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Why I’m supporting Jon Rogers for Mayor

November 13, 2012

I’m glad that Bristol is voting for a directly elected Mayor on Thursday.  I made the case for a yes vote in the referendum, which put me out of line with many of my local Lib Dem colleagues.  I think a Mayor will be able to secure the devolution of more power from Westminster to Bristol.  It is vital that the first person to hold the job is able to work with our neighbours and also the Coaliton Government.

Many people rightly see the election as an opportunity for a fresh start in Bristol local government.  There has been talk of the need for less tribal politics and a willingness to bring people of all talents together on behalf of our city.  I agree.  While I am clearly a Liberal Democrat MP I have never believed that my party has a monopoly of wisdom and virtue.  I have always recognised that there are good and bad people in all parties.

Leaving aside our party labels I think there are two types of people in politics – tribalists and pluralists.  Tribalists believe in the domination of their own party, with no room for alternative opinion.  Think of Gordon Brown or Margaret Thatcher!  I think the majority of Bristolians want our first Mayor to be a pluralist.  To some this implies a candidate standing as an independent.  But party candidates can also be pluralists.  In the current election it is only the Labour candidate who has said that he will work solely with Labour councillors.

Jon Rogers is a pluralist.  He is also a liberal and a green.  He is a pluralist by temparament, always seeing the potential for collaberation.  In local politics he is a pluralist by choice.  He could easily appoint a deputy Mayor and cabinet solely from Liberal Democrat councillors.  They are the largest group on the City Council.  An “Independent” Mayor is a pluralist by neccessity.  He or she would have no choice but to work with councillors from the party groups, otherwise they would be holding absolute power to themselves. 

Jon also has the experience to hit the ground running from day one as Mayor.  He has lived in the city for over 30 years.  He has spent his entire professional career here, looking after patients as a family doctor.  This has brought him into contact with people from all walks of life.  It is of significance that from April next year the Mayor will take over from the NHS the responsibilty for tackling health inequalities in the city.  He is the best qualified candidate for this task.

Jon also has the political experience necessary to lead Bristol.  He has represented Ashley ward on the council for the last seven years.  This is the most socially diverse ward in the city, with people from all incomes and ethnic backgrounds.  Jon can relate to all Bristolians.  He has also played a leading role in the Council’s cabinet, driving through recent improvements in services.  He has good relationships with councillors from Bath and other neighbouring authorities.  He can also pick up the phone to Coalition Government Ministers to press the case for Bristol.

Jon knows what needs to be done to make Bristol great.  He has the personal qualities and political skills to make a great Mayor of Bristol.  I hope you will join me in giving him your first preference vote.

To find out more about Jon look here

I hope you will also support Pete Levy for Avon and Somerset Police Commissioner

To find out more about the Supplementary Vote system used in these elections, see yesterday’s blog.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2012 7:58 pm

    He clearly has problems relating to cyclists or maybe he just doesn’t care

  2. Chris Millman permalink
    November 14, 2012 1:05 am

    As I recall your making “the case for Yes vote in the referendum” consisted of of a statement at The Watershed debate that you were undecided but maybe 51%/49% in favour.

    I admire Jon Rogers bravery in standing for a hopeless cause, but that admiration is tempered by despise for the mendacity of your party’s claim to be coming up on the rails in a two horse race.

    It would be great to have less tribal politics in Bristol, perhaps the Lib Dems could lead the way by ensuring their leaflets honestly represent the true situation and give up their trade mark lie ‘can’t win here.’

  3. November 14, 2012 12:50 pm

    You could have just said: “I’m supporting Jon Rogers because he’s a Lib Dem like me”.

    It would’ve saved a bit of your time.

  4. Ian Bell permalink
    November 14, 2012 6:31 pm

    My own experience of Jon Rogers is wholly positive. I am a member of the Saxon Road Green Space group which is aming to create a green space for local communityuse on the land between Saxon Road and Gatton Road. Jon has been very supportive and I endorse Stephen’s comments on Jon’s pluralist approach. He has shown a desire to help the local community and has done so in an open handed way which demonstrates that he seeks to achieve consensus through a realistic view of what is possible and the best way to get there.

  5. Christopher Sharp permalink
    November 14, 2012 6:52 pm

    Having listened to all the candidates at a hustings meeting, I was impressed by Dr Rogers’ balance, experience and practical pragmatism. These were qualities missing in whole or in part in the other candidates, and will be qualities that an effective mayor will require.

  6. Jonathan Essex permalink
    November 14, 2012 7:11 pm

    I just hope that Lib Dem voters don’t abandon the party because they don’t like the fact that it has taken some tough decisions as partners in the Coalition. For the first time in 70 years you have a taste of Government, and yet all too often I hear Lib Dem voters complaining that Nick Clegg has sold out to the Conservatives! Did they want to be the party of eternal protest votes instead? Lib Dem members of the Coalition have shown that they are eligible to govern through these tough decisions, it is now time for their supporters to confirm that they are pragmatic enough to continue to vote for their party in a partnership government. I am a flexible voter, and will be supporting Dr Jon with one of my two votes to sure up support. I hope those who consider themselves core Lib Dem voters do the same instead of abandoning ship in rough weather.

  7. Crow permalink
    November 29, 2012 6:12 pm

    I voted for Rogers because he’s a doctor. If this country was governed by more doctors, scientists and engineers, we’d solve many more problems more quickly than we do now.

    Re the other vote, I voted for the independent, a woman. No-one told me anything about this vote beforehand, but that was all I needed to know! I got what I voted for too. Politics and other social controls needs more independents, not less, and as I said, they should be qualified to solve problems, we’ve had more than enough ideologues pushing us all around according to their own ideals. We’re so off base we don’t even know where the ‘centre ground’ is anymore. Time for some informed pragmatism so we can learn to trust each other more.

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