Manchester Mayor: A two horse race?

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One student’s take on the candidates for Manchester Mayor: one has a lot of baggage, one has a lot to prove and the others haven’t turned up!

By Luke Goodstadt

When some people hear the term ‘Mayor’, they may think of a frail old man in red robes, a stupid black hat and overly large gold chains; however Greater Manchester will elect its first metropolitan Mayor next May, and this one (should) be more like the Mayor of London (except perhaps with the necessary addition of a raincoat).

This new Mayor, and their elected cabinet (made up of the leaders of Greater Manchester’s ten surrounding councils), will have significant power and influence over Manchester’s Housing, Spacial Planning, Transport, Health, Waste Management, Policing (if there is any police left after the Tories are done with them), and Justice (especially criminal justice). At the minute, these decisions are made individually by the ten councils and by Westminster itself.

The Mayor of Manchester will gain national attention, just like the Mayor of London, since Manchester is vastly becoming one of the biggest cities in Great Britain. Thus it is up to us, to ensure that we don’t elect a bumbling blonde-headed buffoon who winds up getting stuck on a zip wire, in the tightest harness known to man, pitifully waving two of the smallest Union flags anyone has ever seen.

With the election just under a year away (May 4th), political parties have already started selecting their candidates:

Labour has selected the twice failed candidate for Labour leadership Andy Burnham. Burnham is the Member of Parliament for Leigh and has recently resigned from his position as Shadow Home Secretary to concentrate on the Mayoral Elections. He perhaps feels as though a break from Westminster, in a respectable position such as Mayor of Manchester, will give him the notoriety he needs to go back for a third chance at Labour leadership in 2020 when Corbyn inevitably fails.

However this office should not just be a seat warmer for those shooting for higher positions; this role should be reserved for those who are dedicated to making Greater Manchester a better place to live.

The Liberal Democrats have selected long-time councillor and NHS worker Jane Brophy. With the increased power given to Manchester surrounding healthcare, and her experiences as a councillor in Greater Manchester, Jane Brophy is an incredibly sensible choice for the Liberal Democrats, especially as she was selected with such a high mandate of the local party.

The Conservative and Green Parties respectively, haven’t selected their candidates yet. This may be an active decision, thinking that it would be better for them politically to select their candidate closer to the election. However, it is more likely that these parties know that they aren’t going to be able to challenge either Labour or the Liberal Democrats in this election.

Although the Liberal Democrats have suffered a huge political blow, this Mayoral election may act as a huge turning point in the ‘LibDemFightback’ campaign; they act as the only viable challengers to a broken and fragmented Labour Party in this fight for the Mayoral office.

Whatever the outcome, the next few months should be a very interesting time in Northern politics.

Luke J Goodstadt is currently studying History and Politics. When he is not attending lectures he enjoys cycling, reading and writing.

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