People point to failures (Doncaster in particular) and joke candidates (Hartlepool, but only to begin with) amongst existing directly elected mayors but for each of those there is Ray Mallon or Tony Eggington. Or Boris or Ken. People that have made it work well.
A referendum on the subject now approaches and Nottingham’s local political parties stay quiet (there’s not so much as a whisper of the subject on the Labour, Conservative or LibDem website front pages) or take sides against a change (the City Council made policy to oppose it last year) that opens the door for anyone, just anyone, even you or me, to challenge their cosy take-it-in-turns-status-quo.
Of course, in the event of a vote for change on May 3rd and a mayoral election coming about on November 3rd, party candidates with their party machines behind them will still have a big advantage over newcomer-to-politics-challengers, who will be starting from scratch, and the odds will remain stacked in their favour.
Today, with two months to go to that referendum I’m coming out as a yes man and hoping for an election in November. This is not really news; I’ve always been in favour of having a directly elected mayor as a matter of political principle.
I think it’s more democratic if the person who leads a city is chosen by all the people of the city rather than emerging from whatever scrap takes place behind closed doors in a meeting of a single political party.
If I had a vote I’d vote for change. I’d vote for a Mayor for Nottingham.
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