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Guardian leads the Fleet St pack on mayors

Guardian leads the Fleet St pack on mayors

🕔10.Apr 2012

The Left’s parish newsletter, The Guardian, is the national paper taking the most interest in the mayoral debate generally, and the West Midlands in particular.

In a busy Easter, a number of articles appeared in the paper and its Comment is Free companion channel, between them giving new insights into the Labour party’s agonising over its selection process, into the status of mayoral roles on the national stage, and, at last, some articulate anti-mayor arguments.

All worth a read, so I thought I’d link to them here.

In a piece guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of Birmingham MPs and candidates Liam Byrne and Gisela Stuart, Patrick Wintour says Labour’s national leadership has got the spooks following Respect’s byelection victory in Bradford, and doesn’t want to risk a repeat in Brum. Sitting MPs could be banned from mayoral battles, he says. My take is this is a kite-flying exercise by supporters of Sion Simon designed to put the wind up Labour’s ‘selectorate’ in Birmingham, and Labour wouldn’t risk such an embarrasing ‘reverse ferret’ so soon after Byrne got Ed Miliband’s blessing to go for mayor.

Two ‘anti’ articles make very interesting reading. John Harris, in Comment in Free, says:

What the great mayoral delusion really highlights is the modern establishment’s talent for messing with things for the sake of it, with no sense of history, experience, or even clarity about what exactly they want. All that, and dangers that have barely even been talked about.

Read more here.

Published before the Easter weekend, but I confess I’d missed it until now, is a piece by the Coventry Telegraph’s Les Reid, also on Comment is Free. Les is a tireless critic of EM proponents, and here he pursues a familiar theme of the government’s lack of clarity on powers.

In Saturday’s Guardian, Jonathan Friedland argued that city mayors offered  a potential route back to power for Labour. I commented on this and the wider issue of national coverage of city mayors here.

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