DEVO DIARY: Marathon man
Cllr Sean Anstee made merry with the Manchester Marathon over the weekend, taunting his rival Andy Burnham with jibes on Twitter about his Labour opponent “forgetting to turn up” and “making time for Westminster” instead. Not only did Anstee complete the marathon, in under four hours no less, he even found time to pose in front of his own Tevez-esque “Welcome to a Greater Manchester” billboard, another dig at Burnham’s more distant office in London and upbringing nearer the Mersey end of the East Lancs Road. Anstee’s photo opportunity will be familiar to football watchers as a play on Man City fans’ “Welcome to Manchester” poster when striker Carlos Tevez joined City from United. The fact United’s ground lies outside the Manchester boundary, in Anstee’s Trafford in fact, and City proclaims itself the only true Manchester club, might become a tangled web if Anstee makes much more of it.
Devo architect in chief Sir Howard Bernstein spent his last day in office at combined authority meetings in Bury. Among the recommendations passed at his final GMCA exec meeting was to adopt an agreed definition of anti-Semitism, as recommended by the Jewish Leadership Council. One of the many reasons for Bernstein’s love of Manchester, he told the MEN in his keynote interview when he announced his departure last autumn, was that it was possible for a “Jewish guy to become chief executive of the city council and never once in his entire career experience any kind of racism or prejudice”. Neat timing for such a constitutional update. Coincidentally, on Sunday, the JLC hosted GM Mayoral hustings at King David High School in Manchester.
Green Party candidate Cllr Tom Crone launched his manifesto for Liverpool City Region during the Global Greens Congress in Liverpool over the weekend. Crone calls for more space on roads to be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. He also maintains his planning standpoint promising to save all parks from being sold for housing, something of which Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, who will remain mayor for the city when the wider city-region mayor comes in, has been accused.
The deadline for registering to vote is 13 April. In the six districts of Merseyside, sorry – Liverpool City Region, the full list of candidates will be available on liverpoolcityregionelects.org from 5 April 2017. In addition, every household across the Liverpool City Region will be receiving a Mayoral booklet before the end of April 2017. The GM Elects voting campaign to mobilise the electorate in the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester has started to be rolled out with a gmelects.org.uk website and some seriously heavy font.
Do returning officers know May the Fourth, election day, is international Jedi Day? When Star Wars fans across the globe celebrate their heroes and tell each other ‘may the force be with you’. Will the electoral roll be like the census where people rush to proclaim themselves followers of Jedi? We will be investigating.