Momentum for a Dorset referendum became virtually inevitable at Dorset Council’s meeting last week.

The Cabinet system there (10 Cabinet members hand-picked by the Leader and a further 6 Cabinet Lead Members, all from just one party - itself voted-in on just 39.3% of the vote) effectively determines council policy.

(Of the 16 only one lives in the previous West Dorset Council area) Dorset Council’s Leader was requested to change now voluntarily to the alternative, more democratic, proportional ‘Committee’ system – run effectively recently by WDDC - which would eliminate the need for £500,000 referendum costs.

ALL Dorset councillors could then play a meaningful role in policy-making through a range of committees, utilizing all their the brain-power, each representing their electorate meaningfully.

The Leader, and Cabinet, pushed even ‘consideration’ of this issue back…. not till this autumn, nor next year, nor the year after next, but to the year after that! It’s a change not of a party-political nature, but simply of having a fair and proportionate SYSTEM to operate by. But a whole anti-artillery was used….staff exhaustion, Covid, cost factors, ‘it’s not the time’, etc….

The Leader and Cabinet’s view, its archaic system threatened by Reason, will surely now trigger the electorate’s resolve to use Westminster powers and The Localism Bill, 2011, for a referendum to convert to a Committee system, as achieved in Fylde, Canterbury, WDDC, Sheffield and Cheshire East, bringing landslide wins for ‘Committee’. Electors of all parties will clearly and inevitably vote-in the fairer Committee system.

The Leader and Cabinet, if they refuse to change now voluntarily, will impose on the electorate an entirely unnecessary referendum cost of £500,000….

JOHN GRANTHAM

Burton Bradstock