Telling the truth about green spaces in Liverpool

In November Labour moved a fatuous amendment to a Lib Dem motion to try and convince people (even themselves) that they were not voting for the development of Calderstones Park. They were!

I suppose after 36 years as a Liverpool Councillor nothing should surprise me about the way some people make wild claims about their track record on green spaces. Most of them are experienced councillors and they know that the way they have voted time after time and year after year is on record. How I voted and how they voted can always be seen because the meetings of the Council are held in public and so are the minutes of those meetings. You can find them under the Council meetings section of the Council’s website at www.liverpool.gov.uk.

But now I can see Labour Councillors from South and Central Liverpool telling us in tweets and other social media that they are green campaigners. They even turned up with banners lately at a ‘Save Allerton Priory’ event. That might be what they say now as Joe’s empire is falling apart but its not what any of them said since 2013 when the green spaces row started in the Council Chamber.

So, let’s be clear how they voted. On 7 occasions the Labour Party has voted unanimously against motions about green spaces and especially Calderstones when the Lib Dems supported by the Greens have put to council.

On 6 occasions they voted on motions from us. They started in 2013 at an Extraordinary Council meeting that we called. As usually happened, they moved an amendment on that occasion parroting dubious figures that there is actually more parkland in Liverpool under Labour than before. I’ll return to this later. When it came to the crunch; they pushed through their amendment which totally frustrated our efforts to save Sefton Park Meadowlands; Calderstones Park; Walton Hall Park and other sites from Redrow’s bulldozers.

In some ways the most memorable of debates was when The Mayor of Liverpool actually moved a motion congratulating himself on the great deal he had produced in selling of the Harthill section of Calderstones Park to Redrow. Labour councillors fell over themselves in brown-nosing Joe’s motion and voting against our amendment.

The last time that we debated it was at another extraordinary meeting just last November. We moved that the Council should drop its opposition to the Judicial Review and save £100,000 and start working with the miniature railway and Beechley about long leases which would enable them to attract investment. We moved this after the Mayor had already met the chair of Beechley RDA and told him that Beechley would not have to move if they did not want to.

Again, Labour moved a fatuous amendment to neuter our clear call to proceed with the retention of the Harthill estate for green and community uses. They claimed that we should not be doing this in advance of the JR because it might prejudice the council’s case. Of course, this was nonsense. If that had been the case we would not have been allowed to move the motion and a phalanx of officers stood by to step in should we stray from a strict legal path.

If you don’t believe me have a look at the records. Even better go and talk to the green campaigners from Walton Hall Park; Sefton Meadowlands and Calderstones Park who sat through most, if not all, of these meetings.

Labour’s record is atrocious on both green and building heritage issues. For 8 years they claimed that World Heritage Status is “just a plaque on the wall of the Town Hall.” It was only when we were in the last chance saloon with UNESCO that Labour relented, largely due to public pressure, and took action to stop developments that would have imperilled the status.

If we look at their claim about there being 43 more acres of parkland than they inherited we can see that it is bogus. The 43 acres are all situated around regeneration areas and were a necessary part of the tidying up which always takes place at the end of such schemes. 20 acres, almost half the total is actually land in Alt Valley which has been tidied up to await further development initiatives and where it is hoped that buildings will replace the temporary greenery.

“Ah”, say Labour campaigners, “We got two constituency Labour Parties, Wavertree and Riverside to vote against the Calderstones Park proposals”. That’s true but so what? The only votes that count are those in the Council Chamber. Even after their own Constituency Parties condemned the Calderstones proposals every single Labour councillor present in November voted against the Lib Dem motion.

I am prepared to be judged on my record. You might not like how I vote but I can and do always defend what I have said and voted for in the Council chamber and have never tried to pretend that I have voted one way in the Council but tell people outside that I voted a different way.

My Lib Dem colleagues and I are consistent. One of the major motivators for us being in our Party are our environmental concerns which we work out locally, nationally and internationally.

Saying one thing and doing another is dodgy politics. People actually respect you more if you are honest and explain why you didn’t vote the way they wanted you to. They know that we have to make difficult decisions and cannot please all the people all of the time.

So, if you live in Church or Allerton/Hunts Cross or Woolton or Childwall or Cressington or Wavertree or Mossley Hill Wards challenge all your councillors and candidates about not just what they say about the environment but how they have voted on environmental issues. Our Lib Dem candidates have a proud track record to build whilst others have a more dodgy past!

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Brexit – The Great Escape?

Will the UK make a break for freedom this week from the hell of life outside the EU which awaits unless MPs start to act responsibly and debate instead of rehearse their long-established prejudices.

Today we celebrate the anniversary of “The Great Escape” immortalised, of course, by the great Steve McQueen. The story itself was grossly over played and the reality was much grimmer than the fantasy. British men were determined to escape and get home to continue the fight. Only a few made it and some were recaptured and shot.

I wonder if this weekend we have resolved as a Country to make our own ‘Great Escape’ from the tangled morass of Brexit. Yesterday a million+ people marched against Brexit while 100 marched for it. They went to London from Inverness and Cornwall from Liverpool and Leeds. They were of all ages, colours, creeds and classes. They had one common idea. That they were all British but also that they were all European. They went to London with one resolve – to allow the people to have the final say on Brexit. As MPs cannot come to any conclusion it must go back where it started; to the people of the UK.

At the same time 4,920,790 people have signed the Government petition to revoke Article 50. By the time I’ve finished writing this never mind you reading it the number will have passed 5 million. This has really taken off in just 5 days and is the biggest petition in British history.

This corresponds closely with what I have seen on the ground. Over the weekend I have door knocked in Cressington, Allerton & Hunts Cross and my own Church Ward. On each occasion three people volunteered the fact that they had voted Leave at the referendum and now bitterly regretted it. Not one has told me that they have switched the other way either this weekend or in the time since the referendum took place.

When asked why they have switched three reasons come up:

  1. The lie about £350 million a week for the health service has been seen as a total way of deceiving people.
  2. The idea that it would be easy has been exploded. Two people quoted the Tory who said that securing a new trade agreement with the EU would be the easiest in history being done in a couple of hours and concluded with a nice cup of tea!
  3. People now understand the considerable down sides from leaving Europe. One has a relative who had lost their job in a car factory and one works in Birkenhead on the Irish ferries where expensive changes are taking place to deal with EU ship to Dublin and the UK ship to Belfast.

Interestingly no-one has blamed the EU for the impasse. There is a general acceptance that the EU is just defending its own ground just as it has done for the past 45+ years with us as members. People now understand that we need the EU more than the EU needs us.

So as a Remainer and a democrat I defend absolutely the concept of a People’s vote now that we know the facts about what Brexit really means. This vote was an advisory vote within our system of parliamentary democracy. If you doubt that you should remember that this has been confirmed by the Supreme Court based on the Referendum Act moved by David Cameron whilst PM.

No vote is forever. We had two General Elections in two years where substantial numbers of people changed their minds. I will be seeking re-election in May just 4 years after I was last elected. We don’t think that is undemocratic we think that is what democracy is all about. People can see what is happening and can change their minds. This isn’t Russia or China it’s the UK where democracy still underpins our political and governance systems.

I don’t know what is going to happen now. Parliament is still all over the place. But I do know what should happen. There should be a referendum with two questions. 1. Do you want to leave the EU on the terms negotiated by the Prime Minister; or 2. Do you wish to remain in the EU.

Who can really object to this? Mrs May herself tells us that this is the only deal available from the European Union. In fact, it isn’t but it is the only one that she can negotiate given her self-imposed red lines. No other politician including the Leader of the Labour Party has come up with a practical proposition which could be put forward as an alternative and tested in Parliament. Liberal Democrats have not and will not put forward an alternative because we know that there is no alternative deal available which will protect jobs and our place in the World.

All opinion polls suggest that all over the Country there is a clear majority of people in favour of a second referendum as a a way out of the parliamentary impasse. They also suggest that in many constituencies that voted Leave there has been a significant shift of opinion. All 5 Liverpool constituencies are now likely to vote Remain to increase the whopping 58%/42% Remain majority last time.

A second referendum is the only logical way forward. Let us hope that this week Parliament will have looked out of the metaphorical window – seen the 1,000,000+ people; seen the 5,000,000+ petition and will put common sense and democracy in place of pettiness and dogma.

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Spend money on services not politicians

Jane Kennedy should be the first and last Elected Police Commissioner for Merseyside. Joe Anderson should be the first and last Elected Mayor of Liverpool

Today I have welcomed the call by City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram, to scrap the role of Elected Police Commissioner and stop the chaos of Liverpool citizens voting four times next year.

Early last year we moved in the City Council the abolition of the roles of Elected City Mayor and Elected Police Commissioner. We argued then that these positions were unnecessary and expensive. Significantly our view was not supported by a single Labour Councillor. We have the absolute power to scrap the Elected Mayor but it would need Government approval to remove the Elected Police Commissioner position.

Next year the people of Liverpool will be presented with 4 ballot papers on election day. There will be votes for a councillor, City Mayor, City Region Mayor and Elected Police Commissioner. This is hugely expensive and highly confusing.

Scrapping elections for City Mayor and Police Commissioner would save more than £1.5 million in election costs. Together they would save tax payers more than £1.5 million a year in running costs.

It is not a complicated matter to transfer the Police Commissioner responsibilities to the Regional Mayor. There is a small problem of the policing of Halton which is currently undertaken by Cheshire and not Merseyside Police but that can be sorted out at a later date.

To assist the Regional Mayor a committee could be formed of the Cabinet Members on the 5 councils responsible for community safety with a couple of additions to allow smaller parties to be represented. This would have the added bonus of strengthening links between the Police and local councils which often have joint responsibilities for dealing with low level crime and anti-social behaviour.

There is already a scrutiny committee for the Regional Mayor in place and that could take over the scrutiny function currently undertaken by yet another committee.

Our views on a City Mayor are well known. The people of Liverpool were prevented from having a referendum on having a Mayor by a move in Council just 3 days before a referendum would have been compulsory. Significantly of the 12 councils that had such a referendum only one voted for a Mayor and that by just 234 votes across the entire city of Bristol.

We would return to the cheaper and more effective council leader system which would reduce the direct costs for the Mayor plus an over expensive office behind him. We could also abolish large swathes of none jobs whereby a payroll vote has been created to ensure loyalty. Effectively we have created in Liverpool an Emperor and courtier system divorced from reality and where the Emperor is only told what he wants to hear.

It would also end the confusion of who does what. Why did we send two Mayors to Cannes recently when one would have been sufficient and potential investors would have greater clarity about who to turn to?

Why is the Mayor of Liverpool interfering with discussions about Cammell Lairds which are rightfully the prerogative of Wirral Council and the City Region Mayor to deal with?

Times are hard and we need to devote every possible penny that we have to ensuring the maintenance of the frontline services that our residents so badly need. That is why it is vital now that we spend money on those frontline services, such as adult care, children’s services, education and the environment and not a bloated payroll for Labour politicians.

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We should say what we mean and mean what we say

Too many people in the Labour Party say one thing here and then say they believe something else in social media and on their leaflets

Its amazing how people talk big on social media but don’t follow up in the real world. This occurred to me this morning when I read a Tweet that a Cabinet member in Liverpool, “said some time ago that the position of Police Commissioner should be merged with that of the regional mayor”. That’s funny. He voted against that proposition when we proposed it twice in Council.

All over South Liverpool Labour Councillors are putting stories on social media and in their tedious little publication ‘Labour Rose’ that they have always been against the development of green space and in particular against the development of part of Calderstones Park. One even claims that it was her that persuaded the Mayor to abandon the scheme. That’s funny we Lib Dems have given Labour Councillors 7 opportunities over 3.5 years to vote against the Calderstones proposals but not one of them on any occasion has done so.

A few weeks ago, a Labour councillor hinted on two occasions that he was considering taking legal action against the Lib Dems over an article in the Focus Newsletter in his ward. He hasn’t done so. Presumably because he was told that something that is true and provable is not defamatory.

In County Ward Labour are attacking my colleague Kay Davies over the investigations that she initiated because of the way that money has been spent with her area. The same sort of item which caused Cllr Frank Prendergast to quit Labour and sit as an Independent. The fact that her complaints have led to a new way for the council to sanction payments to community groups has hurt their patronage and they have lashed out.

Lastly, in my own ward the Labour Party are putting out their second (?) newsletter since last May and claiming that I have failed to respond to a challenge from them to run a clean campaign. The fact that they then admit that they have neither written to or emailed me with the idea does not seem to merit an apology!

Of course, we all make mistakes. In the past on two occasions Lib Dem councillors have had to pay compensation after a legal ruling on what they have put in a leaflet. That is why we meticulously fact check our leaflets. We may still get something wrong and when we do I will insist that whoever did it does the decent thing and apologises swiftly and clearly.

The situation with Labour, however, is of a different order. They scream liar and cheat and misinformation just because they don’t like something that the Lib Dems have said about them. They are, of course, taking the lead from Donald Trump who only allows one version of the truth – his. Anyone who opposes him is peddling fake news; lying or becomes the victim of a furious and unfounded attack. The fact that you do not like something does not mean that it is a lie!

There is always a simple solution to these matters. Be consistent and tell the truth. For any Labour councillor to claim that they have been a green campaigner and saved Caldies Park is just not true. Candidates who have not been councillors might have some justification but what they say is they got their Constituency Labour Party to oppose the plans. A vote of the CLP is totally irrelevant. Labour Councillors do what they are told in the Council Chamber which is where the only votes that matter take place.

The fact that Labour councillors are whipped to vote is a disgrace. As a Liberal I am free to vote against my Group unless what they are doing is against a fundamental principle of our Party. For example, if they wanted to vote for somethings sexist or racist. There are clear limits but we recognise that on some matters there are different ways to the truth.

If you want to vote against the Lib Dem Group you need to let us know in advance. We prefer you to abstain than vote against us. If you do either or both of these two things no sanction will be taken out against you.

At the end of the day we have a different view of the role of elected representatives than either Tory or Labour Party. We are elected by and responsible to our Constituents and not our Party. Our Party gathers together like-minded people and supports them in elections. We don’t mandate them to vote in a particular way. We haven’t had a split vote for years not because of fear but because we discuss things and agree a way forward.

So, let’s have some good debates about the future of Liverpool in the run up to the May 2 elections. Let’s base it on the principle of say what you mean and mean what you say. If we all do that, we might just reawaken people’s belief in the democratic process which is currently sadly lacking.

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Can a political party be a movement?

You can now become either a member or registered supporter of the Lib Dems. Just log on to http://www.libdems.org.uk

On Saturday we held a debate about the development of a new supporter’s scheme for people who support our ideals but for a variety of reasons feel unable to join a political Party.

We agreed to have a supporter’s scheme. This vote went through with a huge majority and was never in doubt. But it only went through in a totally amended form. Out went:

  1. That supporters could be members of other Parties; How could we trust people with information of any sort when they had split loyalties. When would they be ours and when would they be theirs?
  2. That supporters could vote for the Leader. This could have led to entryism. At least you had to pay £3 to wreck the Labour by signing up as a supporter of Corbyn. We were proposing to let you vote for nothing!
  3. That the Leader did not need to be an MP. This would really have been silly. I posed the question to conference, “who is the Leader of the Green Party?” I actually neither know who or whether they have split the job again. But I know who everyone thinks is the Leader, Caroline Lucas, although we politicos all know that she isn’t. You must have someone who is available for the media within that Westminster bubble.

Incredibly, I was amazed that some of our leading members had difficulty in understanding the differences between a political Party and a movement. I believe that we can and should be at the heart of a liberal movement in the UK. But liberals are found in other political parties and none. They come from different traditions as we know from the backgrounds of the ‘Tiggers’. The idea that we could marshal all liberals behind a Party and its Leader was frankly never going to work. We need to work out effective partnerships on an issue by issue basis and gradually draw them, as a further step, into our Party.

Who might want to work alongside us rather than join us directly? Internationalists; environmentalists; civil rights campaigners; human rights campaigners; educational campaigners.

This is exactly the same as applies to other Parties. Labour is a Socialist Party which has alongside it a range of affiliated unions most of whom are Unions. Not all Union members are Labour members and by no means all Union Members even vote Labour but there is a clear affinity between a socialist movement and a socialist party.

The Green Party is part of a green movement but they are not even the most important part of it. The Lib Dems are part of the green movement as are some members of the Labour and even a few Tories. People fighting to save their parks; improve air quality; reduce food miles create better transport can be part of a green movement but vote in many ways or not vote at all.

The Tory Party are affiliated to people and organisations which largely promote selfish and greed objectives through a largely unfettered market of goods and services.

A political party needs a leader and a leadership. It exists with one purpose – to get its members elected to government at all levels to deliver the principles and policies which it has agreed upon.

A movement is a multi-headed hydra where there are many leaders who cooperate with each other in a variety of ways to deliver outputs and outcomes which are similar but might not be identical.

The Lib Dems are the first Party that recognises that sympathisers can lie outside any other organised body and that there are impediments that prevent them from membership. Some have religious beliefs that make it difficult; some cannot join a Party because of their job. Ohers want to help the community but feel that a political identity would hinder broader work. Yet more think that ‘politics’ is just one of their interests and want to commit their time to other things.

So, let’s see how it goes. Of course, we want people to join us but if you cannot but want to help us in some way you can now do so. Our supporters’ scheme is now fully open for business. Both options are now available on the Lib Dems website www.libdems.org.uk or you can make contact with me to discuss these options at richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk

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Thanks Vince – you did a great job

As the Lib Dem Spring Conference starts I have made public that I will stranding for the Presidency of the Liberal Democrat Party later this year.

As some of us set off for the Lib Dem Conference in York for the next two days we were met with the e-mail from Vince saying that subject to there being no snap election he would stand down as Leader in May to allow for an early election for a new Leader. This was the right decision for him and the right decision for the Party.

Vince has played an incredible role in re-establishing the Party after the problems of 2015 and 2017. We are once again on the attack after Vince and his team stabilised the Party both politically and organisationally. Vince has appeared so often as the reasonable and knowledgeable voice of British politics as the House of Commons has descended into a political quagmire.

But now we need a new Leader to build on this great base. We are confident about making a good number of gains in the English local elections on May 2nd. We are adopting first rate candidates, at least half of which are women, for key parliamentary seats but we need a new face. The emergence of the Tiggers just might open up a new opportunity for those of us on the Centre-left to work together to change the system which has clearly broken down through the stresses of Brexit. A person who can build up national credibility and take us forward for at least two General Elections.

I hope to play my part in that revival by becoming the national President of the Party, following once again in the steps of my old friend and mentor the late Sir Trevor Jones. The President of the Party is responsible for the running of the Party largely in England but with important functions across the whole of the UK. I won’t be devoting a lot of time to this in the very near future because there are three more important things to do:

The first and most obvious one is that we either have to resolve not to leave Europe or work out how to deal with the consequences of having left. Of course, this all might have changed in the interval between you reading this and me writing it! Brexit will cast a long shadow over both our Country and politicians because of he way that it has been handled. Well done the Lib Dem First 11 for the splendid way they have thought and acted and our second 100 in the Lords have acted superlatively well but we will all have much to do in the coming few weeks and months whatever happens.

Secondly, we have the English local elections coming up on 2nd May and nothing but nothing should distract us from maximising our vote and maximising our number of councillors. In Liverpool we have already brought our numbers up from the absolute nadir of 2 to a more credible 8 and we are confident that will make more gains in May to enable us to challenge even more the incompetence and poor behaviour of Liverpool’s Labour Party.

Lastly what about those Tiggers. I’ve been through all this in the 80’s with the SDP and what we do in the next few weeks will need to be carefully handled. I have welcomed the formation of the TIG and have suggested that in Liverpool, we should step aside for Luciana Berger BUT they have not done well so far. They launched at the wrong time with insufficient preparation and are making little impact.

So why would I want to become Party President when I have never been a back-room boy before? Yes, I have been around the national scene for a long time having served on the FPC and still sit on the FPC for local government issues. I have been around Westminster politics for 22 years since I first took a leading role in the national body for local government. I was, of course, the Leader of the Lib Dem Councillors in England for 8 years which took me all over the UK and even further afield.

I don’t think that the Party President should be a back-room boy or girl. With only 11 MPs the Party President needs to be highly visible and I would pay tribute to the way that our Current President Sal Brinton has achieved that visibility despite tremendous challenges and difficult times.

There are three principal reasons that I will stand in October:

  1. I am angry that our Party is not as angry about the state of our Country as I believe we should be and not aggressive enough in promoting the policies which could cure those ills. Our policies are hugely radical. An education policy which puts learning before examinations; a health policy which puts prevention before cure; a housing policy which talks about homes and communities not buildings and estates; a drugs policy which talks about cures not retribution. Above all a policy of devolution which would rescue us from the metropolitan elites in Westminster and Whitehall.
  • I believe that our Party needs to be delivered from our own metropolitan elite. Just look at the mess the Party has made about supporters etc. We seem unable to learn from the mess created by the £3 a vote scheme in Labour. There a huge number of new members have joined but most of them do nothing with a few engaging in extreme left politics whilst driving out the long-established and experienced members that keep the Party going.
  • I believe that our Party will only become strong again on the backs of councillors. Both locally and nationally I have seen our Party ebb and flow. When times were bad it was the thin orange line of councillors who stood firm. When things went well the barricades from which we advanced were manned by the self-same councillors. Our Party HQ is too much a part of the Westminster bubble to appreciate the strength of the way forward led not just by PPCs but underpinned by councillors.

Some might think that as I am now of retirement age, I should get out the slippers and cardigan. Some in Labour might even hope for that! But I am not a retiring sort of person. Whilst I am still angry about the way our City and our Country is run I still be there fighting for our great liberal cause and working for a new, better liberal society.

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What’s the momentum of Momentum?

This is the self image of one of the new Labour candidates who has replaced a solid, main stream councillor in Cressington Ward. This picture is worth at least a thousand words!

At our last Council meeting before the elections in Liverpool Councillors who have given more than 8 years’ service and will not be standing for re-election are allowed to speak for two minutes to say their good byes. This provided an explosive start to the Budget meeting of the Council which only got hotter! One of the retirees, Cllr Sharon Sullivan has been on the council for 17 years, was Lord Mayor and has represented her deprived inner-city community devotedly. She has been ousted because of the internal splits and she named her ousters as the former deputy and assistant Mayors. She and two more of the retirees spoke bitterly about how they had been ousted by the hard left and how their Party was changing.

All the retirees are authentic working-class councillors with a long record within the Labour movement. Their replacements are mostly middle-class graduates or undergraduates. One Labour commentator tweeted that we had suddenly come to like these people. That is far from the truth. I have liked and respected people like Sharon Sullivan for a long time and I believe that respect is reciprocated. The fact that we are from different roots and are in different Parties does not and should not prevent respect for people. I think Sharon and Irene and others do a good job and are as passionate about the people of this City and its future as I am. It’s just that sometimes we disagree. That’s what democracy is all about – honourable disagreement.

And boy do these new entrants love what Cllr Sullivan described as flag waving. In the week that local MP Luciana Berger left Labour because of anti-Semitism, sexism and bullying they beetled off to the City Centre to defend the corrupt regime of Venezuela where they were joined by people waving very large Communist Flags. They’re off to a demo at the drop of a flag!  Within Wavertree CLP it is known that a Councillor has raised very serious matters of sexism about another Labour Councillor both within the Party and within the Ward yet one year after these complaints have been made the Labour Whips and Party refuse to deal with the matter properly.

This is happening all over the Liverpool City Region. In Wirral three Councillors have left Labour and formed an Independent Group, presumably prior to formally joining whatever the Independent Group nationally becomes. The Leader of the Council has given in because he would have been ousted and the deputy Leader has now been ousted. Other experienced councillors, like Ron Abbey, have also gone.

In Liverpool Cllr Kay Davies tired of bullying and bad behaviour and is now happily ensconced in our Party where she actually likes coming to meeting! (not that we have anything like as many as Labour!) 

In the short term this means difficult circumstances for councils that are facing difficult times and where more than ever experience is needed over inexperience and pragmatism is needed more than flag waving. At the moment we have no idea what our budget will be in any council from 1st April 2020 because the Government which was supposed to give us its way forward last Autumn, is making major changes to local government funding which will probably mean even worse problems for the Councils within the City Region. It will take cool heads not hot heads to try and resolve the problems created. It will also need cross-Party cooperation which is unlikely to happen with these unrealistic and untried new boys and girls.

In the 1980s we saw the terrible problems caused to our City by Militant which took 2 decades to eradicate from our debts and our reputation. Some of those ‘Millos’ are now the bus pass generation of Momentum. If the past is any guide Momentum will pass quickly into history. The Momentum kids will mostly grow up, get jobs and families but their legacy will live on. Already the good name has been trashed in the national media by the way that Lucians Berger has been treated and the way Momentum is behaving. For 3 decades Lib Dem and Labour Councillors have worked to eradicate the vision of Liverpool that was created and promote a new reality about what Liverpool both is and could be. All that good work is now being undone. That will reduce investment and will reduce jobs.

Labour Group and Constituency Party meetings throughout Liverpool and indeed the UK are dreadful events. This is no secret you only need to listen to experienced Labour councillors or follow the tweet streams which seem more consisting of red on red fire than red on blue or even better anything positive to say about our future.

I believe that councils like Liverpool and Wirral will see madcap spending and delivery programmes proposed, accepted and then found to be capable of implementation. There will be two or three years of chaos and then Lib Dems who are the main opposition Parties in hard left areas will once again have to sort out the legacy of those years. In the meantime, it isn’t the hard left who will suffer but the people who most need the services that pragmatic councils should be and are focusing on.

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