My recent posting where I talked about working with Labour councillor Steve Kermode to address some issues in Maghull provoked comment and I was pointed to the article below run by the Liverpool Echo. Does the Echo article confirm my view that politicians across the political divides can and should cooperate?
In many ways this is an interesting article and I always look at such writing from the perspective of why was it written? What was the motivation behind it? Why did the politicians involved make such statements?
It may have been an attempt to embarrass Joe Anderson as you would think he would be uncomfortable being congratulated by a Tory Prime Minister.
Alternatively, it could of course havevbeen an attempt to massage Joe Anderson’s ego.
Joe Anderson – locally, like Cameron – nationally, is seemingly rather unpopular at present because of the Cunard Building fiasco, the selling off of green space in Liverpool and I am told the relationship between Anderson and some local journalists has become rather rocky in recent times.
Cameron, of course, wants his policy of elected City/Metro Mayors to be a success so he feels he has to back people like Joe Anderson no matter how much he dislikes their policies and record.
My own view is that Joe Anderson has sadly and inadvertently been highlighting the concerns that many of us hold about putting a great deal of power in the hands of one person. Maybe Cameron can see that too but his priority seems to be to impose elected City/Metro Mayors on all English Cities/City Regions no matter what.
So my answer to the question in the first paragraph of this posting is no, this Echo article does not confirm my view about the value of politicians cooperating. My working with Steve Kermode is I think a genuine attempt on both our parts to address a local matter jointly. Cameron and Joe Anderson are simply flung together in a rather uncomfortable way to promote elected City/Metro Mayors; Joe likes being one and seemingly carves such power over the whole of Merseyside, Cameron seemingly wants anyone to have such power.
We should all be highly sceptical of this Anderson/Cameron agenda as it is illiberal and yes I do include here the small minority of Liberals who have flirted with support for elected City/Metro Mayors.
But there is another odd and very much Merseyside angle to this matter. It is not so long ago when Labour relied very much on the Conservatives to keep them in power on Merseytravel (the transport authority for Merseyside). What’s more there was a failed attempt to run Sefton Council via a Conservative/Labour pact in 2008. It may only have lasted a couple of months but here on Merseyside Labour and Conservatives backing each other up is not new at all!