Mirza Ahmad guest post: I’ll put Birmingham first if I’m elected mayorPosted: February 20, 2012
Dr Mirza Ahmad was until last year Corporate Director of Governance at Birmingham City Council following an 11-year career with the authority. He now works as barrister at St Philips Chambers in the city.
Following on from my previous guest posting on the Chamberlain Files, I have been asked by a number of people in (and out of) the city as to whether I will stand as the Elected Mayor for Birmingham.
This is, of course, an inappropriate question – at this stage – as Birmingham must first vote in a referendum to have an elected mayor before any candidates can stand to become an Elected Mayor.
It is, however, true that I have had lots of positive feedback and been encouraged to stand as there needs to be a “credible alternative” to the current usual suspects from the “old” and out of touch political parties. It all depends, therefore, if Birmingham elects to have an elected mayor, and as previously declared, I hope the electorate see the advantages of having one running Birmingham.
Obviously, if I were asked to serve Birmingham by putting myself forward to provide that credible alternative, I will certainly encourage people to vote for change from the current stale party political system that is totally out if touch with people. I would also prefer to run as an independent candidate as no single political party represents all of my views and, besides, they are already fixed in considering their usual suspects and unlikely to be open minded enough to consider other possible candidates or possibilities to capture the imagination of the whole electorate.
A political party candidate does, of course, carry baggage associated with such parties and their leading persons. Whilst it is recognised that there would be some financial and operational benefits for any candidate who is selected by a political party – not least in terms of getting the political party machinery to get someone elected – even those unable to speak good English or those who do not understand that, once elected, they serve the whole of the electorate, not just those who voted for them or their political parties.
So what might I stand for if I were asked to serve as Birmingham’s first Elected Mayor?
My Seven Guiding Principles for pursuing effective policies for Birmingham’s success will be as follows:
- Personal drive & strategic leadership: I will put Birmingham First, not my own or any other political party interests;
- Helping businesses: I will promote economic prosperity to drive Birmingham’s local and region economies by ensuring Birmingham becomes a strong international city and ensure public funds are maximised for best effect to support the local and regional economic prosperity that will be necessary to drive the other improvements in public/private infrastructure, regenerate local areas and improve the lives of local people;
- Helping everyone: I will encourage a culture of self-belief and strong ethos in serving the public good and ensure everyone lives their passion for excellence to the max;
- Investing in youth: I will listen to and build the future through maximising the potential of the youth through better educational and work opportunities, reducing health inequalities in the city and by tackling issues that matter to the youth;
- Working with local groups: I will cultivate a strong sense of community pride in Birmingham by celebrating and valuing what each community brings to make a better Birmingham;
- Public institutions & financial prudence: I will ensure all public funds in the city are maximised for best impact and Birmingham City Council – which only represents a part of city governance and not all of it – is fit for purpose and cuts waste, by working with all of them, regardless of their party political allegiances; and
- Heritage, culture & tourism: I will promote the best of Birmingham to the world so that it is, once again, seen as the “best governed city in the world”.