I don’t know about you but all this will they, won’t they over whether we are to have a Elected Merseyside Mayor is getting to be tedious. As far as I can see there is no groundswell of support for an elected mayor across Merseyside with only the Labour Party in Liverpool and Sefton wanting one.
And what of Joe Anderson’s statement when earlier this year he said critics of plans to devolve more powers to the region were “bringing the area into disrepute”.
I do not care for Joe Anderson’s approach to being Liverpool’s Elected Mayor and feel that he shines Liverpool in a poor light. So if Joe was to be the Elected Mayor for all of Merseyside!!!!! But why did he say this? Possibly because he was frustrated because few people agree with him over this matter. But anyway no one that I know is being critical of the principle of devolving more powers to the Liverpool City Region.
As a Liberal my whole political life has been one of trying to get powers devolved from Westminster to cities, towns and local communities and I have spent much of this time being opposed by Tories and indeed the Labour Party!
The issue with the Tory Government and indeed Liverpool Labour Party (supported by Sefton Labour so it would seem) is that they want any powers that could be devolved to be in tandem with Merseyside having an Elected Mayor. It is the Elected Mayor that we don’t want!
And another independent perspective about this imposition of Metro Mayors:-
The Liverpool Echo has the story but I think they missed the real issue here which is agglomeration! What? Yes, agglomeration! What does that mean? According to an on-line dictionary it means:-
1. The act or process of gathering into a mass.
2. A confused or jumbled mass: – To avoid the problems of large urban agglomerations, the state decentralised……
Now lets go back to what the Echo article was all about i.e. George Osborne’s budget and what it means for the north and Liverpool City Region’s troubled debate about having a City Region Mayor (Joe Anderson?) and devolved powers.
Liverpool Elected Mayor Joe Anderson is quoted as saying “The only way to achieve genuine agglomeration across the north is by connectivity.” But I like the definition above of agglomeration i.e. ‘A confused or jumbled mass’ as it pretty much sums up Liverpool City Region under its squabbling Labour Council Leaders.
Beware of being be agglomerated! It will be painful and pointless!
Devolution yes, what else would a Liberal say? But with a City Region Mayor running our lives from Liverpool Town Hall? Not on your Nelly!
The link above to Southport Lib Dems web site gives details of John Pugh’s position on a Metro Mayor for Merseyside. He does not pull any punches and he is right.
As a watcher of politics and indeed a participant in it I do worry about the leadership of Liverpool. Joe Anderson comes over to me as someone so tribal that he can’t surely be the person to take Liverpool forward.
I saw this the other day on Moorfields in Liverpool:-
Click on the photo to enlarge it
And I thought the present elected Mayor of Liverpool is, in my view, a part of Liverpool’s problem and is unlikely to be a part of the solution to it.
A topic I have commented on often in the past but am drawn to again because I have been reading a report to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority dated 16th April.
Agenda item 10, item 3.7 points out that low priority for electrification lines, such as Ormskirk Preston, are ‘lightly used rural lines’.
End of the line from Liverpool – Ormskirk Station. Beyond the buffers is the line from Ormskirk to Preston which is designed to be a lightly used rural line!
Well yes, but that’s because it is a rubbish infrequent service with no Sunday trains at all. What’s more it is deliberately not connected to the Liverpool Ormskirk service meaning folk have to change trains at Ormskirk. It would be very different if it was a through Liverpool – Preston service. Do the powers that be never think outside the box? Give me strength!
It would have been nice to read that our local rulers were making it clear that they had ambitions to once again make it a through Liverpool – Preston service. Lack of vision? Lack of ambition? Too far away from Liverpool for anyone to be bothered?
I have long opposed an elected Metro Mayor/City Regional Mayor/Merseyside Mayor call it what you will and without going over too much ground this is why:-
* Merseyside is too small to be a successful competitive City Region with areas such as Ellesmere Port and West Lancashire being excluded from it.
* A Borough like Sefton which has a majority border with Lancashire could end up being even more disconnected with its neighbouring communities. I am thinking of Southport, Lydiate and Formby here especially.
* What’s so cleaver about centralising power in one person’s hands? Surely this is an illiberal idea that goes against the long held view in the UK about how local governance should be set up. Indeed, it is an American idea imported to the UK.
* Electing a candidate whom people can genuinely respect would be crucial if the idea is taken forward on Merseyside against all my other significant reservations/objections above. A Party hack from one particular political tribe who wants to lord it over Merseyside will be no good for anyone.
But despite my reservations is it going to happen? Well it seems it may well just do so if you take on board what is said in the Liverpool Echo article – see link above.
Of course Liverpool already has an elected City Mayor but the role was in reality imposed on the City without a referendum by Labour-run Liverpool City Council. On that basis clearly he electoral legitimacy test of whether the City wanted a elected mayor at all was dodged. The only say Liverpool folk got was who was going to get the job.
What’s more quite a few cities/communities that have held referendums on whether they wanted an elected mayor have said no they don’t. Where elected mayors have been successful will have been where, probably more by chance than anything else, a person of widely respected stature has been elected. In other words it is a game of chance; get a good elected mayor and it may possibly work out get a bad one and it could be an utter nightmare. Such is the result when power is not shared by a group of elected people.
I still think it is a bad way forward and will be campaigning against this Americanisation of UK local government.