Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bellingham 500 says no to ex-Councillor (and Mayor) Bullock
Over 500 residents of the ward of Bellingham support a referendum on the future of the executive Mayoral system in Lewisham. This rebuke on the leadership of Mayor Steve Bullock is all the more surprising considering he once represented the ward as councillor for almost twenty years from 1982 to 1998. And rubbished efforts last week to get a referendum consultation passed.

The residents were invited by my party to sign a petition as part of the activities of Bring Back Democracy, a cross-party campaign that seeks a return to the Leader and Cabinet system of local Government used by the majority of the country’s local authorities. The signatures were gained between late February and early this month, and what was surprising was that we got so much support in such a limited period of time from barely one-third of Bellingham’s polling divisions – we expected much more resistance from a so-called solid pro-Government ward, and certainly one that Mayor Bullock had cut his political teeth on.

It seems to me that the remarkable support from Bellingham is in stark contrast to Mayor Bullock’s comments on April 18 where a proposed consultation on the referendum was lost by four Councillor votes. He said then "I now hope that everyone can concentrate on doing the best for Lewisham residents rather than campaigning to undermine the democratic will of the Lewisham electorate." We have shown that if the people of Lewisham are asked, they certainly can express their will against one man having near absolute power while 54 elected councillors can only stand by and watch.