‘The vital role of the metro-mayor’

editorial image

George Osborne is right to pursue his devolutionary agenda immediately after the election.

George Osborne is right to pursue his devolutionary agenda immediately after the election.

We need a Northern powerhouse to create prosperity both for the North and the rest of the country.

Some questioned whether the Northern Powerhouse was an electoral gimmick, but the energy for city devolution would appear undiminished with last week’s speech in Manchester.

Now we need to see this agenda move beyond core cities.

Smaller towns and cities are a crucial part of the Northern powerhouse and can help drive the region’s growth, providing they share in on the benefits of new powers and prosperity.

But there is a significant sticking point in this fresh push for city devolution in the insistence on cities adopting a metro-mayor as a condition of further devolution.

We have long argued that metro mayors are vital to build visible leadership and democratic accountability necessary for the more radical devolution of taxation and spending we want to see.

But even in this arena, the Chancellor needs to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all model for metro mayors.

Ed Cox,

IPPR North director

poem

Peace in the open spaces

Walking in uplands and moorlands,

Quietly looking and listening to sounds.

Feeling at peace with the open space,

Enjoying the grouse and their raucous sound.

Watching the goshawk watching the world,

Its red eyes intent on its next meal.

The merlin carefully searching the horizon,

For homing pigeons to pounce on and steal.

The red kite, using its wings and V’d tail,

To sail the open skies like a yacht.

Climbing and turning with effortless skill,

Then a few acrobatics in case one forgot.

While the common kestrel, lower down,

Hovering 20m above the ground.

Quietly searching for mice and voles,

Or a one-year-old nest that’s still very sound.

Then down the hillside to the lower plain,

Past the blackbird, thrushes and wrens.

Then through the door of the Moorcock Inn,

For a little of the Famous Grouse within.

Albert Armstrong,

Percy Street,

Hartlepool.

house sparrows

Watching out for the birds

Has anybody else noticed how few house sparrows there are around these days?

When I was young, they were everywhere.

M. Peverell.

Peterlee.