So, Ian, how did you vote?

Lewisham has a separate mayoral election, thanks to a very narrow win (51%-49% on something like a 25% turnout, so about one in eight voting for) in a 2001 referendum. What this means is that one person (it's been the Labour candidate since 2002) runs the borough. The council can pass motions, but the mayor – who has chosen not to have a 'cabinet' with any responsibility – can ignore them.

When a petition was submitted in 2007 to have a vote on getting rid of the system, it turned out that the rules had been 'misunderstood' by the local government department and that, in fact, a council vote was necessary. Lewisham has been a balanced / 'no overall control' / 'hung' council since 2006 and the only Tory to turn up to the vote was the council chair who voted against another referendum. Since then, the rules have been changed again, and you need to wait ten years to have a referendum to abolish the system after the one to introduce it. As, typically, the first election will happen about a year after the first one, that means you'll have three mayoral elections in that time: in years one, five and nine. And, incredibly, the sitting mayor can veto the decision to have the second referendum!

The contrast with the recent rush from parties to offer 'recall' votes for naughty MPs is incredible. With a directly elected mayor, you are stuck with them, no matter what, for four years. This means in Lewisham we have had eight years of broken promises relating to a new school (there are hundreds of places too few, particularly in the north of the borough, but partly because the catchment area there would include bits of Southwark and Greenwich, the sites the mayor has proposed are elsewhere), leisure facilities, and more… and there is nothing councillors can do.

I see that Tower Hamlets is having a first referendum this time – if you have a vote there, or anywhere else considering this system, vote against.

So for mayor, it was John Hamilton – a local 'people not profit' independent who we've known for years and had a good result last time – first preference and the LibDem second. Please may one of them win. Both want to get rid of the system.

For the council, we currently have three Labour councillors, and I went for three LibDems who have been running around like anything for the past few years. If we'd had three Socialists candidates, I would have considered them, because the two in a neighbouring ward have been very good for their electorate.

For MP, it was LibDem.

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