Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mayor for Manchester - the wrong question

There are whispers in the shadows that if Manchester doesn't vote to have a Mayor then the city may miss out on things - link here to a weak unsourced BBC story.

An unamed source claims the city would be at a competitive disadvantage.

Pull the other one! When has that ever happened? Surely this City of Manchester Mayor idea is dead in the water? No-one is actively campaigning for it, are they? It is an ill-thought through and wholly unecessary piece of political showboating as far as I can see. Liverpool opted to embrace a city Mayor and got a City Deal out of it. Manchester got a deal on being able to raise finance and have some control over skills development. To threaten the public with weasly scare stories doesn't become a government that seems to genuinely embrace localism.

I mentioned here that I think the TEN boroughs of Greater Manchester ought to have a centrally elected Mayor. The unique governance arrangements where the boroughs have sensibly co-ordinated a strategy led by Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is the City Deal - it is genuinely a breakthrough moment in how the resources in the city region are distributed.

As Sir Richard Leese, leader of the city council said on his blog: "The deal greatly enhances our ability to support the Manchester economy, consists entirely of proposals generated in Manchester, but is only possible because of the willingness of the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester to work together in a way that you will not see anywhere else in the UK."

I signed this letter that appeared in the Manchester Evening News, even though I won't be voting on the issue as I live in the Borough of Stockport. But even the story that covered it managed to peddle the myth that the mayor of Manchester would be "like Boris Johnson in London". No it won't. If it was, then that would be a different argument and one that would definitely be worth supporting.

1 comment:

Marcella Hughes said...

O you mean the Maple Leaf?