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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Strong Leadership Model = Weak Governance for Cornwall

Thursday 2nd May - election day.

14th May - we still don't have a leader never mind a cabinet?

How long does it take to sort out a 'Rainbow Coalition'?

The problem is that a rainbow coalition isn't likely to be anything of the sort.

Yet this is not necessarily the councillors' fault - it is down to the cabinet system.

Under the present system the councillors elect a leader who then appoints a cabinet. If one party had a majority it wouldn't be a problem. The majority party would select their leader as council leader and then (s)he would appoint party members as cabinet members.

However, we have no clear majority and no obvious coalition of two groups. So this means that hours of  'behind closed doors' negotiations are going on. Not only is the leader being decided beforehand but also the cabinet positions - in other words councillors are agreeing to pledge to vote for a particular leader as long as (s)he agrees to appoint a pre-determined cabinet. Trouble is that's a lot of horse trading.

It's also going to present problems in the future because whoever is appointed leader (and he Council's whole cabinet) will be on very unstable ground. If the leader upsets too many people then they are likely to face a vote of no-confidence and then this whole process is going to have to start over again.

This is the problem with the cabinet or 'strong leadership' model of governance that the previous council selected for this council. When you don't have a strong leadership you don't have an easily workable system.

Problems will arise in the coming months and years not because of 'party politics' but because of a lack of a strong leadership. Many issues that will arise will divide the opinions of councillors, whether or not it is along party lines. There will be constant disagreements because different people will believe that their solution is the best for Cornwall.

The strong leader model, without a strong leader, is going to be very weak.

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