The day after the ‘coronation of Rishi Sunak and the reappointment of Michael Gove to the Cabinet I wrote to the Elected Mayor of Liverpool urging her to invite them to Liverpool to invite the new Prime Minister and the re-appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up to come to Liverpool and see for themselves what the people of the Liverpool are facing.
These people have no idea of what the people of this City and other areas of deprivation are facing. In a speech in Tunbridge Wells during his leadership election campaign Mr Sunak made clear that the needs of areas like that needed support more than Liverpool and proposed reductions to areas of the budget which contained some support to those in need.
Mr Sunak is a rich man worth more than £750 million and has never known poverty or spend his time amongst people who do. He represents a relatively prosperous rural community which has little in common with the problems that we face.
Mr Gove has unfinished business with the city. In his last incarnation as Cabinet Minister, he received an update letter from his appointed Commissioners in the city. We have yet to receive a final response from the Government which indicates the direction that the Commissioners and the Council must take. At present we are working on assumptions about this which may or may not be true.
The recent decision to award Liverpool the Eurovision contest provides at a lower level the same opportunity to promote the positive values of the city as the European Capital of Culture did 20 years ago. It gives us the opportunity to reset our relationship with a highly sceptical government
It is absolutely vital that we use the Eurovision event to change the national narrative about Liverpool. Liverpool is so much better that the problems of the past decade. Our media, our institutions our universities are all the bedrocks on which a new and more accurate portrayal of our City than we have seen in the national press over the last three years which have portrayed the city as the capital of sleaze and corruption.
I concluded my letter by saying, “now is the time to be bold and to offer to work with the Government and a range of other partners to not only deal with the problems of the past inflicted by the Joe Anderson regime but also to create a new dawn for Liverpool based on the many positive features and institutions that our city possesses. If they are not prepared to come and see us, we should ask for them to meet an all-Party delegation in London at which we could state our case”.