Everyone appears to have been doing a backward look at 2013 or a forecast for 2014 over the past two weeks. Hardly surprising really when all we have is pompous New Years messages from Leaders, Bishops and Popes and war going on in far too many places
So I will be a little different. I want to give you my hopes for 2014 on a personal; national and local level
Starting with the personal I just wish my new grandchild would arrive. We’ve had the toys ready since the due date of 24 December and Grandma Kemp and I are just waiting to see the beast! Not so much, though, as Emma who has had her maternity bag ready since Dec 1st!
I also wish Erica great year as Lord Mayor of Liverpool which will start on June 11th. She has been working hard as Deputy Lord Mayor and has already had four meetings of her charity committee which will hit the ground ready for Action on that date. She’ll make a great Lord Mayor and I have already since how she brings a twinkle to people’s eyes. My favourite moment was when she inspected the South Liverpool Sea cadets. She was shorter than every single person she inspected!
Nationally, I hope the Liberal Democrats will unashamedly make the case for Europe and for controlled but useful immigration. Most of the stories you hear about Europe are rubbish. ‘Europe’ has only about as many staff for all its functions as one large county council. You can read all about square tomatoes and straight bananas but you will find little substance for them in EU legislation.
Yes 50% of our environmental laws are based on European legislation. Thank goodness for that. We all have to deal with new products, chemicals and toxins which are created globally. The thought that we could intelligently frame and deliver legislation in the UK which would be effective is childish.
Immigration and emigration has always been part of our history. Do you want to send people home? Well what about sending some Indians home! Ah but not the ones that have reinvigorated Jaguar Land Rover and create jobs and wealth for us all. Too many Africans? Well we can send them back apart from the ones who at all levels keep our health service going! We need immigration not least because the indigenous population is getting older. Who will pay the taxes and provide the services to look after old white geezers like me if we don’t have young people about. Breed them or invite them in – we have no other choice!
Locally I just hope that we will listen to the people of Liverpool more within our decision making process. This year the Council has agreed to sell off part of Sefton Park and in doing so ignored the wishes of the overwhelming majority of local people. It has embarked on a fortnightly bin collection with all sorts of difficulties ensuing because it failed to undertake any consultation before implementation. Lastly with no consultationexcept two brief meetings with the bus companies, it has scrapped for 9 months all the bus lanes in the city. This is already causing problems for bus companies and their passengers, and cyclists. Cars are increasingly congested especially in the city centre. A report is being prepared with terms which can only whitewash the Mayor’s approach.
At the end of the day all of us in elected position must accept that we do not own the city. We only act as trustees for the city whose owner is all its citizens.
So I’m now back off to sit with my worry beads and prepare to receive our grandchild. My best wishes to all of you for 2014. May times truly get better; may the wealth of this country and this world be spread more fairly; may we all work together to achieve these things after an honest and open none-partisan debate.