April 2012 Archives
An interesting article in today's Guardian says that two thirds of voters don't want elected mayors. It states: "The prime minister started the week by urging Britain's big cities to 'join the race' by creating a mayoralty through referendums set for 3 May, but a new Guardian/ICM poll suggests that David Cameron could fall at the starting line in these local ballots."
The reference to the Prime Minister follows a speech he delivered in Bristol on Monday, when he said: "I passionately want those cities - from right here in Bristol to Birmingham . . . to give a resounding, emphatic 'yes' next week." The Prime Minister added: "If you want your local champion speaking to the heart of government, banging their fist on the table for Birmingham, or Bristol or Leeds - get out and vote yes."
But I'd take the ICM poll with a small pinch of salt. Looking at the details (see table 10), it appears that a grand total of 308 people in the Midlands - east and west - were asked their opinion about a mayor. It's true that 64 per cent said they didn't want one, but how many of those came from Shrewsbury, Leicester or Stourbridge, and how many came from Birmingham or Coventry - two cities where referendums are taking place - is unclear.
A leading planning academic at Borsetshire City University has expressed grave concerns over the planning processes used to assess the Mega Dairy proposal at Home Farm by Borsetshire Land by Brian Aldridge.
"The proposal clearly has not followed the proper legal channels opening up the way for a legal challenge to the local government ombudsman whatever the ultimate planning decision. This would result in considerable legal fees against the council at a time of unprecedented cutbacks in council spending".
Labour mayoral hopeful Sion Simon has insisted that sitting MPs Liam Byrne and Gisela Stuart should be allowed to put themselves forward as rival potential candidates - but perhaps they should be asked to pay the costs of any by-election in their constituencies.
The full text of Mr Simon's comments, in an article written by him and published in today's Birmingham Post, is below.
Mr Simon is the former MP for Birmingham Erdington who stood down before the last election to concentrate on his campaign to become Birmingham's first directly-elected mayor. His first hurdle - if the city does vote yes to creating a mayor, in the referendum on May 3 - is to win the Labour nomination against rivals Liam Byrne and Gisela Stuart, who are the sitting MPs for Birmingham Hodge Hill and Birmingham Edgbaston respectively.
The battle appeared to be won when it emerged some senior Labour figures, reportedly including Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader, were calling for sitting MPs to be banned from standing as mayors or police commissioners.
I saw a silent, solemn Church procession going by yesterday heading towards the local church on my road. It was a re-enactment of the crucifixion scene with men dressed as Roman centurions and others carrying a large wooden cross.
It got me thinking...