Why do Hartlepool Wards have 3 Councillors? This was a question recently asked by a Hartlepool resident and which is obviously of interests during the local elections.
All of Hartlepool's council wards, (with the exception of Greatham and Elwick which only have one each), have three Councillors. This is the number set by the government (or electoral commission? which is effectively the same thing .... lol ... ) as providing the correct level of representation for the Hartlepool electorate.
Personally I'd cut it to two in all wards which would give 34 councillors plus the mayor rather than the existing 47. In fact most Councillors are just there as party fodder and are whipped to the point of being useless. If you got rid of all of them, and the Mayor as well for that matter, it wouldn't actually matter to most people in the town as my experience leads me to conclude many people don't care enough about democracy to vote and many of those who do vote don't actually do so on the basis of issues but on blind party obedience. So, while democracy dies in Hartlepool the Council Chief Executive effectively controls what goes on and he of course isn't elected by anyone!
As Peter Mandelson has said "Europe is entering a post democratic era" where decisions are taken out of the hands of elected representatives and given instead to appointed apparatchiks. Mandelson should be proud of his old constituency in leading the way in this.
Hartlepool entered a "post democratic era" the day Stuart Drummond was elected and he was immediately taken under the wing of the previous Chief Executive who explained how things really worked. Since that day the Chief Executive has run Hartlepool with a smokescreen of democratic accountability in front of him provided by the Mayor and compliant Cabinet who rubber stamp the decisions made by the Chief Executive in return for regular photo opportunities in the Hartlepool Mail and of course their "special responsibility allowances"
Actually you could expand the question to why does the UK have 646 MPs and 72 MEPs and 129 MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) and 60 members of the National Assembly for Wales (although it is not called a parliament) and 108 members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland?
All these bodies are at best talking shops and are there to provide lucrative careers for the political classes. The real power in the UK (and Europe as a whole) in my opinion no longer resides in elected bodies! It has passed to the "appointees" the quangos and the bureaucrats.