Sticking with Diversity
This very much follows on from my last post. This Wednesday saw the Annual Meeting of the Council. The Annual Meeting does a number of things including electing the Council Leader ( me again, sorry ) and making any necessary amendments to the Council's constitution ( and there always are some ). However it is probably better known for the Mayor making ceremony as each year the Council elects a new Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor is always elected unanimously and there is a formula that decides which of the political parties represented on the Council gets to make the nomination. This year's Lord Mayor, Councillor Carl Austin Behan, is both the youngest Lord Mayor and the first openly gay Lord Mayor and being parochial for a minute, as a Crumpsall Councillor I'm delighted to say that both Carl and his husband Simon are good Crumpsall lads. I'm sure Carl will do a brilliant job and demonstrate in practice the benefits that diversity brings to our city.
The Annual Meeting was immediately followed by a special meeting to consider a submission from the Council to the Local Government Boundary Commission. Quite reasonably, the size of the electorate in each of the wards in the city is expected to be broadly similar. At the moment we are a bit out so there will be a review leading to all out elections in 2018. The review is carried out independently by the Boundary Commission and the first stage is to determine how many wards we should have. This is based on what they expect the electorate will be in 2022. Since the last review, fourteen years ago, the city's population has grown by well over 20%, reversing decades of decline, and the role of Councillor has become even more demanding. Between now and 2022 the electorate is expected to grow even more but the Council's proposal to the Boundary Commission is for the Council to stay the same size. I know there are some that would argue for a smaller Council but if we were to do that it would make it far harder for working people to be Councillors, far harder for people with young families or other care responsibilities to be Councillors, and as a result the Council would go backing to being older, less diverse, and less representative.