Labour’s new Cabinet in Liverpool having its first meeting to discuss where to find the £60,000 for two new Deputy Mayors and the £200,000,000 promised for potholes
Well where do I start? I’ve been an active politician in Liverpool for 44 years but I have never seen anything like the farce that is being played out within the Liverpool Labour Group at the moment. Even when things were at their most rancorous in the Lib Dem Group, and we did have arguments, they were sweetness and light to what is happening with Labour at the moment.
Of the 10 people in the Cabinet on 2nd May only 5 are left. One we defeated, three have resigned and one has been sacked. The departures include the Deputy Mayor and one of the assistant Mayors. Labour’s enforcer-in-chief and best mate of the Mayor, Cllr Alan Dean, has also lost an election – this time inside the Labour Party!
Such change is absolutely unprecedented and shows the panic that is currently going through the Labour Group. But even more unprecedented is the way that this is all being fought out in public. Tweets, statements and requests for action are being openly paraded and sent to the press or in other cases leaked to the Press and Liberal Democrats.
Should I be delighting at this? Well I must confess this is both what I predicted and what I feared but it does have its lighter moments for those who oppose Anderson’s Labour Party at present. But I do fear this. Liverpool Council is working in very difficult times with unprecedented problems with income and demands on our services especially in the field of Adult Social Care. We need to have a competent top team in place and with the announcements made so far we will be not be getting one.
Let’s start with what Cllr Ann O’Byrne said when she resigned as Deputy Mayor although retaining her position as Deputy Labour Leader:
So, she thinks Joe Anderson is not listening to the Labour Group; Labour Members or the people of Liverpool. The trouble with her statement is that it is what we have been saying this for years and until May 3rd she was denying this and supporting the Mayor in Council. Clearly people in Liverpool are very concerned at many aspects of Anderson’s activities. The continued dealings with property developers and creation of student and apartment blocks that will never get built; foreign trips which are unexplained and not accounted for; lining the pockets of 2 billionaires with a proposed deal for EFC at Bramley Moore Dock; the incompetent delivery of the homes for a £ programme; a pothole programme that is botched and incompetent and so on and so on!
So, what does Joann Kushner think of all this?
Joann Kushner @Jokushner
Replying to @Liverpoolshell @ann_obyrne
The Labour Group has a 55% female majority all of whom are more than capable of picking up the baton as for me I am glad the Mayor has taken the responsibility to clean up our city’s politics – much more to this than Ann’s statement
6:59 PM – 18 May 2018
Well her tweet hints at skulduggery at best and illegality at worst. This is a Tweet which I think she has now deleted but needs explaining. Who is doing what; where and when? What should be looked at; Who should look at it the Police; the Labour Party or the Council corporately?
And what does our incoming Lord Mayor Cllr Christine Banks think of all this?
So, she wants the Labour whip to be withdrawn from Cllrs O’Byrne and Mumby for disloyalty and investigations to take place into the relationship between Cllr O’Byrne and a company in North Liverpool concerns about which led to Cllr Prendergast resigning from Labour and sitting as an Independent councillor. I am making no comment about these North Liverpool goings on but someone should find out. These issues are too important to be kept just inside the Labour Party. If there is wrongdoing or malfeasance in public office they should be investigated thoroughly and people should be held responsible for wrong doing or cleared of allegations. It is also very unusual for an incoming Lord Mayor which is a post of political neutrality, to be so concerned about things that they move back into party political activity.
Of course, people could say that the public of Liverpool still have confidence in Anderson & co because of the 30 wards in the City 24 of them voted Labour on May 3. But how many voted Labour locally with gritted teeth because they support Labour nationally? How many did not even vote. Less than 50% of our wards had a turnout above 30% and only two wards in Liverpool had a turnout above 40%. Liverpool’s was the worst result for Labour in a core city on a night when they were doing so well in urban areas. nationally.
This really does matter to all of us. The squabbling between the Mayor and Labour MPs and the City Region Mayor and the civil war inside the Labour Group are damaging our credibility and are taking us right back to the time of Militant and the 80s. You don’t see those effects immediately because if a company has spent a lot of time considering an investment proposal they will probably proceed. However, it will become harder and harder to get public and private investment because there are safer and easier places to invest their time, efforts and money than what they might consider to be Dodge City.
In the meantime, my Lib Dem colleagues and I are looking at several options for trying to regularise our systems of governance and restore stability into the system. We will be announcing two ways forward in this coming week so please watch out for them.
But we are also resolved to break this deadlock in a better way and that is to defeat Labour at the polls. In 2016 we made two gains and in 2018 we made 3. We now need to speed that up. As we said before the election every vote gained, every council seat gained increases our opportunities to hold Anderson & Co to account. With 7 members we can do things that we could not do with 4. For example, we are now on every committee and can join the dots better. For the next 12 months my colleagues and I will be looking under every stone to see what is going on.
BUT we need your help. Evil flourishes when good men (and women) stand aside. Come and help us by joining our Party at www.libdems.org.uk. Help us save the City which we all love.