September 04, 2012

The Bexley Petiton & The Right to Recall

(Guest post by Olly Cromwell).

Many of you will not know who I am, and will probably thank the gods that you don't. The good Captain has most graciously allowed me to pop a guest post up. Thanks old chap! To start I'd like to give an introduction, which I feel is necessary just so you have a little background to work with.

I started blogging about three years ago, I'd been reading "the big guns" of the blogging world for a while before I decided that it looked like a lot of fun and that plenty of mischief could be caused in the process. The Captain, Old Holborn and others through their writing and shenanigans showed me that the only word you really need in your vocabulary is NO! Of course it helps to have a few other words too, in my case plenty of swear words, real bad swear words. Swear words that have seen me arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced and later acquitted on appeal.

I blog about local politics, more specifically politics in the London Borough of Bexley. I started blogging about Bexley after I first moved here and experienced a council meeting for the very first time. At the time I thought it would be a good idea to film said meeting, and managed to do so but in doing so started a chain reaction of events which eventually lead to the aforementioned arrest. In my time as a "local blogger" I have encountered fraud, corruption, hypocrisy (quelle surprise), nepotism, theft, lies, deceit in short a huge amount of fuckwittery. I blogged about it all in my "unique style".

I decided that I was going to say NO to absolutely everything the council did, quite simply because the chances they'd get anything right were pretty slim. I was a constant thorn in their side for months, that is until they banned me from attending council meetings for being "disruptive". In fact, all I was doing was exercising my right to express dissent at every opportunity I could get.

The one stand out thing I noticed when dealing with the council was that not many (in fact closer to none) people actually attended council meetings and as a result the council were and still are doing anything they want, regardless of the legalities involved. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, if you want you can visit my site (Parental Advisory) or you can go to a tamer version written by another blogger. (http://www.bexley-is-bonkers.co.uk).

Plenty of people bitch and moan that the government this and the government that, but unless you're actually taking an active part in what's going on nothing will change. Nothing. I happen to be one of "the other" crowd, that will continue to fight as long and as hard as I can until something does change. And that leads me quite nicely to the crux of this post. It's partly a shameless plug for a project I am working on but is mostly to ask you for your help, and I would really appreciate it if you could help, who knows it may be the start of something big. It's a rather ambitious project, I have no budget to speak of so will mostly be relying on social media and word of mouth to achieve the ultimate goal.

We should all know what the "right to recall" is, if you don't here's a quick definition:

Recall is the right or procedure by which a public official may be removed from a position by a vote of the people prior to the end of the term of office

Quite simple really. Most perfectly though all 3 "big" parties support it too (spits), and there is even a mention of the "right to recall" in the coalition agreement.

http://www.labour.org.uk/gordon-brown-speech-conference,2009-09-29 - Gordon Brown speech
http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2010/02/David_Cameron_Rebuilding_trust_in_politics.aspx - David Cameron speech
http://www.libdems.org.uk/political_reform.aspx - Lib Dems Political Reform
http://www.conservatives.com/~/media/Files/Downloadable%20Files/agreement.ashx?dl=true - Coalition Agreement

Since all 3 parties support the principle of the "right to recall" it stands to reason that they'd not be opposed to that principle being applied to local councillors. More specifically in this case Bexley councillors.

Now like most people I mostly think petitions are a waste of time, they don't normally achieve a lot, apart from registering the gripes of a certain group of people, and further than that the petition goes nowhere. It's happened here in Bexley, the council flat out refused to acknowledge a petition signed by over 2000 of its residents (The petition was calling for a cap on council official's salaries quite rightly).

Now the good Captain is always preaching about playing "The Powers That Be" at their own game,so I did a little bit of research, and I was pretty shocked, pleasantly so, at what I found. Here's the educational bit of this post:

Did you know that, according to the Local Government Act 2000 that if a petition is signed by 5% of a local authority's electorate that they (the authority) are obliged to hold a local referendum?

You can read about it here:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/22/section/34
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/22/notes/division/1/2/3/11 (explanatory notes)
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/22/pdfs/ukpga_20000022_en.pdf (sections 34, 35, 36)

So, what I've done is set up a petition site (http://www.the-bexley-petition.com) asking for the council leader to give the residents of Bexley the "right to recall" their local councillor. Before anyone jumps up and says: "Hang on! Only the local electorate can sign the petition!" I'll stop you right there, because you see, there are two versions of the petition, there's an online version which is open to anyone to sign (please do so) and then there's the "hard copy" edition which is available only to local residents, in effect two different petitions doing similar things. The online edition to get as many people as possible to sign so as to increase the pressure and the hard copy to do the real job.

If you could spread the link to the website far and wide (we welcome signatures from around the world) it would be greatly appreciated. The aim of this petition is to attempt to make Bexley the first local authority in the country to allow their residents to recall their elected representatives.

I'd like to point out that if this petition results in a local referendum then the repercussions could be huge. Think about it. Imagine getting 5% or more of your local community signing a petition asking the local authority to bin all E.U. directives and then forcing a local referendum on the E.U. Wouldn't that be fucking awesome?

Help me to try and help you, signing the petition takes less than a few minutes of your time. Be a thorn in their side.

Cheers
Olly

11 comments:

Lysistrata said...

Hello again Olly, lovely to hear from you again. A nice post with a clear point for action. I'll go and look. You take care now.

NewsboyCap said...

Olly

Done, petition signed.

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

Done

Anonymous said...

Unless the Local Government Act you cite has been changed it also states that the local authority can disregard said petition.

That little clause was added in the name of democracy.

Dystopian society said...

Got my vote and I have put you on my blog too.
http://astateofdistopia.blogspot.co.uk/
Namaste, rev phil;

Anonymous said...

Don mate.
Del

James Higham said...

Many of you will not know who I am, and will probably thank the gods that you don't.

Then again, some of us know full well and welcome you.

Anonymous said...

Signed the petition,many thanks for this info
http://truth-wars.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,89.msg160.html#msg160

Sue said...

One question. Does the local authority act apply in Scotland? I can't tell you how much I'm hoping you'll say yes, because if it does, the council where I live are in SO much trouble!

Good luck with all you're trying to achieve; I've posted the article to my FB, hopefull that'll get you a few more sigs and a bit more support :)

Captain Ranty said...

Sue,

There is only one listed on the database:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1993/1900/article/1/made

You will have to check the text to see if what you are looking for is in there.

(Let us know!)

CR.

Giolla Decair said...

The petition site seems to be off air at the moment