YES to Mayor….

With just over three weeks to go before Nottingham goes to the polls to decide whether to have a Mayor or not the level of debate has been woeful at best. The highlight of news coverage seems to have been that the Council spent £900 on posters for the ‘no’ campaign when they shouldn’t have done.

It seems to me that the present leadership are opposed to the idea predominantly on the basis of the cost. The tweets of the leader of the Council are generally produced by “£1m Mayor” followed by why we can’t afford it? Is this as good as the argument gets – it’s about the money?

It is suggested that the cost over 4 years will be £1m. But it is difficult to see what that figure is made up of. It suits the Politicians to wrap the no argument up in cost issues.

They say Nottingham can ill-afford it against the background of the swingeing cuts. But frankly some of the cuts were overdue. Indeed in the private sector, we were cutting as soon as the recession hit – not two years afterwards, when backed into a corner.

But I have two particular concerns. The first is our perception nationally. Our reputation in Whitehall is hardly good. We are after all, the only Council in the Country who will not publish expenditure over £500. The new Mayors are to be invited to two Prime Minister led cabinets each year. Do we really want to be kept out of those meetings? Is this where future big projects will get aired? Probably.

Then there is how the City is performing. Certainly there are some great things here, but do these happen in spite of the Council? Does the City really have ambition as it says? The world of 2012 is very different and the opportunities are fewer than ever. It is tough out there. We have some great assets, but are these capitalised on? One example is The Castle and Robin Hood. It’s a joke. I left the Sheriffs Commission two years ago – sadly another talking shop. This needs shaking up!

Nottingham could be a great place – but the current set-up isn’t taking it forward in my view. We need a change…

So I vote Yes for a Mayor.

What do you think?

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3 comments on “YES to Mayor….

  1. Tim,

    A few observations on the “debate”:
    1. If the costing has been done and a mayor will ‘cost’ £1m over 4 years, whoever did the costing should be able to provide a breakdown. I haven’t seen this; has anyone? Or is £1m a convenient figure as it is high enough to scare voters?
    2. Even if £1m is accurate (it is a suspiciously round figure) I am extremely confident that better strategy would provide improved effectiveness, efficiency and economy and would save at least that amount. I’m so confident, I would guarantee it.
    3. I think it is unfair to say Nottingham lacks ambition. What it lacks is the will to deliver the ambition. And yes, I can provide examples.
    4. The council is very poor on consultation with the people it represents. Whether an elected mayor will improve this is unclear but it is an area which needs drastic review.
    5. On the flipside, Nottingham benefits from a continuity of council other cities lose out from (ask Bristol). Might an elected mayor solve some issues but create more?
    6. Given the above, far more debate and information is needed. I for one don’t want to vote on unsubstantiated figures, guesses and assumptions!

    • Jim, agree –
      1. Very convenient – and may well include some double counting – especially on future elections which can be doubled up with local elections / police commissioners etc.
      2. Agreed, almost certain to save money in the long run or bring in at least that amount in investment.
      3. OK, fair pint. Delivery is weak – it’s become too much of a strap-line a la “we’re open for business”
      4. Agree entirely – it’s all very insular and cosy.
      5. My real purpose in doing the blog, TV and Radio is simply to raise the debate. Le’s have a proper discussion and, as you say, see some real facts – NOT political spin.

  2. Pingback: A Mayor for Nottingham? | Adrian Johnson

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