Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mayor or No Mayor

This is a bit of a departure for me. I know that this site has a small, but an interesting breadth of readership (MPs and councillors are over-represented, alongside mere mortals like me).

Here are two questions for you lot to answer. Does Birmingham need an elected mayor and why? Should we have a referendum on the issue?

Feel free to use the 'anonymous' identity to post comments if your position on the issue might cause embarrassment. I posted my views on the subject back in 2005. This isn't an opportunity to hurl abuse, but rather a chance to get a little genuine discussion going.

Come on then, let's be 'avin you.


Bob Piper said...

If bthe Birmingham Mail are so convinced it is a good idea... why don't they offer to pick up the bill, because I'm sure residents, given the choice, would think of a dozen better ways to spend it.... but of course, the Mail won't ask that question.

Brummie Tory said...

My god, I believe I may have to sit down. I actually agree with Piper!!! :-)

Simon said...

No, it doesn't. I don't agree with concentrating so much power in the hands of an individual. Generally speaking, I think the cabinet system works quite well.

Louis said...

I also put my two-pence worth about a Mayor on my blog in September. I am more enthusiatic than your other contributors.

Isn't the truth you party political types are frightened of losing your power to an independent like Sir Digby Jones, a man of integrity and vision who could be a great leader for this city?

As for a referendum, how can democracy be a waste of money? The last referendum was set-up so that the Mayoral vote was split. We need a proper referendum now to put this issue to rest. I would rather we spend it on this than some two-bit councillors expenses.

Simon said...

I would be equally unenthusiastic about an elected mayor whether they were Labour, Lib Dem, Tory or Digby Jones. There is little point in the government pledging itself to a decentralising agenda if it decentralises the power to a single individual who is only 'accountable' to the results of a single four-yearly vote.

If the government are so keen on elected mayors, let's see them make the case for an elected President, with powers to make decisions on a whim and a Parliament full of powerless 'advisers'.

Anonymous said...

I'm always astonished that people think that the current system is in any way accountable to the public. Its even worse when the people saying that are either current or previous councillors. The leaders of Birmingham are elected by a majority of members of their political group. For the current lot that means you need 21 votes. Under the previous Labour admin it would have been a bit more, but even so...

Because Birmingham elections are split into three groups any change is glacially slow. And given that there are some wards where you are never going to replace the incumbent (Labour Sutton? Tory Aston?) then the rate of change is even slower.

And lets be clear NO ONE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS EVER VOTED FOR THE LIB-TORY AXIS. They haven't been given the chance - they can only vote for either Tory or Lib Dem. So lets be honest. A vote for a mayor every four years would be a huge step forward in terms of democracy compared with no vote for the Council Leader.