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Will a Mayor have the chutzpah as well the clout to make a difference?

Will a Mayor have the chutzpah as well the clout to make a difference?

🕔09.Apr 2012

“Whoever you vote for,” an old geezer told me recently, “It’s a bloody politician who gets in.”

I’ve been asked a few times recently if/how I’ll vote on the mayor-issue. My heart sinks. This mini-referendum is boring, important, difficult. Can I be bothered?

What are we voting for? What powers would a Mayor have? Would it make a difference?

Even asking the questions numbs my mind, let alone listening to answers that come my way.

To me, this is the issue: Would a Mayor have enough clout to make a real difference, while also not abusing the yet-to-be-defined powers s/he will have?

I doubt it matters if a monkey or an arrogant tinpot dictator gets in this time round. After all, we  can throw anyone out after a few destructive years.

More important is that the mayoral process can find just one person, perhaps next time not this, with enough insight and thoughtfulness to do good things.  Someone who’s  in there for the long-term, our children and grandchildren’s long-term.

Paul Dale wrote last week of Labour Party machinations in the tearooms after Liam Byrne’s entry into this game. All of that leaves me cold, bored, alienated, fed up.

So someone, too, who doesn’t toe a party line.

It’s a human being I’ll vote for. For good or ill, I don’t care. Just someone who’ll speak their bloody mind!

Someone who might go gloriously or even ingloriously awry. Someone who’ll make a gaffe, get it wrong. I’ll vote for someone who’s brave enough to get it wrong – if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not being adventurous enough. Or human enough.

And here’s hoping they speak their mind on matters as important as this:

  • How they propose this city responds to the big three challenges facing all of humanity, namely climate change, resource depletion and population pressures — and without hype, hyperbole, or hubris. Tangible actions, here in this city.
  • How they propose that every citizen here gets the chance to lead a fulfilling, independent life without the prop of traditional employment.
  • How they propose to make much more of this city physically attractive . . . And linked to this, what we should do with the 40% of land that Birmingham City Council (i.e. thee and me) own.
  • And, finally, with cities being perceived as zones that need “security” by governments, how they propose to curb excessive surveillance of what we say and do here by the UK Government — or indeed, any other government.
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