elected mayors are rather the thing these days it seems. I have changed my mind on them, I used to think that concentration of that much power in one hand was a recipe for cronyism and corruption, but now that I have seen, as in Reading over the years of Labour control, that cronyism and corruption flourish very well without an elected mayor, it seems good for transparency. Especially when there is no overall political control, in which case unelected officers run the show. No, elected mayors are probably a good thing. Sion Simon thinks so too. He thinks there is a democratic case for them, and he is running for mayor of Birmingham to prove his point. He and I were colleagues in Parliament, and while he was capable of making a dick of himself, and did so from time to time, he is an honest man. There has been talk for some time of an elected mayor in Reading. The coalition did not have enough time to do anything about it, so it will be the Labour administration that does it. They have more incentive, as their candidate is Martin Salter (make no mistake about that, hopefuls), who is returning from Australia for the purpose, to ensure that Reading remains a pocket Labour fiefdom now that the party is in opposition for a generation. There is already a promising independent candidate limbering up in the wings (calm down, it isn't me).
What fun we shall have. Btw I am going to Australia myself in November, for a long-ish holiday, expecting (and hoping) that Mr S will be back in the UK by then. Twas I who predicted that he would stand down before the 2010 election and go to Australia, and that prediction went so far and so fast that he was asked the question by a Reading taxi driver and had to issue a denial.