When George Osborne announced an elected mayor for Greater Manchester, the news was met with optimism, dismay, and confusion, with some labelling it illegitimate without a referendum.
Nobody could have imagined we’d have a police force in special measures, a Chief Constable being accused of misleading his boss, and a mayor, supported by authority leaders, ranting outside the Town Hall at the height of a pandemic.
Manchester now has an executive with vast powers, but few checks and balances on those functions.
The current system is not fit for purpose, and leaves the region being at the mercy of a Trump-style ego maniac.
An assembly with its own devolved powers and tax raising abilities, similar to those in Scotland, will enable post-Brexit Greater Manchester to shape its own future.
Cross-party committees will also enable real scrutiny of public authorities, mayoral policies, policing, and other public officials.
If the Conservative and Labour Party fail to support the need for further devolution and accountability locally, they will be challenged by new parties and candidates.
We’ve seen this in London, Tower Hamlets, and Bristol, where independents were swept to power.
We’re already seen this in Bolton too, where hyper-local parties have transformed a safe Labour council into a minority Tory administration.
The SNP have used this tactic to devastating effect, posing as an opposition party in conflict with London, whilst also being in government and wielding vast powers.
Manchester has a very good batting average when it comes to challenging the status quo.
Until our institutions have parity with London and others, the Powerhouse dream looks more like an Outhouse.