One well-informed local fears the Mayorship may become sullied and diminished by politicisation. It’s hard not to agree. I’m not thrilled at voting becoming a redundant sham, come to that…
The Precious Leader does seem to be rubbing people up the wrong way in his recent press statements. Fair comment from Mrs Berridge in her letter, though – the Lord Mayor is a figurehead, a ceremonial position, and emphatically civic and apolitical. The CCC website says:
The Lord Mayor is elected by the City Councillors at the Annual Council Meeting in May and becomes chairman of the Council, the most senior member of the civic office and the principal representative of the City and District on important occasions.
The word ‘elected’ does rather suggest to me the free exercise of choice by the eligible constituency, which doesn’t seem to have been the case this time round. Jonji-il Bi has shown his willingness to fight tooth and nail at the drop of a hat, as evidenced by his ‘absolutely disgraceful’ outburst. I do hope he will fight to defend the Lord Mayorship from the taint of politics, otherwise who knows where we might end up – politically partial Council Officers? Heaven forbid!
Don’t taint Lord Mayor with partisan politics
In the May 6th edition of your newspaper you report Cllr John Gilbey as saying that non-Conservative councillors had not supported the role of Lord Mayor and had failed to attend civic functions like the Lord Mayor’s Ball (Anger Over ‘Lack Of Consultation’ For Lord Mayor Choice, Gazette, May 6).
I take exception to that accusation. As the wife of a Lib Dem city councillor, I have worked this past civic year as a member of the Lady Mayoress’s charity fundraising team and have attended a number of civic occasions with or without my husband. Since my husband is councillor for the same ward as the current Lord Mayor, Cllr Harry Cragg, we made a special effort his year to attend the Lord Mayor’s Ball and brought a table of 12 people to the event.
We believed we were attending a civic, not a political, function that evening. It has often been stressed that the role of Lord Mayor is a neutral, non-political one. It seems that Cllr Gilbey wishes to taint a high civic office with the air of partisan politics, which can only be detrimental to the post.
Janet Berridge, Birch Road, Canterbury
HB Gazette letters 13th May 2010