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Do we need more elected mayors?

08:57 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

From Boris Johnson in London to Michael Bloomberg in New York, elected mayors are intended to be the face of the place they represent. Are mayors needed in all cities?

The government's Localism Bill is expected to propose referenda in 12 of the biggest cities in England, giving voters the opportunity to decide if they want a mayor.

The new mayors would be encouraged to drive forward efficiencies and make better use of council budgets - to deliver more for less.

Do you want to have city mayors? Can elected mayors reinvigorate local politics? Or will they add more bureaucracy? Should cities stick with their current system of leadership?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Another weakening of the link between MPs and their constituencies. MPs are already meant to fulfil this role of representing their areas, regardless of being rural or urban. A mayor is just another person to pay, to claim expenses, to spend thousands of pounds a year on communications, with an entourage of followers all picking up money from these positions. We do not need more elected officials, just the abilty to kick out those who are in now. More referenda, more elections, more accountability. Another election with no difference in accountability is no good for anyone.

  • Comment number 2.

    We need more openness for local government.
    Current local authorities are highly secretive all-powerful money grabbing machines for unwanted government policies.

    A local petition with sufficient signatures should be capable of generating a public referendum on a subject, and then people can vote.

    But our great leaders prefer a society where all the power is held in the hands of the few.

    Switzerland is a democracy where people can vote for their destiny.
    Britain is a shadow of a democracy where people obey a temporary dictatorship.

  • Comment number 3.

    Anything has got to be better than the current system where the mayor is usually elected from within the councillors, but this just sounds like another huge waste of money.

    Just look at what Ken Livinston did in London, his glass palace complete with underground tunnel so that cars are never seen outside the building!

    I shudder to think how much this could cost if the lunatics are allowed to take over the asylum, or should that be council?

  • Comment number 4.

    We need less politicians not more!

  • Comment number 5.

    We need more democracy all round!

    So yes, so long as a mayor is accountable to the people and works for the people, unlike MP's who work for themselves, more elected mayors would be good.

  • Comment number 6.

    The very last thing this benighted land needs is more "elected buffoons" to strut about the place.

  • Comment number 7.

    Divide and conquer.
    How do I get this fixed - queue up to ask the council then get referred to the mayors office -queue up to ask the mayors office and then get referred to the council. Rinse and repeat.
    That should keep Mr and Mrs Interfering Busybody and anyone else still interested in democracy busy.

  • Comment number 8.

    As likeable as both Boris and Ken are, you only have to look at the nonsensical laws that are introduced by local councils all over the country to realise that this would be a total disaster. Local councillors who local mayors are likely to be selected from are like shop stewards in factory environments, i.e. those with biggest mouths and the smallest brains. This would be another tier of government that we cannot afford and certainly not want.

  • Comment number 9.

    Re;Cookie D18 at No.1

    This says it all.We are meant to be cutting back on the public sector,not creating another bureaucratic layer.As for Mayors,you need only look at London.Good old Ken Livingstone sees it as a meal ticket so is standing again.Hope Londoners have got more sense than to vote for him.Politicians always seem to think that more is better,thank heavens Prescotts idea of Regional Parliaments,or some such similar, got buried.

  • Comment number 10.

    I thought this government were getting rid of quangos?

  • Comment number 11.

    Ken Livingstone on HIGNFY was smugly behaving as if he really is going to be the next mayor of London. It was almost like he felt it was his 'turn' again. A dismal prospect which shows how little choice voters have in these contests which are little more than opportunities for patronage.

  • Comment number 12.

    Elected Mayors, like the new Police Commissioners are part of this coalitions of right's aagenda to sideline existing elected Local Authorities.
    Local Authorities have seen their areas of competences centralised since the '80s, Central Government now makes virtually all the decisions, it's one of the reasons that voter turnout in local elections is so poor.
    Cameron's 'Big Society' should lead to more local accountability but the reality is the coalition of the right's agenda is to bypass local elected bodies and replace them with Mayors, Police Commissioners, 'Free' Schools etc, all of whom will report centrally.

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 Syni_cal
    'As likeable as both Boris and Ken are...'

    Don't you mean Barbie and Ken? Boris and Ken are 'orrible.

  • Comment number 14.

    Speaking as a former Mayor of a small town I think I am informed enough to suggest that every town should have the right to elect its own Mayor. (BTW I feel obliged to state that I have no political affiliation with any party ~ politics in my opinion is an anathema to effective government)
    I was proud and honoured to be Mayor of my town but one year in office strangled by red tape simply did not give me enough time or clout to make a difference.
    The issues on Mayorships will be how to give these roles sufficient power to overthrow the decisions of bureaucrats at District and County level that constantly blight our lives, and perhaps more importantly how we ensure that the Mayor's agenda is not a personal or political one. Resolve these points and Mayorships might just be the catalyst by which to re-engage with a justly apathetic public.

  • Comment number 15.


    Do you want to have city mayors?

    No

    Can elected mayors reinvigorate local politics?

    No

    Or will they add more bureaucracy?

    Yes

    Should cities stick with their current system of leadership?

    How about trying a democratic system for a change; one where someone is elected to represent the people rather than simply taking up another seat on the already overcrowded gravy train?

  • Comment number 16.

    "Do we need more elected mayors?

    No, - we don't. And not only that, - we don't need one for London either.

    Once you elect a mayor (or President for that matter), it becomes an executive office - and therefore carries too much power.

    We already have an elected body - the Council - and whilst they need a titular head to wear the sparkly chain and do the glad handing, a person appointed by the council to this job will suffice.

  • Comment number 17.

    What is needed is authority delegated to local authorities properly

    The election of mayors will only lead to more career politicians who will come up with populist policies to reatin power.

    The current party system in local government, although not perfect, to an extent avoids this and allows local authorities to make choices not necessarily popular but necessary

  • Comment number 18.

    13. At 11:01am on 06 Dec 2010, Poprishchin wrote:

    #8 Syni_cal
    'As likeable as both Boris and Ken are...'

    Don't you mean Barbie and Ken? Boris and Ken are 'orrible.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm aware of the politics of both but don't allow it to bias my view of either. However, I do hold very keen and honest views on politics.

  • Comment number 19.

    Do we need more elected mayors?

    NO NO NO!

    This is folly, we need a more efficient public sector and empowering our existing local councillors is the best thing to do, they have local knowledge and know how, clearly the best people for the job.

    If anything we need to have a means to hold Councillors to account including the right to recall via local referendum, to remove ineffective or corrupt councillors.

  • Comment number 20.

    England needs to set up regional governments similar to Scotland and Wales with the number of London MPs reduced to those required to produce UK-relevant legislation etc. The number and powers of local authorities, health boards etc. should also be severly reduced with the regional governments assuming control.
    These changes would reduce the resources consumed by the current political arrangements and increase accountability.
    I don't think elected mayors are a good idea.

  • Comment number 21.

    methinks ridding ourselves of mayors would be a sensible measure that would save the taxpayer a bob or two. Considering the swinging cuts in public services, I doubt very much anyone would miss them

  • Comment number 22.

    Any effort to make local authorities accountable to the people they serve should be applauded. In my experience they forget that the tax payer pays their way and treats those they serve with indifference.

    My own council seems to ignore the wishes of locals daily, with hotels being built on our taxes. All the while, our MP Mr Huhne, appears indifferent to local issues (unless of course there is an election looming) whilst persuing his own career in Westminster.

  • Comment number 23.

    The current system of electing MPs to 'represent' constituencies is flawed so, why bother doing the same with Mayors? Invariably you will end up with an MP or Mayor from elsewhere 'representing' you and your local issues. Our 'local' MP was bussed in by the Tories from God knows where, he knows diddly squat about the local issues that affect his constituents. Same thing with Boris Johnson, since when has Henley been part of London? It is important that those elected know something of the people and area they are elected to represent after all, it'a always an advantage to know what you are talking about, or is it? 'we're all in this together' springs to mind.
    Happy days

  • Comment number 24.

    Do we need more mayors, do we need more professional politicians, do we need more people telling us what to do, do we need to pay more taxes to finance them?
    One answer: NO!

  • Comment number 25.

    This is a big con.Were being asked to vote for the police and now the mayor.We are not being given the chance to vote for house of lord members or a head of state.
    If it is`nt broke why fix it?Appointments to office some times is a better way.There are cases of corruption and mafia involvement were votes are concerned.This is why some politicians have wanted the right to trial by jury taken away because those on the jury have been tampered with.The postal vote has been called worse than a banana republic regarding voting.
    Rember,do not sell yourself,seeking to be a chief or to hold a high position to rule over others.If such a positon is offered to you without asking for it,both men and god will be your helpers.But if it is given to you because you asked for it,you will be left by your self to deal with it and fail.

  • Comment number 26.

    Absolutely not needed and a complete waste of tax payers money. How can a mayor do anything better or worse than the current lot.

    The time would be better spent ensuring that the voting system was reformed so everybody was made to vote and that MPs did not fiddle their expenses.

  • Comment number 27.

    No,we dont.We need people to take responsibility for themselves and do things together as a community and cut out all but the necessary layers of government.Do away with parish councils,district councils,county councils,quangos and of course Mayors.Let the free market loose and then watch all the services we pay a fortune for drop in cost like a stone.Competition is the key not bloated Mayors,councillors,vast costly departments all eating away at our money and by and large talking total tommy rot.

  • Comment number 28.

    We need LESS politicians, not more.

    Get rid of them, starting with 400 at least in the House of Commons, and work down.

  • Comment number 29.

    No. its getting more like America everyday with elected police chiefs and mayors. its just another way for interfering busybodies to get power and look after their own narrow little groups of people. I would have thought Ken and Boris have shown us the folly of elected mayors without Ken we would not have had the expensive Olympics.

  • Comment number 30.

    19. At 11:15am on 06 Dec 2010, wvpTV wrote

    If anything we need to have a means to hold Councillors to account including the right to recall via local referendum, to remove ineffective or corrupt councillors.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I like your idea, but surely we would find ourselves in a state of perpetual referendum.........

    Arent ineffective and corrupt the two main qualifications for the job?

  • Comment number 31.

    Yes, definitely. We need someone with power that can actually get things done. Local councillors are impotent.

  • Comment number 32.

    Do we need more elected mayors?

    Does any different form of title make a person a better representative of those who supported them? Frankly we need an elected government.

  • Comment number 33.

    I already have, at the least, a councillor, an MP and an MEP. Were I to still living in Scotland, I'd have a councillor, an MSP, an MP and an MEP.

    Why do I need yet another layer of government who will cost money and be largely impotent?

  • Comment number 34.

    Like all things, mayors can be a force for good or evil.

    There are, in my humble opinion, a few key factors for determining whether a mayor is good or not:

    1. Are they tribal or concensual? The best ones will bat for the whole city, not just for the Tory or Labour party of the City. Or the Lib Dem bit for that matter.
    2. Do they act as a public face on behalf of decisions taken collectively or do they try and become the Lord of the Manor? The former will usually be better........
    3. Do they understand well how the tension between their role and that of national/regional/supraregional Government is managed? There are times when one part of the country will do well from the centre and another will be shafted. It's a fine balance how you weigh that overall...

    My personal opinion is that the biggest value add of a mayor comes in the largest cities or those where factional fighting is particular strong. When the cities are very large, navigating through bureaucracy will be at its hardest. And if turf wars prevent decisions being taken down the chain of command, a mayor with power will be of enormous benefit. One cannot help but think that Liverpool in the 1980s would have benefitted from one.......

    To me, though, it's a manifestation of the culture of winner takes all. That's a neutral statement as some find that a good thing whereas others don't.

  • Comment number 35.

    What this country needs is polititions we can sack instantly and hold to account.
    Not more polititions.

  • Comment number 36.

    We need one less elected Boris Johnson!

  • Comment number 37.

    Where there are competing local authorities each with their own electoral remit and make-up over a small part of a large city/conurbation as it is with London then there is a good case for a mayor or city wide body to look at the wider needs.

    If the new mayorships were proposed to cover areas identical to those covered by a single existing authority already then there they are wasteful and solely there to attempt to obtain a different result to the council elections covering the same area i.e. political.

    As most of the cities outside London already have contiguous authorities then there is no point to the idea unless wider areas would be covered e.g. Birmingham and its surrounding authorities Solihull, Walsall etc.

  • Comment number 38.

    What I want are politicians at all levels, local and national, who act according to the wishes of those who elect them.

    If a mayor will be more accountable than a bunch of councillors, I'd go for it.

    Right now I actually know who my local councillor is, but more because he is a) a friend and b) the bloke who fixes my car than because of his council work. How many of you know who your ward is represented by, and where to find him?

    We need to get back to a spirit of public service within a community. The trouble is with 'mayors' is that you are liable to end up with people who make their living doing it, and true public service seems to go out of the window once you are drawing a pay packet for doing it!

    The only place I see the spirit of public service is amongst school governors. It's a model that could bear adopting for other areas (like the reform of the way police forces are run that was discussed last week): elected volunteers exerting oversight of professionals, acting as a 'critical friend' to the organisation, keeping an eye on the finances and giving strategic direction, whilst the day-to-day running of the organisation is done by paid professionals.

  • Comment number 39.

    An elected mayor can do a lot for the profile of a city, but if the population is not interested then there is no point at all.

    I think this is something that will grow slowly in popularity over the year, but it is pointless rushing it.

  • Comment number 40.

    Elected Mayors are a good thing, as long as people act responsibly and elect a good socialist.

  • Comment number 41.

    Switzerland is a democracy where people can vote for their destiny.
    Britain is a shadow of a democracy where people obey a temporary dictatorship.
    ----------
    Switzerland is a country where women couldn't vote at all in Federal elections until 1971!

    However it does provide a useful tax haven for dodgy bankers and racing drivers so that's all right then!

  • Comment number 42.

    We should replace most councils with 'elected' mayors because most councils have stagnated into fiefdoms for the big three parties, with no chance of change .... very few change hands anymore.

    Look at Manchester,

    1973 - Labour 59, Conservative 40 (lab gain)
    2010 - Labour 51, Libdem 34, Conservative 1

    Its been labour ever since, with this dramatic consolidation of labour permanence was achieved by building council estates in every 'Tory' ward, and all but destroyed any democracy, with labour dominance decade after decade after decade, whereas it used to change hands before that.

    At least one Mayor might allow for this stagnation to end .... its not healthy for grass roots democracy to have these councils run for decades by one party.

  • Comment number 43.

    36. At 11:58am on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    We need one less elected Boris Johnson!

    Well, the State could clone Boris Johnson and every town can have one!

    Buffoons are us - what an innovative idea - think of the potential...

    Our country could re-produce a Boris for every institution and function of the State....Boris's everywhere...It could be just like Clarkson Island, but in Latin - Boris Island UK plc.

    Inspired.

  • Comment number 44.

    The mayor of Doncaster was elected when only 5% of the electorate voted for him. Look at the mess Doncaster is in. Most of my councillors get less than 1 in 6 of the voters supporting them.

    The problem is not that we need more politicians, it's that we need a system that delivers talented, skilled and competent people to lead us. All we get are the same old, tired, time served party apparachiks with no vision and no skills.

    Elected mayors will become just another job for the boys unless it is protected from party politics.

  • Comment number 45.

    #40. 73entry wrote:
    Elected Mayors are a good thing, as long as people act responsibly and elect a good socialist.


    Presumably, as the people of London acted 'irresponsibly', then you think elected mayors are a bad thing?

  • Comment number 46.

    No to mayors
    Because they are more expense
    The councils we elect don't listen to the electorate why should a mayor
    It would be better to be able to make councils more accountable

  • Comment number 47.

    Just another layer of bureaucracy.

    All I want from local government is for the Local council to collect the rubbish and the County Council to dispose of it.

    Or has that all changed as well?

  • Comment number 48.

    Another waste of money IMO.

  • Comment number 49.

    More jobs for the elite, just what we need....
    Nice gold plated pension, expenses etc etc...

    ....and a few new directorships for their CVs....

  • Comment number 50.

    We already have too many politicians without adding more to the gravy train. In fact, I'd propose reducing the number of politicians by 75% in central government, local government and the EU. That'd probably clear our budget deficit over night when you remove the cost of their wages, expenses and their mistakes.

  • Comment number 51.

    no

    what we need is to vote ukip!
    forget the big 3 they have had there chances and they have all failed us time after time!

  • Comment number 52.

    36. At 11:58am on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    We need one less elected Boris Johnson!

    Well, the State could clone Boris Johnson and every town can have one!

    Buffoons are us - what an innovative idea - think of the potential...

    Our country could re-produce a Boris for every institution and function of the State....Boris's everywhere...It could be just like Clarkson Island, but in Latin - Boris Island UK plc.

    Inspired.

    ------------
    We could have team Boris turn up for all international sports armed with their wiff waff bats.

    We could have Boris forums where rather than answering any tricky questions all participants put their fingers in their own ears (or indeed other Borii's ears) while screaming I can't hear you.

    Unfortunately the whole edifice could come tumbling down when city hall is invaded by a regiment of Newt mounted Livingstones!

  • Comment number 53.

    Mayors just seem to be yet another level of red tape and expense.

    Taking London as an example, what exactly does Boris Johnson do that the Councils, MP's, the Greater London Authority and the London Assembly can't do? How many different levels and departments do they really need?

  • Comment number 54.

    We need a more transparent and accountable political system, but one that does not make an already over bureaucratic system more bureaucratic. I don’t know who is on my local council, I don’t know who my MEP is and what he/she does in Brussels and I guess this is the case for most people in the UK. This is the status quo which the establishment don’t want to change (for their own personal and dogmatic reasons). If we have a high visibility politician who we can relate to (as Boris in London) then at least we know who he is and what he stands for. At the moment I am in the dark over a large section of the political process which is open to abuse.

  • Comment number 55.

    Stupid me. I thought they had been elected at some point of the process.

    I would rather mayors be accountable and responsible than whether they have been elected directly.

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 12:34pm on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    36. At 11:58am on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    We need one less elected Boris Johnson!

    Well, the State could clone Boris Johnson and every town can have one!

    Buffoons are us - what an innovative idea - think of the potential...

    Our country could re-produce a Boris for every institution and function of the State....Boris's everywhere...It could be just like Clarkson Island, but in Latin - Boris Island UK plc.

    Inspired.

    ------------
    We could have team Boris turn up for all international sports armed with their wiff waff bats.

    We could have Boris forums where rather than answering any tricky questions all participants put their fingers in their own ears (or indeed other Borii's ears) while screaming I can't hear you.

    Unfortunately the whole edifice could come tumbling down when city hall is invaded by a regiment of Newt mounted Livingstones!
    __________________________________

    Indeed, in the interests of democracy it would be necessary to clone a similar number of Livingstone's - Each Ken could compete with each Boris in elections!

    I am sure this would be fantastic -

  • Comment number 57.

    73entry - in other words, you only agree with elected mayors if the mayors elected represent your personal political leaning. Classic Labour conceit.

    You either support a democratic process or you don't. There's no two ways about it.

  • Comment number 58.

    no there is no need for them ,they are another expense we can do without ,

  • Comment number 59.

    After the mishmash of what we have just elected with the L,Dems in meltdown gaining power for powers sake and not having a clue what to do with it. With Cameron`s cast iron pledges in the same melting pot, and La La, Old Lab, New Lab, something else Lab, having bust us, and all having cheated the public purse. Brawling M.Ps in Parliment, court hearings for smears, tials, waiting sentencing, pending tials, new loopholes found for claiming expenses. The mind boggling expense of all this, and now they want elected mayors. Has someone lost it, do we want more of this strutting around with people promising loads of nothing but using public money to do it with, and the expense of it. These servants are already out of touch with us the voter, cloud 9 is,nt that capable. It`s leveling that`s needed not more of them.

  • Comment number 60.

    51. At 12:31pm on 06 Dec 2010, scotty1694 wrote:

    no

    what we need is to vote ukip!
    forget the big 3 they have had there chances and they have all failed us time after time!

    ------------------------------------------------

    No thanks.

    What we need is stripped down politics. I'm sick of local MP's who sit pretty yet aren't actually responsible or accountable for anything in their local consituency. A huge number of people think they're directly voting for the leaders of their chosen parties ala Proportional Representation. Naivety maybe, but shows the most natural form of elections...

    It's a fallacy that we are decrentalising Government - everything comes from Westminster, always has. Proportional Representation would at least strip out a layer of bureaucracy, give everyone a fair and equal vote and make logical sense to the electorate. This is the way forward, not Mayor's. Bleh.

  • Comment number 61.

    Just bacause we seem to have to do everything the US does...

    Lord Mayors are ceremonial positions.
    Council leaders are elected.

    No, we don't need elected Mayors. Doncaster council is in meltdown because of this. A minority candidate got in because no-one else was interested or bothered voting.

  • Comment number 62.

    All these intended new Mayors will be Conservative then. It is hard to see if Boris looses the Mayrall elections in 18 months how the relationship between thwe Mayors office and Westminster would improve.
    Secondly Red Ken at least seemed to try to do somthing for London. I don't see a lot of anything good coming from Boris except entertainment.
    I suspect if nominated he would win hands down clown of the decade.

  • Comment number 63.

    No, we don't just another layer of individuals seeking power for all the wrong reasons. Another coach on the gravy train. Improves nothing for society at large just bungs & junkets, expense accounts and do as I say not as I do appointments who are none accountable to anyone after receiving a majority of ballot votes.

  • Comment number 64.

    The HYS title stated, "elected mayors are intended to be the face of the area they represent".

    On this basis who, exactly, does Lutfur Rahman (the newly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, London) represent?

    Will it be all of the residents in Tower Hamlets or just the group of his co-religionists (with their own agendas) that were active in his campaign?

    To whom will Tower Hamlets Council's money be allocated? Perhaps certain groups might be "favoured".

  • Comment number 65.

    No thanks.

    What we need is stripped down politics. I'm sick of local MP's who sit pretty yet aren't actually responsible or accountable for anything in their local consituency. A huge number of people think they're directly voting for the leaders of their chosen parties ala Proportional Representation. Naivety maybe, but shows the most natural form of elections...

    It's a fallacy that we are decrentalising Government - everything comes from Westminster, always has. Proportional Representation would at least strip out a layer of bureaucracy, give everyone a fair and equal vote and make logical sense to the electorate. This is the way forward, not Mayor's. Bleh.
    -----------------
    agree with you
    but in the real world i think my idea has more chance of actually happening!
    until we break this cycle or labour - tories- labour - tories
    they know they will always be in power therefore the dont give a toss about what we think because its always a 2 horse race.
    i dont like the lib dems
    atleast ukip will get us out of the EU saving billions a day

    your idea which i'll call stage 2 could come after this.
    you cant go for the KO straight away you need to weaken them first then give them the KO hit

  • Comment number 66.

    No more pigs at the trough....please!

  • Comment number 67.

    Like all things, mayors can be a force for good or evil.

    There are, in my humble opinion, a few key factors for determining whether a mayor is good or not:

    1. Are they tribal or concensual? The best ones will bat for the whole city, not just for the Tory or Labour party of the City. Or the Lib Dem bit for that matter.
    ================================================================
    |Enough said really. As they are /will all be politicians or business owners of some measure and politically sponsored, for political purpose. Not one well intentioned individual standing for the rights of the populace would stand and certainly not be elected against political candidates and in the very remotest of possibilites they were would be rendered impotent by the political parties around them. A mayor however found is one man. They must operate by consent, not inspite of the local political process and therefore by definition the political top dogs man......... Answer...Tribal every time!!

  • Comment number 68.

    56. At 12:47pm on 06 Dec 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    52. At 12:34pm on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    36. At 11:58am on 06 Dec 2010, steve wrote:
    We need one less elected Boris Johnson!

    Well, the State could clone Boris Johnson and every town can have one!

    Buffoons are us - what an innovative idea - think of the potential...

    Our country could re-produce a Boris for every institution and function of the State....Boris's everywhere...It could be just like Clarkson Island, but in Latin - Boris Island UK plc.

    Inspired.

    ------------
    We could have team Boris turn up for all international sports armed with their wiff waff bats.

    We could have Boris forums where rather than answering any tricky questions all participants put their fingers in their own ears (or indeed other Borii's ears) while screaming I can't hear you.

    Unfortunately the whole edifice could come tumbling down when city hall is invaded by a regiment of Newt mounted Livingstones!
    __________________________________

    Indeed, in the interests of democracy it would be necessary to clone a similar number of Livingstone's - Each Ken could compete with each Boris in elections!

    I am sure this would be fantastic -

    ---------------
    Indeed and think of the economic benefits from the huge increase for the ill fitting suit,wiff waff and home amphibian sectors.
    In fact if we cloned 20 million of them every Londoner could have their very own house trained pair of matching Mayors!

  • Comment number 69.

    Why are people bleating on about Ken Livingstone? Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London.

    We already have: Parish/Town Councils; District/Borough Councils; County Councils/Unitary Authorities. Until recently there were also Regional Development Agencies. With every layer of elected representatives, there is an unelected and often very highly paid executive carrying out their orders for them. Yet most have very few real responsibilities and powers. District Councils, as an example, are little more than Council Tax collectors for the government. In my area of Suffolk, the County Council is actively seeking to offload almost every responsibility it has to provide public services, instead choosing to contract everything out to the private and voluntary sectors.

    I see little point in bothering to elect yet another official if they have no responsibility, practically no budget and no authority to spend it.

  • Comment number 70.

    NO ; WE HAVE ENOUGH CLOWNS
    ON HIGH WAGES AND EXPENSIVE PENSIONS
    PAID BY THE TAXPAYERS.

  • Comment number 71.

    Do we need more elected mayors?

    Like a hole in the head.

    What great deed did the mayor of London do last weekend ? In a fit of pique cancelled FiFa's free hotel stay.

    Because there's no point bribing them now.

    How virtuous. We need more of this...like two extra holes in the head.

  • Comment number 72.

    No.

    We'll just get the usual three main parties talking rubbish again.

  • Comment number 73.

    The government department that proposes this should be decimated (every tenth one shot).

    All that happens when you elect people is that they steal your shirt.

    We have the technology to put everything to a plebiscite, let's get rid of all politicians for good.

  • Comment number 74.

    Fewer democratic elections may improve the quality of the work carried out as it allows qualified people to be chosen on their previous merit not their mere popularity with voters who, let's face it, are not experts in whatever field is involved and haven’t a clue what they are voting for.

  • Comment number 75.

    No we dont/ need any one in that job, how about a local social justice officer?

  • Comment number 76.

    With public cuts in staff and services? What, replace all them with more expensive but equally or more useless politicians? What an absolute slap in the face!

  • Comment number 77.

    Yes we need to be able to lay blame and get accountability. But we need public Right of Recall to make any change effective and not just another tier of beaurocracy.

  • Comment number 78.

    MMM?this is somewhat of a london question,innit?dick whittington and all that.. wasn't he the first mayor of london?i think if "boris" is anything to go by he'll be the last.i'm no expert,but it carries a bit of clout the "mayorship" whatever,if i am correct?why in gods name did boris get elected.i am sure he is affable as far as torys go,but i don't see him as a man to hold that much power,unless i'm wrong in my assumption on the mayors power?i am sure a city the size of london could come up with a better chap to rule over them then mr johnson,don't you think??

  • Comment number 79.

    I have long held the view that elected Mayors in total control of the area and all the budget is a good thing. But recently I have started to question this as in some parts of the country with a predominently ethnic culture could bring about a serious problem with race problems particularly if a person with Islamic extremist sympathies were to be elected. This requires carefully thinking through because there could be serious pitfalls particularly in the UK.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'd rather have an elected mayor than an elected police commissioner, but in either case only if they were subject to the local council passing their proposals by majority vote - elected dictators are a bad thing. In our current political system no one party has a majority of support so whomever is in power represents less than 50% of the people and the MAJORITY of the voters need to have their views represented - not just the minority.

  • Comment number 81.

    30. At 11:49am on 06 Dec 2010, pzero wrote:
    19. At 11:15am on 06 Dec 2010, wvpTV wrote

    If anything we need to have a means to hold Councillors to account including the right to recall via local referendum, to remove ineffective or corrupt councillors.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I like your idea, but surely we would find ourselves in a state of perpetual referendum.........

    Arent ineffective and corrupt the two main qualifications for the job?

    ------------------------------------

    Yes to some extent, but there are some very good hard working Councillors out there if you look for them, plus a lot of bad ones.

    In some Towns you will find residents and councillors working together making the area better for all, party related mayoral dictatorships can cause big problems to developing (getting back to) real quality communities (not to mention the added cost).

  • Comment number 82.

    I have lost any faith I ever had in government and its institutions. MP's are lining their pockets and have lost the trust of the people. How is an elected mayor going to make any difference?

  • Comment number 83.

    79. At 2:21pm on 06 Dec 2010, PETERJMARTIN wrote:

    I have long held the view that elected Mayors in total control of the area and all the budget is a good thing. But recently I have started to question this as in some parts of the country with a predominently ethnic culture could bring about a serious problem with race problems particularly if a person with Islamic extremist sympathies were to be elected. This requires carefully thinking through because there could be serious pitfalls particularly in the UK.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    In which case, you might wish to take a close look at the links between Lutfur Rahman (newly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, London) and the group, the Islamic Forum of Europe.

  • Comment number 84.

    15. At 11:04am on 06 Dec 2010, CoeurDeHamster wrote:

    Do you want to have city mayors?

    No

    Can elected mayors reinvigorate local politics?

    No

    Or will they add more bureaucracy?

    Yes

    Should cities stick with their current system of leadership?

    How about trying a democratic system for a change; one where someone is elected to represent the people rather than simply taking up another seat on the already overcrowded gravy train?
    ----------------------
    Isn't that what a mayor is?

  • Comment number 85.

    Wrong question. The one you should be asking is 'Do we need mayors at all?' I never voted for the one we now have in Chelmsford. The previous one turned out to be a paedophile and all I ever see them do is turn up to open places or get their picture in the paper shaking peoples hands. No-one ever tell us what they do or how they are paid for.

    The councils should be run by those that were voted in via a democratic election.

  • Comment number 86.

    76. At 2:07pm on 06 Dec 2010, TheGrassAintGreener wrote:
    With public cuts in staff and services? What, replace all them with more expensive but equally or more useless politicians? What an absolute slap in the face!
    -----------------------------------------
    Don't be silly, our political cliques are not in the business of slapping you round the face, they enjoy nothing more than kicking us all in the head!

  • Comment number 87.

    82. At 2:28pm on 06 Dec 2010, David Goddard wrote:
    I have lost any faith I ever had in government and its institutions. MP's are lining their pockets and have lost the trust of the people. How is an elected mayor going to make any difference?
    -----------------------------------------------

    They are just recruiting more folk to stick their podgy little fingers into your wallets/purses - and they will get you to vote for them too!

    What fun!

  • Comment number 88.

    Before trying to answer this we should know who was going to pay for the rooms at the Dorchester for Mr Blater and friends as offered by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, during the London Olympics.
    If it was to be paid for by the taxpayer then we do not need the services of any mayor's elected or otherwise.

  • Comment number 89.

    Do we need mayors at all? Surely what is really needed, are local politicians who are ready to pay out of their own accounts, for any mistakes made while in office. I wonder who would then be ready to take up such posts.

  • Comment number 90.

    In the US, Mayors tend to do 2 things:

    Support business, over citizens
    Support development projects that are not needed, nor financially responsible.

    Not sure there is a genuine benefit to mayors, as most cities are actually run by city managers, and city councils. The Mayor usually has political motivations, rather than managerial ones.

  • Comment number 91.

    What for ? Don't we already have Chief Executives to oversee things.
    More P.C. - more Bureaucracy - more expense.
    Just someone's "bright idea cos'I know what is good for you and I need to justify my desk space"

  • Comment number 92.

    "Do we need more elected mayors"? is the HYS question.

    As long as the elected mayor places all their functions, salary, expenses, politicial (or not) ideology online to all the people he/she represents - then why not?

    Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find out how much, across the country, what mayors earn, how much they cost and how much they do for their communities apart from cutting ribbons.

  • Comment number 93.

    Whilst it initially seemed to make sense, our experience of London suggests we need fewer, not more mayors. Unless you can find a system whereby they have to actually listen to, and act on what folk want.

  • Comment number 94.

    Perhaps the question should read- Do we need a City Mayor with their own office and administration duplicating, overturning or riding roughshod over the democratically elected councillors in every City?

    We need this additional level of council bureaucracy like we all need a second rectum.

    This is just as ludicrous as elected Chief Police Officers.

    Why pay for extra elections where we could all end up with the local Bullenden Boris or Red Ken.

  • Comment number 95.

    Just what is it with this country? Mayors should have died a death with Dick Whittington.

    Do these people realise how ridiculous they look parading around in fur capes and great big golden chains, they look like something out of an 80s pop video (1780s that is).

    The same could be said about our judiciary and the silly 17th century wigs and garments they insist on wearing, what’s wrong with a plain suit?.

    These people and the establishments they belong to should at least try and come into the 20th (Last) century and stop looking so ridiculously stupid, Oh and no we do not need more politicians (elected or otherwise) on the gravy train, I thought we were all supposed to be cutting back.

  • Comment number 96.

    Do we need local government would be a better question. With so many decisions taken by central government it seems a local mayor is irrelevant. It would save a lot of money too.

  • Comment number 97.

    If only Boris was JUST the face of London. He's a colourful character, that's for sure. But unfortunately his leadership has seen public transport fares rise exponentially and the Olympics become yet another pandering to corporations whilst out-pricing the average Londoner.

  • Comment number 98.

    Boris ' the buffoon' Johnson is a prime example of a Mayor that no Town or City should be saddled with.
    He should be ashamed of himself for attempting to bribe Blater et al with rooms at the Dorchester during the Olympics. His main problem is that he is one of those Tory Toffs who believe they have an intrinsic right to
    make their own rules of behaviour, moral or immoral, because of their innate superiority.

    They are wrong.

  • Comment number 99.

    How much more american can the Tories make us We see the films we hear the stories about the corruption and degeneration that happens come near re election time Goddam captain make me look good or your ass is on the line, go arrest someone I want re electing.
    We are BRITISH how mant more times If you love america that much MOVE but dont make us copies of them

  • Comment number 100.

    What, exactly, does a mayor do? Attends functions, at the expense of the taxpayer, makes pointless semi-political comments, at the expense of the taxpayer, entertains out of town/country "VIP's", at the expense of the taxpayer.
    Getting the picture yet?
    How much would local government save by getting rid of mayors?
    Who would notice if they went?

 

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