I’m very excited about this week’s guest – so excited that one point this was going to be the Christmas special, but I got too excited to wait. I’ve even pitched this guest’s identity as a mystery at the start of the show, so in an ideal world I wouldn’t even name them here at all. But that’d be terrible SEO, so I’m going to get on with it and just hope that nobody actually bothers to read this thing. So:
This week’s guest is Sue Jeffrey, the leader of Redcar & Cleveland council, and Labour’s candidate to be mayor of the Tees Valley. Sue was, tragically, unsuccessful in that race, losing 49/51 in the final round to the Conservative Ben Houchen. This result caused much consternation in the New Statesman office, and on this podcast – so much so, that it’s still an election that people reference to Stephen Bush and myself.
Anyway: having accidentally turned Sue into a meme, I decided it was time to actually interview her. From her office in Redcar, she explained to me why devolution matters to regions like her own; why heavy industry needs more attention from central government; and what can be done to boost the economy of regions like the Tees Valley.
Incidentally, meeting Sue took me on a day out that involved six trains and visiting two cities I’d never been to before (Middlesbrough and York). This was fun, obviously, and I’m gradually trying to get to all of the cities in the Centre for Cities database, and have only done around half – so if you’re in one of the others, why not invite me to a thing?
Can’t blame a boy for trying.
Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman's cities site, CityMetric. It's hosted by Jonn Elledge.