Gordon Brown highlights why authenticity matters

Listening to Gordon Brown speak in Bristol this week, it was easy to forget how heavily the burden of Prime Ministerial office appeared to weigh on him in 2010.

The former PM was here promoting his new book to a packed Wills Memorial Hall and spoke with conviction and humour about his life in politics.

He was also candid about the challenges faced by the global economy over the last decade, his role in addressing the crisis and the friction caused by the resulting fallout.

Here was a man at ease with himself, speaking about life with his kids, encounters with Nelson Mandela and even quoting Taylor Swift lyrics.

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Campaigns get people to care about an elected mayor

I’ve been looking at the debate around proposals to devolve power to English cities, by installing elected mayors who (it is argued) will help areas outside London ‘punch above their weight’ and revitalise interest in local democracy.

I wanted to find out more about the arguments around this idea in Bristol, where I work, which is one of 10 cities having a referendum on the issue on 3 May. My feeling, without finding any hard research to stand this up, is that the debate has yet to catch the imagination of the public outside a small group of engaged campaigners on either side – and that getting a decent turnout in the vote will be a big challenge.

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