Several people have asked me about an apparent lack of democracy in Hartlepool council due to the Mayor and his cabinet making all the decisions. Well on October 18th 2001 the people of Hartlepool had their opportunity to decide what system of local democracy they wanted. By a majority of 373 Votes (Yes:10,667, No:10,294, Turnout 31%) the people chose the Mayor and Cabinet system.
Not that it made that much difference. In Hartlepool the majority of Councillors have always been irrelevant as far as decision making is concerned. Party politics have always played a bigger role in Hartlepool Council Chamber than any real representation of the people.
So it isn’t really fair to complain about the Council for carrying out the wishes of the majority of the people (who voted), You might say a majority of 373 isn’t really a mandate for such a major change but 46,655 people in Hartlepool didn’t care enough to vote one way or the other! I wonder if the people of Darlington will display any more enthusiasm in their Mayoral Referendum on September 27th .