The Journal Opinion: Why George Osborne's mayoral obsession may cost him

The Journal's opinion column for Friday December 5, in which we argue that the North East does not need a mayor to gain extra powers

George Osborne MP Chancellor of the Exchequer visits the Virgin Money offices at the Regents Centre, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne
George Osborne MP Chancellor of the Exchequer visits the Virgin Money offices at the Regents Centre, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A welcome development in the political debate of the last few years has been the sudden realisation by the powers that be that Britain has a serious issue over balance.

London – great city though it is – is in danger of overwhelming the rest of the UK, sucking in all the attention and the money.

George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse and the rapidly-developing debate over devolution of powers to the regions were the response to this overdue realisation.

For a while Mr Osborne made the running. But there are signs that Labour has caught on – and has seen a chink in his armour.

For Mr Osborne is hung up on elected mayors. They might work well in London, but we don’t need them here. We don’t want them either – otherwise we’d have voted for them when we had the chance.

Labour’s chosen method of devolving power through combined authorities – with or without a mayor – is less sexy. But it is more practical, which is what counts.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer