Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Elections and Accountability

The elections are over.

5 more years of whoever is in charge.

Maybe 4 or less if the unusual system of calling elections willy-nilly isn’t improved to fixed terms like in USA.

KCC votes are largely wasted: Conservative for 70 years there has never been a year when it hasn’t been run by Conservatives. The latest trouncing of the opposition parties confirm that overwhelming fact.

That can’t be good for democracy.

While the turnout of c.30% in all the various elections means that 2 out of 3 people don’t vote.

With splits between the main parties, the winning party is elected on about 20% of the vote.

With 99% of people not belonging to a political party it does seem that democracy becomes more constrained each year.

The Rowntree Trust confirmed that the problem with politics...was the parties themselves: unrepresentative, unresposnive, few different polices, block voting

The last main reform of politics must be to open the public sector books: council tax levels form 50% of KCC’s budget for example, with the rest from national taxation.

With staffing and cost levels across each department the value of the services provided must become clear very quickly.

The public sector is looking as unaccountable and out of control as trade unionism in the 1970’s.

With the new Ramsgate Town Council the staffing levels look high already being based only on the main political parties spread of wards and positions.

Presumably one of the first acts of RTC will be to call for a vote of no confidence in TDC and provide details of its budgets and activities.

With polluted drinking water, sea pollution and a cargo airport breaching all the safety guidelines as Ramsgate falls down and Margate burns down it’s hard to see what TDC have been doing.

No water results published, No noise or air monitoring. No manifestos for elections. No public policies. No street cleaning rotas. The shredding and fudging of complaints. 0% but £25k pay rises and huge monopoly money council salaries for monopoly public services.

The reality is that £15m of the £20m budget is spent on salaries so there is no fund for renewing the area. And each election the funds and activities are rotated between each winning town in a microcosm of the East-West Kent split.

The new EKJAC merger of public services at Thanet, Canterbury and Dover may simply create a larger TDC. The District authorities simply seem pointless and Kent is small enough to be a single county authority with its individual towns.

Thank goodness salaries and pensions and other costs can be detailed and the public decide if they should be paid for the services provided.

And TDC’s and RTC’s councillors are the only ones in Kent without all costs published and the only ones not broadcasting public meetings on the web.

A lack of transparency goes hand-in-hand with the dismal showing of TDC and KCC in the area.

As we’ve seen with MP’s expenses and the cosy arrangements, without public scrutiny the parties and civil servants have simply failed to reform.

The MP’s simply bolster this failure with talk of paint down the drain for polluted water or missing monitors or widespread pollution or dodgy donations for ChinaGate.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

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