It would certainly be an improvement in our democracy if there was to be a change in how we elect our local councillors, so that the voices in the council chamber reflected the votes cast proportionately, as proposed by some councillors last week. But the city council cannot bring this in themselves; it would first require a change in legislation through Parliament.
But what the city council could do is to adopt the all-out election process we have had this year, so that we elect the whole of the council once every four years, instead of electing just one third each year for three years followed by a fallow year.
This year’s unusual process was triggered by the change in ward boundaries, and it will be “back to normal” in coming years.
The all-out system would mean the end of the inefficiencies of the annual shut-down while the election happens, and crucially would save a lot of money – half a million pounds over a four-year period.
It would also mean that the parties were not constantly in election-mode and defending themselves against the other parties, and maybe, just maybe, encourage them to find ways of working together instead of always criticising each other.
It is a change which some other councils have moved to.
This is something that our city council does have control over – all it takes is a two-thirds majority vote in council.
Now which political party could make that happen?
And would the other parties support it?
Sheffield for Democracy