There cannot be many drier subjects than the way the council reaches its decisions. Whether Canterbury City Council should continue with the executive system of local government or change to a committee-based system is unlikely to dominate the conversation in the district’s pubs or living rooms tonight. But that does not mean it’s not important, and those who are determined to foster a debate on the subject are to be commended. We would like to think we have done our bit by devoting two pages to the issue in this week’s paper and we are keen to hear your views. Our reporters have attended enough council meetings and covered enough controversial issues to have a steer on how the current system operates.
If democracy is about accountability and knowing who to blame, the current system works well. Council leader John Gilbey has been in the firing line over a whole host of issues and has made a number of decisions that people vehemently disagree with. If that is the case, do not vote for him or his party. The danger of a return to the committee system is that far from giving more councillors a voice, it will blur the lines of accountability, increase the danger of party politicking (they will not be able to resist) and become an expensive talking shop that bums council tax payers’ money while making the same decisions as they would have done in the first place.
Herne Bay Gazette, July 3rd 2014