Football Mascots, English Democrats And Shadow Mayors
December 16, 2010 2:27 AM   Subscribe

The Local Government Act 2000 brought directly elected mayors to the UK. Take up was limited and success was mixed. If you were lucky you got Stuart Drummond. If you were unlucky you got Peter Davies. Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, is widely seen to have exacerbated existing problems in the town.

This week, the Localism Bill was introduced to Parliament promising referenda on directly elected mayors in the twelve largest cities in England. In advance of this, council leaders are being turned into 'shadow mayors'. The problem? The leaders don't actually want these new powers.
posted by ninebelow (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It would seem that council leaders are not so much concerned about the "new powers" as much as it seems they do not wish to see their existing powers eroded:

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, leader of the Council’s Conservative group, said: “My colleagues and I are not supportive of elected mayors.

“We do not think that the proposals are suited to the needs of the Bradford district.

“We are hopeful that local people will recognise that an elected mayor would be unlikely to improve the quality of life of local residents or the quality of services provided to them and vote to reject the proposals.”

In other words, what can an elected mayor not do for you that we are already not doing for you?
posted by three blind mice at 2:50 AM on December 16, 2010

Three Blind Mice hits the nail on the head. Councillors are constantly worried about their executive powers. A mayor with veto power would cut their pork barrel spending immensely.
posted by parmanparman at 3:43 AM on December 16, 2010

I am from the Bradford district. The council knocked down the city centre and gave the land to an Australian developer. There was nothing in the contract that said they had to build. Now we have an enormous gaping hole for a city centre that has been there for seven years. About halfway through that period they gained an excuse for the shameless ineptitude, and now no building is happening because there's a recession and no building is happening anywhere.

Both Anne Hawkesworth and Ian Greenwood were involved in this decision. They're against more accountability? Fuck my old boots, there's a surprise.

The city hasn't been so effectively raided of its worth since a certain Eric Pickles was jackbooting around City Hall back in the 80s.
posted by vbfg at 3:58 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

This will be interesting for me here in Birmingham where the abysmal local government has been dominated by a LibDem/Conservative coalition for the last 6 years despite the fact that Labour gets more of the vote. A directly elected mayor could quite possibly be Labour and at complete loggerheads with the council which can only mean good things given that in almost every index recently published about standards of living, Birmingham consistently comes in near last.

BTW the regen link is subscriber only.
posted by srboisvert at 4:22 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some council leaders and their new powers under the Local Government Act 2000 ("LGA"):

- Councillors of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin have the power of flight (section 2 of the LGA).

- Councillors of Winchester City Council were given the power to shoot laser beams out of their arseholes when threatened (section 4(b)).

- The Lord Mayor of London was granted the power of love (section 6(g)(iii)).

- Honoroary Aldermen of Harrow Council have the power to shower, but not the power to bathe (section 8(u)).

- Deputy Mayor Bruce Chester of St Albans City Council was granted a range of powers which derive from 1,400 BC, when a magical meteorite composed of crystalised ironium fell to Earth in ancient China. A voice from the sky foretold that the meteor could only be possessed by a hero pure of heart, to whom it would grant a great destiny. Po Li, a local fisherman, took the lump of rock and fashioned from it a charm bracelet of intricate design - however, he was killed by the warlord Wong Go, who coveted the beauty of the device. Wong could not activate the power of the bracelet, however, and died suddenly of dick cancer. For 3,400 years the extraterrestrial bracelet was protected by a sect of assassin-monks until Chester discovered it on a trip to China after the collapse of an office block in the city of Wuhan, of which he was the only survivor. The bracelet recognised his potential and revealed that it would grant him the power to manipulate the very fabric of space-time to conjure up any object from inter-dimensional reality to aid him in the battle against the forces of crime and evil. However, the artefact's weakness was that it could not affect the element boron, and Chester died suddenly on his return to the United Kingdom when a giant block of pure boron fell on him outside the St Albans City Council chambers in a still-unexplained catastophe (section 17(c)).
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:26 AM on December 16, 2010 [22 favorites]

the quidnunc kid: " The Lord Mayor of London was granted the power of love (section 6(g)(iii))."

What a curious thing.
posted by MrLint at 5:31 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

The Pickles Papers
posted by vbfg at 5:36 AM on December 16, 2010

You have to remember that the Lord Mayor of London is not Mayor of London Boris Johnson, but Michael Bear, the altogether more picturesque successor to Dick Whittington. Boris only possesses the power of wiff waff.
posted by Segundus at 6:46 AM on December 16, 2010

BTW the regen link is subscriber only.

Sorry, didn't notice. The key paragraph is:
The cities identified by the Tories' policy green paper are: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.
posted by ninebelow at 7:56 AM on December 16, 2010

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