The Chamberlain Files | Homepage
Mayors: Why did Cameron’s project fail?

Mayors: Why did Cameron’s project fail?

🕔04.May 2012

Everyone with an interest in politics will have a view on why most large English cities including Birmingham roundly rejected the idea of being governed by an elected mayor.

There is no single or obvious answer to the question, although low turnout on a monsoon-like election day will not have helped.

And yes, paradoxically, the mayoral system which is meant to galvanise local politics appears ultimately to have been derailed by the very apathy that it is supposed to combat. Only 28 per cent of registered voters in Birmingham could be bothered to take part in the referendum.

But let’s not get side-tracked by the weather conditions, though. It’s abundantly clear that the concept of a city mayor did not strike a chord with voters – if indeed they really understood what it was they were being asked to decide – and it seems unlikely that any Government will wish to revisit the issue in the near future.

The current Government, however, must take much of the blame for promoting the mayoral vision in, to put it mildly, a somewhat confused and low-key manner. What were voters supposed to make of the mixed signals coming from Whitehall over many months; remember the idea that council leaders would become shadow mayors and have a year in charge before an election could be held?

That proposal didn’t last very long, but it was clear from a very early stage that many members of the Government were at best lukewarm about mayors, with a large number of Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs vehemently against the idea.

Chamberlain Files Weekly

Don't miss a thing! Sign up for our free weekly summary of the Chamberlain Files from RJF Public Affairs.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Our latest tweets

Published by

Published by


Our community