Last Monday I wrote ina very polite and courtesous way to Cllr Anderson to suggest to her two things:
“Firstly, I think that you should apologise for all the scandals and corruption that the Labour Party have caused to the City which have been evidenced by the Caller Report; and
Secondly, you should agree to debate with me, as your main opponent, what Liverpool needs to do next in terms of
i) Restructuring the political and managerial operations within the Council;
ii) Promoting policies which will take Liverpool into a new post-Brexit and post-Covid world; and
iii) Restoring the good name of Liverpool to its residents, businesses and potential investors”
I didn’t really expect a response to the first part. Labour have been very reluctant to say sorry probably because so many of them are tainted by the association with the Mayor mostly by taking Special Responsibility Allowances to keep them happy. But I did look forward to hearing from her a response to these very reasonable questions
To date I have yet to get a reply from her and I’m not the only one. In recent days I have received a stream of emails asking me to do a hustings meeting or a debate on topics with which they are particularly concerned. None of them, as yet, have had a response from her any more than I have.
Clearly, she and I are the two main candidates in this election. None of the other candidates is gaining any real traction. This imposes on us a discipline which the other candidates do not have to think about. They cannot be elected so can basically say anything that they want. However, either Jo Anderson or I will be elected and that means that we must show to the people of Liverpool not only what we want to do but allow them to judge from our behaviour who is the person most likely to be able to deliver.
I understand from friends in the Labour Party that they are desperate to avoid her being put to the test against other candidates, especially me. I understand that it’s because I have 38 years’ experience in all sorts of local, national and international roles and she has just 17 months experience as a backbencher!
But that isn’t good enough. She wants to be the Mayor and if she becomes the Mayor, she will be up front in the work to improved firstly our council and then our City She needs to demonstrate to the City how she will answer the three questions above and more.
In my case many of my answers have been put to Council already. Unless Labour have changed dramatically, they will not support the things that I want to put forward. I know that because they have already voted against them in Council. I have put them in my blog. I have attended meetings and held real (pre-Covid) and virtual (during Covid) discussions with many people and organisations.
The manifesto that Liverpool Liberal Democrats will put forward next week has not been pulled out of thin air but is crammed with practical ideas which will answer many of the questions that people want to put to us. In fact, for every idea that is in the manifesto there is at least one more that we could not find room for. Behind them there are detailed papers drawn up ready for our spokesperson to put into the system post May 24th when our Annual Council meeting will take place.
The Mayor, or Leader of the Council if I get in, needs to do much, much than have the right policies. He or she will need to be able to pull people behind them to deliver the ideas. They will need to convince our Council and our officials that they have good ideas that can actually be legally and financially[RK2] delivered. Then they have to look at all the other people that need convincing:
- The people of Liverpool who are now extremely sceptical of anything that the Council does. We cannot work properly unless all people in the City want to work with us inside the City and become ambassadors for the City when they leave it.
- The Government to try and attract resources for our many pressing problems not least the growing number of elderly people in the City.
- The Commissioners who have high-level step-in powers to take over the Council if we do not perform well.
- Businesses within the City to help them expand.
- Quality developers and investors from outside the City to encourage them to come in.
- Local partners such as the Universities, schools and colleges, the housing association, the local operations of the NHS and the local parts of all central government.
- The Combined Authority recognising that Liverpool is at the heart of the Liverpool City Region.
The Mayor/Leader needs to sit at the centre of all things pertaining to Liverpool and influence many decisions outside their control. The people of Liverpool need to see Cllr Anderson and I in action to see which of us is the most likely to be able to work and lead such complex partnerships.
So, come on Jo Anderson don’t be like Joe Anderson. He sat in his palatial suite at the Cunard and failed to engage adequately with most people but appears to have engaged furiously with the wrong people. So, come on and don’t be, ‘a cowering’ timrous wee beastie.’ Debate the issues with me and let the people decide not only whose ideas are best but which of us can actually do the business and deliver for our City. You know to get hold of me!