The twists and turns regarding the election of a Sheffield Regional Mayor has highlighted for many why South Yorkshire has become a social and economic backwater of the United Kingdom.
While other regions have got on with job of electing a mayor and are benefiting from the injection of additional regional cash, here in South Yorkshire we are only just beginning the process of elections.
What is more astounding is the Labour Party’s choice of mayor, not just because he was one of the leading voices against the formation of the role, but the fact that he intends to combine the job with his existing role as MP for Barnsley! Some may say this is a good idea and may save the tax-payers some money, but what does this say about an MP’s job. Is it a full-time role, or as many may suspect, it’s only a glorified part time job anyway?
I recall an article in the Guardian that held a survey about who worked the longer hours, MPs or school teachers. The result came down in favour of MPs but I’m beginning to wonder if this is true. Hansard’s own research into the matter declared that MPs, during the 30 weeks of parliamentary time, worked an average of 69 hours a week and that for the remaining 22 weeks worked 42 hours. How on earth therefore is Dan Jarvis going to fit in the role of the elected regional mayor while continuing to give his all for the people of Barnsley?
When Manchester elected a regional mayor, Andy Burnham the Labour candidate, stood down as MP in order to embrace the new role, so why does Dan Jarvis not do the same? Is he hedging his bets against being unseated by the Corbyn faction of the Labour Party, or perhaps mounting his own leadership bid against Corbyn now the party is being rocked by allegations of anti-Semitism?
Either way I believe the people of South Yorkshire should be represented by someone who is going to dedicate themselves to the economic and social revival of this once proud industrial region and not for any other reasons.
So, my message to Dan Jarvis would be ‘make your mind up’. What job do you really want?