I didn’t go to the meeting on Monday for mayoral candidates but my agent confirmed my worst fears. If Phil Redmond, the BNP and English Democrats all put up a candidate then all the 10 candidates will be white men who are at best middle aged and mostly middle class. So that’s really representative of the city as a whole then!!
But then I am not surprised by this. There have been 21 people who have been elected mayors in England. Only two of them have been women and only one, Mayor Thornhill in Watford, has been around for any length of time. Although some of the mayors are in areas with a much greater ethnic mix than Liverpool only one has been from an ethnic minority. I prophesy now that the same will happen with the elected police commissioners as well. More boys looking for toys.
This is not a fault of the individual candidates or even the Parties but it is a major fault of the system. Big personality politics appeals to testosterone charged male egos. Just look at the mess in London with Boris and Ken biting chunks out of each other with negative and aggressive campaigning. Women, by and large, prefer a more collegiate approach to politics which is why they are far more likely to succeed in a leader situation where they are clearly part of a team, albeit the leader of that team.
We can see the testosterone creeping into Liverpool. I have been copied into tweets lately from Cllr Anderson. All of them are attacking me. Perhaps he is saying some positive things as well but I have yet to see them. In other words we are importing a campaigning mechanism from America to go with the governance system that we have also imported. I don’t like the American way of politics that we can see in the American primary system for the Presidential elections.
After this blog I will not mention Cllr Anderson again. I do not believe in the type of personality politics which is at the heart of mayoral tactics and campaigning. As you can see from all my blogs I will be concentrating on the things that I believe and on my vision for our city worked out over the years with my colleagues in the Lib Dems. I want you to vote for me because of who I am and what I believe in not because I am not someone or something else.
But the problems caused by the limited candidatures unfortunately get carried into the wider system. People see one leader and that leader does not look or sound like most of them. That creates a divide no matter how carefully the mayor will try to surround himself with a cross section of courtiers who are more representative.
In my last blog I said how I would try and ensure that the Mayoralty was able to be held to account. In practice there are few constraints on mayoral powers. The Chief Executive held a seminar recently and gave a fine overview of the theory of an elected mayor authority but gave no idea about what life is really like in any mayoral authority.
So I will concentrate on the positive. Check out the rest of my blog or my mayoral campaign website http://kemp4mayor.org.uk and if you think I am falling from the positive way forward I have outlined here comment here or there and let me know? See I believe in public scrutiny and I am practising it!