What is it? : Before Brexit, David Cameron's government came up with the idea of the "Northern Powerhouse" one of the premiss of which was the establishment of decentralised(?) city authorities under the management of an Elected Mayor. The original idea for the North East of England was an authority that covered Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and County Durham. Discussions were undertaken and the authorities south of the Tyne came to the conclusion that this new authority was not for them and they pulled out, leaving Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle to go it alone; hence "The North of the Tyne" combined authority.
Various consultations have been held Greater Northumberland by the government and the local authorities and at this stage (March 2018) we are still waiting for the government to give the okay for this to proceed.
What's the setup? : If this happens the set up will be for us to have aMayor, who will be elected by a proportional representation system,and will act as the figurehead and leader of the "North of the Tyne" combined authority. The Mayor will have a non-elected cabinet made up of the Elected Mayor & Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside, and the Council Leader & Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council to help them administer what ever is handed down from central government. The Mayor can also raise a precept on the Council Tax payers of Greater Northumberland to pay for local projects that they dain are necessary for the economic growth of the authority area.
The Green Party view: The Green Party is all in favour of regional devolution. However, all in all what is proposed for Greater Northumberland is almost the worst possible option for devolution that could be inflicted on the region. Unfortunately it is the only thing that is on offer, therefore, asa political organisation hoping to win power through the ballot box, the North East England Green Party feels that it must take an interest in this appalling scheme if we are to call ourselves a viable political alternative to the worn out old-school parties.
Because of this the Green Party is in the process of raising the £5,000 deposit that has been imposed on this so called "local" election to prevent anyone but the old-school parties or rich independent for standing for election as Mayor. We are also prepairing to select our candidate who will stand in any election that may be held.
Of course, there is still a chance that the whole sorry mess will be abandoned and we can get back to campaigning for a truly decentralised, devolved, Green region of a fully decentralised, devolved Great Britten.