Friday, 13 April 2012

Elected Mayors

Now, I usually take a close interest in politics, but this has come as something of a bolt out of the blue. Apparently, here in Leeds, and in several other large English cities, we will be asked to vote in a referendum on having a directly-elected mayor on 3rd May.

I must confess I'm at a bit of a loss on this one. I'm initially suspicious of devolving a lot of power to one individual, but then our current system of pretty much invisible councilors electing a largely powerless leader doesn't seem like the paragon of democracy either.

The only thing I feel I can say is that with the public's interest in local politics being even smaller than it is on the national scale, perhaps having just the one bloke to concentrate on might simplify things a bit, so ordinary people might get more involved. But would that necessarily be a good thing?

Are there any other regional city-dwellers out there who are affected by this? Are you just as surprised and confused as me, or do you already have a clear view? Or maybe you're a Londoner (or a resident of one of the other places, like Middlesbrough or Leicester, where they apparently have also had a mayor for ages ), and if so would you encourage smaller cities to follow suit?

Seriously, I really would like to know what people think about this, otherwise I'll be drawing my own box on the ballot paper, marked "Don't have a smegging clue".