With the announcement of a West Midlands mayor just a day or so before, this hustings started to feel a little bit like bald men fighting over a comb. But that’s not true; one of the candidates is a woman. We sent Jonathan Todd to see what went on at the Birmingham Labour leadership hustings.
79 Labour councillors will on Monday vote to decide the next leader of Birmingham City Council. Some of these councillors were in the CBSO last night, including the four standing for this office. They were joined by about 100 of the great Brummie public, who questioned the candidates after they’d presented their pitches.
Female, young, and non-white demographics were underrepresented in the audience (and, in the non-white case, on the stage). Perhaps we can’t blame the four leadership candidates for this (or for being white). It reflects a broader malaise of political disengagement.
The candidates commendably made themselves available for a grilling from those who, for the most part, do not have a vote on Monday. The candidates had, therefore, little to gain and much to lose. Poor performance would be punished by the watching media (BBC West Midlands filmed from the floor as the event was ongoing), while strong performance would largely not be witnessed by those who hold their fate in their hands.