Laura Midgley, Co-Founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, on the resistance the Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies faces in carrying out his election promises.
It would be an understatement to simply say that the Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, is a colourful character. He has seen more than his share of controversy in his short time as a democratically elected Mayor and he has handled it in his own unique way. He has been called the ‘Marmite Mayor’ but, in typical Peter Davies’ fashion, he is not actually a fan of this title as he does not like Marmite.
It is apparent that what he had to say during the Mayoral election resonated with many people in Doncaster and he was quite clear in his election literature what it was he stood for – nobody can say that they were duped.
He has had some great successes, working alongside his chosen cabinet (which includes Conservative Councillors), and has certainly made a fantastic start ticking off the pledges he made. People may have heard about some of the things he has done – cutting his own salary by more than half to £30,000 (a fraction of the salary of his Chief Executive), de-twinning, stopping future Council funding for gay pride in Doncaster etc. but there is plenty more going on behind the scenes. For example, it is also the Mayor's view that no taxpayer funds should be used in Doncaster for other previously supported events including International Women’s Day, Gypsy and Roma Traveller Month, Black History Month, United Nations Day and Human Rights Day (and yes there is such a thing!).
This is really just the tip of the iceberg.
He is the first to accept that his hands have been tied on some projects. In some cases, the power to change things rests with others and, in other cases, contracts were signed before he became Mayor from which he could not extricate the Council.
This is frustrating. However, on balance, he is winning more than he is losing which is not at all bad for this democratically elected one-man band inside Doncaster Council.
Going back to the “M” word (for Marmite and not Mayor), it is fair to say that you probably either love what he is trying to do or you hate it. There are plenty who are fans of his no-nonsense, common sense approach – not only those who elected him but people from all over this country and from even further afield.
However, those who hate all he stands for are attempting to frustrate his democratically elected mandate rather like the militants in the 1980s who tried to do the same to Margaret Thatcher’s administration. There are not that many of them – but they don’t need to be big in numbers. They are out to cause trouble.
As a result, the Mayor is now fighting a formal complaint which says that his plans to eradicate institutionalised political correctness, within existing laws, could incite hatred – a serious allegation. It is completely outrageous and typical of the tactics of those whose livelihoods depend on institutionalised political correctness. In addition to potentially frustrating his democratically elected mandate this complaint is also wasting money and effort that could be far better utilised. There are no official figures yet (although we expect them shortly) but it is thought that this complaint has already cost the taxpayers of Doncaster many thousands of pounds.
If people don’t like what the Mayor is doing then that’s fine – we live in a (sort of) free country.
But those of us who do like what he is doing – and realise the potential blueprint he could create for other councils – now need to put our money where our mouths are. We often say that we are sick to death of slick politicians with rehearsed answers and sound bites for everything. Well, here you have a straight talking Yorkshireman who did not really expect to become Mayor but is delighted to have won for the ordinary man (and woman) in the street and who is fighting day in day out for what he believes is right. Whilst it is unlikely that you will agree with every single thing someone ever says or does, if the vast majority of what they stand for and what they want to achieve strikes a chord then surely they are worth supporting.
Knowing him, and having seen first hand how he has handled himself throughout his time as Mayor, I know he is made of tough stuff – which is just as well. He is his own man. What you see is what you get. If we really want more individual politicians with principles and a desire to get rid of cosy consensuses on such topics as political correctness then I urge you to support him in his fight against this complaint. This is not a party political point. It is a democratic point. And it is a freedom point. He is more than a breath of fresh air and we surely do not want to see all the faceless bureaucrats and individual complainants win.
80% of people in this country are fed up with political correctness (not our figures – the results of an ICM poll we commissioned) and that cuts across all ages, ethnicities, classes, geographical locations and is virtually the same for both men and women.
The people of Doncaster had their say last summer when they elected Peter Davies as their Mayor and it is about time that they got their way.
Please help us show those who want to de-rail his non-gravy train that they cannot undermine his elected mandate – by signing our petition supporting the Mayor through this complaint. If you want more information please visit our website which has a link through to a section on the Mayor or here to sign our petition now. The Mayor’s own Council website can be viewed here.