Friday, January 30, 2009

Remote Voting or Just Remote

I get the distinct impression, from reading all of this morning's papers, The Guardian and Daily Mail included, that as a nation we are on a headlong bob-sleigh ride into a financial chasm!

Meanwhile, the lovely Government commissar, Hazel Blears, announces that she is about is to give local councillors the right to claim their expenses even if they never turn up to a meeting.

According to the  report, "Ministers said yesterday that they will push ahead with new rules which will mean council members can take part in votes by mobile phone or over the internet."

They are to introduce laws to allow remote voting in council chambers despite the opposition of a majority of local authorities.

Critics of the plan say it will allow 'couch potato councillors' to obey their party whips while sitting in front of the TV or drinking in a pub.

The Conservatives claim that Labour wants its councillors to be able to work while still claiming the taxpayerfunded allowances ."

Hazel's other plans to improve local democracy includes handing out doughnuts to voters at polling stations.

Call me old-fashioned but as a local councillor, I think it's only reasonable that I be expected to turn-up to vote at council meetings while I recognise that there are rare occasions when the day-job can mean I'm away and can't reasonably get back in time. Allowing remote voting I think sets a dangerous precedent for local democracy, as councils across the country already have far too many members who are conspicuous by their absence on a regular basis or are simply inactive, period. 

Naturally, a preferred career route for an ambitious local councillor of any party, is to become a Labour member of the House of Lords but that particular story has received enough attention this week as I'm sure you'll agree.


ascu75 aka Don said...

possibly a quota system would be appropriate so you could vote in exeptional circumstances but have to attend to get your expences or else it would be claiming them under false pretences or as I would describe it FRAUD.But enough of that because it appears to be legal in some quaters.

ascu75 aka Don said...

forgot to add can you arrange for my donut to be delivered coss I will be postal vote