The Times has published an article on the Birmingham mayoral referendum, and in particular an interview with Gisela, which took place walking around central Birmingham. The article makes it clear that Gisela is one of the main contenders for the job.
In the interview, Gisela says that Birmingham needs a mayor to increase the city’s confidence.
“I have seen the extraordinary lack of leadership here, which has failed to serve the city as a whole.” A more forthright leader would have much more clout irrespective of any extra powers, she argues: “The key is the relationship with the Treasury. Liverpool decided to go for mayor and got £130 million out of the Treasury.”
Gisela also talks about her remedy for youth unemployment – a “Birmingham baccalaureate”, where the school curriculum is linked to the skills needed by employers. Medical research, creative and digital media and information technology are three key areas where opportunities exist but skills are lacking, she says.
Gisela also refers to a meeting where young people were asked to think of a slogan for what Birmingham lacks but Manchester has – and the word they came up with was “swagger”. A strong mayor would give Birmingham added confidence and clout – and that swagger.