CAN WE DO IT? – YES WE CAN!

Joeopoly

We are now reaching the time when the people of Liverpool have to make the second most important decision of the year that is, of course, how they will vote in the local elections for who will be their Mayor, Councillor and Police Commissioner on May 5. Of course overshadowing all that is the EU referendum on June 23rd which is not only more important than local elections but even more important than any specific General Election.

Ever since June last year we have known that the mood has begun to turn back towards the Lib Dems. We have seen this nationally where we have been the big winner in votes and seats in council by-elections across the Country. Tories have flat-lined. Labour, Green and UKIP have lost seats and votes.

But we have known this in other ways too. In Liverpool our membership is up by 50% with many of our new members now out on the streets or even standing as candidates. We have received more than £3,500 in donations from members of the public – more than ever before and people have respected our pledge not to accept more than £250 from any individual or company.

But it is on the doorstep that we have received the biggest reassurance. Since June last year we have knocked at more than 10,000 doors and we know that people are returning to us for three reasons:

  1. They feel that they can do so now that we are not in the coalition.
  2. Many have realised what the Lib Dems stopped happening now that the Tories haven’t got a brake on their behaviour.
  3. They really, really do not like what is happening in Liverpool or the behaviour of those who are causing it to happen.

They don’t like the waste of money; or the use of money for personal legal fees; or the sale of parts of Liverpool’s Parks and green heritage; or the purchase of the Cunard Buildings even after it became apparent that it could not be used as a Liner Terminal.

They don’t like the way that their councillors only seem to pop up just before the election. They don’t like the way that the Mayor behaves or the abuse he showers on those who criticise him on his rare appearances outside the Mayor’s Palace at the Pier Head.

You might expect me to say things like this to increase our share of the vote. You would be right! BUT it’s not only the Lib Dems who know we are advancing – the Labour Party know as well. I had read out to me yesterday from a highly reputable source a panicky e-mail to Labour activists to turn up to stop our advancing in several wards in South Liverpool. Labour knows as we do that there is only one Party that can beat them – the Lib Dems. That’s why Anderson turns his fire on us at every possible occasion. That’s why he leaves the Greens largely unscathed.

Joe Anderson can be beaten particularly because of the voting system that will be used. It’s called the Alternative Vote system and means that if no candidate gets 50% of the vote then a second count is held in which the second votes of the eliminated candidates will be added to the first votes for the top two candidates. It is absolutely clear that Joe Anderson will not get 50%+ of the vote and that I am a clear second. If all the second votes of the Greens, Conservatives etc are given to me then I can win.

Of course the best and easiest thing to do is to vote Lib Dem in all three elections. But if you are tempted to vote for a different Party in the Mayoral and Police Commissioner elections then your second vote can still make a difference if it is used for the Lib Dems. The AV system is not one which we like but it was the Labour Government’s chosen method when they introduced the legislation which established City Mayors. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if Labour were beaten using an election system introduced by Labour!?

If you want to know more about why you should vote for the Lib Dem team on May 5th you can read our manifesto at www.richardkemp.org.uk. We are the only Party that can suggest this to you as we are the only Party which has produced a manifesto for these important elections. You might well ask why no-one has bothered. We do it for two reasons. Firstly, so you can get real information before you decide to vote and secondly so that you can hold us to account when we do get elected.

Only the Lib Dems can defeat Labour in Liverpool. If you want a change I hope that we can count on your support. If you want to do more than just vote then you can volunteer or make a donation at our website.

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Response to the Hillsborough Verdicts on behalf of the Liberal Democrats of the City Region

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They’ll Never Walk Alone – We Will Always Remember Them

Today’s verdicts are a vindication of the 96, the relatives of the 96; fans of LFC as a whole and of the City of Liverpool in its entirety.

27 years ago the 96 and countless others were accused of being drunk; yobbish behaviour; entering the ground without tickets; turning up late; urinating on the dead stealing from the dead and other even worse suggestions.

This impression was fostered by authorities which wished to deflect blame from their own incompetence and lack of planning.

Four years ago the Commission chaired so ably by the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, showed without a doubt the depths of the crimes committed by the authorities and the extent of the cover up. Today’s verdicts have sealed into law what the Commission said.

We hope today that lessons can still be learned from what went so tragically wrong 27 years ago. We demand now that legal action must be taken against those responsible for the cover up and the original deaths. But more important than that we hope that today the relatives and support groups can lay down their burden because they and their loved ones and our beloved city have all been truly vindicated. May they all, and in every sense, rest in peace tonight. Their job is done.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

07885 626913

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Drinkaware, Health Aware, Self-aware

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The Liverpool Lib Dem Manifesto section dealing with health. We are the only Party to mention health in this election

I attended a really excellent meeting of the Drinkaware campaign last Thursday, indeed I gave a speech and joined a panel discussion. This like all good conferences, challenged me and made me think even more about health, people’s attitudes to health and what I should be doing about developing better health policies and strategies.

The really nice thing about the Drinkaware crowd is that they were not finger wagging and censorious about the ‘demon drink’. In fact most, if not all, the speakers said they were themselves drinkers. What Drinkaware was doing was looking at specific drink problems and helping people set their own reasonable guidelines for drinking safely.

Men and women are now recommended not to have more than 14 units of alcohol a week. You are also recommended not to save them up for a binge session all at the same time. Spread them out sensibly through the week, with a couple of days of no drinking, provides no harm. It enables the organs of the body to function properly and refresh themselves outside the drinking periods. Drink more than that and your body cannot recover. Drink a lot more than that and it will rapidly deteriorate and the likelihood is that you will die earlier than otherwise because of that poor health.

Of great interest to me was the fact that many people will be amazed at one of the biggest problem areas. Not young people getting legless on a Friday and/or Saturday night; not the people who are out in the street drinking ‘Bucky’ out of bottles concealed in paper bags. Of course these are areas of and people with concern. No, one of the biggest concerns is professional men aged 45-64. They have the money to drink; often get drink free and are absolutely sure that they can cope. “When I wake up in the morning I feel fine”; “My drinking doesn’t stop me doing my job properly”. So that’s all right then. No it isn’t. Under your skin you organs are beginning to malfunction and eventually your cognitive functions will be reduced.

The recommendations on alcohol are the same as the ideas on other drinks and foods. Don’t give up sugary fizzy drinks altogether just have one a month as a treat. A ‘Greasy Spoon’ full English breakfast is Ok now and then but not every day.

The same is true for exercise. You do not need to do a marathon or burn yourself out in a gym. Just walk quite fast for 30 minutes three times a week. Just walk somewhere if it only takes you 20 minutes instead of getting in the car or on the boss. Moderation is fine in what you do as well as in what you eat and drink.

You will see from the picture above that we are placing great stress in our election manifesto on health matters given the increased influence and power that councils now have since the creation of Health & Wellbeing Boards and the transfer of public health back to local government. Liverpool Lib Dems are the only Party to include health in our local and mayoral manifesto. This is hardly surprising as we are the only party to have an election manifesto! If you want to see more then you can find the link to it at https://richardkemp.org.uk.

What particularly struck a chord with me though was the fact that we and Drinkaware have the same view as to health can be improved. Of course clinicians and staff in the NHS are important. But they are only part of the picture. In fact there was not a single representative of a Clinical Commissioning Group present at the conference. But there were people from charities, public health, local government, the Police and self-help groups. None of us can solve complex health problems by ourselves. But together we can work to provide the research to build on and the systems to deliver real cultural change which is the only way we can bring both growing health problems and especially health inequality under control.

I was especially impressed by their suggestions about who can do more on the front line. Professionals like pharmacists, opticians, dentists can do so much more to deal with a range of symptoms which could readily be treated early. All this was confirmed to me by my cousin who has been a GP for more than 40 years. He believes that more than half the people that he sees do not need a doctor. They need reassurance for their symptoms rather than medicines or treatment. They see a trip to the Doctor both as their right and as part of their social life. That means that our GPs cannot spend all the time they want to with people who are really ill. Other people could provide that reassurance.

My GP cousin also confirmed how much illness is really in the mind. People with a positive outlook don’t get ill so often and recover more quickly when they do. That’s why it is so important to get people into work. Who would not feel dressed and ill if they thought that they had no future and no money for the little pleasures in life that we all like.

But perhaps this leads to the most important conclusion shared by Drinkaware and all the other proactive health organisations. That the main determinant if health is us. If we do the right things; if we think the right way; if we are supported the right way we can all live longer and healthier lives. That must be the target for all politicians in Liverpool.

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Labour’s gimmicks for the local elections in Liverpool

LpoolTH

Control of this place is too important to be left to gimmicks

I did something just now that I have never done before! I visited Labour’s web site to look for their manifesto for the local elections which are just over two weeks off. I looked at Joe’s official website which states “2016 manifesto coming soon”. Well its only 16 days to the elections so it had better be soon! In fact though almost a quarter of the votes that will be cast in the elections will be cast by post. Those ballot papers go out on Wednesday and many of them will be on their way back on Thursday!

The reason I was going through this torture was to see if I could put in context the two announcements that Labour have made. I will deal with them in turn:

Firstly, the suggestion that Liverpool should host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. This is not a new idea – in fact it was discussed in Council and was heavily reported in the local media last summer. Labour made it clear then that they could only support the idea if the Government supported it financially and in other ways. This is absolutely the right approach. This is a national matter and no individual council or even the city region could go it alone. So what you might ask has been done since last summer and the powerful announcement last week. The answer is precisely nothing. I contacted the officers who have said there had been a couple of conversations with the Mayor about this but nothing had been prepared or considered.

This is quite dreadful. Bidding for a complex event like the Commonwealth Games needs years of planning and partnership building. You cannot start too soon to do this as it will involve many millions of pounds of capital investment. Yet a year after this was first discussed we haven’t started at all.

The second announcement was to create a new housing company to build 10,000 new rent to buy homes at a cost of £1 billion. It would not only provide the home but would charge extra on the rent to enable the tenant to secure a mortgage on this or another property. Simple maths tells us that this works out at £100k for each property. What would you get for an average of £100k? One or two bedroomed apartments. There is already a glut in the market in Liverppo, especially inner city Liverpool, with the number of homes of this type being built. Do we really need more of them when the ‘market’ is producing more than is needed? How many people actually want to live in a flat?

What Liverpool needs more of are family homes at an affordable price and those homes should be houses not apartments. It also needs more social housing. We need to build homes for rent not just to those who can and do aspire to move onwards and upwards but for those who, for a variety of reasons cannot share those aspirations.

I have talked to potential investors for this housing company including insurance companies, building societies and banks. There are no institutional takers for this amount of money for this purpose. The council could not begin to find money at this sort of scale to meet the promises being made by Labour. It’s already massively increased our borrowing at a time when our revenue has shrunk making the whole financial situation of the council inherently more risky.

So what Labour have presented us so far are two uncosted gimmicks with no supporting documents behind them and no idea as to where the money might come from for either of these grandiose schemes. What Labour haven’t presented is a manifesto by which we might look at the proposals in context and across the whole range of the council’s activities. Mind you they are not alone in this. The Green Party have presented an uncosted wish list and no-one else appears to have produced anything!!

Our manifesto is available at https://richardkemp.org.uk. It’s costed and it’s coherent. That’s what all the Parties should be doing now. These elections are extremely important for the city. The electorate have an absolute right to demand of those who seek one of the most powerful jobs in English politics a detailed manifesto against which they can judge those candidates.

Liverpool is at a cross roads. The momentum given to the city by the successful run up to and delivery of Capital of Culture is beginning to wear off. We desperately need new ideas, methods and targets if Liverpool is to sue all the potential which I know that it has. To date only the Liverpool Lib Dems have given a detailed way forward for the city. Perhaps you should ask the other Parties why they have failed to do so.

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“Move On or Move Out” Challenge to Redrow

SEFPARK
Local people have waited too long for a decision. Is it being kept back until after the local elections?
I have today issued a !”move on or move out” challenge to Redrow Homes over their proposed development of the Sefton Park Meadowlands.

I have written to two of the Company’s none-executive directors who I know from my national work to ask them to intercede with Redrow to get the company to withdraw from the development.

In my letter I point out that it is more than 1.5 years since Redrow had a consultation event for the Park and just under 1.5 years have passed since they submitted a planning application. Since then both the Council and Redrow have remained silent on the issue despite much public pressure.

So I believe it’s time for Redrow to “Move on or Move Out”. We are currently in the middle of a heavily contested Mayoral Election. This is the ideal opportunity for Redrow to show that it listens to public opinion by withdrawing its ill thought proposals. If Redrow does not do this we can only assume that the company is waiting until after the elections for a better time to make an extremely unpopular decision.

My full letter to two Redrow Homes Directors

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
16, Dovedale Road,
Liverpool L18 1DW
Richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk

Liz Peace,
Sir Michael Lyons
None Executive Dire4ctors,
Redrow Homes,

By E-Mail

Dear Liz and Michael,

Re: Sefton Park Meadowlands, Liverpool 17

I am writing to you as people I have known for many years to try and unlock Redrow’s intentions as to the above piece of land.

For background it is more than 3 years since the local community was stunned by the suggestion that this lovely, unspoiled piece of parkland would be built on. It is just over 1.5 years since Redrow had a shambolic consultation event to discuss the plans with the community who roundly condemned them. It is just under 1.5 years since Redrow put in a planning application for the development which has still to see the light of day on the planning committee on which I sit.

This is considerably upsetting for people with a great attachment to the Park. This description includes most of the population of South Liverpool!!

I believe that the major problem is the number of trees that will need to be hacked down. The two sites which will form the one site are entirely surrounded by beautiful established trees at about 20ft intervals. They and the grassland within them form an idyllic picture as the entrance to a Grade 1 Park.

So I believe it’s time for Redrow to “Move on or Move Out”. We are currently in the middle of a heavily contested Mayoral Election. This is the ideal opportunity for Redrow to show that it listens to public opinion by withdrawing its ill thought proposals. If Redrow does not do this we can only assume that the company is waiting until after the elections for a better time to make an extremely unpopular decision.

Would you please use your positions as none-executive directors of the Company to ensure that this appalling development proposals are withdrawn now? If not this will threaten the position of Redrow within the City as a whole and could, given a change of leadership of the Council, lead to the ending of the strategic housing relationship which the company enjoys with the Council.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Richard
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate

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Commonwealth games Bid – Peter Kilfoyle nails it!!!

Labour Rose

The Labour Rose is wilting in Liverpool as the comrades fall out

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. With Labour imploding before our eyes and many Labour members never mind voters jumping ship and voting for me on May 5th I think I could shut up shop and let them fight it out amongst themeselves..

Nowere is this more true than the thoughts of a very much respected former Minister and Labour MP, Peter Kilfoyle. I reproduce below his thoughts on the Mayors statement on the hosting of the Commonwealth games. The only thing I need to add to it is that this is not a  new statement. It was made last June and published extensively in the Echo. The Mayor made clear then that he would bid for the Games if the Government paid for it. What has he done since then to work with the Government on what is at face value a good idea? Apparently nothing.

Here is what Peter Kilfoyle said:

                                                  Spin until you are dizzy

Full marks to the mayoral spin doctors for getting coverage for their man for a third night on the trot they must have something on the editor!! It must be a first for a Labour candidate to get such exposure in “The Echo “for a local election. Fresh back from his American freebie, the mayor must be chuffed.

However , a Commonwealth Games bid is not all it seems .We will “consider hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games “, says the mayor . Sorry, Joe, you have this wrong. The games organisers will consider Liverpool ( if we apply ), not the other way around .That is , if we can guarantee funding  Taking Glasgow as a guide – and they had the support of two governments – Liverpool’s contribution alone would be around £120 million . This a huge amount for a cash-strapped city in which Joe is giving money away to businesses like a drunken sailor. It also assumes more back from the government than they have taken away in grants under their austerity regime. Fat chance!

More worrying is the timetable .These games would be in ten years’ time, in 2026. Mayor Anderson says he will be off in 2017.  There can, therefore, only be two explanations of a serious bid. Firstly is the assumption that Mayor Anderson believes he can bequeath to his city successors his diktat for what should happen in the city long after he has jumped from the Liverpool City Council ship .

The alternative explanation is that he is confident of winning the Labour nomination for LCR mayor and winning the post in 2017 .Then he could, if successful, push for the games from his new position. However, what would his colleagues in the other authorities think of this ? Who has been consulted? Or is it all just a flight of fancy? Joe’s business friends may be party to his plans, but what of his colleagues?

The timing of his letter seeking support from John Whittingdale is unfortunate to put it mildly. As the Secretary of State is being roasted over his liaison with a prostitute, he has other things on his mind than Joe’s election gimmicks. It does not augur well for a plea for financial aid .Nil points to the spinners for intelligent timing!!

Wha do you think folks?

 

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Why would my Mayoralty be different?

I will go out into the community and listen to and talk with local people

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I will go out into the community and listen to and talk with local people of all political persuasions

The leading politician of an area is always a very important figure in the local community and wider afield. People inside the community decide whether that person is a problem solver or a money waster; whether that person builds relationships or destroys them. In a wider sense the way that person conducts him or herself decides the way that the area is perceived. That in turn leads to investment decisions in both the public and private sectors. Those decisions lead to employment and other areas which impact on the daily life of all an area’s citizens.

That decision is even more important when you consider a Mayoralty. In a council where there is a Council Leader there are always checks and balances to control how a Leader behaves or what they do. With a Mayoralty those checks and balances disappear. The Mayor is unchallengeable except by the law. In too many Mayoral authorities an Emperor is born surrounded by courtiers who either fear the wrath of the Mayor or are seeking favours from him/her. That means the Mayor hears what they want to hear and that the scrutiny of the Mayor is perfunctory if performed at all.

It is up to you to decide what is happening in Liverpool today under the current Mayor. I am putting out my political ideas in my blog and in my manifesto. That can be found at www.richardkemp.org.uk. Here is my personal manifesto. I am defining how I would behave if you elect me as your Mayor on May 5th. These are the standards by which you would judge a Kemp Mayoralty:

  1. I will abolish the title of Elected Mayor! I believe that this is unnecessary and is part of the friction with the 5 other City Region councils which all have Council Leaders. I will return to the ‘title’ of Council Leader although of course I would have all the legal powers and responsibilities of the Elected Mayor. This particularly important when you recall that next year the addition of a Liverpool City Region Mayor would give us 3 Liverpool Mayors!
  2. I will reduce the salary for the role from £79,500 to £40,000 per year.
  3. I will make myself available to the people of Liverpool. Every month I will have a 2 hour open house in which any councillor, resident or business person can ask me any question about the work of the council or any other question relating to things that happen in the city. Every month I will spend 2 hours out in the community at a pre-advertised location and time being available to talk to people in that community.
  4. I will not seek or accept any sponsorship for myself or my Party from any organisation or company which has a contract; partnership or other relationship with the Council. I will accept no donation from anyone more than £250.
  5. I will not use taxpayer’s money to settle any person legal or other claims.
  6. I will seek to decentralise the council and work with any organisation or person who has positive ideas for the city and is prepared to do something about them.
  7. I will treat people with a different view point to my own, including members of other parties, with respect and still try to minimise difference with people with whom I cannot reach agreement.
  8. I will seek to maximise the transparency of everything that I and the council do. I will reduce the number of FOI requests by seeking to ensure that information is given quickly to requests about our work. Where, for any reason, information cannot be made available I will ensure that those seeking information are told why that information cannot be given.
  9. If I am going abroad on council or other local government business I will publish why I am going; who I am going for; who is paying for the trip and what I hope to achieve for Liverpool for my journey. Incidentally, I do believe that part of the work of the Leader is to be outside the City both nationally and internationally drumming up business and support for the city; its people and its businesses.
  10. I will always remember that I am not the representative of the Town Hall in the community but the representative of the community in the Town Hall. In all things I will set the needs of the City above the needs and requirements of my Party.

As a councillor of 33 years standing I have always tried to endorse these principles. I can be judged not only on my words for the future but my track record over those years. If you have any queries about anything here you can contact me as always at richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk.

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