Liverpool’s Labour politics – What’s going on?

If I spoke to some of those I know in the Labour Party who follow the Corbyn/Momentum creed I guess they would say that Louise Ellman, Luciana Burger and Jane Kennedy are bloody Tories who they are well rid of, or words to similar effect.

But Liverpool has now had 2 of it’s Labour MP’s resign from the party plus the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner and all in the last few months. Are we just seeing the further realignment of Labour into it becoming a pure socialist party and in the process shedding it’s social democrats and other more moderate factions/sects or is there something else going on too? Sadly, there can be little doubt that antisemitism is at play in this heady brew but people holding anti-Semitic views should surely not be a part of any political faction which looks upon itself as being progressive. Yet both the resigning Labour MP’s have clearly pointed to antisemitism as a big reason for their break with Labour.

I’ve spent the last 39 years involved in progressive politics and the trade union movement on Merseyside and in all that time I have never failed to wonder how Labour held itself together with so many widely divergent views within one tent. That it can no longer hold itself together is on one level no surprise yet all the same one of the big underlying issues for this schism are allegations of racism and not just another round of left V right push me – pull you.

Actually, it gives me little pleasure to see Labour struggling with issues which should really be entangling the right of politics not the left, but thereby hangs the dilemma. Very early in my political life I came across a young man, via my trade union, who as a Labour activist openly told me there were more racists in the Labour Party than in the Tory Party. I’ll never forget that view but then over time I slowly began to understand why. Labour has some supporters/voters who are tribal, they are almost literally born into the Party. The Tories are their enemy, as is anyone who is not Labour, yet some of them are far from being progressives and they can hold strikingly right wing views. It led me to coin the phrase – many Labour members/supporters are too right wing for me.

Wherever Labour is going politically they need to see off their racists and those who make excuses for them.

Oh and another thing that stands out; all 3 of the high profile Merseyside resigners are female. That’s also a huge concern, indeed it begs the question about how welcome women feel about being active in a major political party.

All political parties can attract people who are joining them for the wrong reasons; the trick is to remove them when they start to display inappropriate behaviours. Sadly, the problems can often be ignored rather than them being challenged. I fear Labour is now paying the price for ignoring inappropriate behaviour and that has the effect of normalising such behaviour.

Labour Party ‘Broken to the core’

The Guardian has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/20/labour-party-broken-to-core-former-blair-minister-jane-kennedy

Jane Kennedy has form when it comes to fighting Militants as she battled against them in Liverpool’s Tuebrook Ward Labour Party back in Neil Kinnock’s day. Militant lost that battle of course but Momentum has very much won the battle for the Labour Party in 2019 and Jane has this time walked away from the party she has been a member of for many years.

It’s interesting, although probably not surprising, that she is backing Change UK the new political party which seems to have got pretty much everything wrong since it launched and is potentially facing a very short working life.

With thnaks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Merseyside Policing – Dig deep as you’re being asked to pay more

Seen In Merseyside Police HQ

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/police-boss-ask-residents-more-14168914

The Southport Visiter has the story on its web site – see link above

Whilst this plea for Merseyside Council tax payers to cough up more to counter the lack of government funds for our local Bobbies is hardly going to go down well, as our Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy obviously knows, there are some other interesting issues to look into.

I covered this issue not so long ago and my previous posting is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/12/20/policing-more-cash-but-theres-a-catch-your-council-tax-is-going-up/

But one aspect of the Commissioner’s press release, as quoted by the Southport Visiter, caught my attention – her reference to the cost of the increased policing on Council tax bills at band ‘A’, which she tells us is the most common Council tax band on Merseyside.

That Band A is the most common highlights a big problem that many urban local authorities have who raise money via Council tax. You can’t raise much money when many of the properties in your area are only contributing at Band A. Just think how much easier it is for those local authorities where the majority of households are in band D and above. Another example of how unfair Council tax is – we need a local tax that works and is fair, a local income tax based on the ability to pay not the value of your property.

Oh and by the way the other point about Jane Kennedy quoting tax at band ‘A’ is that in my experience the illustrative band used over many years has been at band ‘D’. Why did she choose to illustrate the additional cost at band ‘A’ other than for the reason she has stated of course?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Formby, Maghull, Bootle, Netherton & Sefton Borough generally – Gun Crime Concerns

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/fears-liverpool-city-gun-crime-13300452

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site as written from the perspective of Formby’s Independent Councillor Maria Bennett – see link above.

I lose track of how many times I have blogged about gun crime in Sefton Borough and indeed across Merseyside and yes it does seem to be a worsening problem that is before us on an almost daily basis.

I recall only too well how Maghull found itself in the middle of an outbreak of gun crime in 2013 which led to Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, being brought in to speak directly to concerned locals at a meeting held in Lydiate Primary School. To be honest she spoke well in trying to calm local fears and thankfully the spate of Maghull shootings has not been repeated. However, shootings and gun crime are an almost every day event in some Merseyside communities and I think it fair to say that many folks will feel, with some considerable justification, that the situation looks to be almost out of anyone’s control.

Maria Bennett is right to raise this issue once again because gun crime is an issue that will one day be an every day event in virtually every community if ways to effectively combat it are not found soon. And quite obviously a fully resourced Merseyside Police Force is required to lead that fight.

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Litherland Shooting

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/neighbours-shock-frightening-shooting-park-11065851

The Liverpool Echo has the story about the latest local/Sefton shooting in Litherland – see link above.

And the shootings go on and on, this time in Hapsford Road Recreational Park in Litherland.

Not so long ago we were being told that Merseyside Police were winning the battle to get guns off our streets but frankly the streets of Sefton don’t seem much safer when things like this are going on in a children’s play area.

Savage Policing cuts across Merseyside

Cllr. John Dodd

Cllr. John Dodd

Southport Lib Dem Meols ward councillor John Dodd, who has been raising concerns about the savage cuts that are being proposed for Merseyside Police Force, has sent me the letter below which is sobering frightening and extremely worrying all at the same time. John received the letter from Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy.

*****

13th October 2015

Dear Colleague

It is with great disappointment that I am writing to let you know that Merseyside Police are being forced to consider cutting PCSO jobs, disband the mounted section and the basic command unit structure which has served Merseyside well for forty years.

I am writing to reassure you that neither the Chief Constable nor I would consider these drastic measures unless we had nowhere else to turn. It is with extremely heavy hearts that we are even considering these changes.

The Government requires Merseyside Police to make £48 million of cuts by the end of the financial year 2018/2019. This comes on top of the £77 million already cut since 2010. However, we are anticipating that this situation will get even worse when the Government announces its Comprehensive Spending Review in November. The Government’s policy of austerity has already caused cuts to every area of the police service, requiring more and more to be done by fewer and fewer people. It is no longer possible to avoid fundamentally changing the way the police service is delivered at the frontline.

The cuts now being considered are harmful to the wellbeing of the communities of Merseyside. But even if all PCSO posts were cut during 2016, the mounted section disbanded and the basic command structure dissolved we would still have to cut a further £28 million by 2018/19.

This means that every team within Merseyside Police is facing cuts. This includes the teams of officers and staff who investigate sex offences, hate crimes and the Matrix teams who combat serious and organised crime.

Having spent my entire career working to build stronger and safer communities I am personally appalled that I am in a position where I am forced to make such cruel and damaging decisions, which will inevitably have serious repercussions for the people of Merseyside.

In spite of this incredibly depressing picture I can assure you that both the Chief Constable and I will do everything in our power to deliver the best possible police service we can with the resources we have available.
Yours faithfully

Jane Kennedy
Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside