Who shapes a town or city and makes the decisions that affect the lives of its citizens?

It’s an interesting question for Brighton and Hove at the moment.

The most prosaic answer is the city council has ultimate control. All planning decisions go through the authority. It has a key role in education, health and housing. Not to mention keeping the streets clean.

But the truth is that our council is buffeted by all sides. Years of cuts, many of them ideological, have hampered its ability to shape and form the future. Big cuts handed down via the government’s austerity drive will cause further damage.

Increasingly the council is a conduit; It enables private firms and voluntary groups to deliver services. It will play a monitoring role.

But this will become as thankless a task as herding cats. Some private companies have always been too sharp for hard-pressed local officials. The former tend to have better-paid experts and sharper lawyers.

The state is being rolled back nationally but it is at the local level that this is most acute. This is not necessarily a good thing.

That is why too much is sometimes expected of the city council and its elected leader Warren Morgan.

I don’t know him particularly well but he strikes me as a decent, practical man, a real Brightonian, who has inherited the job at the wrong time.

We should not absolve him nor his authority of primary responsibility but clearly the rest of us are going to have to step up to the plate too.

We have a myriad of quangos and partnerships all apparently working to better our communities but who are too often faceless, smothering their work in impenetrable, disengaging, jargon.

What’s missing in all of this is the articulation of an overarching vision for our city. We do though have thousands of little ones.

Go to any shop in the Lanes or digital business and you will see stunning creativity and clear direction. We may have to ask some of them to look beyond their shop counters and help out with the bigger picture. Because that is what is missing.

Which is why the unveiling two weeks ago of the plans for the King Alfred leisure centre right on our seafront was so disappointing.

You don’t have to go to Barcelona or Bilbao to understand the possible. A nip up the motorway to Bristol or Leeds would do.

It was deflating to open The Argus and read Cllr Morgan’s defence of the project on the grounds of its functionality in the letters page. Bold design was a costly frippery, he suggested.

He went on to ask readers to look what happened when architects unveiled funky plans for Sackville Tower. At present about 300 people have objected.

But in an overarching vision on the city, the way things look and feel, and how we exist in them, must engage all its citizens.

Those closest to a proposal must never be ignored but if we are to be constantly tripped up by the considerations of the few who might cause discomfort for a councillor in re-election year we will never have a city that is evolving in a dynamic way.

Frankly we will simply get dull slabs of boring luxury flats built up by developers with deep enough pockets to fight off objections.

And this is not just frippery. Exciting places that mix the startling modern with the old attract investment and jobs. You can feel the buzz from miles away.

To be fair to Cllr Morgan he is one of the few who has his head regularly above the parapet even if cynics will say he didn’t have to take on the job.

But he needs to be joined by a few more of us. In a time of austerity this city needs a debate about its future perhaps more than at any time in the last two decades.

The Argus: Golden Globes 2016: The night as it unfolded from Ricky's barbs to Leo's winAlejandro Inarritu and Leonardo DiCaprio with their Golden Globe awards

Ok, now it is film award season and we are supposed to be really interested in superannuated multi-millionaires collecting gongs, I have a confession to make.

I’ve seen two alleged five-star blockbusters in recent months and distance from their slathering reviews has given me new perspective.

I am now in a position to state that both The Revenant and Star Wars are actually complete hogwash.

The Revenant is a laughable vehicle for a Hollywood star roughing it big time. Because they don’t really work, actors love it when one of their own looks like he’s had to. That much bad luck and that little frostbite? Really?

The Star Wars schlock is really the first movie remade without the laughs and with the new Death Star still prone to the same disastrous weak spot as all those light years ago. You’ll soon forget them.