Confirmation Bias

Has anyone heard any gossip about the Government’s plans for elected mayors in cities? It very much isn’t going to affect me, but I find it fascinating that something which has had such mixed success is nonetheless the received wisdom across much of the political class. I puzzled at the time of the original phrasing as to what a “confirmatory referendum” was, as distinct from a referendum.

The leading contender for an explanation was simply that the process would be begun, and the referendums would be a part of that process. Then the Financial Times had a weird story just over a month ago stating that the referendums would be not a choice on whether to have a mayoral system or not, but a vote on whether the current Council leader should remain as the Mayor until the natural end of their term of office, or whether a new election should happen immediately.

This seemed surreal to me, and was dismissed almost right away by the usually well-informed Harry Phibbs on ConservativeHome’s local government blog, so I thought it must be someone getting the wrong end of a very long stick, but recently I’ve been hearing the same line from some generally reliable sources. I don’t know, therefore, whether there is substance to it, or whether it’s just recycled gossip coming round the loop a second time.

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6 responses to “Confirmation Bias

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Confirmation Bias | The Local Government Officer -- Topsy.com

  2. thelocalgovernmentofficer

    The Guardian, and some others, think this announcement applies to all Councils and therefore compulsory mayors are off the table, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the case.

  3. Just noticed there haven’t been any updates for a while – are you still out there!?

    • thelocalgovernmentofficer

      Yep. The day job has gone a bit crazy for one reason and another, and my spare time is not as much my own as it has at times been, either (in some good ways and in some less good ways). I have a bullet point list of things I would like to write about when time allows, but time does not, in fact, allow.

      Anyway, you’re flying the flag so well!

  4. Thanks, we are trying our best!

    I hope things calm down for you in the very near future, but in a good (not unemployed) way of course. And if you want to write a guest piece in the meantime, or even just suggest a few things you’d like written about, we’re always happy to help!

    • thelocalgovernmentofficer

      Pensions; Quangos; Engagement with civil servants; the ongoing LEP saga (eating my own time); whether the heating is still turned off in Eland house; the difference between a single set of indicators aggregated nationally, and a national indicator set. Umm. Stuff!

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