Posted tagged ‘referendum’

This post is not binding

September 23, 2011

If it's non binding can I vote twice?

We at WLLG towers really like localism.

Thus, when we heard that the localism bill would include a new provision around local government polls and referendums we were tentatively quite pleased. In fact so excited were we that one of my colleagues dug up the briefing paper prepared by the auspicious House of Commons library no less.

Up and down the land excited WLLG authors opened up the paper and were greeted with a very positive first line:

The Localism Bill 2010-12 contains provisions which would enable residents to trigger a local referendum by petition. Additionally, local councillors will be able to request a referendum in their local area (subject to approval by council resolution) or the authority itself may resolve to hold a referendum on a local issue.

It’s a good start and whilst it is important for any provision to show a balance between direct and representative democracy the fact that councillors are going to be involved might help balance that.

Besides, we’ve only just read the first line of the document and the experts of the House of Commons library are sure to have provided some further details as to how this delicate balance might be achieved.

So let’s read on. Line 2 of the library research note:

 A local authority will not be bound by the result of a referendum

WHAT?!?! Sorry, have I misread something? Let’s try again:

A local authority will NOT be bound by the result of a referendum

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Local regionalism

June 1, 2011

Local solutions for outsiders?The Minister for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has given the go-ahead for 250,000 tonnes of nuclear waste to be dumped in the UK.  Specifically, the old landfill site is in Northants, where a local referendum returned a 96% vote against being the result.

This situation is splitting opinion, in particular regarding two different elements of it.

To start with, It should come as no surprise at all that 96% of local residents voted against such a plan.  If you were to ask most people if they would like to have a nuclear dump close to their homes – and I have spoken to some of the people who live near the proposed site – they would probably say no, regardless of the actual details of the plans in question.  When presented with a simple yes or no, with an emotive issue and which most people don’t take the time to fully understand this is as surprising as the shock that FIFA is (allegedly) corrupt.

However, many of those same people often accept the overarching need for such a facility in general.  They would acknowledge that such waste needs to be disposed of safely somewhere, just not near them.  It is simple nimbyism – for those not familiar with the term, ‘Not In My Back Yard’.

This highlights an issue facing local government in this modern age of localism.  Such regional facilities will be required in the future – it is not practical that every town and village is entirely self sufficient in terms of energy creation, waste disposal and other public amenities.  It simply cannot be the case that each village, town or local authority can act in isolation, looking only within its artificially created boundaries and protecting the interests of its own.

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