The implications for the UK of a King Lear in the USA

The fact that mental health professionals are now querying the mental health of the ‘most powerful nation’ on Earth should give even Boris Johnson pause for thought

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between the UK for some time but my thoughts have been jolted to a conclusion when I read this in today’s Independent.

“A group of mental health professionals have warned Congress it must act urgently to demand Donald Trump undergo an evaluation to determine his continued fitness for office after nearly a week of heightened tensions with Iran.

The World Mental Health Coalition made the statement a month after warning Congress that the stress of impeachment could cause Mr Trump’s mental state to deteriorate to a dangerous level.

“We have been seriously warning about this for some time. The US Congress must act immediately and forcefully without further delay,” the group said in a statement obtained by The Independent shortly after the president struggled to pronounce words and sniffed repeatedly while delivering a scripted statement on the Iran crisis at the White House”.

The relationship with the USA is an important one for the UK and for Liverpool. I only have to go to the Londis on Penny Lane and most days I will hear a transatlantic accent especially when the cruise liners are in as a huge proportion of their passengers come from the US.

Of course, the USA is not our biggest trading partner, that’s the EU but it is important to us not only for trade but for the defence and other problems which it can and is causing for us.

I strongly suspect that Trump’s action on Iran will be the British equivalent of Suez. At that time the UK Government run largely by people who had played a major part in the Raj and the rest of the Empire could not believe the evidence of their own eyes. The Empire had gone but the Colonel Blimps of Westminster and Whitehall still thought that they could intervene in the countries led by ‘Johnny Foreigner’ with impunity. They were wrong just as Trump is wrong now.

Trump believed that he could sit in Washington and dictate actions many thousands of miles away. He expected his allies to fall in behind him. He was wrong on both counts. Not one ally supported the USA with even Israel standing aloof from the actions. Within hours Trump and his worm-like spokesperson were rowing back, “of course we won’t bomb cultural areas; we must work with our allies to get a none proliferation agreement for nuclear weapons with Iran”.

The immediate tragic consequence of this appears to be the death of 160+ people in a Ukraine aeroplane. The likely scenario is that jittery Iraqis shot down a plane by mistake. They may have pulled the trigger but it was Trump who set up the circumstances.

The relationship with a delusional Trump matters because of the beliefs from a delusional Johnson that we have a special relationship with the USA which will be sealed by a great trade agreement when we leave the accursed EU. All the signs are that this will not happen. Deluded Mr Trump might be but even he recognises what Mr Johnson cannot that keeping the EU with its 600 million plus people in a strong relationship is more important than a relationship with the 60 million people in the UK.

The idea that we could ditch our biggest and nearest trading partner and replace it with a strong relationship with the World’s biggest economy was always far-fetched. Now as we see the power and influence of the USA receding almost on a daily basis it appears totally naïve. We could well be the rats that go down with the sinking ship!

We want to have a good relationship with the USA. I personally have many friends over there who are as appalled as we are about their President. We have many things in common with the USA and many cultural and economic links. Our car industry, pharmaceutical industry and banking industries are very interconnected with USA counterparts and there a large two-way traffic in tourists. These relationships are important to both Countries. So, we need to find a way to work with the best elements of the USA without tying ourselves to their own King Lear.

The behaviour of Trump which was always erratic can now be seen to be totally dangerous. This is a man who has lied, cheated and deceived. He is racist and sexist; he is operating well beyond his mental capacity and has surrounded himself with god-botherers and toadies. Yet he is the person we now rely on for our future economic prosperity!

To use an American expression Prime Minister Johnson needs to, “wake up and smell the coffee”. He needs to ensure that we do not leave the EU without a trade agreement. No deal with no potential partner such as the USA would be economic suicide for the Country. Perhaps the good side effect of Trump’s stupidity is that Johnson will come to his senses and approach the UK/EU relationship with a more realistic assessment that the EU is where we need to have the strongest possible affiliation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A scandalous waste of money by Liverpool Council

This was the proposal for the redevelopment of the Beechley/Harthill area of Calderstones Park. When the decision was taken not to sell the land to Redrow why didn’t the Council look at the renovation of Calder Kids instead of a slow and costly move to another site?

The council rightly tells us that it is short of money. When you and I are short of money we stop spending if we can; we watch every penny like a hawk; and make every penny count for the most import things in our lives.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case with the City Council and the way it has behaved in regard to Calder Kids is an example of this.

The Calder Kids site in Harthill Road was originally part of the ill-fated proposal to sell land to the Council’s favourite developer Redrow Homes. It was going to be relocated; Beechley Riding for the Disabled was to move to Clarke Gardens and the miniature railway was to be moved into the Park. The Council then did its sums and realised that the costs of the three sets of removals would be more than they would get for the land and then the Council lost a Judicial Review which meant that the land could not be developed.

After the Council had made the first decision not to proceed it still decided to proceed with the moving of Calder Kids because they were persuaded that the building that was being used was in poor condition and needed renovation. This is perfectly true. However, a professional building contractor who knows the site well and has a long involvement with the needs of disabled children has told us that the site could be brought up to an excellent standard for approximately £100,000.

For 6 months I have tried to get information from the Council about how much this was all costing and what we are getting for our money. As you can see from the answers below:

  • The £100,000 to renovate the site has become approximately £250,000 (and rising) to renovate a former school
  • Premises that were rent free will now be premises that cost £40,000 per year.
  • A total of £137,442.06 (up to mid-December) had been paid to this organisation to provide absolutely no services to the disabled young people of Liverpool when at minimum the staff could have been deployed to provide services at other facilities for disabled children such as with the RDA or in specialist schools.
  • No firm outputs have been given to the organisation to enable us to check the value for money against the grant that they are or will receive.
  • The Harthill Road building will be market tested when it should be given to either the miniature railway or the Riding for the Disabled association both of which need extra space.

No one is saying that we do not need the facility and that an adventure playground for the disabled is not a good idea. What we question is the decision-making process which has allowed such a waste of resources and effort to take place.

What we also want is the council to discuss the future use of the building with both the Railway and Riding association. The RDA in particular has a number of suggestions as to how the premises could be used for projects for the disabled children that they already provide such an excellent service for.

These are the questions that I have asked the Council and these are the exact replies that I received after many months of digging.

  1. How much we have paid this organisation since they moved out of their Harthill Road base?

Calder Kids moved out of Harthill in July 2018. Since then the organisation has received £137,442.06 of youth grant.

2. How have their staff have been deployed to assist disabled children whilst they have been unable to operate?

The staff have been unable to work with disabled young people due to not having a base to work from. They have been undertaking and updating their training and skills e.g NVQ in Leadership and Management, First Aid, Safeguarding etc.  Dependent on the completion date of the capital works, Calder kids can support the Council’s short breaks service for disabled children, potentially utilising local children centres as a delivery base.

3. How much will the capital works to this building actually cost?

The cost for the replacement heating and mechanical ventilation is £233,549. There has also been replacement lighting in order to increase the building energy efficiency.  I will provide a more comprehensive figure in relation to the works as soon as possible.

4.    What annual grant will be paid to this organisation and are we supplying the whole of their budget?

Calder Kids currently receives an annual youth and play grant of £98,172.90. This is not the whole of their income, I believe they have other income sources.

5.    What outputs and outcomes have we negotiated with the organisation?

  • Reduction in NEET
  • Build well-being and resilience
  • Improve mental and emotional health
  • Improve physical health
  • Engage young people in positive activities

6.    What we are doing with their former building in Harthill Road?

The building will be marketed via expressions of interest.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What sort of Liverpool do we want?

If we are to protect our City the Town Hall must be the place where high level debates lead to high level actions which influence the delivery of all public sector services in the City.

If you think we have had all the elections that we need then you are doomed to disappointment! On May 7th we will have no less than 4 elections on the same day. We will elect a Liverpool City Region Mayor; a Merseyside Police Commissioner; a Liverpool City Mayor and 30 City Councillors. Or at least some of us will. The turn out in Liverpool elections hovers around 30%. I suspect that it will be even less this May given the revulsion that Liverpool have to this plethora of elected officials. At least you know who these people are.

At the same time, we have another plethora of unelected decision makers who spend vast amounts of public money either directly or indirectly through the reallocation of benefits such as housing. Most people have no idea who is on the Boards of NHS Trusts or Housing Associations or Universities or how to contact them. They certainly have no possibility of getting rid of them if they don’t like the decisions that have been made.

I raise this issue at an early stage in these discussions because we need to make clear that the Council, although by far the most visible part of the public sector, has only very limited powers and budgets. We represent everyone but our mandate is limited by the splintered and secretive nature of the decision-making process.

To run our City properly we need to have all parts of the public sector running to one overall vision and merging their budgets and actions behind one overall locally determined plan. That means the Council and its leadership providing much more visible leadership and direction.

We must start with the elected sector. The City Region Mayor has been a great disappointment. He has become a mini-me of the Manchester City Region Mayor. He has created a vast empire of staff but even people in the system such as me would be hard put to say what leadership has been given to the City Region and what directions have been created. The City Mayor is much more visible but is, we believe, an appointment too far. The Elected Police Commissioner is a total waste of time.

We will bring forward proposals for a detailed pruning of positions and staff, some of which we can do ourselves and some of which we will press for Government action on.

So, what do we as Lib Dems want all those boards, quangocrats and staff and their budgets to do?

We want to build on our past to create a City that is wealthy and where the wealth is shared; that is environmentally sustainable in so far as a city can be environmentally sustainable; that is green with a strong emphasis on public open spaces; which is healthy with a  reduction in health inequality within the City; which provides a lifelong learning system that provides an education which adds value to people’s lives both in terms of employment and leisure; which provides housing that both meets basic needs of all our citizens and their aspiration; which is clean with people being proud of their neighbourhoods; where people can live all their lives whatever their care needs in supportive communities; and finally where people feel safe in their own homes and their own streets.

So far so good. I suspect that there would be few people in Liverpool who would have much disagreement with anything that I have suggested here. The difference between us and the Labour Party, and there are really only two Parties in Liverpool, is that we have an approach which we call, “Where top-down meets bottom-up”.

Our City is not one amorphous mass but in many ways is a series of villages or neighbourhoods. Some of those villages such as Woolton or Everton are obvious. Places which have built up a sense of identity over decades and centuries. Places to which people feel a sense of belonging and which they are loyal to.  However, there is far too much diversity between these neighbourhoods. In fact, there is one stark difference, the length of time that we live, with about a 10+ year difference in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between these two areas.

All our ‘villages’ must, in time become more equal by raising up the standards of the most deprived. This is not a new aspiration but one that has been an aspiration since the war. But it is an aspiration which has been approached largely through a top down approach with an imposition of ideas and actions from the Centre.

To realise our ambitions, we need to get an enhanced Inclusive Growth Plan and Local Development Framework agreed by the Council and combine them into a coherent forward plan for the City which takes us through the next 20 years.

We need to get local support from all the organs of state in the City to these plans. We then need to present them to the Tory Government to get their acquiescence to the Council taking the lead on all activities within the City. Of course, we want more money for the City but failing that we want more control to bring together all the local budgets.

Whatever we do things are going to be difficult in Liverpool over the next few years. Only by coming together and standing together can we hope to minimise the damage to our City and maximise the opportunities that we have.

Over the next few weeks Liverpool Liberal Democrats will be issuing a series of draft discussion documents inviting Liverpool people and organisations to share with us both their ideas and their opinions of ours. Lib Dems do not have all the answers to the City’s problems – no-one does. We do hope that our approach will put in place the deep partnership that our City needs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positive proposals to deal with Liverpool’s cash problems

Liverpool has a unique heritage. Lib Dems are supporting council initiatives to give it a unique future by allowing the council to coordinate and localise all public sector delivery in the City.

On Sunday the Liverpool Echo had yet another of its articles warning about the Council’s financial problems which was both timely and accurate but although stating the problems gives no hint as to what the solutions to those problems might be.

There are three facts which the Echo, Council and all public sector deliverers will have to grapple with over the next 5 years:

  1. There will be no more money from the Government. Liverpool will not be a Tory priority. Any additional spending for the North will be ruthlessly spent by the Tories on those areas which they gained from Labour in the General Election.
  • The likelihood is that that there will be less money. There will be no Brexit dividend and the opposite will apply. A reduction in the Country’s revenues will lead to a decrease in the tax take which means that the Tories will not be able to keep the promises about sending on services which they have sprayed around the Country.
  • There is a lot of money that will still come in to Liverpool but so much of it is wasted. This is not an attack on the Council although there are a lot of examples of Council waste. It is a criticism of the way that successive Governments have totally failed to join up service delivery in an effective way.

Social care does not link effectively to health care; education does not provide the knowledge or skills needed by employers; our universities undertake vast amount of research that adds little value to our City; the Police concentrate on catching criminals because social service departments are unable to stop children moving into crime; the DWP keeps people who want to work not working etc. etc. etc!

All this means that just doing less of the same will not work. The Council must reiterate and firm up its offer to Government to take the lead within our City of joining up the public sector into one coherent whole in which people and their problems are not passed from department and department.

This is not just about saving money or using it more effectively. It is about providing every Liverpool resident with better services. Let’s just take one example of this the interchange between health care and social care.

The first problem is that people do not understand the difference between these and why should they? Why are some inevitable conditions of ageing dealt with by a social care route which must be paid for whilst others are dealt with by a health route which is free? The second problem is that many people have both health and care problems and a spend a great deal of time shuffling through different agencies. The third problem is that the shuffling costs the public sector time and time is money. The fourth problem is that this creates gaps in service as the lack of system means that some people’s needs go unmet. Lastly, the binary system means that no one organisation takes responsibility for changing the system and its cultures to deliver services around the need to deliver one continuum of services to service users.

This lack of system is hugely expensive. At any one time more than 10% of hospital beds are occupied by people, usually elderly, with no clinical or medical need to be there. In most cases people do not want to be there but want to be at home where they could be looked after by their family or friends.  A hospital bed costs £550 a day. Our system with budgets in silos and targets set from the centre is unable to move money around over time to provide a better and cheaper service.

Lib Dems don’t want the Council to take over these, or any other services, but we do want the Government to allow the locally elected council to take the lead in working with the people of Liverpool to decide the local outputs and outcomes which will mean that every single penny that the Government gives us can be more effectively used.

Local councils can create the partnerships needed to deliver the locally agreed priorities.  They can move money upstream within the system to prevent many social and health problems. They can have a coherent view of the local strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Above all they can be accountable to the local electorate in a way that the Government cannot. Because the councils would take over a leadership responsibility for services that people can actually relate to, they can be judged more easily. A national pledge to spend an extra 2% here and 1% there simply gets lost. A local pledge to do something about a service which people will either use themselves or will be used by a friend or relation is much easier to check on.

The challenge has already gone out from the Council meeting in September to the Government making an offer to take over the leadership role for local service delivery. This will not involve a costly reorganisation with redundancies and new jobs and structures which would take time to organise.

This is about priorities and outputs and outcomes which would be delivered by existing organisations but in a way which saves cash and gives a better service. Only blind prejudice would make the Government turn down such an offer. This is a Tory Government which, in theory at least, claims to want to get value for taxpayer’s money. Liverpool has made an offer for a system change which will deliver this. Only blind prejudice would prevent the Government from taking up this offer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What will politics do to the main Parties in 2020?

I hope that the Party will rapidly conclude that Ed Davey should be our Leader so that we can get on with refining our policies, people practices and getting on with the job of growing our Party

One thing that we can say for certain is that politics will not be as tense in 2020 as it has been for the past 2 years. For the whole of that period the Parties have been on an almost permanent alert for a General Election. Many things will happen in Parliament and in Council Chambers. There will be lots of policy to be discussed and lots of opportunities to pursue politics but not with the threat of a General Election hanging over us.

I see loads of opportunities for the Lib Dems in the coming year but as many of those will be created for us by the shortcomings of the other Parties, I am starting with them and will thereafter discuss how best the Lib Dems can take advantage of them.

The Tories now seem to be on cloud 9. Their dreams have come true and they are a majority government and a good majority at that. In theory they are in place not for one Parliament for two so that for 10 years Johnson and a likely successor could be lording it over us. In pure seats terms that is undoubtedly true but there are three issues that will haunt the Tories over the next few years:

  1. Their vacuous manifesto but overstated promises at the General Election. Their manifesto can be dismissed as little more than a pamphlet backed up by lies. Somehow, however, they managed to make a lot of promises. They would put more money into education, the NHS, social care, transport, the North of England – in fact you name it and they gave promises that have already been shown to be false.

Just take the nurses. 40,000 more nurses except that 19,000 wouldn’t be new but retained instead of leaving! So that’s 21,000 more then but where will they come from. It takes 3+ years to get a nurse fully onto the wards and up to 7 to get them fully proficient into a specialism. So, for most of the next 7 years if things go well, we will be training nurses and not fully deploying them. Ok if they put the money in, they can recruit them from abroad. Well there’s a problem. They cannot do that because of their immigration policy especially vis a vis Europe!

The money, however, won’t be there for this or any other purpose. The economy will go into a slow but steady decline which means that none of the promises to spend more can be achieved.

  • The areas that they now represent. They have taken seats in parts of the North that they have never had to think of before. The MPs for those areas and the people that they represent will expect a payback. Tories have always given more money to the Tory shires of the South East, East and South West. Now what little money that will be available will be spread much more thinly. It will satisfy no-one.
  • The people that they now are. Almost all the one nation Tories have walked. There are a few left in the Party but there is now a huge rift between them and the other two groups that now fit into the Tory pig-pen. The Rees-Moggs of this world who are contemptuous of the Chavs and the Chavs of this world who are contemptuous of the Rees-Moggs! Many of the new MPs fall easily into the Chav barrel. For a while they will be amazed by the wonder of Parliament. Then the shades will drop from their eyes and there will be class warfare within the Tory Party

What then of the Labour Party? Will their change of Leader bring them new success? It hardly seems likely.

One the one hand we have the Corbynites grouping behind Rebecca Wrong Daily and her mini-me Richard Burgon. I understand that they are both lawyers of some sort which makes me despair of the legal profession. They are quite convinced that Labour won the arguments and that the only thing that stopped them winning was that people voted the wrong way!

They cannot accept that Corbyn was the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition since records began. They believe that people would really have liked their 1950s style manifesto if only had the right wing press not scared them off. Dream on! It was quite clear on the doorstep that people disliked the manifesto and Corbyn in equal measures. In places like Liverpool many people voted Labour with a peg on their nose.

On the other hand, we have the pragmatic, sensible middle of the road Labour MPs who seem to be rallying under the slightly off pink banner of Keir Starmer. Starmer is someone who the Lib Dems could work with (that’s lost him a few votes in the leadership election!) but is not a credible figure to regain the Northern losses. He is clearly a member of the London chattering, middle class elite. It took a Neil Kinnock to prepare the ground for Tony Blair. Starmer is no Kinnock.

Whoever wins the election a large part of the Party will not like the outcome. My guess is that the hard left will win because they have such a commanding control of the Party machinery. If that is so then they will continue to be the Corbyn grouping and the democratic socialists will have to come to a conclusion about whether the Labour Party could ever again be one that they could support or be a member of.

For the next four months Labour thoughts will be internal and for the next four years Labour actions will be based on control of the Party.

So, what of the Liberal Democrats and how will we take advantage of the fracas in the other Parties? The way ahead will not be easy for us. We will have our own challenges of having a small Parliamentary Party and some of our members who joined us for one reason only will leave us. We need to have our own debate about why we threw away the huge advances and popularity of the first 10 months of 2019.

I believe that we will have this debate in a friendly and liberal way. Our Party is not like the other Parties because we are much more familial and collegiate.

We need to concentrate on two things:

  1. Making our policy much more fit for purpose. This does not mean creating more policy but on using our policy more effectively. We have to be far clearer about how we get our policy across to people. Of course, we need to continue to use Focus and other door step tools but we need to be far cleverer than that.

We need to talk housing to housing people; and education to education people; and health to health people. We have concentrated for the past 50 years on the community that people live in but we are all part of many other communities. The communities we work in; the community we travel with; the community of parents; the communities of age; the communities of gender. We need to focus on them and find new ways of getting our messages across.

This will involve us listening more and talking less. If we were to pin all our hopes now on an immediate policy of trying to re-join the EU we will take our Party down one long cul-de-sac. We need to talk to the electorate about the issues that they care about and not the issues that we care about.

  • In case anyone thinks I am going soft the last paragraph does not mean that we stop doing the door knocking and in your face stuff! As politics gets nastier the people who will come through it relatively unblemished are the politicians that people see every day in their streets and on their door steps. So, we still need to be out there gaining respect, taking up issues and garnering support.

There is no easy way forward for Lib Dems but there can be a steady way forward in which we become a small granite rock to which others, both members of other Parties who share our issues and voters who realise that neither of the other Parties really cares for the whole Country and the everyday concerns of the men and women of the UK, can swim to.

I believe that 2020 will be a year of consolidation for our Party. Under the trusted leadership, most likely of Ed Davey, we will review our policies, people and practices. That review will mean that we make continued advances in local elections which will presage greater advances in subsequent General Elections. Some lucky by-elections and stolid progress will be the order of the day for 2020 and 2021.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2019 – a mixed year for the Lib Dems

2019 was a mixed year for the Lib Dems but we came through it stronger and more united at the end of the year than we were at the beginning. Best wishes for |Christmas everyone!

Well it was quite a year for the Lib Dems. It had its ups and its ups and its ups but then we had not so much a big down as a major disappointment!

What was the good stuff that happened?

704 gains in local elections which means that we control about 30 councils and lead about 20 more with some Lib Dem cabinet members etc on a range of balanced councils. Since then we have also had about 20 gains in local council by-elections.

The European elections were fantastic for us. Going up from one seat to 16 including two in the North West. Our MEPs set to work with urgency and conviction. In particular, Chris Davies took the Chair of the vital fisheries committee and in his limited time as Chair has been able to sort out this difficult and controversial area.

Our membership is at its highest ever level with more than 120,000 members and about 25,000 registered supporters. Not so many as the other Parties but with a much higher proportion of activists.

The disappointment, of course, was the General Election itself. 1,250,000 more votes and one less seat than in 2017. Lib Dems kept out of power and influence by a corrupt and corrupting electoral system which leads to a corrupt and corrupting Parliament.

Locally, all these national positions were reflected in our position in Liverpool.

2 gains and 2 near misses in the local elections has left us clearly as the main opposition Party with 10 members. Our councillors are high quality, committed and determined.

The EU elections brought new members and new opportunities and we trebled our vote compared with the 2014 elections.

Our membership is at its highest level ever which is amazing considering that we have more members now than when there were 70 of us on the Council.

Locally and nationally we are a Party of friendships, unity and purpose. Of course, we have debates and disagreements. These take place in a spirit of friendship and a desire to move forward our Party, our city and our country. It’s a privilege to be a member of and to lead locally such a great group of people.

All these things put us in great contrast to our opponents.

The Greens did poorly at the local elections in Liverpool and in the General Election nationally. They still have just the one MP and their number of potential parliamentary seats is a small handful! In Liverpool they are confined to two wards in one constituency.

The Labour Party were comprehensively stuffed at the General Election and it was always going to be so. As soon as the normal ‘Presidential’ conditions of a General Election set in it was obvious that Labour were going to do badly. There was no way that the most unpopular Leader Of The Opposition since records were kept was ever going to do well. The recriminations have started and a civil war has clearly commenced between the Corbyn Cult and anyone else in the Party. This will distract Labour from the huge problems that Brexit will face us with as could be soon when about 30 MPs failed to back Corbyn’s line in the recent Withdrawal Agreement debate.

The Tories did well in the General Election but at the expense of not being the Conservative Party that has existed since the war. The hard right has moved in and the one nation Tories have moved out. To win a General Election the Tories had to duck and dive, dodge and weave more than even the Trotter family could manage. They produced not a manifesto but an extended leaflet which was vacuous and uncosted. Yet despite this they have made lots of promises that are undeliverable. They now own all those undeliverable promises. There will be major problems to our economy and major problems in our relationships with Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The NHS and education and housing will not have more money spent on them Climate Change and Universal Credit will not be tackled.

The electorate assisted by the Lib Dems will remind them of all promises and all shortcomings. In particular we will remind that that far from BREXIT being done, the 31st January only starts the process.

So, what does the future hold for the Lib Dems? Well Olde Kempe has yet to consult his Crystal Ball and record things in Ye Famouse Kempe Almanack! I will do this after the odd snifter or two over Christmas and will feel emboldened to make my prognostications known soon after Christmas Day.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone in Liverpool because together we have a beautiful and caring City. Thank you to everyone in the Lib Dems because together we have a caring and beautiful Party.

Or to put it more simply in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone”

Enjoy – I’ll be in touch soon

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liverpool will always be a major European City

I want the European flag to fly on the Town Hall every year on the anniversary of the Referendum to remind people that we were a Remain city then and a European City now

Liverpool is and always will be a major European City. No matter what damage will be caused to our city by the irrational, half-witted and ill-informed decision by Parliament to leave the EU – a process which will only start on 31st January and not end there we as a Council must fight to limit the damage.

We cannot, in the short-term fight to re-enter the EU. The Country has taken a wrong turn and like an alcoholic or a drug addict it must reach the bottom before rehabilitation is possible, There will be job losses, there will be cuts in public service budgets, there will be increased difficulties in travelling, there will be reduced opportunities for our young people to travel to work abroad, there will be reductions in the research being undertaken by our Universities and leading companies. We cannot prevent these things from happening. There will be a period of slow decline for our Country which, I suspect, will not be the United Kingdom for much longer.

We can stop it but we can reduce the problems to our City if we do the right things. Lib Dems believe that this means reaching out to Europe and creating our own links to keep in touch with partners and potential partners in Cities, companies and governments at all levels to enhance our economic and commercial trading links. Allied to that would be cultural and educational links to ensure that we understand and build on our joint European heritage.

So we are putting a motion to the next Council meeting which we hope will be supported by all Parties. We do pretend that what is contained within it is any more than a direction and can be considered a little tokenistic. What we need is set of developed policies to increase our resilience across the City Region. Given the lack of capacity, vision and direction of the Regional Mayor and Combined Authority that is a task that must be led by the City Council and its leadership.

Sometimes tokens are important. By passing this motion we will be telling the European citizens who live here that they are very welcome. We will be saying to the rest of the UK, “follow our example and maintain our European links and heritage”. We will be saying to our European friends, “we value your friendship and partnership. It might be little England but its big Liverpool!”

As always I attach the motion for all Liverpool citizens to see and look forward to getting your comments back on it.

Motion to Liverpool City Council on January 18th

Liverpool – A European City

Proposed Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Seconded Cllr Kris Brown

Council notes with regret that Parliament has passed a vote which will mean us leaving the European Union.

It believes that this will cause a huge turbulence in our economy which will lead to a reduced level of Gross Domestic Product and therefore a reduced level of taxation. These factors will in turn lead to decreasing opportunities for employment and reduced investment in public services.

Council believes that in spite of the vote in Parliament Liverpool is and will always be a major European City. It will seek to build on its current status and strengthen its own links with Europe by:

  • Holding an annual festival of European art, culture and cuisines on the date of the 2016 referendum.
  • Requesting each EU member country which does not currently have an honorary consul in the City to appoint one to ensure ongoing top-level links between Liverpool and those countries.
  • Working with one appropriate city in each member state to develop city to city links to boost trade, commerce, service delivery, art and cultural exchanges.

To further these and other objectives it resolves to establish a  steering Group composed of officers and staff of the Council, the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the European Movement and World Wide Wednesday, national groups present in Liverpool and other interested Parties to work together to support all pro-European activity within the City and City region.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment