Hanging around longer than you might have thought
December 15, 2010 4:29 AM   Subscribe

In 2002, the Hartlepool United F.C mascot, H'Angus the Monkey (so named because local fishermen once hanged a monkey in the mistaken belief it was a Napoleonic spy), was elected to the office of Mayor of Hartlepool with promises of free bananas for schoolchildren. In 2010, the man behind the monkey suit, Stuart Drummond, was elected for his third term and has been voted among the ten best mayors in the world. posted by MuffinMan (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Previously link promises public drunken monkey sex but fails to deliver.
posted by vbfg at 4:42 AM on December 15, 2010

In America we get a monkey in a man suit for 8 years.
posted by spicynuts at 4:43 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]

...the man behind the monkey suit...

MeFi's own?

posted by TedW at 4:53 AM on December 15, 2010

Ha. That's great. I like the idea of Operation Clean Sweep, in which individual neighbourhoods are singled out for intensive treatment each month — from street cleaning to road repairs, health checks, healthy eating seminars and a crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour. "We address everything, and other councils are taking a great interest in the initiative," Drummond says. "We hope to have covered the whole town before long."

Here are the full World Mayor 2010 results.
posted by mediareport at 5:14 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cool, all 25 of the World Mayor finalists have detailed profiles; not surprised to find Cory Booker there. Here's Drummond's. He seems like pretty together politician.

Neat post, MuffinMan, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 5:26 AM on December 15, 2010

Weary cynicism among the local electorate against this sense of being taken for granted was compounded during the late 1990s when the newly ‘independent’ (from the ‘hated’ Cleveland county) unitary borough’s Labour leader began naming civic buildings and streets after himself.

Does anyone know who this is?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 6:00 AM on December 15, 2010

He's like cincinnatus. The best leaders are the ones who don't style themselves leaders.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:05 AM on December 15, 2010

I'm British and I had no idea we had elected mayors in this country outside of London. He's just a glorified town councillor, surely?
posted by afx237vi at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2010

I'm British and I had no idea we had elected mayors in this country outside of London. He's just a glorified town councillor, surely?

Hartlepool is one of twelve places in Britain with a directly elected mayor.
posted by jedicus at 6:51 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes said Mr Drummond's victory in Hartlepool highlighted the shortcomings in the system of directly-elected mayors.

"We were against the idea of directly-elected mayors because we thought they allowed for gimmicks and superficial characters to succeed and we were clearly proved right," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

We elect mayors in Canada. Why is this so bad in Great Britain?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:23 AM on December 15, 2010

> Why is this so bad in Great Britain?

It's different.

We have elected local government (though the executive is usually unelected).

Many places have an elected county council that sits above the more local one. This is true for the majority of places. There are some places, usually cities, that are known as unitary authorities where there is no county council. Everywhere I've ever lived has been a unitary authority so I'm not sure how the county council thing works really.

There's very little faith in existing institutions and, unconvinced of the need to toss another layer in, when it was put to referendum in the early 2000's many places rejected the idea. Some of them did so overwhelmingly, leading to referenda in other areas to be dropped completely.

Personally I'm in favour. Having one individual to attract either blame or praise would have done my home town (Bradford) enormous amounts of good over the last twenty years or so, but it's in such places where faith in existing institutions is at its lowest.
posted by vbfg at 7:44 AM on December 15, 2010

There simply is nothing better than hearing the word "banana" pronounced by an English person. It is worth free giggles even on a brutal monday morning.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


We find it all rather bananal.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:01 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Monkey Mayor. Porpoise President. Cuttlefish Chancellor. Tapeworm Taoiseach. Gorilla Governor-General. Praying Mantis Prime Minister. Komodo Dragon King. These are all types of animal-politician that are taking over our governmental authorities. Oh - and cockatoo councillor. They barge in with their newfangled lower-life-form ways, riding a wave of anti-human feeling in the electorate, and start making laws which clearly favour their own animalistic kind to the detriment of good, honest people. And I, for one, am sick of it.

It's time we showed these animal-upstarts that the majority of voters are still homo sapiens, and we homo sapiens have NEEDS and WANTS and certain "MUST-HAVES" and a number of "WOULD-LIKES" and also some "NOT REALLY FUSSED, BUT THROW IT IN ANYWAYS". And we won't get those various categories of things that I just mentioned there but am too lazy to type out again without taking direct action against the animal-politico-elite.

I hope you'll all join me in taking back our democracy from this fearful fauna menace by buying a bumper sticker that says, "I AM A TOOL AND LANGUAGE USING HOMONID WITH OPPOSABLE THUMBS AND I VOTE!"
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:57 AM on December 15, 2010

Ha. Just yesterday, I read about this in Alice in Sunderland (the bits about hanging the monkey and electing a mayor in a monkey suit promising free bananas.)
posted by Zed at 11:21 AM on December 15, 2010

We elect mayors in Canada. Why is this so bad in Great Britain?

I think one of the reasons Simon Hughes would be opposed would be that it can lead to people like Drummond being elected, rather than hacks from a party machine.
posted by reynir at 2:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

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