Birmingham may not want a mayor.
Placing control of the city council in the hands of one person may not lead to better governance and accountability. By effectively downgrading the role of ward councillors, it may make the city less democratic.
That’s a point of view. And we’re not taking sides, but we want to acknowledge up front that the argument for creating a directly-elected mayor has not yet been won and may never be won.
But if Birmingham is to have a mayor, they must be a big figure.
They must have real clout, with the ability to get things done, to make changes and to ensure their voice is heard. London mayor Boris Johnson, and Ken Livingstone before him, are good examples.
If Londoners want to know who’s responsible for policing, economic development, transport and for representing the city to the rest of the world, they don’t have far to look.
While Birmingham’s mayor need not be a precise replica of the London model, they should also be a heavy hitter. And this seems to be what Cities Minister Greg Clark is promising. Now it’s up to him – and the councillors he will meet next week – to make that promise a reality.