OK, so the wait is over, the Campaign for an Elected Mayor for Birmingham has begun. We are looking for Brummies to sign up and say Yes2Birmingham because that is fundamentally what our campaign is about.
An elected mayor for Birmingham will bring real change and opportunity for our great city in 3 ways:
– we the people can directly elect the Leader of our City – the Mayor will have to listen and act in line with the wishes of the people as per their manifesto and our choice
– the Mayor will be a figurehead for the City and also fight for our City in the same manner that Ken and then Boris as Mayors of London have successfully done getting the Olympics, Crossrail and huge funding support for massive transport improvements (East London Line, the bus network, tube upgrades etc)
– the Mayor will be the ambassador for our City to the rest of the country and the rest of the world – someone with the authority to make change happen, make tough choices and drive forward with a plan that has been mandated by Brummies
There is a nascent no campaign led by 2 City MPs (Roger Godsiff and John Hemming) who argue that a Mayor will be an elected dictator and that Councillors will be essentially emasculated. Well, firstly a Mayor will be elected and will be accountable to the people (emotive language makes great rhetoric but dear oh dear…); secondly, well do we need 120 councillors, do they hold the Leader and Cabinet to account successfully, are they responsive to the will of the people, do we even know our councillors??? They will have a role in scrutinising the Mayor and their Executive, an important role indeed, as well as a minimum number of Councillors being part of the Executive.
The debate can now start though and that can only be good for Birmingham. The referendum is due in Spring 2012 and if the Birmingham people say yes, then there will be a Mayoral election in May 2013 (or possibly earlier…?).
We are focussed on that first date and getting a Yes in the referendum. I encourage people to sign up to the Yes Campaign – look for either myself or Julia Higginbottom on twitter (@alexcburrows or @gabysslave) or drop me a note here…
And finally, here is an article on our launch in today’s Birmingham Post… http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2011/08/04/campaign-backing-elected-birmingham-mayor-kicks-off-65233-29176282/
SAY YES TO BIRMINGHAM, YES TO A BIRMINGHAM MAYOR