Back and Blue
Local elections are now receding into distant history, but for anybody who hasn't seen the results, they are available for viewing elsewhere on the Council's website. I suspect that most regular readers of this blog will already know that, in Manchester at least, election night was a spectacular success for Labour candidates (including me) with, for the second year running, Labour winning every seat in the city. The Labour Party now holds 86 of the 96 seats in the Council Chamber, something which has concerned more than one commentator.
The first thing to say about electoral politics is that the electorate is always right. If this is how Manchester voters want the city to be run, it's my job to deliver on their behalf, not question it. However, having such a large majority does make it even more incumbent upon us to be as open and transparent as we can in decision making, and maximise the extent to which ordinary citizens can participate. However, this electoral monopoly won't last for ever, and keen students of the election results will have no end of theories as to which party will rise next to challenge Labour's Manchester hegemony.
We did of course have the mayoral referendum on the same day. The proposal for a directly-elected Mayor was clearly and in my view rightly rejected. In the run up to the referendum, there was a lot of talk about a Mayor for Greater Manchester. This is something that's not really been discussed or debated in the city-region and I think that debate should now happen. I do think a model similar to the flawed and failed one operating in London should be totally rejected. Greater Manchester has benefitted enormously from the ten metropolitan Councils working together increasingly closely culminating last year in the formation of the country's first Combined Authority. If we are to have a debate it should be framed around how we might build in this success - not wreck it.
And the blue bit - not subtle