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Comment and Analysis: Elections bring a smile or two in city of mirth.

APRIL1st isn't what it used tobe. But in this city of mirth there will no doubt bealaughor two generated by humorous quips. The usual group will make their ann ualcalls toKno wsley Safari Park and Chester Zoo asking to speak toMr G. Raffe or Mrs C Lyon.

Fool's Day this year is shared with the closing date for nominations for the localelections, when people already sitting in those arenas of comedy,our council chambers,either throw in the towel or bid for another term.

So will that Irishorator Mr Dem O'Cracy telephone the Mayor's Parlour for achat. How about Lilly Savagefor chair of Parks and Gardens or Councillor Gerry Atrick for SocialServices. It is understandable given that these days some folk think local democracy has become something of ajoke.

Until recent times our councils were divided into committees and decisions made ,in the main, on a show of hands at monthly council meetings. Then somebody hadabright idea. Cabinets . Speed up the decision making pr ocess by intr oducing an executive board,headed by aleader, with local politicians chosen to head various directorates.

These days,ahandful of councillors and executive officers take the decisions. It is little wonder that many elected representatives say they feellike cannon fodder.

Take a recent announcement (in the Daily Post) that Liverpool City Council planned to bestow theFreedom of the City on a group of famous authors.

The problem is that 24 hours before the intention was made public, the rulingLiberalDemocrat group voted,it is said unanimously, against the move.

Never let a majority view stand in the way of adecision.

The whole question of cabinet rule was aimed at increasing localdemocracy. Yet,if recent history is anything to go by, we arelikely to see around one fifth of those entitled to vote actually bothering in May. Contrast that to the so-calleddarkand dismal days of Militant when more than half of the electorate voted.

There are two school of thoughts: Those who believe that things are so good that voting is irrelevant and those who believe that all decisions are made by a selective elite that voting is,er, irrelevant. They can install polling stations on car parks. They can intr oduce e-voting by the internet. You can lead a voter to the polling station, but you can't make it vote.


LEGEND: A statue of three-times GrandNational winner Red Rum looks towards the Queen Mother stand at Aintree Racecourse. Photographs featured in The Daily Postcard can be ordered in colour from the Post's photo sales department on 0151-472 2549; Picture: COLIN LANE; A handful of councillors and officers take the decisions
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2003
Previous Article:Comment and Analysis: OBITUARY.
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