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The resistance to elected mayors shows how badly they’re needed

12 April 2012

The old political establishment in the cities is fighting back against
the idea of city mayors. They know that a directly elected mayor threatens their traditional power base. As Jill Sherman reports in The Times today,

‘In Nottingham, the Labour council has put up posters around the city to demonstrate its opposition while the Labour group has sent newsletters to residents saying that a “Tory
Extra Mayor” will cost £1 million.’

But it is not just Labour councils who are desperately trying to stop yes votes on May 3rd. Lib Dem-run Bristol City Council is also fiercely against the idea of a directly elected

The reason there is so much push-back against the idea of a directly-elected mayor is that these councillors know that the mayoralty will break up the established political order, bringing in a
whole host of new candidates. If voters want both a change and a choice, then they would be well-advised to vote for mayors.

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Show comments
  • Daryl_S_London

    Living in Tower Hamlets and having had our wonderful “radical” mayor Lutfur Rahman imposed on us with a vote of about 13% of the electorate I’d be inclined to disagree with this. The people that stand invariable seem to come from the general batch of councillors who have been knocking around the town hall for many years and the election is fought along party political lines (except in Tower Hamlets were its race and religion followed by party political lines). The Tower Hamlet executive cabinet is stuffed full of cronies and well paid special advisers. It seems a disastrous and wastefull policy to me having experienced it. We need less government not more.

  • Radford NG

    Want to know about elected Mayors?Look-up the Leicster Mercury.Their Mayor,Sir Peter Soulsby-former Labour M.P.,started on a salary of £60,000.He has now rejected an increase to a mear £100,000.His Deputy wants 75% of whats paid to the Mayor.The Mercerys poll finds 77% against the Mayor.

  • Mr Danger

    Quite bizarre – people here arguing that have an elected representative is bad because its too expensive.

    Shall we get rid of democracy altogether and reap the savings then?

  • TomTom

    “lokalen F

  • David L

    Take Rhoda’s and others’ points entirely, but too many parts of the country have become one-party states, breeding misgovernment at best, and graft at worst. The prospect of an Independent Mayor may (I say may) provide a counterweight to this, as a mayor, even if of the same party, would need to appeal to the electorate over the heads of the local councillors, and a single post leaves it much more vulnerable to a strong independent candidate, if the mayor is seen to be ignoring local concerns. Think Ray Mallon in Cleveland.

  • McClane

    Paul Danon 4.39PM & Rhoda Klapp re good on this.

  • In2minds

    “councillors know that the mayoralty will break up the established political order”

    No it won’t.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    None of this is any good if it is immediately captured by the old parties. Especialy the police commissioners, but the mayors too. Anyone expecting any significant change from this is daft. It is a mere diversion form the things which are really going on. You will get no local power until the mayor is prepared to resist national and EU power bases. That ain’t gonna happen if he is beholden to the party for support at national level.

    PS. I put no confidence in the ability of the current political class, pols or media, to reform the system in any meaningful way. They can’t even work out what is wrong. They are the problem, not the solution.

  • Kevin

    I do not see how paying the salary of yet another politician would be beneficial for the enforced payer. It runs counter to the dire need to reduce debt, as well as individual freedom.

  • nilsinela boray (@northernheckler)

    I’m at a loss to understand how the creation of lokalen F

  • David Lindsay

    Like directly elected Police Commissioners, directly elected Mayors are wholly at variance with our parliamentary, rather than presidential, res publica.

    Moreover, whereas the Mayor of London is little more than a popular entertainer while London is run by central government quangos and by the Borough Councils, the elected Mayors of everywhere else, including individual London Boroughs if they opt to have them, have the powers of local dictators.

    Just Say No.

    Instead, demand that Eric Pickles go beyond his mere permission of councils to revert to the old committee system, and require that they do so, thereby restoring real power to individual councillors within the conciliar body.

  • Nick

    More politicians – more expense

    Just what the country needs – not.

  • Paul Danon

    We can do without hyped, egomaniac mayors. Instead, people should be consulted at ward/parish level.

  • Tulkinghorn

    Snag is that in most cities this will bolster the labour power base locally and nationally given population demographics.

  • Cogito Ergosum

    Some places are ruled by a cabal (sorry, cabinet) of elected cronies. Yes, each crony was elected but the cronies decide who does what. With an elected Mayor the voters decide.

    Using this theorem or otherwise, prove that we need an elected Prime Minister.

  • Paul Danon

    The regulator needs to know if public money is being used for campaigning for or against mayors.

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