local government

Our Andy, making a difference?

Metro Mayor, the layer of government we could do without.

The Metro Mayor has a plan to spend your moneyThe Metro Mayor has a plan to spend your moneyYour chance to make a difference, or is it? Here come the delayed local elections and we look at the contest for the Metro Mayor(MM) for the West Midlands. The story goes back to the Labour government of Tony Blair. For it was they who began the process and legislation for directly elected mayors. However, the idea was not popular and of the regions offered this only around a third voted for it. Originally Birmingham voted against the proposal in 2012. But then with just a minor tweek to the original scheme the MM project was passed into law in 2017 without another referendum. It was possible for the government to get away with this as the minor tweek to the proposal made it seem they were paying attention to the public:’we hear what you say’. Yes, the situation, the detail, had been changed. Well they would say that! But the over-aching principle of an extra layer of government had been rejected by the previous ballot. So the public were ignored and the government went, so to speak, around the back to get this idea done. Is this important? Yes and could be the root of low voter turnout in the MM elections. To put this episode into perspective we should remember that the government had just ‘lost’ the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Man in monkey suit starts revolution?

It's the trivial things that count.

Revolutionary figure?Revolutionary figure?
"Twitter ye not"! A very old and well worn joke that's been around since the day the social networking site of the same name was launched. And I see Richard North on EUReferendum used it the other day too. So there you are, good advice from comedian Frankie Howerd. Except for the fact he had died before social networking in the style we now know had been invented. There is also the important point that Howerd would have said "titter ye not", as this was one of his favourite lines. And another thing, Howerd's idea of social networking was to sit in a favourite pub with friends.

Either way it's worth a quick look at the Twitter war . South Tyneside Council have become upset about allegations of this and that concerning local dignitaries being posted on Twitter. I've talked about this, or tried to, with friends "it's all so trivial", they declared. Yes, and that's the point, hence the whole affair is worthy of a second look. At the root of all this malarkey is something as old as the hills. I first came across this 30 years ago when a friend who worked in local government let me in on one of the office secrets.

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