Fringe Box



The Dragon Says: Major Decisions On Guildford’s Future Must Be Made By Full Council

Published on: 11 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 11 Sep, 2012

Democracy is the cornerstone of our country. Local democracy is a vital element. It requires that major decisions about the future of our town must be taken in full council where all our elected councillors have a right to participate in the debate, and vote on it.

Such a debate and the votes should reflect the views of the whole electorate. That is democracy.

The decision to try to adopt such important planning documents by the Executive alone was not only wrong it was arrogant. It was also foolish because it gave all the moral high ground to opponents of the plans, regardless of the merits of the documents. And it has allowed those who have been claiming the Executive system is undemocratic to make hay.

Such a decision gave the impression that our Executive does not value the views of the rank and file councillors, and ignores the voters. Now there is even an added question mark about its proficiency in understanding our council’s constitution and the law. Who was responsible for advising the Executive on the legality of the decision?

A layman reading the relevant regulations is likely to come to the conclusion that the spirit of them, at the very least, is to prevent council Executives arrogating to themselves so much power.  So even if clever lawyers eventually say that it is permissible for the the Executive to adopt these documents they must resist repeating their error of judgement.

Decisions of this kind on Guildford’s future should be taken by all the councillors together, after they have been fully briefed and after they are sure they know what most of us think and feel. Now we risk expensive legal challenges that we, the taxpayers, will have to pay for and that could end in lawyers taking important decisions on Guildford’s plans. That is not democracy either.

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