More elections, more voting – this democracy lark is getting tiring!
If your reaction to the announcement of another General Election was ‘oh great, more politics’ then you weren’t alone. Even we’re struggling to get into the festive spirit, and we are supposed to enjoy this stuff.
But forget Theresa Maybe, Comrade Corbyn, that Lib Dem bloke or Professor Emeritus Paul Nuttall MD (hons), the West Midlands has bigger fish to fry.
Firing the starting pistol on a frantic period of electioneering, the race to become the first Mayor of the West Midlands ends today with voting now open. Just forget the fact that most of the region rejected a mayor when asked in a referendum. It was only advisory after all…
Nevertheless, with a General Election around the corner, the result has taken on extra significance with the winner no doubt being used as a platform for their Party’s national campaign. Expect one half of Westminster to decamp to the Midlands next week, whilst the other pretends it never mattered anyway.
For those of us living and working in the region, this election presents an opportunity to direct local services, infrastructure and development in ways unimaginable to civic leaders of the past. But, let’s also not forget that the Combined Authority has already begun the work of devolution with several funding packages already agreed.
Although it is true that the powers of the Mayor (and the funding available) will be limited during this first term, further opportunities will emerge in 2020 following a new settlement with Whitehall. That’s why it’s important we engage in the process and elect a representative who can define the role and make the case for its expansion.
Basically, we need to prove we’re trustworthy enough and won’t spend all our pocket money on cigarettes and booze.
So, the world won’t change tomorrow but with the right mayor in three, eight or 12 years the West Midlands could be a very different place. If you haven’t visited your polling station yet, make sure you pay a visit this evening – they’re open till 10.