On 4 May 2017 six regions of England will hold elections for newly created combined authority mayors.
These new mayors' remits will cover multiple local authorities, in mostly urban areas.
These new combined authorities, previously all called City Regions, were a construct of George Osborn. With the "icing" on the cake being that 6 brand new powerful mayors will be created.
High profile candidates in the running for the new positions include Labour's Andy Burham, who of course was the health secretary in Blair's government. He is running and is expected to win the Manchester mayoral position. Ex John Lewis boss Andy Street, is going for the new West Midland mayoral position on behalf of the Conservatives.
We alrreadday have a London Mayor and he's about to be jooined by six new regional counterparts. Althought these mayors are not as powefrul as their Amerian counterparts, I do smell a whiff of Americanisatoin about this process.
In the States, becoming a governor of a state is seen as a stepping stone to the presidency, this can also include being senator. Prior to these positions, many American politicians are either state prosecutors or mayors. Is this our version of the stepping stone to the presidency?
In the future, will these new mayors become the primary method for a candidate to become prime minister of this country? Lots of examples, but Tony Blair had no "executive" experience of running a city or region or anything else for that matter, yet he became prime minister in charge of a huge government machine with responsibility for a huge budget.
Could it be seen that to become electable to the office of prime minster in the future, the way to do it is through becoming one of these mayors first?