Do we need another Vincent Hanna type?
He came into Birmingham as a kind of early spin doctor a decade and more ago...and after a fashion it worked.
I suppose he managed to bring some focus to the issues of the moment and help chart a way forward.
What he wasn't able to do was leave any real legacy.
So the problems of Birmingham then are the problems of Birmingham today.
Too many bodies to consult. Too much dithering. No-one able to cut through the cr**.
Some will say the answer is an elected mayor, but I'm not so sure.
People will point to the Chamberlain family's achievements, but that was a long time ago.
It was a brave approach which was successful in its own time. I am not sure change could be forced through in quite such a way in the 21st century. But I would be more than happy to be persuaded otherwise.
I believe Birmingham is best when it opts - in today's hideous language - for empowerment and inclusivity.
Something that doesn't happen. Instead a gaggle of timid quangos and cliques haggle ineffectively behind closed doors.
Why did we lose the Capital of Culture bid?
Because there was no leadership and instead of embracing the people we ignored them and tried to influence behind the scenes.
Liverpool won because they popularised their case and had a dynamic frontman.
Yes, Ken Livingstone has been good for London and, having so much power in the hands of one individual can allow difficult policies to be forced through - such as congestion charging.
But "elected dictators" cut both ways.
If you get a bad 'un then you are stuck with them.
At least under the present system there are some checks and balances. The council leader has to carry his cabinet. Mike Whitby has to take his Liberal Democrat colleagues in the Tory-led coalition with him.
It ultimately comes down to whether you prefer a powerful autocrat - it remains true in the my view that absolute power corrupts absolutely - to consensual politics. My inclination is to the latter.
But perhaps some of the downside could be addressed by a Hanna-type individual.
Currently the people are not involved enough, the issues are not explained sufficiently, the problems are not adequately put in front of the electorate.
The administration should be constantly informing the public on flagship projects.
If there are funding gaps to breach let's hear about them.
Let's welcome initiatives and ideas and use public opinion to pressurise government.
Whitby can't do all that. He hasn't got the time. But a Vincent Hanna could.
Whitby would still have the power but would have to accept "Hanna" would have the profile.
Like most marriages, it wouldn't be perfect.
Lot's of really good schemes are going ahead in Birmingham but we always seem to have trouble getting our act together on the big ones.
Sadly we just don't punch clever.