Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me” – says Joe Anderson

Don’t feel sorry for Joe Anderson. We will be paying for Joe’s period in control for years to come.

Over the weekend the online Liverpool journal, the Post, published a lengthy article based on even lengthier interviews with former Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson. Having read it I didn’t know whether my tears were tears of sadness or tears of laughter! It immediately brought into my mind the hilarious words of Frankie Howard, or was it Charles Hawtry, who when portraying Julius Caesar being stabbed his words were, “infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me”. Just look at all his comments extracted faithfully from the Post article”.

“From the sounds of things, he certainly has plenty of scores to settle. There’s former council allies Nick Small and Ann O’Byrne (“hypocrites with no scruples”), government minister Grant Shapps (“a total tithead”), local Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp (a man so deceitful he could “crawl under a snake’s belly with a top hat on”), most of his former Labour colleagues who haven’t reached out to him since his arrest (“spineless”), former Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle (“a boring old codger”), Lancashire Police (“utterly clueless”), Max Caller (a “nobody”) and of course, former council chief executive Tony Reeves (redacted).”

I shall wear his comment about me as a badge of honour! As Leader of the Opposition, it was my job to my best to expose what was happening within Council. To do this I had to fight both politicians and officers with very little support and very few resources. Perhaps it would have been easier for Joe to have become a Fulham supporter as he now apparently never goes to an Everton game. I understand that their slogan is ‘nobody loves us, we don’t care!”

Apparently, it all started going wrong after the 2020 election when he chose to take the Tories on after getting 92% of the vote. This is a tad more than a slight exaggeration. He actually got 52% of the vote!! Perhaps in his spare time he is acting as adviser to Republican congressman, George Santos!

As usual with Joe Anderson the reality that he quoted was only loosely based on the reality that most of us know. Like any other Leader he got some things right. I acknowledged at the time that the way he handled the Covid epidemic was spot on. Liverpool led the way in negotiating with the Government, got the testing and vaccination in early and engaged the community well at a time when otjher Councils and the Government were floundering.

The problem for Joe which was not addressed by him in the article was the question, “why, if so many good things were done is Liverpool Council the only one with five expensive commissioners inside it and having to make huge changes in the way that it runs itself”.

Joe Anderson and the other eleven people arrested as part of Operation Aloft have not been charged with anything and investigations continue after more than 3 years. So, we have no idea of criminal corruption was involved and so Anderson is absolutely not guilty of anything until our legal system dismisses the charges or prosecutes them until a jury finds them guilty or not guilty. What we do know is that under the reign of Anderson and a Cabal of Officers, some of whom have been charged under the separate ‘Operation Sheridan’ enquiry the systems of the council were corrupted.

Joe Anderson seems to forget that we have had to:

  • Totally redesign our financial systems
  • Totally redesign of procurement systems
  • Totally redesign our reporting mechanisms
  • Totally redesign our scrutiny systems
  • Pay out £2,000,000 a year to pay for Commissioners, external advisers, and improvement costs.
  • Bring in an entire new management team.

He forgets that his inactions cost Liverpool taxpayers at least £165 million in waste, in competence, poor asset management and poor procurement.

Our reputation as a city has been trashed and that means the loss of jobs and investment. We have now been on the improvement journey for two years and some of the ways in which we need to change our culture will take another three to get fully into place.

There are major changes still needed in the way that we run our children’s and adult social services. Our hard working and committed staff in these difficult areas have been let down by a failure to think through demographic changes and keep up with the best of councils in the development of proactive methods and programmes to deal with problems early and relatively cheaply rather than pick up the problems when they have become intense later in the day.

Improvements are on the way in both these services and improvements can be seen but they are now having to be done at a time of huge reductions in their budget and with a long term problem stored up especially in those children that we have failed over the past decade. All credit to relatively new officers Steve Reddy and Anne-Marie Lubanski for their efforts.

So, whatever you do please do not feel sorry for Joe Anderson as he flies around and tries to pretend that he has a legacy that history will treat kindly. He has no such legacy. As he lists all the people that he thinks have done him wrong he should reflect on the fact that the list is composed of people who have either been consistently opposed to his actions and methods and have been proved right or were in favour of what he did and have now realised that large amount of wool pulling that ensued.

You can follow or subscribe to the Liverpool Post via their Twitter account @LiverpoolPost.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me” – says Joe Anderson

  1. Laurence Cox says:

    You will really need to add that description of you to your strapline, once you can title it – convicted ex-Mayor of Liverpool. I hope that will not have to wait too long.

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