Whether or not Birmingham should have a mayor is set to become a topic of much debate over the next seven months, and we’ll do our best to ensure both sides of the argument get a fair hearing in our pages.
But one thing we will say is that if Birmingham is to have a mayor at all then we want a Boris.
Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, is a big figure. He can’t be ignored at Westminster, and not just because David Cameron might have grounds to suspect his old Oxford chum is after his job.
His charisma and eccentric personality certainly help, as does the remarkable intellect thinly hidden beneath a layer of buffoonery, rather like Tom Baker’s Doctor Who playing the fool before inventing a device to save the universe.
Then there’s the blond bird’s-nest on his head and the remarkable accent, unashamedly and gloriously posh. These may be superficial matters, but they all add to his star quality.
Not everyone finds Mr Johnson to their tastes, but when he speaks you want to listen. He’s in no danger of being ignored.
These are good qualities for a mayor to have, and perhaps Birmingham will benefit if our future leader also has bags of personality.
But this isn’t what we mean when we say we want a Boris. Indeed, it’s always possible that no candidate with such a range of qualities will be forthcoming.
What defines the mayor of London most of all is that he really does wield power.
Mr Johnson is no figurehead. His role is not to open buildings or hand out awards.
He is ultimately responsible for policing, stepping in to sack the head of the Metropolitan Police in 2008.
He is also the chair of the capital’s transport authority, and demanded the abolition of bendy buses, to be replaced by old-fashioned red London buses, or something that looks very much like them.
If you want to know who is standing up for London’s employers then you need look no further than the mayor, who includes chairing the development agency among his many responsibilities.
Of course, he doesn’t do all this alone. There are deputy mayors and other underlings to carry our much of the hard work. But Boris ultimately takes responsibility.
And these concrete powers help to give him moral authority when the time comes.
By contrast, it looks like the mayor of Birmingham or Coventry will have no more authority than existing local council leaders, and lack the tools which, as Boris himself has pointed out, a successful mayor requires.
The personality of the very first mayor will be important here. If anyone can force Whitehall to hand over more powers, it will probably be the first person in the job.
The danger for Birmingham is that we end up with a mayor who is relatively impotent - a leader who wants to lead but who lacks the ability to impose their will on the city’s various public services.
Some people might say that would be rather a good thing, because the last thing Birmingham needs is a power freak with actual power.
But that would be an argument against having a mayor at all - and perhaps it would be a good argument, but one for another day.
There’s no good argument for having a mayor who cannot get things done.