The Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies is gradually getting more attention from the London media. This morning's Daily Mail carries an interview with him by Robert Hardman. Davies is certainly blunt speaking (which seems to go down well in Yorkshire.) For instance he says he gets on well with his Chief Executive Paul Hart but adds that Hart's salary of £175,000 is a "joke" and any successor could expect half that.
Davies also represents a fringe party, the English Democrats. But the Left have yet to catch him out making a racist or homophobic comment. Which is probably because he isn't a racist or a homophobe.
Davies has a gay member of his cabinet. While Davies believes in getting rid of diversity officers and feels spending money on translations would be better spent teaching English he is not hostile to other cultures. As an RE teacher he took his pupils to mosques, synagogues and temples so that they could learn about other faiths. When he scrapped the Council's support for Black History Month he was sent a supposedly friendly email expressing racist sentiments hoping to attract a supportive reply from him. It failed and turned out to be a set up.
Hardman points out that with a quarter of a million people Doncaster is by far the largest authority with a directly-elected mayor – apart from London where Boris Johnson does not have the equivalent level of power. He also adds that someone implementing such a staunchly Conservative programme in a south Yorkshire Labour stronghold ("Arthur Scargill's doorstep) is extraordinary. It is equivalent to Socialists running Surrey, says Hardman. (Quite so.)
Davies has told Departments to cut budgets by between 10% and 15%. He wants to cut Council Tax by 3% this year. I suspect we will be hearing more him.