Mayoral race is a poor bet for city

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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The runners and riders are all at the starting line (barring any last-minute entrants) for the Mayoral million-pound election stakes, or as most people are calling it: the over the barrel handicap.

It’s a race that we are being forced to run by the government, so that we can receive lots of lovely shiny coins, for things that we should already have lots of shiny coins for in the first place.

Interest from the punters has been apathetic at best, and in a county where six of our seven MPs wear the colour blue (with a combined majority of over 95,000) there hasn’t been much gambling on the outcome.

There are three months until we are under orders properly and it’s bound to be heavy going, but make no mistake, the jockeying for position has already begun, and it is only a matter of time before they all start promising to jump through hoops for your vote.

But, whoever is first past the post, the one question we must ask of the whole process is: will it be a non-starter for Peterborough?

Let’s begin with the odds-on favourite, wearing Tory blue, it’s the Soham milkman, James Palmer.

The leader of East Cambs district council has championed a bypass for Ely and improvements to the railway line.

But, can he deliver when it comes to the complicated education, housing and infrastructure needs of a city like Peterborough?

In red, with a yellow flash, it’s Labour’s Kevin Price, the deputy leader of Cambridge city council and porter at Clare college in Cambridge; could you get any more Cambridge than that?

Will he get a nosebleed if he travels this far north, or could he help clean up this city?

Cambridgeshire county councillor, Paul Bullen, is from St Ives and racing in the purple and yellow of UKIP.

He’s desperate to win, despite, ironically, being opposed to the position being created in the first place.

If he lands the gamble, he has threatened to scrap Cambridgeshire County Council and give all its cash to Peterborough (I made that last bit up, he hasn’t even mentioned the city yet.)

Wearing Liberal Democrat yellow is Cambridge city councillor, Rod Cantrill, who is an expert on the flat.

He likes nothing better than cycling around Cambridge all day, telling people why we should have remained in the EU.

He has promised to listen to the people, but it’s a long bike ride from Cambridge to Paston, and he might not like what he hears, when he eventually gets here.

Of the outsiders, entrepreneur, Peter Dawe, the internet pioneer from Ely, will be in independent white.

I will wager that his business acumen and radical ideas may appeal to some, but he has already admitted that he knows little about the “special nature of Peterborough.” I suppose at least the honesty is refreshing.

In green it’s parish councillor Julie Howell, for, you guessed it, the Green Party. She is at least from the city and has warned, that: “You underestimate me at your peril.” I wouldn’t if I were you, nobody wants lentils for tea every night, and a car that runs on squirrel droppings.

At the back of the field is another Peterborian, former city council deputy leader, Stephen Goldspink.

He will be bedecked in the cross of St George for the English Democrats and his main election promise is to invite Donald Trump to the county, so impressed is he, with the Trumpster’s first few weeks in office. Stephen must be wearing blinkers.

So there you have it, you pays yer money and you takes yer chances.

To the victor goes extensive powers over transport, and hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on housing, and to support economic growth in this county.

But which, if any, will be the best Mayor for Peterborough?

Er……………………. eeny, meeny, miny, moe.