steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Olympics? Where's they to, my luvver?

Dozens of Bristol billboards have suddenly sprouted advertisements paid for by the Mayor of London, Transport for London, and the Olympic Committee, informing us that "Certain roads will be affected during the games".

Well, I'd guessed that, but since London is over 100 miles away and no events are being held in Bristol, does it really require an expensive advertising campaign to tell us? (Actually, that's not quite true: the Olympic torch will be snaking its way through the city at some point, but I doubt that's going to cause more disruption than, say, the annual Bristol half-marathon, the St Pauls Carnival, or the occasional protest march, all of which take place quite happily without the need for all the city's hoardings to be booked up.) Now we know where the money went...

Anyway, I was wondering just how far afield the London Olympic street closure posters had reached. Any advance on 100 miles? sheenaghpugh, are you awash with them in Shetland?

Meanwhile, I am meant to be voting soon in a referendum on whether Bristol should follow London's lead in having an elected mayor. So far, I have received no literature or canvas visits from either side, although the local paper is certainly cheerleading for the change. A couple of weeks ago it ran a lengthy piece by Michael Heseltine, urging Bristolians to seize this historic opportunity for a place at the high table of British politics, not to get left behind by the tide of history, to prove itself worth of its glorious heritage, to grab this special offer while it was still in the shops, etc. I am guessing that the same article appeared in other local papers too, with 'Bristol' changed for 'Sheffield', etc., because there wasn't a word in it that related to the city specifically.

As readers of this blog will know, I react badly to high-pressure sales tactics (c.f. all the reasons why it was imperative we join the Euro lest we get left behind by the tide of history, etc.) and Heseltine's piece has almost convinced me to vote No. But I'd still be interested in any actual arguments on either side, since I've heard none yet.

I also wonder, only somewhat tangentially: how many directly-elected mayors around the world are women, and is it a significantly higher or lower proportion than mayors elected by councillors (like the female mayor Bristol has now, for example)? I can't help noticing that all the people who've said they will stand for the post should there be a Yes vote are men, and I don't recall any female candidates for Mayor of London either (I may well be wrong about that), but this is of course too small a sample from which to draw more general conclusions.
Tags: bristol, current affairs, gender
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