So, we’re now getting a General Election. The day after the Labour Party piled in on the Lib Dems for saying that it is now the only way forward and only hours after one of their front bench spokespersons attacked the whole idea Jeremy Corbyn announced Labour’s support for the Lib Dem position.
As the Lib Dem Candidate for this Constituency I want to explain the local and national reasons that I will be standing for election.
Nationally, I am unequivocally a Remainer. As I said at my adoption meeting last Saturday, “no ifs, no buts, no hesitation, no Brexit”. I am not doing this on a whim or as a political tactic but because I believe that leaving the EU will be hugely damaging for Wavertree, Liverpool and our Country. Our national income has already been reduced by £600 billion since 2016 and many well-paid jobs have already left us.
It is already quite clear that I am the only major Party candidate in the Constituency who can make such a pledge. Other candidates either believe in Brexit, without knowing what it means, or a fantasy Lexit which Corbyn promises which will be good for jobs. There is no such Brexit. Every Brexit leads to less investment, less trade and less jobs.
Brexit is the key issue because it will lead to job losses but also to huge losses in investment in the NHS, education, universities, housing, transport and the whole of the public sector. But what we do with the public sector as a whole is vitally important.
The need to tackle climate change urgently is not a passing fad. Unless we work hard and consistently to deal with it our planet will face a terrible future. This planet and its environment will see me out but I fear for my children and grandchildren who face terrible prospects. We need to encourage greater use of public transport and reduce use of cars. We need to use clean energy from the sun, wind and tides and less energy based on carbon. We need to produce and distribute food more effectively.
I want to destress our teachers and our young people by removing the constant formal testing, league tables and targets. Good teachers know how to assess a student’s process and do it every day without the need for too many damaging tests and exams. Teachers should be given the opportunity to teach and students should be encouraged to want to learn rather than them both operating in the forced factories of our current education process.
I want to reduce the power of Westminster and Whitehall. Too many decisions are taken in London by people who have no idea of the opportunities and weaknesses, the needs and possibilities of our City. I want to bring decision making back much nearer home where everyone can monitor the effectiveness of our elected representatives and chuck them out if they don’t deliver.
I want to rebalance the economy of cities like Liverpool by encouraging local banking and credit systems and creating sustainable jobs in which local people and local businesses work to deliver the goods and services that local people need.
I want to reform the planning system to give the opinions of local communities an equal weight with the views of developers. I want to introduce laws which would make it illegal for the public sector to sell off parks like Calderstones Park or the green spaces which act as lungs for our community.
These ideas and policies are not only my views but the views of my Party. With us you don’t have to work out which faction we are in to determine how we might vote in the House of Commons.
Clearly there are also local reasons which I want you to think about. The person who I hope to succeed, Luciana Berger, has joined our Party for a number of reasons. Brexit was a clear one but the condition of the Labour Party in our City is another. Within this Constituency one Labour Cllr had to quite because of racism, one has been suspended because of sexism and another quit after just 16 months as a councillor because of internal bullying. The Wavertree Labour Party is controlled by Momentum supporters the 2010s version of the Militant of the 80s which did so much harm to our City. Under their control the Labour Party locally has become deeply anti-Semitic as under Corbyn’s control nationally has the Labour Party.
Since 1973 there have only been two effective choices of political Party either Labour or the Liberal Democrats. When we ran the City, we ran it well. We now want to do the same for our Country.
By the end of polling day either I or a Momentum supported candidate will be the MP for Liverpool Wavertree. I have spent 37 years as a Councillor in the City, have been the Leader of the Lib Dem Cllrs nationally, have represented the United Kingdom on the World body for local government and have done many, many other things.
I believe that I have the experience that is needed in these troubled times. Our Parliament has been both a joke and a disgrace with petty politicking rather than the statesmanlike behaviour that is needed. For 37 years I have watched the back of the people of Liverpool. I hope that you will support me at the General Election to carry on doing the same in a new role on your behalf.
Published by Cllr Andrew Makinson on behalf of Cllr Richard Kemp both of 509, Smithdown Road, Liverpool 15