I’ve been having a conversation with Birmingham and I have come to a monumental decision: I cannot rule myself out of running for mayor.
I have chosen to make this announcement in an exclusive article for the Birmingham Post because, frankly, no one else was interested.
I have been associated with the title for 20 years now and the Post is like a family to me, albeit a highly dysfunctional one.
I felt I owed it to my colleagues to honour the faith at least two of them have shown in me by nailing my colours to the mast through the pages of this newspaper.
But let there be no confusion, no whiff of deception, no lack of transparency. The views expressed here are my own. If the will of the people is such that I have no option but to stand as Birmingham’s first directly elected mayor, then some tricky decisions will have to taken.
Is bidding for political office compatible with writing about the art of eating excessively at other people’s expense? I leave it to you to decide. I want to know what you think.
As part of my listening exercise, I have been canvassing the public’s views through the use of social media. The response has been overwhelming and Team McComb is now analysing the replies we have received via Twitter. You can follow my sporadic entries at @mccomb, some of which may even address the matter of the mayoralty.
Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart, a potential rival should I stand, was praised for her grassroots campaign at the last general election and I see nothing wrong with copying the success of other candidates.
So as well as looking at the big picture, I want to know about potholes, cracks in the pavement, dodgy street lamps, the poor provision of restaurant tasting menus in our suburbs.
Barack Obama has successfully harnessed the power of social media and I intend to do the same. By bringing together the Gisela Stuart and Obama strategies in an engagement bouillabaisse, henceforth be known as the GisBama© model, I think the McComb campaign could fly.
Important lessons have been learned via my first round of “issues polling” on Twitter. This exercise has been finely focused using the hashtag #mccomb4mayor (©). (Huge thanks for this branding masterstroke must go to @peparkin, who I’ve never met. He’s a Tory but he likes Led Zeppelin and Nevile Shute so he can’t be all that bad. Incidentally, I have also drawn strength from the pronouncements of Paul Dale, the Post’s former public affairs editor, who has gone on record as saying my bid for office doesn’t stand a “cat in hell’s chance.” Dale is an astute political pundit but he’s lost the plot on this one.)
Interestingly, the big issues raised by the people of Birmingham chime with my personal conviction that gastronomy should lie at the heart of my (possible) tilt at the mayoralty.