Gerrymandered – That’s John Illingworth’s view

John Illingworth“It is interesting to compare and contrast the current council “consultation” on Woodhouse Moor with a previous council “consultation” in Kirkstall in 2006 on the future of the Kirkstall Mills. Both operations apparently had the same purpose, which was to solicit public support for something that the council’s officers had already decided to do. Neither exercise followed the clearly defined rules for a local planning consultation, which to my mind is the obvious model to adopt. The barbecue “consultation” uses different techniques (to the Kirkstall consultation) to achieve a similar gerrymandered result. Once again there is no effective check on the ballot papers and some of the information circulated by the council is misleading or wrong. In contrast to Kirkstall, which had a very tight closing date, the barbecue version seems an indeterminate exercise. Cynics might consider that the distribution has been delayed to avoid the university vacations and increase the likelihood of the desired outcome. An undemocratic choice of question has been used to prematurely close down the debate.

“It is good to see the flame of democracy burning bright ! Leeds City Council should give lessons to Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-il. I cannot see the justification for perverse consultation techniques, when there is a perfectly good model available which has stood the test of time. A traditional planning consultation under the “Compact for Leeds” would last for 12 weeks, and would be open to anybody who submitted a written response which included their name and address. There would be no artificial boundaries and the consultation would be open to anybody with sufficient motivation to write. All the responses would come from named individuals and be available for others to read. This is less about drumming up votes and more about reasoned discussion and public debate”.

(published by kind permission of John Illingworth)

One thought on “Gerrymandered – That’s John Illingworth’s view”

Leave a Reply