A WEEK tomorrow you will be asked to make one of the most important decisions in the political life of Sheffield for many generations: whether we should be governed by an elected mayor or stick with the current system of a council Cabinet and leader.
Do you feel that you know enough about the question of elected mayors to come to an informed judgement?
We suspect you are probably searching for some vital answers before you take part in next Thursday’s referendum and that is why we have organised a city centre debate where champions from both sides of the issue can make their cases to the public.
You will have chance to hear someone explain why an elected mayor is needed to help Sheffield compete against neighbouring cities by arguing our case in the heart of government, and from someone who fears that investing power into the hands of an elected mayor would be an unacceptable attack on the democratic bedrock of our communities, disenfranchising local councillors and leaving the public ever more distant from the decision makers of our city.
If you agree that there are too many un-answered questions about the roles of elected mayors and need to learn more before voting next week, then this is a great opportunity to learn more and, possibly, make up your mind.
Don’t take this right for granted
EIGHTY years ago, a group of keen ramblers laced on their boots and clambered up Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District. They did so in defiance of laws against trespassers.
But they knew in their hearts that they had right on their side, that the glorious Derbyshire countryside was there to be enjoyed by all and not just a few landlords and their pals.
It was a brave and inspirational move which helped pave the way for our current rights to roam through Britain’s countryside.
However, it is not a right we should take for granted, according to Open Spaces Society general secretary Kate Ashbrook who was addressing a gathering in Edale yesterday which celebrated the Kinder Mass Trespass.
And she is right. Under the current economic climate, the guidelines are constantly shifting and we need to be on our guard to ensure our hard-earned rights are not eroded away and our grandchildren do not one day find their way barred in the countryside.
The partnership between land owners and ramblers has stood the test of time and shown that both can enjoy the countryside in harmony and on their own terms.