In a burst of pre-Christmas goodwill I am hoping that this blog will put a smile on the face of Mayor Anderson!!
After calamity after calamity for the Mayor of Liverpool in recent months I thought it was time I gave him a rare piece of good news! I’m going to be away for the next two weeks! Coming after the St John’s Market fiasco; the intervention by the Government in our planning strategy; splits in the Labour Group; the adverse report on the ‘Hope & Glory’ debacle I thought I should spread a little pre-Christmas cheer!
The Mayor often makes rude comments about my travels in the Council. At the last meeting he called me ‘Air-Miles Kemp’. He is a little out of date – until the beginning of November I hadn’t even been on a plane in 2017. It is true, however, that I have done a lot of miles in the past when I represented the UK on the World body for local Government, UCLG. I have always tried to talk about Liverpool at all of the speeches and talks I have given when I was abroad as I do when I am in this Country. Liverpool has so much to be proud of that I am always delighted to be able to talk our City up in venues globally.
I think it absolutely right that Liverpool councillors should be doing this work. We are, after all, one of the UK’s great cities. I am pleased that Cllr Nick Small represents the UK on the Commonwealth Local Government Form and was recently in Malta. I am sure that gave him the chance to talk to about a thousand people about our city. Just like my visits the taxpayers of Liverpool have not paid a penny towards our travels so basically it is free publicity.
I am making two different journeys in the next 14 days and before anyone mentions the words ‘Jolly’ or ‘Holiday I just point out that in those 14 days I will be making 4 overnight 20 Hour plus journeys. I am not being paid for the visits although my expenses will be paid.
For my first visit I will be going to Hangzhou in China for the World Council of UCLG. I will be doing a little local government work there but I am principally going on behalf of World Merit a charity which I now chair. You can find out more about this organisation at www.worldmerit.org. Basically, it is an organisation which gets young people (largely between the ages of 18 and 25) involved in actions in their own community which relate to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
I am proud that a global charity supporting more than 120,000 young people globally should be based in our city. Our aim is to link our young people with their local Mayors. We have already begun this work in Africa and now are looking to work with Mayors in the rest of the World.
17 hours after I arrive back in the UK I will be leaving for Uganda where I will be talking to the annual conference of Cities Alliance, a UN organisation which helps urban development in sub-Saharan Africa. The conference is about urban development for none-Capital cities. Some cities in Africa are expanding at the rate of more than 5% a year. Some are doing this successfully others not quite so successfully. The invitation came as a result of the visit I arranged for about 300 Mayors and officials to Liverpool n 2014.
They want to know more about how we planned the reconstruction of the image, physical structures and employment in Liverpool from a very weak base in 1998 and how that task continues. This will link both my political and professional knowledge as for more than 25 years I was an economic regeneration adviser in this Country and others. I hope to bring another group of leading African Mayors to Liverpool soon as part of some ongoing work from his conference.
As this Country recklessly retreats from Europe it is more than ever important to look for friends elsewhere. Africa could be a major economic powerhouse in this century if it gets its act together. Already many people are under-estimating the importance of this Continent and I hope that anything that I do will strengthen our links with Countries based not on a colonial past but as partnership of equals.
Church Ward will not be neglected. My case work is up to date and I will keep in regular contact through e-mails etc. Andrew and Liz Makinson will be, as ever, hard at work in our ward and will, I am sure, manage the Advice Centre without me. This will take place on Saturday 16th December at the farmers market at the junction of Garthdale and Allerton Roads between 9.am and 1 pm.
And then when I get back I’ll only have about 5,000 Christmas cards to deliver before the big day. So, if you have any queries please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS Don’t tell Joe but through the wonders of electronic communications I will still be keeping an eye on him from wherever I will be!