‘Hurrahs’ as council leader steps down … but he’s not the problem

johnjarvisMany locals were celebrating yesterday as Cllr John Jarvis announced he will be stepping down as leader of the council.

Appointed as leader in 2011, he has become a hate figure for many people seeking to blame the council for everything under the sun.

For some of the assembled commenters over at the Hereford Times website this appeared to be their ‘Thatcher moment’, eliciting cries of excitement and probably a little pants-wetting too.

We’re not exactly drowning our sorrows either: the announcement of any leader standing down is always good news for anarchists.

Under Jarvis’ rule the council has ploughed on with the ESG scheme opposed by many Herefordians. It has announced and implemented cuts to a range of public services, not to mention the redundancies that go with them. And most ludicrously of all for many was the rebranding of Herefordshire to ‘Herefordshire: here you can’. Cheers, John, that one’s really got the economy going again.

But we can’t fool ourselves that things will be any different when his replacement is announced. Because the problem is not Cllr John Jarvis. The problem is leaders full stop.

Top-down decision making that ignores public opinion will only ever cause resentment. Decisions in Herefordshire are currently made by just 58 councillors, leaving a further 183,542 Herefordians without a voice (despite the fact that councillors are supposed to represent their ward constituents, this rarely happens. Does your councillor canvas your opinion for every proposal they vote on?). Councillors represent their own interests and their own political opinions.

Despite what a lot of people are led to think, anarchists are not opposed to rules, what we’re opposed to is rulers.

Instead of council leaders, prime ministers and top-down decision making we’d replace them with street meetings and neighbourhood assemblies that would include as many people as possible.

If the topic was of county-wide importance these assemblies would send delegates (as many as practical) to represent the views of their community. And if they didn’t they would be immediately recalled, no waiting around five years to kick them out.

This form of direct democracy could be carried on up to the regional, national and international levels where necessary.

Using this method would ensure that everyone is given a voice and everyone’s voice is represented, and you can read more about it here.

For now we should sober up and realise that none of Jarvis’ replacements will be any different. They are simply reshuffling the cards into the same pyramid as before.

2 thoughts on “‘Hurrahs’ as council leader steps down … but he’s not the problem

  1. Keith, you are right and, as a regular Poster on the Hereford Times, I’d like to take this opportunity to distance myself from some of the more outlandish and vociferous postings that blamed Jarvis for the heavy rain, poor crop yield and eczema.
    My very warmest regards to you Keith.

  2. How about The Heckler runs ‘a book’ on the likely successor for Cllr Jarvis’s well-blooded bed of nails?

    I’m not offering odds, but three likely front-runners would appear to be Adrian Blakshaw (the only Cabinet member whose sardonic smirk matches George Osborne’s); Dame Olwyn Barnett – our very own Iron Lady!; and Brian Wilcox, cast into the wilderness for twelve months but with none of his leadership ambitions diminished.

    Then as a rank outsider, don’t underestimate the political fitness of the man who thinks he should have been a Country and Western singer: Mr Russel B Hamilton!

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