It was interesting to read today the proposals from Warwickshire County Council that the city region combined authority for Coventry should be one for Warwickshire as well. Frankly this is a bit of a no brainer. Warwickshire curls around Coventry and is clearly in the economic city region. It is only people who reside in the Whitehall that believe that Coventry is best placed with Greater Birmingham. City Regions work as units of devolution if they have essentially economic city regions of a city and its travel to work area. Hence Lichfield, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Tamworth and Redditch fit comfortably into the wider Greater Birmingham area, but Coventry does not. It always caused tensions in the past and will continue to undermine the common interest of a Greater Birmingham City Region if it is continued.
The link is to the case where Ken Livingstone appealed the decision of the Adjudication Panel for England. The Standards Board and associated Adjudication Panel have done a lot of damage to democracy in the UK. The courts are, however, bringing them into more sanity. The point about Ken Livingstone's case is that it was high profile and he also could afford to appeal. The Standard Board has a problem in that those subject to its enquiries face substantial costs that they cannot claim back. This is an issue that needs further work. In essence the Judge found that what he said brought him into disrepute, but not the office of Mayor. We do need the machinery of the SBE and APE to concentrate on things that matter rather than people being rude to each other.