Don’t fall for it!

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So Cameron and the centralists in Whitehall are trying to get the big cities to adopt American-style elected mayors.

Don’t fall for it Sheffield.

What it will do is to render all your elected representatives powerless to act on behalf of their communities. Whatever people may feel about their councillor, once taken this will be irreversible.

Whether they are elected in Dore, Stannington or Brightside they would no longer be able to fight for their communities and influence the collective decisions and priorities made regarding our city. All the decisions will be taken by one person: the mayor.

One outcome could be the elected mayor would be from the same party as the majority party on council, in which case nothing much would change other than an extra £400,000 expenditure in setting up the mayor’s office. Another outcome could be we have a mayor from a different party to that of the majority on council, which will lead to massive public conflicts as differing policies are forced through which would damage Sheffield’s image nationally and internationally (Doncaster being an example).

A third outcome could be a celebrity mayor – a pop star, actor, comedian. Hartlepool ended up with chap dressed in a monkey sui). Do we really want to expose the fourth largest city to such vagaries?

The worst scenario is the successful, wealthy businessman (American-style) who could use wealth to win campaigns. Perhaps this is why Mr Cameron likes the concept: very few of our major cities are controlled by the Conservatives. Indeed Sheffield has rejected local Tory philosophy for decades. This is the chance Conservatives have been looking for to make a comeback in our major cities. Don’t give them a chance to decide our priorities. We have seen how at national level they treat the more vulnerable in our society. America is not the panacea when it comes to local government: it is riddled with corruption and fed by money. We must not allow it to develop here

Don’t fall for it, Sheffield.

Coun Peter Price