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Sheffield 2020 Referendum

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36 minutes ago, Annie Bynnol said:

 

If the standards of the petition were the same as other Government petitions, the huge number of invalid names would have been avoided from the start.

About 20 countries are represented.

Hundeds of anonymous or incorrect names.

Hundreds of multiple entries.

 

The fact it took so long to collect such a small number is indicative of the lack of interest.

 

The admission that so much effort was needed to persuade so few is very interesting.

 

The scary bit is the admission that the politcal aim is not a return to the committee set up, but to a Meusli Belt commune.

Why don't you want change Annie? If you're happy enough with things then I suspect your part of the privilege elite and hence part of the issue.  Or is it for other reasons?

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At the It's Our City public meeting last week there was an interesting section on how some in the council have been resisting change by spreading misinformation...


I knew that change is supported by the LibDems and the Greens, but what I didn't know is that there also seems to be a majority in Labour who support change. 3 constituency Labour groups in sheffield - representing the majority of wards in the city - have supported the change to the way the council makes decisions that will be voted on in the referendum. An interesting analogy was that there is only a minority in Labour hiding in their bunker who are still resisting calls for them to share power more democratically! There does seem to be a major split in Labour, given that 6 councillors resigned in support of the petition and increasing democracy - I guess they think it's a good idea to get a better mandate by increasing the less than 10% of the electorate that currently vote Labour.

 

The "public consultation" only ran for 17 days (and wasn't publicised much) but the council officers said they were very surprised by how many people responded. They said the responses were so scathing that they had to delete some before they published them! http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/documents/s37523/Online Call for Evidence - Appendix 1.pdf

 

Apparently the council is meant to publish clear information so that everyone can make an informed choice at the referendum, but from the It's Our City meeting it sounded as if this is unlikely to happen. I think it will be down to orgs like Its Our City and Sheffield For Democracy to inform everyone properly. A big part of the It's Our City meeting was planning how to do this, so I think they will be trying to do that. There is a little bit on their home page about the referendum http://www.itsoursheffield.co.uk From the sound of it they are going to be producing more info

Edited by Belnotphist
link didnt work

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the post isn't letting me attach to a specific post so
1. Lex Luthor - yes - SCC put out the consultation with no advertising of the fact and a very short timescale. It's almost as if they didn't want to know what people thought.

 

2. Annie Bynnol - regarding this
"Since so many of he original 26000  petition signers did not provide the required Sheffield residence qualification or even lived in this country or voted multiple times or do not exist, perhaps it is no surprise that less than 1% of genuine residents have been persuaded to be  interested.

It is not democratic for a group of political activist's [SIC]  to manipulate a system for their political ambitions, some of whom have stood for council elections previously and failed."

 

Every one of the It's Our City petition signatures was checked against SCC's electoral register - not only did you have to live in Sheffield, but you had to be registered to vote.  Your response does SCC's Democratic Services department a disservice.

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Has to be pointed out 2 things about the petition and that it was collected mainly by a handful of people and was right across the city, not just the "muesli eaters". I went to city partnership partnership  workshop (chaired by David Blunkett) and criticism of SCC's lack of engagement was criticised by David Blunkett as well as a frustrated rant by a TARA chair. An ex employee of SCC   said she had changed to working for Barnsley Council due to the head in sand attitude by SCC re the impact of Austerity cuts. She said they had made no moves to help the poorer areas of the city unlike other Councils. Many community buildings are being sold from under the community groups.  groups such as St Vincent's boxing club, DeHood, and Abbeyfield House. Groups that provide useful services re youth work and helping support the vulnerable. Local Councillors are not allowed to respond to potential sale of the properties, nor are they even informed that the decision has been made. No one knows how these decisions are made or who by.  Communities are left with having to charge round getting signatures to declare the property a Community asset  and even then as we know from the potential demolition of the Plough across from Hallam FC that doesn't guarantee protection.  

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The current ruling party in Sheffield is only supported by less than 10% of the electorate!  much lower than other big cities. This was about the same when the LibDems were in power, but has been decreasing for some years.

Whichever party is in power, under the current so-called 'strong leader' system they have almost 100% of the power, even though they have such a tiny mandate. 

10 out of the 84 councillors have nearly all the power. These 10 are only from the ruling party. 74 out of the 84 councillors (from all parties)  have very little power to represent the people that voted for them.

 

The referendum will let Sheffield voters decide if they want to keep this system or change to a system where power is shared more equally and all councillors have the power to do their job properly.

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20 hours ago, Longcol said:

I would have hoped that the people organising the petition would have informed the 26,000 people who signed it about the consultation.

But the Council- with their much larger resources- did not.

Why should volunteers have to do SCC's work for them?

10 hours ago, tonk said:

Why don't you want change Annie? If you're happy enough with things then I suspect your part of the privilege elite and hence part of the issue.  Or is it for other reasons?

Either way, voters are entitled to expect that their votes mean something and that elected Councillors have at least some sort of power. Currently neither of those seems to be the case very much. Maybe that's why there's usually an abysmal turnout. Perhaps the petitioners want more meaningful democracy and want to vote for a change so that electors might vote, for a change!

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2 hours ago, Jeffrey Shaw said:

Either way, voters are entitled to expect that their votes mean something and that elected Councillors have at least some sort of power. Currently neither of those seems to be the case very much. Maybe that's why there's usually an abysmal turnout. Perhaps the petitioners want more meaningful democracy and want to vote for a change so that electors might vote, for a change!

Doesn't work like that in General Elections - why do we expect Local Government to be any different?

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3 hours ago, Longcol said:

Doesn't work like that in General Elections - why do we expect Local Government to be any different?

You seem to be suggesting "national government is bad, so why do people want local government to be better?"!

The citizens of Sheffield have been given direct power to change things in their council but not at a national level - why wouldn't they take that opportunity because national government is bad?

The way local government works is not the same as national government. Because the power given to the council's strong leader and cabinet to affect things locally is much more powerful than that given to the Prime Minister to affect things nationally. The Strong Leader of the council has the power to make or change nearly all decisions in the council, with no reference to anyone else. The Prime Minister has nowhere near similar powers nationally, there are many more checks and balances. All MPs have  more power to affect things in parliament than the power the 74 out of 84 councillors that are not in the council cabinet have over council decisions.

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On 05/02/2020 at 14:03, CallunaV said:

Every one of the It's Our City petition signatures was checked against SCC's electoral register - not only did you have to live in Sheffield, but you had to be registered to vote.  Your response does SCC's Democratic Services department a disservice.

Thank you for pointing this out CallunaV.  Democratic Services took more than a month to check signatures against the Sheffield electoral register, with many meetings with campaigners beforehand so that data could be submitted in a uniform and acceptable form. Democratic services have been very diligent in ensuring that, as a legally binding referendum, they could not be challenged on the 'process' and therefore the letter of the law. 

On 28/01/2020 at 22:07, WokeyMcWokeface said:

If the council dislike the result,  will they be campaigning for another one?

No, we are stuck with whichever result for 10 years.
Do you want more of the same democratic deficit and general voter disillusionment for 10 more years or do you want to try something new, refreshed, revitalised, inclusive, responsive, collective? 

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20 hours ago, Belnotphist said:

You seem to be suggesting "national government is bad, so why do people want local government to be better?"!

The citizens of Sheffield have been given direct power to change things in their council but not at a national level - why wouldn't they take that opportunity because national government is bad?

The way local government works is not the same as national government. Because the power given to the council's strong leader and cabinet to affect things locally is much more powerful than that given to the Prime Minister to affect things nationally. The Strong Leader of the council has the power to make or change nearly all decisions in the council, with no reference to anyone else. The Prime Minister has nowhere near similar powers nationally, there are many more checks and balances. All MPs have  more power to affect things in parliament than the power the 74 out of 84 councillors that are not in the council cabinet have over council decisions.

Do you really believe that - let me know who you think will be influencing Boris Johnson in the next few years. Certainly not Labour MP's!

 

You might also want to consider the lack of constraints on PM's taking us into armed conflicts eg Thatcher in the Falklands, Blair in Iraq.

 

Local leaders are also constrained by their statutory responsibilities, the amount of money the Treasury (ie PM and Chancellor) lets them collect. Boris can decide (or not) to spend billions on HS2.

 

 

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On 05/02/2020 at 08:29, Annie Bynnol said:

The fact it took so long to collect such a small number is indicative of the lack of interest.

It could also be indicative of the lack of publication on the matter, I for one never heard of it and if I had would have taken part.

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17 minutes ago, apelike said:

It could also be indicative of the lack of publication on the matter, I for one never heard of it and if I had would have taken part.

AFAIK there were a number of threads here on SF about it - maybe you were too pre-occupied with Brexit.

Edited by Longcol

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