Merseytravel Staff Briefing

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Don’t you think this is an odd article to appear in a Merseytravel staff briefing, it even name drops the Labour nomination for Manchester Mayor? I wonder if all the other to be declared candidates will get such publicity from this taxation funded public sector body?

Labour selects Mayoral candidate

Steve Rotheram will be Labour’s candidate in next year’s Liverpool City Region mayoral election. The MP for Walton beat Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and MP for Wavertree Luciana Berger in a vote of Labour members in the region, with the results announced on Wednesday (10th August). Fellow MP Andy Burnham won the Manchester mayoral nomination for Labour on Tuesday. The other parties have yet to decide their candidates for the election which will be held on 4th May 2017.

Merseyside Metro Mayor – What is it with Labour’s attachment to a Tory spin policy?

I am no Labour supporter (I’m actually backing Cllr. Carl Cashman’s campaign to be selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Merseyside Metro Mayor) but have to say that there must surely be a huge collective sigh of relief across Merseyside that Joe Anderson has not selected as the Labour candidate.

But why is Steve Rotherham MP, who will be Labour’s candidate, backing the Northern Poorhouse policy of George Osborne? Is he another Labour politician who has not realised that the Northern Powerhouse is just Tory spin?

I have commented before on Labour’s odd attachment to the previous Tory Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse policy. Interestingly, both Steve Rotherham (a Corbyn backer) and his Labour counterpart for the Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham (very much not a Corbynite) are both backing this Tory policy that many of us have seen through a long time ago.

It never ceases to amaze me how close the Tories and Labour really are. Yes I know that my lot had 5 years in coalition with the Tories nationally but I am talking of the unstated but trackable Tory/Labour collaboration going back years here on Merseyside.

Merseyside’s Metro Mayor – Kilfoyle’s view of Anderson in the Guardian

www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/aug/05/peter-kilfoyle-liverpool-labour-momentum-jeremy-corbyn

The Guardian has the story – see link above

The interesting part for me is Kilfoyle’s view on Joe Anderson the present Mayor of Liverpool who wanted to be Mayor of Merseyside but did not get selected by the Labour Party. The extract from the article below is telling:-

“Nothing personal against Joe Anderson as such. I don’t think he has been a very good mayor for the city. I think the city has had a lot of bread and circuses [as] I describe it. Like today the announcement of a bid, a bid for the Commonwealth Games. It is all very nice but of course it depends on an 80% grant from government and finding another 20% from somewhere. But when you look at the actual record, it is not about Joe as a person. It is about how the city has been run. And it is the second lowest authority in the country in terms of economic growth, according to the Office of National Statistics. There is only East Lincolnshire which has done worse, believe it or not. On Greater Merseyside, Liverpool is the only economy which has contracted. All the surrounding districts have expanded. So there is something going wrong here. And I worry that underneath all the glitter and glitz of things which happen in the city centre the wider issues of the city are being lost somewhere and, of course, if that was to be extended into the wider conurbation when we have a city region, it could be disastrous. Particularly coming up to 2017, next year, because Joe has said that the cash runs out. The official audit report on the city said that in 2018 the city will go broke. Now I am not somebody to gainsay the Office of National Statistics but it is worrying about the way in which the city is being run.”

Mersey Metro Mayor – How Much!!!!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/row-over-7m-start-up-11555805

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

The Metro Mayor farce enters a new phase of madness and we don’t even get one imposed on us until next year.

So local and national government is really short of a few bob so let’s just spend/allocate £7m, yes £7m, of public money to set up an office for our unwanted Metro Mayor! You could not make it up!!!!!!

Have Merseyside Labour Council leaders lost all perspective on the real world?

Will Joe or his Labour challengers just suck the life out of Liverpool’s surrounding borough’s?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/labours-three-metro-mayor-candidate-11503354

The Liverpool Echo has a story about Labour’s potential candidates for Lord of Merseyside – see link above

Readers of this blog site will know that I am in no way a fan of Merseyside having a Metro Mayor to lord it over us all, indeed I think the whole carry on will potentially be the death of Liverpool’s surrounding council areas.

But whether we want a Metro Mayor or not this wretched Tory Government, whose bed Merseyside Labour has all to firmly jumped into, is making us have one.

So who will the Metro Mayor be? Just look at the potential Labour candidates – see link above! They are all from the Liverpool City part of Merseyside, a real worry here.

My concern all along has been that the City of Liverpool may well prosper by pulling everything towards it but that could well be at the expense of Sefton, St. Helens, Knowsley, Halton and Wirral council areas. Indeed, it has started to happen already as poor old Bootle is being stripped of over 3,000 civil service jobs three quarters of which are to be resettled again in Liverpool City Centre!

If we have to have a Metro Mayor (at least until hopefully a new government abolishes them) then surely we need one who clearly has loyalties outside of Liverpool City? Could this be a way of ensuring that the City does not suck the life, economic or otherwise, from the surrounding areas?

And there’s more spending promises – But what about the far bigger picture for Merseyside?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/joe-anderson-pledges-build-new-11441098

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

50p child bus fares, a new Mersey Ferry etc. Mm, back to politicians pledges that I commented on not so long ago.

These latest pledges are because we are getting a Metro Mayor foisted on Merseyside (Liverpool City Region) because our Tory Government says we should have one and Merseyside Labour rolled over and grabbed at the chance to have another politician living off the public purse. Remember Liverpool electors didn’t get a say whether they had an elected Mayor and across Merseyside we have had no say either in the one we are going to get in 2017.

So the pledges are starting from those jockeying to be Labour’s candidate with Liverpool elected Mayor Joe Anderson desperate to rule all of Merseyside.

But in the real world what are the big issues that need to be tackled across Merseyside?

Education – In Knowsley Borough and parts of Liverpool education attainment is poor to say the least – bumping along the bottom of any comparative league tables across the UK.

Housing – The lack of suitable housing for elderly – small bungalows, sheltered housing etc. The short supply of social housing again mostly 1 and two bedroom.

Environment – Putting a stop to the mad rush to build on green spaces and Green Belt on Merseyside and turning Merseyside into a truly green and sustainable City Region.

Unemployment and low skill jobs – Breaking the cycle of families where generation upon generation does not work. Upskilling the Merseyside workforce so that quality jobs are attracted to here.

Getting our Transportation right – Investing in connecting up the rather small (in my view too small) Liverpool City Region with its surrounding major communities of Preston, Skelmersdale, Wrexham etc. by rail. Connecting Liverpool Airport to the national rail network.

Yes I am sure 50p child bus fares would be nice and a new Mersey Ferry will make us all nostalgic for another playing of that Gerry and Pacemakers song but they are not going to change the City Region. They will not address, unemployment, low skills, low wages, the wrong mix of housing stock and poor transport links. They will not improve the health and the life expectancy of some parts of Merseyside that need this addressed urgently. They will not make us a green and sustainable sub regional economy. Our poor health and life expectancy is played into by the first 4 of the issues I raise above.

I don’t know about you but I want to see real pledges to address the kind of things I am raising above (which of course is not an exhaustive list) as without addressing and solving such important matters a new Metro Mayor will indeed be just another politician living off the public purse.