Friday, May 04, 2012

 

Brave new World of Elected Mayors

So Joe Anderson istrhe newly elected mayor of Liverpool. Having met Joe and liked him as a genuine supporter of his city and its people, I'm delighted. But last night's developments do raise a few questions.
1. What will Joe's role be? Well, he is now the executive head of the city council, able to act with its full executive authority.
2. What about ordinary councillors? They will have seen their power diminished to mere 'apprentices' for higher office, hoping to get noticed and given a 'Cabinet' job by the mayor. The title of 'leader of the council' will survive for the leader of the largest party but without the power vested in themayor
3. Can the council over-rule the mayor? Yes but the mayor can carry the day unless one third of the council vote against him/her. This gives a huge advantage to the new first citizen of the city/town
4. Will all cities and big towns now elecxt theirmayors? No. Manchester, Bradford, Coventy and Nottingham have voted against such a move and probably Birmingham and Leeds will do the same. The Conservatives have lost out in these elections but on the elected mayor front, the conservatives have held the line.
5. Have the Coalition been dealt a heavy blow? Yes, it has but the up to 1000 council seats losses will be compensated to a substantial extent by Boris's expected victory in London. And the Coalition expects to lose at the local level mid-term; it can still recover before the general election, as Blair did in 1999, and go on to win. Mind you, after such a sweeping night of success Ed Miliband's position as leader seems assured now until 2015.

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