Today the Echo published its Liverpool elections review and Radio Merseyside did its review on the Snelly programme. So I thought I would add in my two pennorth!
Personal news first. My pedometer tells me that as of last night I have already walked more than 200 miles delivering and door knocking since Easter Monday. This has had two effects. Firstly, and obviously, to keep looking sleek, svelte and handsome! Secondly it has brought me into close contact with hundreds and hundreds of people, so I have a fair view of what is happening in the city.
I believe that people are concentrating on the fact that this is a council and not a government election more than they have in the past two ‘local’ elections’. Of course there are some people who will not vote for us in council elections because of the coalition but in the wards we are concentrating on there are four key issues which all wards hold in common:
1.People do not like the fact that there is an elected mayoralty. They did not vote for this position; would not have voted for this position; and would like to see it removed.
- People do not like the Elected Mayor. I am sorry to be personal but this is an inevitability of a Mayoral system which I warned about before the Council decided to commit to the Mayoral system. They do not believe that the current Mayor presents the City well – a feeling that has been massively reinforced by the tantrums over the chair of the City Region.
- People do not think that the council’s finances are being properly handled. They all know that there are serious problems and that there have been big cuts from Government but they believe the council is just chopping and not looking at the better integration of services or what shape services should be in to meet modern realities and not past demands.
- People are massively opposed to the sale of green space in the city. Labour’s claim to have created more green space is a hollow joke – just interim treatment of assembled housing demolition sites. But sell offs of the Manweb Ground in Wavertree, overdevelopment of New Heyes, and the sale of the Meadowlands of Sefton Park rankle with people. They say that the long-term assets of the City should not be squandered to deal with short term financial problems.
Focussing on local issues is always good for the Lib Dems and we are reassured that this change of thinking is happening. We need only small swings to us to hold Woolton and Cressington and a slightly larger one to gain Wavertree. Our teams have been working hard in Childwall and Mossley Hill with strong campaigns on local issues.
But one issue has hardly raised its head in these elections. The European elections which also take place on that day. I have had nothing through my door from the Greens or UKIP or any of the other Parties. The Tories have sent us two leaflets through the freepost but do not seem to have hand delivered anything, anywhere in the city. Labour have raised no European issues but have on one city wide leaflet mentioned the details of their two lead candidates on the NW list.
By contrast almost every leaflet delivered by the Lib Dems has had articles about European issues and details of how to vote for our NW team. Lib Dems are the Party of IN and are the only voice for the people of Liverpool who believe that Europe has been and is of massive importance to us.
That brings us to UKIP. They will do well in the Euro elections but their start seems to be waning somewhat from the position two or three weeks ago. They won’t come top in Liverpool but will do well. For the council, elections they will not probably not win a seat but could affect the results in a number of wards. In places like Warbreck, Fazakerley and West Derby their intervention could affect the results. In places like Clubmoor, where their appeal is to the white working class voter that traditionally turn out for Labour they might just sneak a seat.
The Greens are working very hard but only in two wards. They must be well placed to take St Michaels and an anti-Labour surge in Greenbank based on the crass treatment of people over a range of issues in Sefton Park might just squeak them a second seat.
The Tories, of course, are none-existent. It is now 21 years since the last Tory was elected in Liverpool. Even in good years for them nationally they have come more than a distant second in their best seat and they are not even going to do that this time.
And what then of Labour? What a disorganised campaign it has been. Two years ago the leaflets were clearly coordinated across the City and some of them were even worth reading. Almost all the limited amount of stuff which they are putting out has been turgid beyond belief. Even I can write better leaflets than the expensive junk they have put through the door in Wavertree.
Probably the most amusing leaflet that anyone has put out in the campaign must be the Labour leaflet in Woolton. They are so desperate to get 4 people to say nice things about them that they have included with his address someone who lives at least half a mile outside the city boundaries in Knowsley. They have kindly included a picture of him next to his street sign which is clearly a Knowsley green one rather than a Liverpool white one. And everyone in Woolton knows the difference!
So what the results be like on May 23rd? Well I just don’t know. What I do know is that there are at least 15-17 wards in Liverpool seriously in contention. This is not the situation that Labour or the pundits thought possible a couple of months ago but they just have not factored in Joe Anderson’s unpopularity and UKIP’s popularity.
The counts will be interesting in Liverpool and for both City and Euro seats the Lib Dems in the City have everything to fight for.