The BBC has the story although it reads a bit rose tinted spectacles to me. Of course it ended up with both Militant and indeed the Labour Party losing control of Liverpool City Council to the Lib Dems for many years as Liverpool folk realised that this Militant era had done a huge amount of damage to the image and economy of Liverpool. Indeed, just the mention of Militant and most people across the UK and possibly beyond will sadly still think of Liverpool for all the wrong reasons.
It seems a long time ago now, but it is only 30 years. Liverpool has changed hugely since then with the 2008 Capital Culture year marking a complete break with its unfortunate and ill-conceived flirtation with Militant policies of the 1980’s.
Just now and again you still hear the odd Labour councillor/voice in Merseyside harking back to what they still think was a good time for Liverpool, but of course it was a desperate time that all but killed the City off.
Since Bootle Labour Party took control of Sefton Council (backed up by seemingly powerless Labour members from elsewhere in the Borough) their need to control just about everything has become more and more evident, indeed it seems to go to ludicrous extremes.
Take last Thursday’s Sefton Council meeting. There were 3 motions about health issues; all 3 should have gone through with all-party support but one was picked over and lambasted by Labour simply because it was from a Southport non-Labour councillor, or so it seems.
The motion all the fuss was about concerned dementia and had been put forward by Cllr. Pat Keith but at one point in the debate a Labour member called it ‘bogus’ and I rose to ask that this unfortunate remark be taken back and apologised for – sadly it was not! Frankly, there was no need for this Labour ‘big brother’ carry-on and it did make them look rather silly.
Contrast that with two other motions put forward by a Labour member on health issues (breast feeding and maternity care) where we opposition Lib Dems tried to support the thrust of Cllr. Killen’s motions without shouting her down simply because she is not of our political colour.
What’s more a further motion on the agenda, the text of which had been written by the charity Action Aid, was amended by Labour to include some child-like addition congratulating the Labour Party. I ask you………………..
Their Leader often talks about us all working together on Sefton Council yet Bootle Labour’s actions create exactly the opposite environment. Of course we Liberals and Social Democrats with the Lib Dems can get along with the Social Democrats within the Labour Party but we see very little of social democracy from Bootle Labour who run Sefton Council. It’s all old fashioned municipal socialism, old Labour barons and a hint now and again of what sounds like Militant rhetoric popping out in debate. They seem me to to be the kind of target that Labour Leaders like Neil Kinnock once had in their sights
You have to see the Bootle Labour Party in full flow to believe it all at times.
One thing the Labour party can’t be accused of these days is being Socialist, the speeches of Shadow Cabinet members Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves prove that. Labour is openly talking about bigger and deeper welfare cuts if Labour gets re-elected and them sticking to Coalition spending limits etc.
Yet on Council’s such as Sefton the Labour members, or at least a significant number of them, are Socialists and they say they stand for a very different set of values to those the Labour Party very clearly now stands for. The obvious question is how can Labour move forward with such fundamentally opposing views within it? But also, why do true Socialists who are Labour members want to get their party elected when it is openly saying it will do what they abhor?
The Sefton budget meeting last Thursday saw all this in the raw as the Council’s Labour Leader was barracked by Socialists in the public gallery, who have left or maybe were never in the Labour Party and cries of ‘Tories’ were heard ringing out as Peter Dowd proposed the Labour Budget.
I know that Labour is said to be a broad church but frankly how can Labour politicians who propose bigger and deeper welfare cuts sit side by side in the same Party as those who still espouse the the testaments of Militant? Answers on a post card…………………….
Sefton’s budget meeting was last night and Labour has imposed a 1.99% tax rise on the hard pressed Council tax payers of the Borough, which we Lib Dems opposed.
Labour also slapped down Lib Dem proposals that would have seen comunity-run libraries take over many of the former library buildings that sit redundant after Labour’s closure programme.
Oddly and despite there being nothing on the agenda about the Local Plan and building on Green Belt land Labour got hot under the collar about their own plans to press ahead with such building.
All this was amongst a number of tub-thumping socialist speeches from Labour members some of which would not have been out of place in Liverpool City Council’s chamber during the Militant era. Indeed, Sefton Labour seem unable to grasp that their party nationally is promising more and bigger welfare cuts whilst sticking to Coalition spending plans! In Sefton Labour’s world they delude themselves into thinking that Ed Balls is marching them towards a socialist state of common ownership!
These are the headlines – more to follow.