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Aug 4, 2009

Cost cutting Mayor

Quite a few years ago I lost in a local government election by seven votes in a pretty brutal campaign as part of a ratepayers group which went close to sweeping the entire previous council from office. Probably the most divisive issue apart from the fact that I was well known a strong supporter of the libertarian Progress Party was my insistence that the council should not be financing brochures for tourist operators and a number of similar policies.

The local bus company operator saw red and launched a vitriolic attack, which lasted for the duration. Generally the assertion was that in some wonderful way the whole community benefited from Duncan’s pockets being full and it was their duty to help him fill them. Sadly, my argument that the tourist operators getting together and organizing their own campaign and financing it themselves would lead to a better result fell on deaf ears.

That’s why I find this guy refreshing:

On his first morning as Mayor of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Peter Davies cut his salary from £73,000 to £30,000 then closed the Council's newspaper for "peddling politics on the rates". The mayor’s chauffeur-driven car has also been axed by Mr. Davies and the driver given another job. Mr. Davies, born and bred in Doncaster, swept to power in the May election with 24,244 votes.

Now three weeks into his job, Mr. Davies is pressing ahead with plans he hopes will see the number of town councilors cut from 63 to just 21, saving taxpayers £800,000. Mr. Davies said: "If 100 Senators can run the United States of America, I can't see how 63 councilors are needed to run Doncaster ".

He has withdrawn Doncaster from the Local Government Association and the Local Government Information Unit, saving another £200,000. Mr. Davies said, "They are just talking shops"

" Doncaster is in for some serious untwinning. We are twinned with nine other cities around the world and they are just for people to fly off and have a binge at the Council's expense".

He has promised to end council funding for Doncaster 's International Women's Day, Black History Month and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. He has also announced he will slash funding for the town’s gay pride event, as part of a campaign against ‘political correctness’.

“I have nothing whatsoever against gays and lesbians, what they do in their private lives is absolutely fine,” said Peter Davies on his first day as Mayor. “But I don’t see why councils should be spending money on that sort of thing.” He added, “My policy on gays and lesbians is very simple. I don’t think councils should be spending money on them parading through town advertising their sexuality.”

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