Saturday 5 May 2012

It’s useful to know what you’re voting for

If there’s one lesson to be learnt on the referendum held in 10 cities on whether to have directly elected mayors, it’s this: it’s useful to know what you’re voting for; because without detail on what the job entails, voters will justifiably question the need for any change. In a Guardian article, Chris Game from the Institute of Local Government (INLOGOV) comments that in mayoral meetings the two issues that came up were “what additional powers would a mayor have and how do we kick out a deadbeat?” I don’t doubt it and the “Yes” campaign are right to be disappointed in not having an answer to give, but earlier in the same article we’re told:
It was thought white, working-class communities in Birmingham were most opposed to what they saw as another layer of politicians.
Quite who “it was thought” by isn’t made clear, and neither is why “white working-class” people are singled out, let alone identified as a community. Only kidding, this is The Guardian; lumpen profiling a speciality. Never mind the perfectly reasonable concerns at another layer of bureaucracy, it’s as if the idea of replacing one layer with another hasn’t even been considered by INLOGOV, though one supposes that might result in biting the hand that feeds it.


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