I was going to put a picture of the Mayor of Liverpool here then I was reminded that I had promised not to scare any more children!!!
Sometimes it’s only when you look back that you see the signs that change was on the way. “Ah yes”, people say in hindsight, “that was the event, the week, the person that started the change”.
In Liverpool, however, things are much easier. I predict that this is the week that will turn the tide for Anderson’s Labour Party in Liverpool and that the decline will be seen to have started this week. This might seem a bit precocious from a party with only 4 councillors out of 90 and I am not saying it will be very quick or very easy but Anderson & Co are now firmly on the slippery path to defeat.
I think this for two reasons:
- I have been out door knocking throughout Liverpool. I know what people are saying about the Labour Party in the City. They are claiming Labour is corrupt and incompetent. I don’t actually believe that the Labour Party or individual Labour members are corrupt. It’s just that collectively they refuse to stand up to the man that they call, with no sense of affection, Uncle Joe. But incompetent, misguided and frequently deluded yes!!!
- There are seven policy issues which are coming together and to which the Council has no real response.
St John’s Market
£2.5 million blown away and huge losses being made by the council and traders on a daily basis. A programme of design and implementation that my colleague, Cllr Juarez, is demanding should be investigated by the Regeneration Select Committee. Typically, the council failed to involve the people with the best knowledge of the market – its traders – in any of the planning and implementation of the changes. Instead of a bustling market place they have created a sterile set of cubicles which have the appearance of a cross between an accident and emergency unit and a morgue.
The hole in Edge Lane
In Japan, a sink hole which opened up in a major Tokyo shopping street which was at least 4 times the size of the Edge Lane hole was completely filled in with all services restored in 10 days. In Liverpool, the small hole will take at least 3 months causing major problems in an area which already has major traffic problems.
The treatment of Mr Fitzgerald
For the 7 weeks since the last council meeting I have been try in g to find out from senior council officers what the advice was, who gave it and in response to what questions and information. The response from the Council has largely been on the lines of, “please sir the cat ate my homework!” Partial responses, evasive responses, tardy responses. All wholly unacceptable in the view of the senior team of advisers I have assembled from outside Liverpool. Two key questions remain unanswered. What are we paying/have paid Counsel and/or solicitors for in respect of Mr Fitzgerald’s previous employment in Rotheram which ended 15 years ago. What advice did we get in response to the position of Mr Fitzgerald having agreed to get paid for no work in contrast to 58 people who since 2009 have been treated differently and ‘suspended without prejudice”.
We are currently nursing a loss of £900,000+ for this scheme. Plenty of warning were given by plenty of people about the need for a high level of due diligence on the Council’s behalf before they went ahead with this. This has clearly been totally ignored. There are 3 other big schemes foundering at the moment because of legal and financial difficulties but still we give permission for more. The idea that we can CPO this site and deal with it that way is fanciful. CPOs take years, through in administrators, foreign investors etc and you are in deep bureaucracy territory.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
This is not just a ‘plaque on the wall in the Town Hall’ as the Mayor claims. The preservation and reuse of our fabulous city centre buildings should be the springboard to HIGH QUALITY new development. Instead because our Local Development Framework is 6 years late we have no effective controls over building quality. Building high level, multi-storey tat near the WHS will cause us to lose it and with it the distinctiveness of our City.
The fall out of Mayors
The Rotheram/Anderson fall out and the withdrawal of staff from the City Region team is not good enough. We all need to pull together to deal with the problems are facing at any time. But these are not normal times! Brexit is casting a long shadow over the UK as a whole and Liverpool in particular. Working together is not desirable it is essential. To see the two most important leaders in the LCR squabbling and letting Greater Manchester zoom even further ahead of us is a disgrace.
The suggested CPO of the Adelphi
Everyone knows that what should be the best hotel in Liverpool is a city disgrace. I was put into a Britannia Hotel in London recently – when I found out I walked out! But a CPO? As mentioned above these are lengthy and complicated. We also need sound legal reasons for doing it. But then what? We have been the markets authority running markets in Liverpool for 800 years and still make a mess up of running St John’s. Who seriously out there thinks that the Council with its total lack of business acumen could run anything bigger than a sweet shop!?
What we are seeing throughout the council is bluster and bollocks! Schemes announced that disappear without trace. Schemes announced with no idea about whether the money can be found for them. Leaderless both managerially and politically Liverpool is just about coping but every day makes it more and more difficult. It’s time to clean out the Augean stables folks. Will you come and help us?