A Farcical Meeting but with largely the right outcomes

Chamber

At yesterday’s Council meeting we had a mixture of anger, dissembling and just misleading statements from the Mayor of Liverpool but eventually he revealed that he agreed with the Lib Dems on two crucial issues

Where should I start with yesterdays council? It was the usual mix of bollocks and bravado but within that there were some good announcements and some incomprehensible votes!

The first good announcement was that Kingdom are to be banned from the streets of Liverpool. What a turn round this was. At the Council meeting In September we moved a motion which asked the Council to get rid of Kingdom and convert the work from bonus induced Fixed Penalty Notices to education and fighting the really serious offenders. Our motion was so bad that Labour’s Cabinet member, Liz Parsons, moved a 1.5 pages amendment to it. (Perhaps that is why she wasn’t there yesterday!)

We were roundly criticised for attempts to make a better and fairer systems. Yesterday the Mayor announced that he had given Kingdom notice just 5 weeks after he had said that we were wrong. When I asked what had changed since the last meeting the was simply, my mind!”  Actually, the change came because the Council had got it wrong from the start. A bonus-based system of repayment was always going to mean an emphasis on fines and not education.

Well done John Foley and his team who continued to highlight this issue and the appalling behaviour of Kingdom staff in Liverpool and Birkenhead.

The second good announcement was about the future of Calderstones Park. We were having a debate on a Labour amendment to the Lib Dem motion which was only there to serve one purpose – unite Labour. They could not debate the issues so Barrister Brant moved an amendment which all Labour voted for which would have been laughed out of Court if he had presented it there. He wanted us not to discuss the issue because our debate might prejudice the Judicial Review decision. Total nonsense of course. I would not have been allowed to move it if that were the case. If I had strayed into inappropriate discussions there was an army of advisers to assist the Chief Executive in ruling me out of order.

So, the amendment was nonsense but what the Mayor said was important. For the first time he told us publicly that if Beechley Riding for the Disabled and the miniature railway do not want to move they don’t need to. That, of course, scuppers the planning application from Redrow. It also means that in many ways the Judicial Review decision is irrelevant. Why did the community have to raise £40k and the Council spend £35k to fight a court action which is irrelevant?

I will be talking to all the organisations concerned to consider our next steps next week.

But these were the highlights and there were at least two important occasions in which the Mayor misled the Council. Mind you only his Party colleagues were fooled by this.

We moved an amendment to a Labour motion relating to the scam leasehold which unscrupulous freehold owners are using to ramp up charges to people who thought they had bought their house but had realised that in fact they hadn’t. Appallingly, in Liverpool many of these scams had been conducted on land which the Council had sold to developers.

In fact, three Labour Councillors pointed this out. Legislation is needed but that should not stop the Council taking action in these specific cases where homes are built on land that we sell. Quite simply we can insert into the sales documents a clause that forbids such behaviour. The Mayor claimed that only national action can prevent such behaviour. This is wrong. We can stop it where we sell the land. I spoke to Labour Councillors after the vote who had believed the Mayor and then when they found out the Mayor was wrong regretted their vote.

No problem. I will be moving our amendment at the next Council as a motion. I will carefully explain to them why the Mayor was wrong and I am sure that we will then have all-Party support for a very reasonable motion that we should actually do something in our City rather than just whingeing about what the Government is doing.

Lastly another farce in which the Mayor misled the Council. We moved a motion which would encourage the Government to give increased powers to the Liverpool City Region. We looked at policing which would enable us to abolish the ridiculous position of the Elected Police Commissioner. We looked at health which would enable more decisions to be taken locally to spend money on local priorities rather than those of London based bureaucrats. Both of these are not new. They are actually happening in Manchester.

Lastly, our motion asked for money for innovation, science, employment and investment to eb transferred from a Government Ministry to the City Region. That would again mean local rather than national priorities and the opportunity to join up services in a much better way. Amazingly, despite evidence to the contrary from 30 miles along the M62 the Mayor claimed that these policies were not possible. The reality was that a Labour Liverpool Mayor did not want more power and influence to go to a Liverpool Region Labour Mayor.

The comradeship in the Labour Party has to be (not) seen to be believed!

I’ll be in touch when we can work out together what the Mayoral announcement means!

 

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Extraordinary meeting to discuss future of Harthill & Calderstones Park

caldies

Last week a marvelous thing happened which I have never seen before in my political life. A local community raised £40,000 to fight the Council at a Judicial Review which was held in the High Court in Manchester.

This week we are backing up the residents with an extraordinary Council meeting at the end of the normal council meeting which will seek to get the Mayor to renegotiate the deal that has been done with Redrow. This can and should take place irrespective of the result of the Judicial review which might force the Mayor and Redrow back to the negotiating table.

We are already aware that on Monday night there was a major discussion at the Labour Group meeting. That is the purpose of this motion. The fact is that the Council itself cannot change what is happening. Under our Mayoral system this decision can only be taken by the Mayor and Cabinet. That might sound ridiculous and is ridiculous but it is the law.

What we can do is put pressure on the Mayor by continuing to make him aware that 45,000+ people have signed the petition and there is a huge anger at this crass decision.

You can help us in two ways:

  1. E-mail local Labour Councillors and ask them to support the motion. Don’t bother e-mailing the Lib Dems we are obviously voting your way!

The Labour Councillors nearest to the Park are:

Childwall       Jeremy.wolfson@liverpool.gov.uk

Liz Parsons1@liverpool.gov.uk

Woolton       Alice.bennett@liverpool.gov.uk

Allerton        Sharon.Connor@liverpool.gov.uk

Kimberley.berry@liverpool.gov.uk

Cressington  Lynnie.Hinnigan@liverpool.gov.uk

bill.jones@liverpool.gov.uk

Tricia.O’Brien@liverpool.gov.uk

Mossley Hill  Patrick.hurley@liverpool.gov.uk

emily.spurrell@liverpool.gov.uk

Elizabeth.Hayden@liverpool.gov.uk

  1. Come to the Council meeting at the Town Hall on 14th I cannot be sure when this will take place but it will not be before 6.30 and is more likely to be about 8. The more support we can get the better.

Whatever the result tomorrow and whatever the result of the judicial review I want to thank everyone who has given money and time to this fight. Together we have won the moral argument. Now let us continue to work together to win the legal and council battles

This is the summons motion for the Extraordinary Council

Harthill and Calderstones Park by Councillors Richard Kemp CBE, Andrew Makinson, Malcolm Kelly, Mirna Juarez, Kris Brown, Liz Makinson, Carole Storey and Kay Davies

To consider the following motion by Councillors Richard Kemp CBE, Andrew Makinson, Malcolm Kelly, Mirna Juarez, Kris Brown, Liz Makinson, Carole Storey and Kay Davies –

 

Council notes that more than 45,000 local people have signed a petition to oppose the sale of the Harthill’ Estate section of Harthill & Calderstones Park to Redrow Homes.

 

It welcomes the fact that Riverside and Wavertree Constituency Labour Parties and other Labour councillors have now joined the Liberal Democrat and Green Parties to oppose this move.

 

It believes that any possible financial advantages to be gained from a sale will be outweighed by a reduction in both the physical and amenity environments of Liverpool.

 

It notes that both Harthill and Beechleys (“the Sites”) are subject to the terms of the Overarching Agreement dated 16th February 2015 made between LCC, Redrew and LMH. As a result, the Council is contractually bound to dispose of the sites to Redrow, subject to there being an implementable planning consent and the land value being agreed, and breach of this would be unlawful and could result in a claim for breach of contract.

 

It further notes that the Council has now been locked into an agreement with Redrow.

 

It requests the Elected Mayor therefore to attempt to renegotiate the agreement of 16th February with a view to:

 

  1. Withdrawing the land from sale;
  2. Look at the possibility of developing part of the Beechley House land for more two bedroomed apartments;
  3. Give Beechley Riding for the Disabled a 25 years lease on the land and buildings that they currently occupy subject to them getting grants within 2 years to improve the stables and their environs to the standards that would be deemed acceptable to the Council and starting to implement such works;
  4. Work with the miniature railway group to secure grants to develop, on their existing site, an improved and sustainable model railway system and review the possibility of them acquiring the buildings and space vacated by Calder Kids;
  5. Use the buildings and land vacated by Calder Kids for local community purposes if the miniature railway is unable to proceed with an expansion;
  6. Discuss with the Local Green Space Groups such as LOGS CIC and Friends of the Harthill& Calderstones Park the possibility of them taking over and managing the woodland and nature trail areas.
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“Break the Power of Westminster and Whitehall” – Liverpool Council urged

Whitehall

Too many decisions are made in Whitehall and Westminster by people who have no idea about our local circumstances. We need to bring decisions back to our area and all the other regions of England.

Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat Group are calling for a major transfer of power from London to the Liverpool City Region at this Wednesday’s meeting of the Liverpool City Council. In a motion from my colleague Woolton Lib Dem Councillor, Kris Brown the we are suggesting the transfer of responsibility for Health, Policing and economic development from London to Liverpool.

Cllr Kris Brown will say, “For too long well-meaning but ill-informed people in London have set targets and spending priorities with no knowledge of our area, our people and our organisations.  That has meant a huge waste of money and a failure to concentrate on the things that really matter. Not only have we had the wrong targets we have been totally failing to link up central and local government, the voluntary sector and the private sector in a meaningful way”.

I will say, “this move would bring Halton policing into Merseyside and abolish the position of Elected Police Commissioner. It would bring money from central government to support trade and economic activity in partnership between the Liverpool City Region, Councils and private business. As we approach BREXIT which is already causing so much damage to our industry this local joining up will help preserve many jobs and industries which are under threat.

ENDS:  The Council meeting will take place on Wednesday 14th November at 5 p.m. at the Liverpool Town Hall

The full text of the motion to the Council meeting

14. Devolution of Powers to the Liverpool City Region by Councillors Kris Brown and Richard Kemp CBE

Council welcomes the fact that all 8 Regional Mayors, including the Elected Mayor for the Liverpool City Region have jointly asked for more powers to be devolved to them by central government. It believes that the best value for taxpayers’ money will be created by locally elected decision makers devising policies and implementing plans based on a detailed local knowledge and the ability to create necessary local partnerships.

Accordingly, it resolves to ask its representative on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Elected Mayor for the LCR to work to the following objectives:

1.  The incorporation of the political oversight and tax raising functions of the Elected Police Commissioner for Merseyside to be brought under the control of the Elected Regional Mayor with appropriate scrutiny arrangements through the Combined Authority with the subsequent abolition of the post of Police Commissioner;

2.  That Halton Borough Council be asked for their support to agree that the Government be asked to transfer policing responsibilities for the Halton area from Cheshire to Merseyside Constabularies;

3.  The transfer of elements of control for the Health Service within the LCR boundaries on the lines of the power transfers of the Greater Manchester model; and

4.  Reduction in the budgets of the Department of Business, Enterprise, Industry & Science with an equivalent increase in budget to the Regional Mayor to improve investment in technology, trade missions, universities and grants to industry within the City Region.

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We Must Walk Together on anti-Semitism Lib Dem offer to Liverpool Labour

Pittsburgh

This is a person who was mourning the Jewish dead in Pittsburgh last week when 9 members young and old were killed. We must work together to ensure that anti-Semitism is not allowed to flourish in Liverpool

Last night I received an appalling request from two Labour members who felt that they could not complain within the Labour Party about the adoption of an apparent anti-Semite as a candidate for next May’s local elections in Norris Green.

I have looked at the information that they sent me and looked at the social media accounts of the individual concerned. I think that they are clearly in breach of the definitions of anti-Semitism which have been accepted by both the Council and the Labour Party.

This is not just a problem for the Labour Party but for society as a whole. That is why I have asked Joe Anderson as the Labour Leader in Liverpool to examine what we can all do to fight this scourge and ensure that the Jewish community which are part of the very fabric of the community in Liverpool continue to feel that our City is a safe haven.

Joe, Anderson,

Leader, Liverpool Labour Group

By E-mail

6th November 2018

Dear Joe,

Re:       Liam Moore your candidate for Norris Green

I have been contacted earlier today by two members of your Party of the Jewish faith who wanted to tell me about their concerns about the adoption last week of an ‘evangelical vicar’ as your Party’s Candidate in Norris Green. They tell me that they feel that they feel that they cannot approach you directly because of the clear support given to this man by your Cabinet member, Barry Kushner.

They have sent me copies of his social media feeds which seem to hem and to me to be in clear contravention of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which has been adopted not only by Liverpool Council but also by the Labour itself.

A HARDCORE Corbynista was last night accused of “pure and simple” antisemitism just days after being picked to fight a plum council seat in Jewish MP Luciana Berger’s backyard.

In April he shared a post claiming support for Israel’s right to exist “is not healthy for children”.

In August he said “We are seeing a very English right-wing Zionist coup mate and sadly the Labour Party is infiltrated by sellouts who would sacrifice a labour government for their 30 pieces of silver.”

In July 2014 he said on Twitter that “Rothschilds Zionist run Israel and world governments” did not really care about Jewish people.

When Luciana Berger welcomed Labour clamping down on antisemitism in a Tweet in August, Mr Moore replied: “What’s your view in Zionism and Netanyahu’s ideology of pushing the Palestinian people into the sea?”

You will be aware that the IHRA he definition of antisemitism adopted by Labour and the Council  outlaws holding Jewish people responsible for the actions of Israel.

At the end of the day who you choose as Labour candidates is, of course, a matter for the Labour Party. However, you will be aware of the affect that all this has on society more widely. There has been a huge increase in anti-Semitism in the UK generally and in even in the relatively safe haven of Liverpool members of the Jewish faith increasingly threatened by anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions. Therefore, all of us in public life, political or otherwise behave and conduct themselves. So we need to set a high standard in the work that we and our organisations

 

 

 

On that basis it is the duty of all of us not just to talk the talk but walk the walk alongside our Jewish fellow citizens in Liverpool. So perhaps you would tell us all:

  1. What are you doing to review the candidature of this individual; and
  2. What more you think we could do together across the Parties and across the faiths to fight against the evil of all racism including the very apparent racism of ant-Semitism

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

 

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Motion to Council on Calderstones Park backs campaign by local residents in the High Court

caldies

Does this look like a brownfield site to you? No me neither. Does it look like part of the Park? It does to me and to you I have no doubt!

On the day that local campaigners travel to the High Court in Manchester to launch their judicial reviews against the planning decisions of the Council in respect of the Redrow applications I can reveal the motion behind the Extraordinary Council Meeting to be held on 14th November.

We are really delighted as local councillors to stand behind the tremendous work being done by our local residents who have campaigned, fund raised and argued with a determination that would win over the most obstinate of politicians.

Our role has been to back them up with work inside the Council both in public and private activities. The pincer movement between us and the campaigners has produced resolutions in the Riverside and Wavertree Constituency Labour Parties against the selloff of land. In our motion, reproduced in full below, we not only show that the selloff would lose money but also give new or continued uses for land currently being included in the great sell off.

Of particular concern to us all are the proposals to spend £5.5 million to relocate the Riding for the Disabled to Clark Gardens when all they want is a 25-year lease which would enable them to upgrade their existing premises for £250.000 which they would raise themselves. The second financial concern is the move of Calder Kids for almost £2 million when their premises could have been put right for about £100,000.

The Council is going to lose money, at least £2,000,000, destroy the local environment, cut down 105 trees and the only profit for this will come to the shareholders of Redrow. This is a programme for a Labour council for the few and not the many.

We have also found a solution for every piece of the land which will save the Council money and get even more people to use this very successful park by adding to the offer it can make to the people of Liverpool.

Campaigners will leave for the High Court in a coach from the Car Park on Calderstones Road, Calderstones Park at 08.00 on both Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th November

The Lib Dem motion on Calderstones Park will be considered on November 14th at the rising of the normal Full Council at Liverpool Town Hall

Harthill and Calderstones Park

Council notes that more than 45,000 local people have signed a petition to oppose the sale of the Harthill Estate section of Harthill & Calderstones Park to Redrow Homes.

It welcomes the fact that Riverside and Wavertree Constituency Labour Parties and other Labour councillors have now joined the Liberal Democrats and Green Parties to oppose this move.

It believes that any possible financial advantages to be gained from a sale will be outweighed by a reduction in both the physical and amenity environments of Liverpool.

It notes that both Harthill and Beechleys (“the Sites”) are subject to the terms of the Overarching Agreement dated 16th February 2015 made between LCC, Redrew and LMH. As a result, the Council is contractually bound to dispose of the sites to Redrow, subject to there being an implementable planning consent and the land value being agreed, and breach of this would be unlawful and could result in a claim for breach of contract.

It further notes that the Council has now been locked into an agreement with Redrow where any profit from the land sale would be minimal and might even incur a loss.

It requests the Elected Mayor therefore to attempt to renegotiate the agreement of 16th February with a view to:

  • Withdrawing the land from sale;
  • Develop the former Beechley House as two bedroomed apartments with a priority for sale being given to residents within one mile of the Park to enable them to vacate nearby large family homes to be occupied by families with children;
  • Look at the possibility of developing part of the Beechley House land for more two bedroomed apartments;
  • Give Beechley Riding for the Disabled a 25 years lease on the land and buildings that they currently occupy subject to them getting grants within 2 years to improve the stables and their environs to the standards that would be deemed acceptable to the Council and starting to implement such works;
  • Work with the miniature railway group to secure grants to develop, on their existing site, an improved and sustainable model railway system and review the possibility of them acquiring the buildings and space vacated by Calder Kids;
  • Use the buildings and land vacated by Calder Kids for local community purposes if the miniature railway is unable to proceed with an expansion;
  • Discuss with the Local Green Space Groups such as LOGS CIC and Friends of the Harthill & Calderstones Park the possibility of them taking over and managing the woodland and nature trail areas

 

 

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE                                                            Cllr Andrew Makinson

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Labour – Liverpool’s Zombie Party

zombie-278755__340

I’m not sure whether the Liverpool Echo took this picture before or after the recent Central Ward Selection meeting!!

In the week that we have ‘celebrated’ both Mischief Night and Halloween it seems an appropriate time to examine the state of the “Walking Dead Party” or Labour as they used to be known.

On 14th. November at Full Council we will be sitting opposite a Party that is going through tremendous change, most of it entirely caused by internal dissension. At least 5 and possibly 6 councillors have been deselected (we await Cressington Ward where one the potential candidates misused details of the ward membership. The hot tip here from inside Labour straight to my inbox is for a new Momentum face). So what loyalty will they show to the Labour Party or to Joe Anderson whose grip on the Party is so weakened that he urged them out of the trenches and into the withering fire of Momentum.

There have already been major changes with the Lib Dems taking 5 seats from Labour and, of course, being joined recently by Cllr Kay Davies who had enough of the misogyny and other shenanigans inside the Party. There were changes at the last election where no less than 5 Labour Cllrs did not stand for re-election. One of these was Dave Hanratty who had already been re-selected to stand last May when he shocked the council with a resignation speech which basically said that the Momentum takeover of Labour in this decade was the same as the Militant takeover of the 80’s.

To cap it all Derek Hatton who effectively led Labour as it dragged the City down to 2 decades of none investment and high levels of debt is back in and throwing his weight about. The most outrageous thing I’ve seen this week is that Signature Living are offering a three-course meal to anyone who joins Labour! We are a bit old-fashioned about things like that. We prefer to have people join us because they support our principles and policies!

Political Parties have the right to remove people from councils and Parliament for a number of reasons. We have a similar two stage approach to the Labour Party. This applies to absolutely everyone including me! Firstly, we are vetted by a central panel who decide whether what we say is in line with local and national Lib Dem policy and whether or not we are of good character, can legally stand etc. Then we apply for a ward and are voted on by our Liverpool Executive and members in the relevant ward. At this stage we are checked for the amount of work and campaigning that we have been doing if already a councillor or promise to do as a candidate.

Amazingly I got through both phases intact and have been selected again to be the candidate for Church Ward next May. So, no deselection threats here. I’m the only one defending a seat next May so I am the only one who could have been de-selected. But my Party like the other major Parties does have the right to remove me if I do not perform politically or as an effective councillor. I understand that in the Green Party in Liverpool you just to be a relative of John Coyne and the Tories send people up from London to try and find candidates!

What is fundamentally different to Labour and ourselves is that we have very little dispute about the principles and policies of our Party. One question we always ask is, “what Lib Dem policies do you not support and what would you do about it in a vote in the Council?” At most we get nuances of difference but nothing that affects our core values as contained in our Constitution.

Inside the Labour Party there are clearly major differences in terms of policy and style. Though even there the differences are not always clear. If you follow Liverpool Echo reports it would appear that in Central Ward Cllr Nick Small who is a Progress supporter (a rightish looking group inside the Party) has been supporting a Momentum supporter who is from the left of the Party).

So perhaps there are worse features at play here than principle or policy disagreements. The people that have been removed are largely long-serving, traditional working-class Labour people who are Anderson supporters. We are clearly seeing a power play inside the Labour Party but as an outsider it is difficult to see who by. The Deputy Leader, Ann O’Byrne, must be the only Deputy Leader of any Party anywhere who not only does not sit next to the Leader but actually sits on the back benches. Is it now Ann versus Joe and if so what are new Momentum people going to do? At the moment here are only 5 of them but by the end of the elections in May there will be 15. This will be much more influential as the Labour Group will be smaller as we also make inroads with seat gains.

Will Momentum really support the woman who was Joe’s fixer for years and took a leading part in events relating to failed building developments in Chnina Town and elsewhere? Will Joe get their support for the Mayoral election? Will there even be a Mayoral Election as we will argue once again for the abolition of the ‘Spare Mayor’.

You might argue that none of this is my business. But be reasonable we are entitled to have at least a small laugh at Labour’s expense! I do think that it is our business though and is certainly the business of the people of Liverpool when they come to vote next year. People have a right too know what the Labour Party will be standing for and what they will do if elected. For the last two years there has been no Labour manifesto produced as they rely on the 2015 mayoral election manifesto. Will there be a new manifesto? Will everyone sign up to it once elected?

These issues are important. I already know of two investments that will not take place in Liverpool because of political uncertainty. That is precisely what happened from 1984 onwards. Political uncertainty leads to a loss of confidence and reduced public and private sector investment. It creates a vacuum at the heart of decision making which prevents our officers from proposing and implementing long term decisions. It prevents effective partnerships being formed as potential partners wait to see which way the wind is blowing.

I challenge Labour to say clearly, now that the selections are almost over, what that means in terms of policy and direction. To come clean on the key issues so that we all know which way the wind is blowing and can cast an informed vote next May

 

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Our Condolences on the Pittsburgh Massacre

Pittsburgh

A mourner kneels outside the Pittsburgh Synagogue where 11 innocent lives were ruthlessly taken in a act of gross religious intolerance

I have today written to the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council to express our regrets at the massacre of Jewish Americans on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

It seems to me that there is an increasing rhetoric from the far right and far left that seeks to blame minorities of all types for the economic and social woes that the World is facing. “It’s not our fault it’s Jewish Financiers or it’s health service seeking refugees”, goes the rhetoric. Because saying extremist things is easier to some people than dealing with the hard realities that this World of ours has plenty of resources but those resources are not shared more fairly.

In Liverpool we have had a significant population from the Jewish Faith for more than 200 years. They have played a major part in the growth of our City and in our business and political life. That is why it is so sad to see Jewish Labour MPs such as Luciana Berger increasingly being of the receiving end of filth, innuendo and abuse.

My support for the Liverpool Jewish community should not be interpreted as support for all the actions of the State of Israel. All responsible politicians should divorce their feelings about Jewish adherents in our Country and some of the irresponsible actions of the Jewish state.

I have also tabled the following motion to the November 14 Council and suggested that it should become an all-Party motion;

Pittsburgh Massacre
Council notes with sadness the recent events at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh which lead to the deaths of 11 members of the Jewish Faith and 6 more being seriously wounded.
It places on record that this global city condemns all attacks on people of faiths and that religious freedom is a key part of our ability to live in harmony with each other.
It regrets the rise in anti-Semitism throughout the World often caused by racist rhetoric from the extreme left and extreme right.
It places on record its belief that those of the Jewish Faith have played a major role in the health, legal, commercial and civic life of our City.
It stands in solidarity with the Jewish faith in the City and sends our condolences to the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council with an offer to work with them and representatives of all religious faiths to uphold religious tolerance in our City.
Cllr Richard Kemp

 

This is my full letter to the Jewish Representative Council

Chair,

Merseyside Jewish Representative Council,

29th October 2018

Dear Chair,

Re:   The growth in anti-Semitism

I am writing to you both as a City Councillor and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool to express our regrets to you for the terrible events that took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday. No words can sufficiently express the condemnation that needs to be made for the way in which the Jewish community has been treated.

This is not happening in isolation. Attacks oral, in writing and physical are increasingly being made on your community in the UK as well. Over the past few years there has been a growth in intolerance not only to Jews but other minorities that I had fondly believed were being educated out of the population as a whole

It appears to us that much of this has been caused by political leaders across the World persecuting minorities as they cannot find solutions for the grave problems that we all face. Once again, the caricatures of Jewish people as ruthless financiers backing wars and pestilence to their own ends has become part of political rhetoric from the extreme left such as Jeremy Corbyn and the extreme right such as Donald Trump. Crucially, those of us who are not defined in such terms politically are not doing enough to stand together with those of the Jewish faith to counter such revolting arguments.

To this end what more can be done? Are there things we could and should be saying in the Council or the community or schools about these allegations and accusations? I know that much is being done, for example, with the annual Holocaust commemorations and with some educational programmes but what do you think could be done?

We would be delighted to explore these issues with you if you think that they are worth exploring. Some of our Councillors could come and meet with parts of your community to discuss these contemporary issues and explore a joint way forward if you think that it would be helpful.

Once again could I record our disgust at what is happening and our determination to stand with you and to jointly face down in calmness and with reason those who seek to divide us.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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