I note with interest that Labour councillor Ron Stone complains that the mayor has too much power (Post Reader's letter: Does the Bristol mayor not like democracy?, 30/12/13). I therefore am obliged to remind Ron that large portions of his party campaigned in favour of a mayor at the referendum. Sorry, Ron, but Labours's chickens have come home to roost.
It has always been obvious to many of us that a system which concentrates power in the hands of one person is necessarily going to be less democratic than a system which shares power between the many. Having a mayor was always bound to hand over control to a single representative of the largest minority or coalition which the successful candidate managed to put together to get elected. It means that politics becomes about how good you look in the media. It means that George can push through policies as he sees fit. And of course being media friendly, and making good policy decisions are quite different things.
I actually have a considerable amount of respect for George, whilst not agreeing with all his policies nor his style. But I profoundly disagree with the system which has elected him.
Of course the previous system - rule by party cabinet - suffers from the same basic flaw - and this is why we in the Green Party have consistently supported moves towards a system of proportional representation. We need a system which includes people, not excludes them - which gives them some hope that their views will be represented, and PR gives you this. We also need to decentralise decision making - get it out of City Hall and down into local communities.
Green Party candidate