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'I would toast the Queen' but the baseball cap's staying, Sheffield's lord mayor tells critics

Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid meets the readers at The Star's offices
Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid meets the readers at The Star's offices
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Sheffield's youngest lord mayor expected to ruffle some feathers when he promised to break with time-honoured traditions, and he was not wrong.

But during his short time in the chains, Magid Magid has shown he is not one to shy away from a debate - and he proved that again by facing those traditionalists upset by his radical approach to the ceremonial role.

Cyril Olsen has his say about the new lord mayor's radical approach

Cyril Olsen has his say about the new lord mayor's radical approach

Much has been made of the unacceptable racist abuse directed at the 28-year-old Green party councillor by a small minority of those in the city he represents and beyond.

READ MORE: The Sheffield lord mayor who wants to break with the past
But there are others who quite rightly have no problem with the colour of his skin but took offence at some of his more controversial statements - especially the assertion he would not toast the Queen should she return to the city she last visited in 2015.

They include Cyril Olsen, who joined a handful of Star readers invited to meet him at our offices this morning and voice their opinions.

"As an individual you're entitled to your own views, and if you're not a royalist that's fair enough," said the 81-year-old, of Busk Meadow, in Shirecliffe.

Susan Richardson believes the new lord mayor should be more respectful of tradition

Susan Richardson believes the new lord mayor should be more respectful of tradition

READ MORE: Go on a 'date' with Sheffield's new lord mayor
"But when you're wearing those chains, you're not Magid, you're the first citizen of Sheffield and you're representing us all.

"The vast majority of people in this city and the country, I would suggest, bear allegiance to the Queen.

"I would ask you to have a rethink and agree that when you're on official duties you would, if required, toast the Queen on behalf of the city you're representing."

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Susan Richardson also took umbrage at Mr Magid's pledge to break with convention, arguing that Britain's 'quirky' traditions were a key plank of our national identity.

The Star's editor Nancy Fielder and Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid with readers Margaret Laver, Larry Angel, Cyril Olsen and Susan Richardson

The Star's editor Nancy Fielder and Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid with readers Margaret Laver, Larry Angel, Cyril Olsen and Susan Richardson

In response, Mr Magid claimed his comments about the Queen had been 'blown out of proportion' and while he was a republican it was not something he felt passionately about.

At last month's Cutlers' Feast, he revealed, he had joined others in raising a glass to the Queen because he did not want to disrespect those present or make them feel uncomfortable.

"I want to live in a country where regardless of your background anyone can become head of state, not just a privileged few," he said.

"When the Queen last came to Sheffield the council had to spend thousands and thousands of pounds on the visit at a time it was being forced to cut back on so many vital services, and I felt it was wrong we had to foot that bill when the royal family has plenty of money.

"People keep saying Magid is going to get rid of the monarchy but I haven't got the powers to do that.

"If required, I would go with the motions and toast the Queen but I would be lying if I said I was doing it for the Queen."

Mr Olsen did praise the lord mayor for 'bringing a breath of fresh air to the role' in some ways, like inviting different members of the community to become his consort for official functions, and said believed he would be a 'credit to the role'.

Ms Richardson, meanwhile, suggested he could use his position to engage with more young people, especially those in danger of falling prey to the gang culture which is becoming prevalent in parts of the country.

It is not his age, race, religion or politics which have gained Mr Magid most public attention, of course, but THAT photo of him crouching on a newel post in in the town hall wearing a white jacket and Dr Martens boots.

But while many have praised his unique sense of style, Mr Olsen is unconvinced, especially when it comes to the baseball cap the lord mayor often sports which he claimed was not fitting for fancier dos where only the mayoral robes would do.

Mr Magid was not willing to compromise on his fashion choices, which he said had helped get more people talking about Sheffield in a positive light, and he vowed to always pick the outfit he felt suited the occasion.

"A lot of different people who've never engaged with civic life have been doing so, and I think part of that's down to me being different," he said.

"If you don't like it, you only have to put up with me for 12 months."

As for The Star's controversial decision to publish some of the less palatable reactions to his appointment, alongside his frank response, Mr Magid said it was important to have 'difficult conversations'.

"We could have swept it under the rug and not discussed it but I think that would have been wrong," he said.

"If anything the outrage alone has done a lot to get people talking about it and saying this is completely ridiculous. It's highlighted the racist views which do exist and shown everything's not hunky dory."