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Mayors: The best job in politics?

On 3rd May, eleven British cities will vote on whether to elect their mayors. That could bring a clash with local councils, but better government

By James Macintyre   April 2012

Left to right, Ken Livingstone, Bienvenida Buck, Gisela Stuart, Siôn Simon and London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Background: Leeds Town Hall

The bosses of a dozen British construction firms, gathered in a room at a restaurant in the centre of Birmingham, are voluble about the “inferiority complex” of “Britain’s second city.” After a lunch of salmon and roast beef, they listen to Siôn Simon, the former Labour minister, explain how he could transform the city as its first directly elected mayor. Every questioner is critical of the city council, which employs 50,000 people in Birmingham, and is described by Simon as…

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