wing of her own party who unseated her in favour of Coun Austin.
We did not always agree but Joan had great integrity and we worked together cross party to get things done.
What pleases me most about the recent elections is the emergence of young Labour candidates willing to take on the responsibility of local council work, representing others and making difficult decisions.
Voters hugely supported 19-year-old Carl Johnson, elected in Battle Hill, Anthony McMullen at 21 now a councillor in Weetslade, and others not much older.
The council needs more young people.
All new councillors will have a baptism of confusion for it seems that democracy in North Tyneside has truly gone out of the window this year.
An all party agreed constitution set up more than ten years ago specifically for the mayoral system says that the mayor’s budget can be overturned if two thirds of the members of the council vote against it, which is exactly what happened on March 1, 2012.
Council tax payers have since footed the bill for a barrister’s advice which said that despite having a legal constitution it is overridden by the law of the land and the mayor and her cabinet as the executive body can carry on with their own council plan and defeated budget, and that is exactly what is happening.
Why does it not surprise me that the mayoral system has recently been rejected in so many other parts of the UK?
COUN MURIEL GREEN