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Demox

Campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor for Oxford

 

 

Welcome to Demox

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

Thank you for visiting the website of Demox, the Campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor for Oxford. We hope that while you are here we will convince you of the benefits of an elected mayor. Remember to get your copy of the Demox petition before you leave.

 

Introduction

New legislation has changed the way in which local decisions will be taken. Extra powers will soon rest with the leadership of local councils. Each council will have one of two kinds of leadership. It will have either a leader appointed by a political party or a democratically elected mayor. The purpose of Demox is to campaign for Oxford City Council to have a democratically elected mayor.

 

Oxford City Council has decided not to ballot you, the public, on the options and is pressing ahead with plans for an unelected leader. Demox is collecting signatures for a petition calling on the council to hold a referendum. Under local government rules, if 5,100 electors Ė 5% of Oxfordís total electors Ė sign the petition, the council will have to hold a public ballot to find out what local people want.

 

Demox is an independent, non-party campaign, involving Oxford residents and people who work in Oxford. Its members include Oxford City and Oxfordshire County councillors, former Leader of Oxford City Council Stan Taylor and former Lord Mayor of Oxford John Power. Demox receives funding and other support from the New Local Government Network.

 

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Why an Elected Mayor?

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

In the local elections in May 2000, only 31% of Oxfordís electors voted. In one ward in Oxford, Blackbird Leys, just 12% voted. There is confusion about exactly who is responsible for local services. Most people do not believe that their local representatives will listen to them, or be able to take effective action if they do. Many residents would not consider approaching local politicians if there was a problem in their neighbourhood. Few can name their local councillors.

 

Oxford City Councilís plans for an unelected leader will do nothing to reverse this. A council leader would be elected as a councillor by voters in just one ward of the city and appointed as leader by a simple majority of Oxfordís fifty-one city councillors. Such a leader would need the support of perhaps as few as twenty-six individuals. The leader could safely neglect areas of the city not represented by one of those twenty-six.

 

Demox believes that elected mayors are a way of regenerating interest and confidence in local politics. An elected mayor for Oxford will mean:

 

Accountable decision-making

An easily identifiable person will take the lead. An elected mayor will not be able to pass the buck to other politicians or council officials.

 

Leadership for all of the city

A directly elected mayor will need the popular support of electors across the city.

 

Authority to deliver solutions

Direct election will give the mayor the authority to secure the best deal for local people. Local government has moved on from focusing solely on delivering services to forming alliances with other organisations which affect the local area. This requires leadership with the clout not just to manage the council but also to build coalitions.

 

Clear negotiations

A directly elected mayor will have a public mandate to represent the council in its dealings with other bodies, providing one clear route for negotiations.

 

High-profile leadership for the city

A mayoral election will encourage able candidates and increase media interest in Oxford politics. The successful candidate will have the profile to match Oxfordís status as a regionally, nationally and internationally important city.

 

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Questions and Answers

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

Wonít an elected mayor be too powerful?

Under the governmentís legislation, an appointed leader and an elected mayor will have very similar powers. The main difference will be that a mayor will hold these powers as a result of direct election. It is likely, however, that media and public interest in an elected mayor will subject that person to greater scrutiny than a leader.

 

How can the public remove an elected mayor?

The mayor will serve a four-year term. If the mayor then seeks re-election, every member of the public will have a vote. If electors are not satisfied with the mayorís record, they need not vote for that candidate again. If local people are dissatisfied with a leader appointed by councillors, on the other hand, they will have no say in that personís reappointment. Additionally, a mayor will be subject to day-to-day scrutiny in a way that an unelected leader will not be.

 

Wonít the same people stand for mayor as leader?

The people who would have stood for leader may well stand for mayor. But they will get elected only if they can win the support of local people as well as their political parties.

 

Wonít elections be all about personalities?

It will be up to the public to decide their criteria for electing a mayor. Most electors will judge candidates by both their personal qualities, as negotiators on behalf of local people, and their policies. What is certain is that mayoral candidates will campaign on issues. They will raise awareness of local matters and fewer votes will be cast on national party loyalties.

 

Whatís the point without a unitary authority for Oxford?

There is even more point. Oxford will have the opportunity to elect a key figure armed with a mandate to talk on its behalf with all the bodies providing services in the city. These will include the county council.

 

Do people want an elected mayor?

Opinion polls show a high level of public interest in an elected mayor, with support ranging between 55 and 75 per cent. Of course, the only way to find out for sure is through a referendum.

 

Hasnít Oxford City Council already consulted on this?

Oxford City Council carried out some public consultation during 2000 after it had already decided against an elected mayor. The council has now accepted that its first round of consultation was insufficiently rigorous and is having to go through the exercise again.

 

What will happen to Oxfordís Lord Mayor?

The elected mayor will be a political post, entirely separate from the ceremonial post of Lord Mayor, which will remain.

 

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What Next?

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

Councils have to draw up their proposals and a timetable for implementing them and send a copy to the government.

 

Councils which choose an elected mayor must then hold a referendum to show that there is public support for their plans. Councils which choose an appointed leader do not have to ballot the public unless 5% of electors sign a petition calling for a referendum.

 

Oxford City Council has opted for the appointed leader option and is planning to introduce its proposals without holding a ballot. The council plans to bring in the new arrangements in May 2002.

 

Demoxís immediate task is to collect the signatures for a petition calling on the council to hold a referendum. Once we have 5,100 signatures, we will present the petition to the council and the council will have to hold a referendum within six months.

 

The referendum will be binding on the council. For a referendum held in 2001, the first mayoral elections will be in May 2002. Mayoral elections are by supplementary vote. Under this system, voters indicate their first and second choice of candidate. After counting all of the first choices, all but the top two candidates are eliminated. Any of the eliminated candidatesí second preference votes cast for the top two candidates are added to the remaining candidatesí totals. The one with the most votes is then elected. The mayor will come into office four days after the election.

 

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How You Can Help

 

Demox is collecting 5,100 signatures from Oxford electors for a petition calling on the council to hold a referendum. If you live in Oxford, sign the Demox petition for your chance to vote on how the city is run!

Demox needs help with collecting signatures. You can do this by asking your family or friends or workplace colleagues to sign, or by helping Demox members collect signatures at street stalls and other events.

 

We also need help with publicity. This can be by displaying a Demox poster or by delivering leaflets in your local area. Contact Demox to offer to help the campaign.

 

After Demox has collected the signatures for the petition, we will be campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum. So if you canít spare the time to help at the moment but will be available to do some campaigning later in the year, please get in touch with Demox to let us know.

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Print a copy of the petition

 

Order a copy of the petition from Demox

 

Contact Demox

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

To find out more, contact Demox at:

 

Flat 5
105 Oxford Road
Cowley
Oxford
OX4 2ER

 

Phone 01865 779785

 

Fax 01865 727929

 

E-mail oxforddemox@hotmail.com

 

Website http://www.oxforddemox.com

 

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Sign the Demox petition

 

About Demox

Welcome to Demox

 

Why an Elected Mayor?

 

Questions and Answers

 

What Next?

 

How You Can Help

 

Sign the Demox Petition

 

Contact Demox

 

About Demox

Demox was launched in October 1999 in response to the governmentís proposals for modernising local government and to Oxford City Councilís decision to opt for an unelected leader.

 

Demox is a non-party, independent campaign. Although some of the individual members of Demox are also members of political parties, Demox is not affiliated to any political party. Demox campaigns only on the issue of an elected mayor for Oxford and does not take a position on any other issue.

 

Demox holds regular meetings of all its members. A smaller steering group of members manages the day-to-day running of the Demox campaign. The members of the steering group are:

 

Chair

.Stan Taylor, former Leader of Oxford City Council

 

Vice-chair

John Power, Oxfordshire County Councillor for Oxford West Division (Labour) and former Lord Mayor of Oxford

 

Vice-chair

Bob Hoyle, Oxford City Councillor for Temple Cowley Ward (Liberal Democrat)

 

Campaign Manager

Sarah Margetts, Oxford City Councillor for East Ward (Independent)

 

Treasurer

Alan Lester, Covered Market Tradersí Association

 

Demox receives funding and other support from the New Local Government Network.

 

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