Metro Mayors and Trumpton Politics
This interview is so beautiful in so many ways.
Apart from Ruth Davidson omitting to explain to Andy Street that the Scottish Conservatives bitterly opposed devolution for decades and never lose an opportunity to run down and undermine the devolved settlement at every turn, I love the fact that both ignore the fact that the Conservatives never have been, nor ever will be elected to office in Scotland.
But the other thing that’s going on here – and this is something that the Spectator and the Telegraph have been strong on – is to pretend that somehow the six or so directly elected Mayors in England was somehow akin to devolution and a sign that the British State was evolving and handing back/down powers. They’ve developed an idea that this part of some new Brexit settlement.
In 2017 elections were held for Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, the, Tees Valley, West of England and the West Midlands as part of the ‘Metro Mayors’ deals allowed by the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016. The delayed election for the Sheffield City Region followed in May 2018.
But elected Mayors are not the same as the previously proposed (and rejected) Regional Assemblies, nor are they anything like devolved parliaments. Britain remains one of the most centralised states in Europe. So there’s more than a little constitutional sleight of hand at work here:
An absolute pleasure to show @RuthDavidsonMSP around the Jewellery Quarter during her visit to the West Midlands. Here is part one of my short interview about devolution and the opportunities it brings. pic.twitter.com/JfdUSgqh5Y
— Andy Street (@andy4wm) August 16, 2018