People in Stoke-on-Trent have voted to scrap the city’s system of elected mayors.
A referendum on Thursday of last week saw 21,231 vote to get rid of the post of mayor against 14,592 to keep it, on a turnout of 19 percent.
Anti-fascist activists in Stoke will breathe a sigh of relief at the referendum results.
The city already has nine fascist British National Party (BNP) councillors elected and the Nazis had plans to pour resources into winning the post of mayor this year.
The mayoral system was brought in six years ago. It allowed the mayor to bypass council democracy by appointing a cabinet and effectively dictating the direction of the city.
Stoke will now revert back to councillors electing their own leader.
The current mayor, New Labour’s Mark Meredith, has used his power to push neoliberal policies such as plans for five city academies.
He has boasted of overseeing “the biggest business and regeneration plan North Staffordshire has ever seen”.
This referendum result is a small victory for democratic accountability, but not much more.
Local anti-fascists will not be resting on our laurels.
The fight to drive the Nazi BNP out of Stoke has to continue.
Gary McNally, Stoke Love Music Hate Racism
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Love Music Hate Racism will be demonstrating against the BNP’s national conference in Blackpool on Saturday 15 November.
The BNP conference will be held at the same venue as last year – the New Kimberley Hotel on New South Promenade.
Last year over 200 people protested against the presence of these fascists in Blackpool.
For more information and transport, go to the UAF website at » www.uaf.org.uk or call UAF on 020 7833 4916.