Liverpool Council meetings – A new members impression


September saw a grisly mangling of democracy in Liverpool Town Hall

At our mid-September Council meeting I invited some of our new members to come and see for themselves the grisly mangling of democracy that takes place there on a regular basis.

Joe Harmer was so incensed about what he saw that he has done a blog about it. These are his unedited impressions but I know they rung true to so many people in Liverpool. If you ever want a reason to vote Lib Dem in future just come along to the cesspit of democracy which is a council meeting in Liverpool and you will be instantly converted!

See what you think. Joe can be contacted at

Why one-party councils and FPTP are STILL destroying local politics: A student’s first impression of Full Council

On the 16th September 2015 I was invited by my newly discovered friends at the Liverpool Liberal Democrats to a full council meeting at Liverpool Town Hall, and as an inspiring politics nerd I felt honour bound to have a look at the world I was getting myself into. A chance to see politics and democracy in action was just too much to miss, as was seeing our mayor conjuring his best excuse as to why nearly £90,000 of taxpayer’s money had gone to a lawsuit of his own making.

Despite warnings of the grim spectacle of what was to come (you’d think I’d have learnt my lesson about such things in May but us Lib Dems are nothing if not optimistic) I headed into the Town Hall with my curiosity getting the better of me and looking forward to what I was about to witness. What followed was a nothing short of soul-crushing, as I sat in dismay while Joe Anderson blustered his way through his own “I am not a crook” moment, accusing our depleted council representation of “dirty politics” whilst not actually offering a wholesome explanation for what he did and proudly crowing that his “conscious was clear”.

To make the whole debacle even more bemusing, instead of getting the chance to see Joe questioned for his dodgy deeds, I was treated to the sight of a council that is 90% Labour applaud our Mayor as if he was a hero, nobly spending the city’s currently abundant money supply for something that actually benefits someone other than Joe Anderson.

What I hope Anderson realises is that it is people like him that is killing my generation’s already sparse supply of trust in politicians and politics in general. While he may get applauded by his Labour cronies like the champion he wishes he was, or maybe even believes he is, every defiant phrase he so bullishly affirms is another reason for my friends to refuse to vote, believing that us politicos are as bad as each other and just in it for personal gain. Even if he has a very good justification, which doesn’t some seem remotely feasible, for his use of that £90,000, the completely brazen nature of his defence a couple of weeks ago is just not something that instils faith, let alone trust, and I while I appreciate that attack is often the best form of defence in such matters, in this case attacking two councillors in a chamber of ninety was just tragic in a way that Shakespeare wouldn’t have dreamt up.

But by far the biggest issue I had with this whole mess was that it showed once again why FPTP is fundamentally broken, as our system of government doesn’t allow people like Joe Anderson to be held fully accountable for their wrong doing. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not deluded enough to ignore the fact that even in a system of PR, Labour would have an overwhelming majority on our city’s council. But the red rose does not garner 90% of the vote, and so to have a council represented like this is maddening as eight councillors are entrusted to try and restore some sanity and sense of morality in the running of Liverpool. A majority of 72 effectively means that this city that we all love so much is run at the whim of whatever Anderson thinks up next.

One does wonder how much longer we must have this fight, and sadly looking through history does not offer much hope. But it is a battle that we Liberal Democrats must always undertake, and one that I hope to win at least on a local level before I get too weary of this game we call politics. Because Liverpool deserves better than people like Joe Anderson, and at the very least deserves a council that will be able to effectively hold his feet to the fire, instead of cheering him for his blatant disregard of the people that voted him in.

A massive thank you to Cllr Richard Kemp for this opportunity to get my voice heard on this matter.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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