Of course, this week’s announcement of Albert Bore’s attempt to be the Labour mayoral candidate for Birmingham was a major step forward for the ‘yes’ campaign, but another event on the same day was just as significant.
Mayoral cheerleader, think tank head and former Labour minister Lord Adonis was in town to help launch the joint Centre for Cities and Institute for Government report into the potential economic impact of elected mayors in the 11 core English cities that are yet to opt for the system.
Leave aside for a moment the significance of the choice of Birmingham for the launch (and in our view that is VERY significant). Leave aside the choice of KPMG as the host venue (see above). And leave aside the fact that Adonis’s major intervention in the mayoral debate is yet to come – when he submits his ‘letter’ to Eric Pickles within the next few weeks. (The latter will reveal to what extent Adonis will translate his frustration with the shadow mayor concept into a firm policy proposal).
The report, ‘Big Shot or Long Shot’ articulates many familiar as well as new arguments for elected mayors, and its proposals focus on the reach and powers of the elected mayor’s office.