So who gets to be mayor of Torbay?
After the Conservatives decided last night to elect former mayor and existing councillor Nick Bye as our candidate many people are asking : will we be beaten by one of the grwoing number of independent candidates?
Could Sammy the Seagull steal the show?
Much has been made in the press, mainly through the Herald Express letters page, that voters want a 'non-political' person to win the mayoral contest. But why? Why do they say they want someone with no political experience to become Torbay's No 1 politician?
Would you, for instance want a 'non pilot' to be commanding the 747 you are due to fly on? Would you want to be operated on by someone 'not connected with the medical profession'?
So why doe people apparently seem so keen on a political freshman for Mayor?
The given reason is that the public have becme disillusioned with party politicians, somehow the Tories are to blame 'as well' because we had a three years stunt in 2000-2003 and therefore we are 'equally' culpable. This is unfair and incorrect. When we were in there was a real effort made to at least keep the streets clean, keep the flowerbeds full and keep the Bay's schools open and successful.
Just because the Lib dems have made such a mess of things why should so many letter writers blame 'all politicians' for the state of Torbay? During the 1970's and 1980's the bay was run exclusively by the Conservatives, and there was nowhere near the level of discontent and frustration with the council then. Sure, some poor planning decisions were made but by-and-large the only reason the Tories lost power was nothing to do with local issues, it was all about the poll tax and a very unpopular national Tory party losing out to a very vocal and politically active local Lib Dem party.
The fact is the minute anyone becomes elected to run Torbay they will have to become a politician in very short order. 'No political experience' will quickly equate to 'not a snowball in hells chance of changing anything' when the successful candidate finds themself facing a wall of opposition from the Lib Dems and council officers to any serious changes he or she wants to make.
If we end up with an ineffectual or powerless mayor we will be worse off than ever. The only choice will, in the end, boil down to between having a Conservative mayor who can command at least enough votes in the council to stop the Lib dems opposing what he wants, or a Lib dem mayor who can bulldose anything he wants through the chamber.
And that means the only way to change Torbay for the better on October 20th will be to vote for my colleague Nick Bye.