A Bodffordd resident has written in to ask whether it is possible to 'recall' county councillors -- i.e. have them removed prior to scheduled local elections. Apparently at last night's public meeting to discuss the village's continued resistance to the infamous biodigester, several attendees started calling for the county councillor for the ward of Bodffordd, Plaid Cymru's William I. Hughes, to be somehow deselected. Residents feel that Cllr Hughes, who did not attend last night's meeting -- or indeed any of the public meetings held in his ward to counter the biodigester -- is no longer acting as their representative and they do not want to have to wait two more years until the next local elections to get rid of him. They are also irritated that he lives in Trefor -- some distance from both Bodffordd and its future biodigester.
The ability for local residents to be able to recall non-performing county councillors strikes me as just the sort of measure which could help focus the minds of some of Anglesey's more intransigent councillors. Unfortunately according to my reading of the Anglesey County Council's constitution there is no way local residents can force such a recall. Or is there? Perhaps some of my learned readers could let me know whether there is another way of achieving the same aim?
Also, if you're reading this Prof. Closs Stephens (and I've heard you are an occasional reader), please let me urge you to use your current power as chair of the recovery board to have the constitution amended so as to include a recall clause -- and in so doing improve the chances of a sustainable recovery once the board has decamped.
In the meantime, I'll be adding a recall mechanism clause to our People's Manifesto for Ynys Môn.
UPDATE: There seems to be some confusion regarding what a recall actually is. It does not allow a small number of dissatisfied people to remove a democratically elected representative -- it merely allows for a by-election to be forced if a sufficient percentage of local residents sign a petition. The incumbent is then freely able to campaign for his or her re-election. As such a recall should be seen as a measure which ensures that democratically-elected politicians are kept on their toes. For those who say a recall is somehow undemocratic, let me remind you that a recall mechanism was included in Aristotle's Constitution of Athens.