Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mayoral election: second preferences

One of the three elections you'll be able to vote in on Thursday is that for Lewisham Mayor. It's not a brilliant way of organising local government because it leads to too much power in one person's hands, less collaborative decision making and far less accountability. If we ever get the chance the Greens would like to see us dispose of the directly elected Mayoralty and return more power to our directly elected council.

We've got a great candidate for Mayor in Dean Walton, who is currently a Brockley councillor and has built up a good reputation of working with others and, as the Green's national treasurer, his head for figures and prioritising budgets is second to none.

I'm enthusiastic for Dean and hope to see him get a great vote.

The way the system works of course is that you get two votes, first and second preference. This allows you to vote with your principles for first choice and then the 'lesser of two evils' for second. It's quite a neat system which, for London Mayor, allowed the Green Party to promote our excellent candidate Sian Berry without harming Ken Livingstone's campaign to keep Boris Johnson out.

Lewisham Greens are not taking a position on who to vote for second preference at this election, but there's no reason why, in the spirit of mature politics that refuses to demonise the opposition we shouldn't have a personal preference on who to vote for in second place.

Personally I'll be voting Dean Walton [1] and Steve Bullock [2], not because I love Labour or think that there is a huge gap between the policies of the three old parties but because there is a question of weight and seriousness.

Steve Bullock, as Labour's Mayor, has shown time and again that he takes difficult decisions seriously and, whilst I definitely do not agree with all of the decisions he's taken, his priorities are about the effects these decisions have on the people of Lewisham not on the size of his vote.

In contrast the Lib Dems have simply never shown an ability to see politics as anything other than a vehicle for their own propaganda and Chris Maines, who seems to be a very nice person, seems extremely thin politically when placed against his Labour rival.

For me I'm glad of the opportunity that I can vote for a radical Green vision that fights against cuts in services and for decent wages for the lowest paid *and* be able to express a preference on who I'd like to see as Mayor of Lewisham if Dean doesn't quite make it. For me that second choice is Steve Bullock, although as I say there's no 'line' on this from the Greens and some will no doubt be voting for other candidates as their second choice.


bob said...

Jim, just to say congratulations to you and your colleagues for a well fought campaign. Sorry that you did not win - I was looking forward to you as a councillor.

Jim Jepps said...

Thanks Bob!

I think we did fight a solid campaign, but history decided that Thursday was not going to be about us... it's a lot easier to take it on the chin when you know you haven't made any massive mistakes.

Politics should have one of those disclaimers you see on those adverts - 'remember votes can down as well as up!'