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Italian mayors face
constant intimidation
by organised crime

Palermo, 4 March 2015:
Being an Italian mayor is not a job for the fainthearted. An enquiry set up by the Italian Senate has found that between January 2013 and May of last year almost 1,300 mayors and other local politicians reported intimidation by organised crime syndicates but, as many contacts between the mafia and local government remain unreported, the actual number of threats is probably considerably higher. A member of the Senate enquiry team reported that during the recent recession local government has come under increasing pressure to award contracts to companies with links to the mafia. “The economic downturn has hit the construction industry hardest, a business sector where organised crime is well established.”

The public prosecutors office in Milan has highlighted the situation in Fino Mornasco, a community of less than 10,000 people, where the mayor and members of his administration received 17 threats, including burnt out cars and cut tyres. The town’s mayor, Giuseppe Napoli, said while he had no doubt who was behind the attacks, the police lacked the resources to catch the perpetrators or identify their bosses. Mayor Napoli added it was not pleasant to know that people who mean to harm you know where you live. “So far they have only resorted to threats and criminal damage but I fear sooner or later somebody may get hurt or even killed.”

Italy’s centre-left government has now promised towns and cities additional support to fight organised crime. A spokesman for the interior ministry said that local communities faced the greatest threat from the mafia and deserved the full support of all state authorities.

Anti-mafia campaigners have also urged the government to provide greater support grass root campaigns like Addiopizzo (Goodby extortion money). The movement was set up in 2004 by five graduates who wanted to break the stranglehold the Mafia had on the Palermo economy. They peppered the city with stickers which read that people who pay extortion money (pizzo) were people without dignity. By 2007, 210 businesses had signed up and more than 10,000 residents promised to buy only from businesses that were on the pizzo-free list.

According to a report by the University of Palermo, the mafia extorts some €160 million from shops and businesses in the Palermo region. It is also estimated that across Sicily, some 80 per cent of businesses pay extortion money. According to the university, the pizzo averages €457 (640 dollars) a month for retail traders and €578 for hotels and restaurants. Construction companies are often asked to pay more than €2,000.


Europe hits back
at US claims of
Muslim no-go zones

London, 16 February 2015:
Europe has ridiculed the suggestions by some American politicians and news presenters that parts of European cities with large Muslim populations had become no-go areas. Mentioned were cities like Birmingham, London, Paris and Marseille. While there are some European cities where the percentage of Muslim residents exceeds 20 per cent of the population there is no evidence of zones that are outside state control. Of course, the cultural and commercial activities of Muslim newcomers often take place in certain parts of cities but Muslims are behaving exactly like Chinese, Jewish and other immigrants did before them. The restaurants and shops of New York’s Chinatown, London’s Golders Green or Berlin’s Kreuzberg welcome and rely on visitors and customers from all other parts of the cities.

Last month, Steve Emerson, a so-called terrorism expert employed by the US news channel Fox, claimed that in some areas in cities like Paris, Marseille or Birmingham Muslims were in complete control. "In Britain, it's not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don't go in," he said. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called the Fox commentator a complete idiot.

Steve Emerson was not the only high-profile American who recently made unfounded claims about no-go areas in Britain and Europe. In a speech in London, Louisiana Governor and presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal warned that some European countries had allowed Muslims to establish autonomous neighbourhoods in cities where they govern by a harsh version of Islamic law. When asked by journalists to name specific examples, the governor declined but said he had heard from folks in London that there were neighbourhoods where women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils.

On his recent visit to the USA, London’s Conservative mayor Boris Johnson said the Republican governor from Louisiana was talking complete nonsense. The mayor said he would like to give Jindal a few lessons on the jumbled-up ethnic mix in the British capital. "There are no no-go zones,” Boris Johnson asserted and offered to take the governor to any area in London he thought were no-go zones.

In Paris, the city council has given Mayor Anne Hidalgo the go-ahead to sue Fox News over its claims that Paris had Islamic neighbourhoods governed by Shariah law which non-Muslims are forbidden to enter and police avoid going to. "I will not accept insults against our city and its people. What's in question here is not fun or a bad joke, it's lies," the mayor said. Fox News, which has apologised for factual errors in its reporting, countered that any decision by the City of Paris to bring legal proceedings against a US news organisation was antithetical to free speech.

The original assertions by Fox News won support from Nigel Farage, leader of the rightist UK Independence Party. He told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that Paris’ decision to sue Fox News was incomprehensible. He claimed that Britain and Europe have suffered from moral cowardice and allowed big ghettos to develop.

The US-based Pew Research Center found that in 2010 the number of Muslims in Europe, excluding Turkey but including countries like Albania and Kosovo, totalled 44 million or six per cent of the European population. The number of Muslims in European Union countries was approximately 19 million or 3.8 per cent of the EU population.

But Muslims in Europe are not a homogeneous group. The majority of Muslims originate from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey or the Maghreb countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and, more recently, from the war-torn Middle East. They left their homelands for a great variety of reasons including political and cultural persecution, economic aspiration, security concerns and as a consequence of Britain’s withdrawal from India and Pakistan after World War II and France’s decision to grant independence to its North African territories during the 1950s (Morocco and Tunisia) and 1960s (Algeria).

European cities with large Muslim populations*
City
Country
Muslim population
as % of total
Blackburn UK
27%
Brussels Belgium
26%
Marseille France
25%
Rotterdam Netherlands
25%
Bradford UK
25%
Luton UK
25%
Antwerp Netherland
24%
Birmingham UK
22%
Stockholm Sweden
20%
Malmö Sweden
20%
Leicester UK
19%
Manchester UK
16%
Paris France
15%
The Hague Netherlands
14%
London UK
12%
Cologne Germany
12%
Vienna Austria
10%
Copenhagen Denmark
10%
Berlin Germany
9%
Antwerp Belgium
7%
*Please note: The above figures were collected by different research organisations at different times using different methods. They are therefore not strictly comparable.


Municipal treasurers
unprepared for sudden
strength of Swiss franc

Zurich, 18 January 2015:
Last week’s unexpected decision by the Swiss National Bank to abandon the franc’s fixed link of Sfr1.20 to one euro has sent shockwaves through the treasury departments of many local and regional authorities in Europe. First indications are that municipalities in Germany, France and Austria, which took out loans denominated in Swiss francs, will face considerably higher repayment costs. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, Swiss banks and other European financial institutions offered long-term franc-loans at interest rates that were much lower than those available in euros. At a time when the exchange rate between the euro and the Swiss franc was relatively stable, many local government treasurers believed the financial packages offered were too good to miss. Since then the value of the euro has dropped from an average of Sfr1.50 to almost parity.

Recent research by Reuters showed that French communities owed some five billion euros linked to the Swiss franc. Since the Swiss decision to allow the country’s currency to free-float, this debt has nominally increased by some 24 per cent. Reuters was told that the euro’s drop had also led to an ‘explosion’ of interest rates. “In some cases interest rates have doubled and tripled.”

The London-based Guardian newspaper reported in 2011 that Saint-Tropez, on the French Riveria, took out a 20-year loan with an interest rate, which was initially fixed at four cent but has been pegged to the value of the Swiss franc since 2012. With the franc at its present value, the interest on the loan could be as high as 30 per cent.

Austria’s capital Vienna also took out a Swiss-franc denominated loan before the financial upheaval in 2008. At the end of 2014, when one euro was worth Sfr1.20, the value of the debt was estimated to be €1.66 billion. Now with an exchange rate of virtually one to one, the size of the debt has increased by some €300 million. Federal states in Austria, which also face considerable losses, include Salzburg, Kärnten and Tirol.

In North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s largest state, some 29 local authorities are thought to have taken out loans linked to the Swiss franc. Gladbeck, a town of some 74,000 people has outstanding debts of 85 million francs or more than 1,000 francs per citizen. Mayor Ulrich Roland has warned that loan repayments are bound to increase dramatically.

The city of Essen, also in North-Rhine Westphalia, missed an opportunity to repay its 450-million Swiss franc loan last year, which it could have done for €374 million. Today, the city treasurer would have to find an additional €70 million but Lars Martin Klieve remains stoic. The euro will recover, he believes. In the meantime, the treasurers of Konstanz and Säckingen – both cities are on the border with Switzerland – have warned that municipal charges may have to go up if the strength of the Swiss franc continues.


Rome to bid for 2024
Olympics amidst
corruption and recession

Rome, 29 December 2014:
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Rome would go ahead with its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics despite of a massive corruption investigation in the country’s capital city. Earlier this month, the police arrested some 40 people after it had uncovered a criminal network in Rome, dubbed Mafia Capitale. The authorities also placed more than 100 people, including Rome’s former mayor Gianni Alemanno, under investigation. The charges include extortion, corruption, fraud, money laundering and embezzlement.

The police alleged that criminal gangs, whose members include Massimo Carminati, a notorious criminal who was given a 10-year prison sentence in 1998, were awarded municipal contracts after bribing and threatening city officials. In clandestine recordings gang members are heard to tell municipal employees that they faced dire consequences unless work was given to criminal front companies. “You need us to dig ditches? Erect hoardings?” Fine, we’ll do it. If I then find out that someone else did it - then it becomes something unpleasant.”

Gianni Alemanno, who was Mayor of Rome from 2008 until June 2013 and one of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi closest political allies, has denied any wrongdoing despite the authorities saying that a powerful criminal network involving mafia-style gang members, senior politicians and public managers had infiltrated City Hall. The police also alleged that the network had close links with neo-fascist groups. Until the accusations surfaced, Alemanno was a senior figure in the Brothers of Italy party, which traces its origins to Mussolini’s fascism.

Rome’s current centre-left mayor has ordered a review of all city contracts.

The Italian Prime Minister’s announcement that Rome would go ahead with its bid to host the 2014 Olympics has been met with derision and criticism. Politicians from the left and right called the plan madness. “The investigations into Rome and the mafia are ongoing and now we want to hand them the Olympics on a plate?” asked Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League. Rome was a candidate for the 2020 Olympics but the bid was dropped by the then Prime Minister Mario Monti, who said it would have been an unacceptable drain on public resources.

Italy, which is currently experiencing its worst recession since World War II, has, according to a report by the European Commission, more incidents of corruption than any other EU member country.


Anti-corruption mayor
wins Romanian
presidential election

Bucharest, 16 November 2014:
One of Romania’s most popular mayors won yesterday’s presidential elections much more comfortably than even exit polls had predicted. Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German, defeated the country’s Prime Minister by 55 to 45 per cent in the run-off after having trailed his opponent by ten percentage points in the first round of voting. The president-elect, who has been mayor of the city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) since 2000, succeeded by mobilising young voters and was strongly supported by the Romanian diaspora in Italy, Germany and Britain.

Klaus Iohannis' political rise can be attributed to the good reputation that has followed him for years. As mayor of Sibiu, he has already been re-elected four times, each time with a comfortable majority of 70 to 80 per cent. The former physics teacher is valued for how he fundamentally reformed and renovated the partially dilapidated medieval city. In 2007, Sibiu was recognised as one of the best examples of European integration: the year of Romania's ascension to the European Union, the city was chosen - along with Luxembourg - as European Capital of Culture.

The region is also booming economically. Hundreds of foreign investors, mainly from Germany and Austria, have settled there and helped to ensure that unemployment has trended towards zero. To compare: The overall unemployment rate in Romania, according to Eurostat, comes in at just over seven per cent.

In a country where corruption at all level of politics is rife, the Klaus Iohannis is highly regarded for his honesty and integrity. He promised that as President he would lead the political, moral, and economic regeneration of his country. "I am running because I wish to establish a new kind of politics on our country. Less show, less noise, and more concrete solutions for citizens, for Romania," he said in an interview before the election.

In Romania, the President shares power with the Prime Minister and Parliament. He is ultimately responsible for foreign policy and defence and also oversees the appointment of top state prosecutors and the heads of the intelligence services.


Mayor invites architects
from across the world
to reinvent Paris

Paris, 9 November 2014:
Barely a week after the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Europe’s most exciting new museum this century, opened in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne, Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced an architectural competition aiming to create new landmarks at 23 sites across the city. Paris will ask internationally renowned architects to produce ideas that will prefigure what the French capital might be like in the future. The Mayor said that each team would be asked to present concepts on how to bring added vitality to exceptional Parisian sites. The winners will then be able to purchase or rent the sites to carry out their projects while simultaneously conducting an urban experiment on an unparalleled scale.

When launching the project, Mayor Hidalgo told some 200 architects and developers that there was no other city in the world that has dared to do what we are doing today. “A city like Paris must be able to reinvent itself at every moment in order to meet the many challenges facing it. Particularly in terms of housing and everything relating to density, desegregation, energy and resilience. It is important in today's world to find new collective ways of working that will give shape to the future metropolis,” she detailed.

The mayor urged architects to be bold. “Surprise us by offering Parisians a new vision of their city, revealing new quarters with a wealth of possibilities.”

Jean-Louis Missika, the city’s deputy mayor, went into further detail. “The ‘Reinventing Paris’ call for projects should enable urban professionals of many disciplines to experiment and give concrete shape to the range of innovations that Paris needs. Far from limiting themselves merely to architectural audacity, their projects can address innovation in all its dimensions. The objective is not to innovate on all fronts but to seek out, for each site, the most pertinent type of innovation and reveal cutting-edge solutions.”


Spanish authorities arrest
51 suspected of local
government corruption

Madrid, 28 October 2014:
Spanish police have arrested 51 people in connection with one of the country’s most widespread operations against corruption in local government. A spokesman for Spain’s public prosecutor said the collusion between local councillors and civil servants with builders and utility companies as well as the corruption of middle-men and key companies, had helped them to secure contracts worth around €250 million (US$320m) in the last two years alone.

Spanish newspapers reported that those arrested included the former Popular Party senator and deputy first minister of Madrid, Francisco Granados, the Popular Party chairman of the province of León, Marcos Martínez, and the mayors of six towns in Greater Madrid, including Valdemoro, Parla, Collado Villalba, Torrejón de Velasco, Casarrubielos and Serranillos.

Most of the arrested politicians belong to Spain’s governing centre-right Popular Party (PP) but a former Socialist Party (PSE) mayor of the south-eastern city of Cartagena was also detained.

The 51 suspects will be charged with money laundering, falsifying documents, tax crimes, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of funds, misconduct in public office, revealing secrets, undertaking negotiations prohibited to civil servants, administrative fraud and criminal organisation. Banks have been ordered to block 400 accounts. The public prosecutor also ordered the seizure of more than 250 properties and 30 luxury motorcars. His office said that elected local government officials and civil servants awarded contracts to construction companies and other businesses in exchange for backhanders.

Operation Punic is ongoing but comes nine months after Swiss authorities tipped off their Spanish counterparts in January. Francisco Granados resigned as a PP senator in February 2014 after the Spanish daily El Mundo uncovered the existence of a €1.5 million Swiss bank account in his name.

In April, an investigation by The Spain Report found that Spanish courts were investigating some 1,660 political and economic cases.


Plenty of candidates
but no front runner
for London 2016

London, 22 October 2014:
Plans to charge voters £10 each to participate in a primary election to select Labour’s challenger in London’s 2016 mayoral election have been slammed by candidates.  Despite an earlier pledge to hold a ‘US-style’ open primary to select the party’s candidate, plans have since been diluted to introduce an ‘administration charge’ to participate, between £3 and £10, in the name of deterring ‘frivolous’ votes.  The May 2016 election will see a new mayor whatever the parties decide as current mayor Boris Johnson is standing down in order to return to the UK Parliament.

Among those likely to seek Labour’s nomination for the 2016 mayoral race are former government ministers Tessa Jowell, Margaret Hodge, Sadiq Khan, Andrew Adonis and David Lammy.  Recent polling shows former Olympics minister Jowell to be the frontrunner among the voting public.  Other than Lammy and transport expert Christian Wolmar, none of the others has formally declared their candidacy.

While Jowell and Hodge, who chairs the UK Parliament’s public spending watchdog committee, have performed well in recent polling, even among non-Labour voters, the likes of former transport secretary Lord Adonis and Lammy have scant support.  Khan, Labour’s ‘Shadow Minister for London’, is known to prefer to await the outcome of the 2015 UK general election and the prospect of national office before declaring any mayoral bid.  Diane Abbott, a long time associate of former mayor Ken Livingstone and until recently a shadow minister, is also likely to run, while Baroness Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, has also been suggested.

At this stage, no Conservative figures have identified themselves with the race to succeed Boris Johnson as mayor following his decision to stand again for Parliament in 2015.  Names frequently floated in connection with the role include former 2012 Olympics chief Lord Seb Coe and businesswoman turned television personality Baroness Karren Brady, both of whom have sought to deny any speculation.  City Hall deputy mayors Stephen Greenhalgh and Victoria Borwick have also been associated with taking on Boris’ mantle but lack the public recognition required to take on Labour’s machine big-hitters.


Berlin’s next mayor
chooses pragmatism
over showmanship

Berlin, 19 October 2014:
Berlin’s senator for economic development, who once said that he did not do glamour, is all but certain to become the next Mayor (Regierender Bürgermeister) of the German capital after he defeated his two rivals in the first round of the governing Social Democratic Party’s (SPD’s) primary election. Michael Müller, whom a local newspaper reporter once addressed as Mr Grey (Herr Grau) will succeed the flamboyant and sometimes outrageous Klaus Wowereit, who decided to step down after 13 years in office. The Christian Democrats (CDU), the SPD’s junior coalition partner in the Berlin Senate, have already confirmed that they would support his candidacy in December’s parliamentary vote.

Michael Müller’s decisive victory surprised many in Berlin. When, in August, Klaus Wowereit announced that he would resign, Müller was seen by many as an outsider. Even party colleagues rated his chances as remote. After all, only a few months earlier his pet project to build housing on the redundant Tempelhof Airport was turned down overwhelmingly in a Berlin-wide referendum.

Despite their different personalities, Berlin’s 49-year old Mayor-designate was the outgoing mayor’s favourite candidate. Klaus Wowereit found him utterly loyal and regarded him as the most competent member of his administration. This sentiment is supported by Berlin’s leading newspapers. The Berlin edition of Die Welt described Michael Müller as pragmatic, dependable but with little charisma, while Der Tagesspiegel wrote during the campaign that he was objective to the point of boredom but conceded after yesterday’s victory that his lack of vanity and desire to avoid the spotlight has become attractive after many years of showmanship in Berlin’s city hall.

Of Europe’s six most important capital cities, four - Berlin, Paris, Rome and Vienna - are governed by left-of-centre mayors, while Madrid and London have conservative mayors.


English cities retain less
of local tax product than
many foreign competitors

London, 4 August 2014:
Last week England’s eight biggest cities outside London called on the British government to grant them greater freedom to control their own destinies. The leaders of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield claimed that transferring powers from central to local government would create 1.16 million new jobs and add £222 billion (US$375bn) to the national economy by 2030.

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, said that he knew his city better than anyone in Whitehall (London’s government district). “If Liverpool was able to retain more of the taxes it raises we could use them to generate the right skills to enable people to get jobs, attract more investment and give more support to business. At the moment 95 per cent of taxes raised in Liverpool are sent to the government whereas cities in Germany, Sweden, Canada and the US keep up to 10 times more. We need more decentralisation if we are to compete globally," the mayor maintained.

Mayor Anderson was correct when he asserted that in the UK local tax income as a percentage of total tax revenue was woefully low but it is by no means the lowest amongst EU or OECD member countries. According to the Paris-based OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), local tax proceeds in the UK account for just under five per cent of total tax revenue, while it was more than 15 per cent in the US and 13 and eight per cent in France and Germany respectively. In Japan local taxes account for more than 25 per cent of total revenue, while in the Czech Republic, Greece and Mexico the corresponding figures are below two per cent.

Local tax revenue as percentage of total
general tax revenue in selected countries

Country
Local tax
Sweden
36.62%
Iceland
26.67%
Denmark
26.52%
Japan
25.22%
Finland
22.81%
South Korea
15.81%
USA
15.20%
Switzerland
15.16%
France
13.23%
Estonia
13.07%
Norway
12.58%
Poland
12.45%
Slovenia
11.12%
Spain
9.74%
Canada
9.49%
Turkey
8.93%
Germany
8.16%
Israel
7.77%
New Zealand
7.13%
Portugal
7.12%
Chile
6.28%
Hungary
6.27%
UK
4.90%
Belgium
4.70%
Luxembourg
3.99%
Netherlands
3.59%
Australia
3.38%
Austria
3.19%
Ireland
3.10%
Slovak Republic
3.02%
Czech Republic
1.26%
Greece
1.09%
Mexico
1.09%
Source: OECD


English mayors’
use of Twitter
still in its infancy

London, 1 July 2014:
While most leading politicians insist that social media plays an important part in their efforts to communicate with voters, Britain’s elected mayors only make half-hearted use of sites such as Twitter. Only the British capital’s mayor Boris Johnson can claim that a sizeable proportion of Londoners follows his tweets, even though many of his 900,000 plus followers are probably admirers from across the country and indeed the world. Of England’s 16 elected mayors, eleven maintain personal Twitter accounts to respond to and address their fellow citizens. With a following of 934,000, London’s Boris Johnson potentially reaches more than eleven per cent of residents while, with a reach-score of 4.5 per cent, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson is distant second to his colleague in London.

Boris Johnson started tweeting almost immediately after he defeated Ken Livingstone in May 2008. Other mayors like Bristol’s George Ferguson or Liverpool’s Joe Anderson signed up to Twitter more recently. The Mayor of Mansfield’s love for Twitter only lasted from March to August 2011.

With Twitter’s unspoken etiquette of ‘I follow you and then you follow me’, one of the reasons for Boris Johnson’s success in attracting followers is the large number of individuals and organisations (3,871) he proclaims to follow. Other mayors, with the exception of Tower Hamlet’s Lutfur Rahman, all track less than one thousand Twitterers.

While English mayors with Twitter pages follow predominantly individuals and organisations with local connections, some are also keen to track the tweets of national and international people of prominence. Boris Johnson is a fan of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and also follows the tweets of the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron as well as those of Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and actor Danny DeVito. Liverpool’s mayor follows Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson on Twitter, while among the Twitter pages Bristol Mayor George Ferguson follows include those of J K Rowling, Arianne Huffington and Kevin Spacey.

English mayors on Twitter
Mayor
On Twitter since
Following
Followers
Population reach
Boris Johnson, London May 2008
3,871
934,000
11.1%
George Ferguson. Bristol December 2011
503
19,400
4.5%
Dave Hodgson, Bedford September 2009
414
2,540
3.2%
Joe Anderson, Liverpool February 2012
751
14,500
3.1%
Dorothy Thornhill, Watford July 2009
477
2,333
2.6%
Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets December 2010
1,723
3,494
1.4%
Ros Jones, Doncaster n/a
916
1,545
1.2%
Ian Stewart, Salford March 2012
690
2,004
0.9%
Tony Egginton, Mansfield March 2011
370
531
0.7%
Steve Bullock, Lewisham April 2009
131
1,345
0.5%
Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside February 2012
374
628
0.3%
Research: 30 June 2014

London’s Boris Johnson follows on Twitter:
Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister
Bertrand Delanoe, Former Mayor of Paris
Raymond Blank, Celebrity chef
Mo Farah, Olympic Gold medal winner
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft
Brian Paddick, Former Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor
Rupert Murdoch, Media mogul
David Miliband, Former UK foreign minister
Danny DeVito, Actor
Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian newspaper
William Hague, UK Foreign Minister

Liverpool’s Joe Anderson follows on Twitter
Daniel Finkelstein, Political commentator
Vince Cable, UK Business Secretary
Edwina Currie, Former Tory minister
John Prescott, Former UK Deputy Prime Minister
Kenneth Dalglish, Football manager
Mike Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York
Alastair Campbell, Former spokesman for Tony Blair
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
Tom Menino, Former Mayor of Boston
George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister)
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
Richard Branson, Entrepreneur

Bristol’s George Ferguson follows on Twitter
J K Rowling, Author of Harry Potter
Paddy Ashdown, Former leader of the Liberal Democrats
Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post
Jamie Oliver, Celebrity chef
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool
Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
John Prescott, Former UK Deputy Prime Minister
Rupert Murdoch, Media mogul
Kevin Spacey, Actor
Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green MP
Richard Branson, Entrepreneur






World Mayor 2014
The results of World Mayor 2014 were announced on 3 February 2015




Italian mayors face constant intimidation by organised crime



Europe hits back at US claims of Muslim no-go zones
(Photo: East London is home to a thriving Bangladeshi community)


Municipal treasurers unprepared for sudden strength of Swiss franc



Rome to bid for 2024 Olympics amidst corruption and recession



Anti-corruption mayor wins Romanian presidential election



Mayor invites architects from across the world to reinvent Paris
(Photo: The Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris)


Spanish authorities arrest 51 suspected of local government corruption



Plenty of candidates but no front runner for London 2016
(Photo: London's City Hall with Tower Bridge)


Berlin’s next mayor chooses pragmatism over showmanship



English cities retain less of local tax product than many foreign competitors



English mayors’ use of Twitter still in its infancy