Forget that opinion poll. A majority of people may be in favour of an elected mayor in Leeds. But there’s a big problem with the referendum.
What happens when lots of us can’t find a candidate who we fancy voting for in the local elections? Isn’t it on the cards that we won’t be arsed to go the polling station at all on 3rd May?
Then we won’t get an elected mayor.
It’s doubly difficult because in Leeds there’s not going to be any high-profile champion of a “yes” vote, like they’ve got next door in Bradford with George Galloway. In Leeds there’s no party standing in the elections that offers a real hope of change. There’s no party that’s going to engage those of us who have never been engaged to go out and vote.
There’s nothing to snap us out of our overwhelming lethargy.
Unless some of us DO something, nothing will change.
Why would THEY want change?
The trouble is they’re out there campaigning for a ‘no’ vote already. And those of us who think an elected mayor could be a good thing are doing nothing.
And it’s so easy for them. They’ve got the money, the party machine to badger people on the doorstep, and exclusive access to the local papers and other media.
Here’s Cllr Dobson, a Labour Party member of the Leeds City Council leadership, on the case today, targeting the crucial student vote through an officer of Leeds University Student Union.
If none of us do anything, no voice in favour of an elected mayor is going to get heard, apart from during random chats on social media. And if it’s mostly Labour and Tory voters that bother to turn up on polling day, then it’s probably no contest. And good old common sense Leeds will be stuck with the same old same old.
But what if…?
What if between us we can find a way of encouraging people to turn up and vote “yes” even if they feel that voting in the local election is a waste of time.
What if it isn’t so ridiculous to imagine, for starters, that we could put together a simple flyer, find a printer who’d print it cheap and get it out on the streets?
What if it isn’t so ridiculous to imagine that people who don’t belong to a political party can do their bit to change the way things are run?
It’s not about WHO we want for mayor. It’s about having the possibility in November of choosing someone decent who would stand up for us ALL. Someone who hasn’t got any vested interests. In party politics, business or whatever.
Anyone got any ideas about what can be done?
Anyone fancy having a go at doing something?