The mayoral vote may have stunned many but what was perhaps most shocking was the pathetic voter turnout in both the council election and referendum.
Just 16 per cent in some wards made the effort to put an X in a box at polling station close to home at some point between 7am and 10pm.
It was only in the inner city wards where the Sikh and Muslim communities vote in large numbers and where the role of councillor commands greater respect that higher turnouts were achieved. High levels of postal voting may also have played a part here.
It emerged on Friday that after several months of debate and the issue raised in newspapers, TV, social media and with the backing of organisations like the Chamber of Commerce that only 28 per cent of people could be bothered to vote in the mayoral referendum.
A mix of apathy and antipathy appeared to win the day for the status quo.
Across the channel in the French Presidential elections there were turnouts of 80 per cent plus, and people were voting for the second time in two weeks.
The lowest turnout there, an exceptional 43 per cent in the region of Saint-Martin/Saint-Barthelemy, almost matched the highest ward turnout in Birmingham.
While it is not a direct comparison between a national poll and the local council elections, the difference is still staggering.
Perhaps, having been invaded twice in the last century and having had to cut off a king’s head to gain the vote, it is more prized in France.
Another reason might be the polarisation of policy is still there, while in the UK the difference is in the detail, rather than an over-arching ideological rift.
And the Sunday vote is favoured in many countries where politics and religion can mix and people have time to make their trip to the polling station.
During a holiday in Greece a few years ago, I found the pubs and tavernas were also closed on election Sunday to avoid voters being distracted from their democratic duty – even though voting is compulsory anyway.
Voting is compulsory in 23 states and just under half of them enforce the law. In Australia modest fines are imposed if a satisfactory reason for failing to vote cannot be given. Turnouts are therefore in the mid-90s.
The problem with compulsory voting is that there is little evidence to suggest it encourages greater engagement in politics beyond the obvious.
And this is a thorny issue now being looked at by the ‘Yes to a Birmingham Mayor Campaign’ following the referendum.
Rather than pack up and walk away they have regrouped and set themselves a new aim of engaging people in politics – particularly city politics.
Academics are split over the reasons and significance of low turnouts.
In some cases it is seen as a sign of contentment with the status quo, but this is difficult to believe given the economic situation and high levels of unemployment and deprivation in the city.
Others suggest it is reflective of the degree of influence a voter feels they have over the result. They won’t bother if they don’t feel it will change anything.
Someone once said: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always wins.” That is especially true for city councils for whom most funding and activity is ring fenced and rigidly controlled from Whitehall.