Two Labour Mayors for Liverpool but one is playing in a different league. It’s time for the spare Mayor to realise this and go
Liverpool Lib Dems have welcomed yesterday’s report back session on Mayor Rotheram’s first 6 months. Which I was pleased to attend along with my Lib Dem colleague from the Wirral, Phil Gilchrist and .Tom Crone the Green Leader in Liverpool. Noticeable absentees were any member of Joe Anderson’s Labor Cabinet in Liverpool and of course Joe Anderson himself.
The openness and transparency of Mayor Rotherham is in stark contrast to the behaviour of the Mayor of Liverpool. Mayor Anderson is the only political leader in the U.K. who cannot be challenged anywhere in the governance process by the people who have been elected by the people or the people themselves.
We don’t agree with everything Steve has done but he has already shown himself to be in a different league from Joe by being transparent, thinking long-term and involving the other Parties in his work.
When it comes to the detail of what Steve announced Lib Dems agree with most of it. This is because most of it was In Carl Cashman’s manifesto for the election and not that of Labour.
After six months Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has finally announced his plans for the Liverpool city region. Some of those plans you may already be familiar with.
Steve Rotheram announced ‘plans to “re-brand and remodel” the current Walrus card that is used on across the Merseytravel public transport network. The aim will be to make access to public transport more “streamlined” and “customer friendly” with a new-look system of smart ticketing more like the Oyster card used in London.’
This may remind you of one of Carl Cashman’s Pledges: ‘Expand the Walrus card system, creating an ‘Oyster-like’ system across the region, to include buses trains, ferries, tunnels and bridges. Unifying our transport network into one single contactless payment.’
The similarities don’t stop there. Steve Rotheram’s policy announcement on Mersey tunnels will also be familiar, as he pledged to “Make cross-river transport and movement easier and more affordable by creating a more affordable Fast Tag for Mersey Tunnel users.”
Carl Cashman’s pledge: “Reduce the Mersey tunnel tolls for commuters to and from the Wirral and lobby government to make the tunnel tolls free like that of London.”
On the digital economy Steve Rotheram has pledged to ‘Support the Region’s digital economy and work with leading technology businesses to turn the Liverpool City Region into the UK’s premier digital hub’. That may sound eerily familiar to those who have read Carl Cashman’s manifesto, as that is a word for word identical pledge to the one proposed by Carl.
Developing a tidal lagoon is also a policy promoted by the Liberal Democrats during the metro mayoral election. Yesterday Steve Rotheram announced “The appointment of respected industry leader, Brent Cheshire, until recently UK Chair of Dong Energy, as the man who will spearhead plans to harness the power of the River Mersey.”
Carl Cashman’s Pledge: “As a Liberal Democrat mayor I will promote and aid in the development of a tidal energy lagoon off Southport and promote the use of innovative renewable solutions.”
On brownfield sites Steve Rotheram announced that “Plans will be put forward to adopt a “brownfield first” approach to new housing developments across the city region. This will be done by creating the first ever City Region Brown Field Register.”
This may remind you of the Liberal Democrat plans to “launch a Brownfield Development Cooperative to work in conjunction with a new Merseyside Land Commission to ensure Brownfield sites are brought forward for development and to protect our Green Belt.”
Lib Dems have worked with residents from every corner of the region to develop a vision that would have a real positive impact on people’s lives and our communities. We work towards that vision with every councillor we elect and every candidate we put forward.
The Liberal Democrats have the most ambitious vision for the Liverpool city region – and it’s clear from yesterday’s announcement that the Liverpool Labour Party agree with us.
After the meeting I reiterated the offer from Lib Dems across the City Region to work with him. Given the similarity of our policies and the terrible problems that will be created by BREXIT it is important that we minimise our differences and maximise our similarities. Mayor Rotheram accepted that offer yesterday and I will be making arrangements to meet him with fellow Lib Dem leaders in the near future.