Tag Archives: Yes to Birmingham Mayor Campaign

Birmingham says ‘no’ to elected Mayor

Birmingham today saw their voters vote against a directly elected mayor.

The vote saw 57.8 per cent vote ‘no’ in the referendum yesterday, a figure reported to be at some 120,611 people while 88,085 were in favour of the proposal.

This went against what media consultant and journalist Steve Dyson predicted in the media last night.

Elsewhere, of all the cities voting for such a referendum, only Bristol and Doncaster voted to keep their directly mayor while Coventry, Bradford, Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield voted against the proposal.

By – Bradley Jolly (4/5/12)

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The government refuse to elaborate

Provided by The Warwick Business School Commission directly elected mayor is different to one that is elected by local council and whose main obligation is for ceremonial duties. A directly elected mayor is chosen by the public and is able to make decisions. But what powers and decisions will a directly elected mayor actually be able to make?

We have all been told that a directly elected mayor will be responsible for the day to day running of our local services, will provide political leadership for the community and council and carry out local authority’s policy.  But what policies? What services? And how will the candidates policies come in to play if chosen?

The directly elected mayor will have a budget of £3.5billion and will lead the city council in taking control of other public services with the potential to oversee health trusts, transport or economic development; however this is all that we are told.

The government have been highly criticised for not specifying the powers that a directly elected mayor will have. They expect the public to make a choice on whether to vote ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ in the May referendum without being properly informed of what power a directly elected mayor will hold over our community and what that impressive budget will be spent on.

Professor Keith Grint, Professor of Public Leadership and Management at Warwick Business School, notes:

“….the absence of powers undermines the point of the local engagement and the mayoral alternative is perceived by some to be aimed at addressing this very issue.”

Professor Grint also writes:

“Directly elected mayors offer the possibility of greater visibility, accountability and co-ordinative leadership as well as re-enchanting the body politic, and much of this derives from their relative independence from party discipline through their direct mandate and through their four year term.”

However,

“In some cities an elected mayor may not be necessary because they have already constructed a significant identity and are vigorously and strategically led…..”

Many give ideas on what these powers will be, and potential Birmingham candidates talk of implementing policies and identifying agendas that promote job growth and opportunities for our youth, uniting communities and regeneration schemes, Gisela Stuart says

“We used to be the city of a thousand trades, we need to become the city of a thousand skills. That young population, something that other cities envy us for, we need to find jobs for them”

These agendas are all well and good but we need to be brought into the light by the government. They need to specify the role of mayor that we are meant to take into consideration so that we as a public can make an informed decision, not one that we have to guess at to improve our community.

By Elizabeth Johnson

Picture: Warwick Business School

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Desmond Jaddoo says “Yes” to Birmingham Mayor

On Sunday 15th April a debate took place at the Birmingham Town Hall. The debate was in aid of the “Yes to Birmingham Mayor Campaign”.

Amongst the panel of the second part to the debate was council member Desmond Jaddoo. Desmond is in full support of the Yes Campaign and will be running for Mayor if the Yes vote wins.

Desmond began the debate by saying he was shocked that it took so long for the youth of Birmingham to be mentioned.

“18-24 year olds make up a third of the voting community in Birmingham”.

Desmond then went on to say how important it is to involve the youth of Birmingham and that they should hold parts of these powers.

On the topic of powers, Desmond talked about how Birmingham needs to be put back on the map.

“Birmingham is a city that is in reverse right now”.

Desmond went on to talk about how other cities such as Middlesborough have benefited from having a mayor. He spoke of how crime had been reduced and regeneration is in place.

Adam Harrison, a member of the public had written into the Yes to Birmingham Mayor campaign and asked “Transport networks stretch across wider boundaries than cities, so how can an elected Mayor coordinate transport across a wider area than the city of Birmingham?”

Desmond responded to this question by saying that the Mayor will have to look at the global picture of transport and not just Birmingham.

“There needs to be a transport commission for in and around Birmingham, we need to tackle issues such as road safety and look at alternative methods of transport such as motorbikes, cycling etc. We need to take each issue dissect it and not over complicate it. Bottom line is people want to get home quicker, they want to get back to their families quicker.”

Desmond finished by emphasising how important the community of Birmingham are and how the powers that will be given to the mayor should be directed at what the people want and not what others think they need.

By Amrit Pnaiser

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