Who should be Bristol’s elected mayor?

26 01 2012

On May 3, the people of Bristol will be asked in a referendum if we want an elected mayor for the city. Until a yes vote is cast, and that is no way a certainty, it is unlikely that many names will put themselves forward for the position. But here is our own top-ten of potentially Bristol’s first elected mayor.

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The only entrant on this list with their own entry on IMDb, Simon Cook, best known for playing Andrew in the Channel Five soap Family Affairs, juggles his acting and business career with the deputy leadership of the council and the arts and culture portfolio.

He of the red trousers, architect George Ferguson almost single-handedly rejuvenated south Bristol with his ambitious plans for the Tobacco Factory. He is a Merchant Venturer and former Liberal councillor with firm views.

If Hartlepool can elect a man in a monkey suit as their first elected mayor in 2002 (since re-elected for a third term), then Bristol can choose somebody dressed as a pirate, especially as Captain Gas is now retired as Bristol Rovers’ mascot.

John Grimshaw makes things happen, exactly what an elected mayor for Bristol needs to do. Grimshaw helped transform Bristol cycling group Saddlebag into UK-wide charity Sustrans, which has since built 12,600 miles of the National Cycle Network.

Council leader Barbara Janke professes displeasure at the idea of an elected mayor for Bristol, maybe because if we do get one, it is her position that will be most affected. One of the few to have experience of representing Bristol on the national stage.

Former Bristol City chairman Steve Lansdown may have recently moved to Guernsey, but part of the reason why he did so was his utter despair with how Bristol and the UK is run. From his bedroom, he built up Hargreaves Lansdown into a global business.

Evening Post editor Mike Norton has put his face and name to the paper’s current campaign, ‘We need to talk about Bristol’, stressing that Bristol may be a great place to live but is an underperforming city, which needs radical change if it wants to compete.

For political heavyweights, look no further than Dawn Primarolo, Bristol South MP, former Cabinet Minister, Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons, who recently announced she would be standing down from Parliament at the next General Election.

Heading a task force established by the Conservatives to look at maths in schools nailed the political allegiances of Carol Vorderman firmly to the mast, as did her appearance on Question Time in 2010. Will add a bit of celeb glamour to proceedings.

MP for Bristol West since 2001, Stephen Williams was a Bristol councillor for four years. Wales-born and Bristol University-educated, the Liberal Democrat’s first openly gay MP has already indicated that he might stand for the position of elected mayor.

Slideshow photo credits: bbc.co.uk – bristol247.com – bristolrovers.co.uk – carolvordermanfan.blogspot.com – guardian.co.uk – holdthefrontpage.co.uk – johnmilesorganisation.org.uk – stephenwilliams.org.uk – telegraph.co.uk



2 responses

26 01 2012

“his utter despair with how Bristol and the UK is run”.

Nothing to do with tax implications then?
It’d be quite nice seeing him actually having to deal with some of the issues of being in public office, rather than bitching from the sidelines.

27 01 2012

George Ferguson almost single-handedly rejuvenated south Bristol

That’s the myth George likes to sell. The reality is that the gentrification of Southville and Ashton (not the whole of S Bristol) was well advanced by the time the Tobacco Factory pitched up.

It was a shrewd business move not an exercise in regeneration.

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