Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mayoral Referendum in Nottingham - End of JoCo?

As part of changes originating in the Localism Act (see para 9N), Nottingham will be holding a referendum to decide whether we want to stay with the current Executive system or change to an Elected Mayor. The Notice of Referendum is here.

Broadly speaking, the current system means that the vast majority of the council's powers are in the hands of the Executive Board which is hand picked by Cllr JoCo himself. As such the majority of the power is really in his gift and I suspect he likes it that way. Under an Elected Mayor, the majority of the power is in the hands of one person who may or may not end up being JoCo.

JoCo is not in favour of an elected Mayor in Nottingham.

It's not hard to see why. If he is to retain his current level of power he has to ensure that he gets the nod as official Labour candidate for the post as Mayor and, following his failure to secure the Nottingham East nomination for the last general Election, he probably can't be entirely confident of this. Furthermore Collins is a networker rather than a figurehead meaning he is far more suited to securing the nomination of a cabal of elected members on a council than to inspiring a whole city to vote for him. You only have to look at how often he relies on Deputy Leader Graham Chapman to be the public face of the council to see how uncomfortable he is in the spotlight.

Let's be clear. If an elected mayor is chosen the role of Leader of the Council will suddenly become very minor. Coupled with the abolition of the Police Authority, which he chairs, JoCo is going to have to do some serious Labour Party arse kissing if he doesn't want to find himself a mere minnow in Nottingham's political scene.

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