Sir Steve

steve_bullockSir Steve Bullock knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to local government.

Is this because he is Labour Party’s favourite elected Mayor? Not that there are many about and even fewer who succeeded in being re-elected to office.

But politics aside – Steve has always been an open and approachable man and living in Forest Hill has done something to balance the interests of this end of the borough.

So congratulations Steve. We look forward to an even more regal progress in that red Triumph Herald …

We would also like to congratulate Dr Brian Henry Fisher, GP at Wells Park Practice in Sydenham, who received an MBE for services to healthcare.

Steve was first elected Mayor in 2002. Elected Mayors was a Labour Party initiative to create a high profile accountable executive leader to both bring better management to local authorities and encourage more local democracy.

Appalling turnouts of less than 30% suggest that popular local democracy has yet to arrive. But what about the effectiveness in managing Lewisham in general and Sydenham in particular? Not for Sydenham Town to judge but others have …

In the same week that Steve got knighted a Conservative Party taskforce adopted Labour’s idea and extended it further – proposing more Mayors and greater powers. The Conservative Cities Taskforce report (news story «here») calls for directly elected leaders to serve a four-year fixed term, paid a salary “commensurate with the level of responsibility” and subject to “loose scrutiny” by an elected assembly.

Meanwhile our local Conservative party in Lewisham are leading in a campaign to abolish the whole concept (see story «here»). So confusion whether elected Mayors are a good or bad idea.

Sir Steve commented:

“It is a privilege to have received this honour. I became a politician to help improve the lives of local people and I am deeply touched that my efforts have been recognised in this way.”

“It was a huge surprise when I found out I had been given a knighthood, and a lot of credit also has to go to the people I have worked with over the years at Lewisham, London Councils and the other bodies I have served on.”

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