Got the day off work tomorrow? Yes? Good. Why not brave the weather & take a bracing stroll along the Liverpool waterfront; a chance to clear your head after all that festive excess. Er, hang on, you can't. Sorry, see Gordon Brown & his cabinet are in town. On the waterfront itself. So it seems that both the Albert & King's Docks will be out of bounds between 6.00am & 7.00pm (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/01/07/gordon-brown-visit-limits-dock-access-100252-22630208/ ).
That's not all. There's a cost to the taxpayer for this PR gimmick, sorry, I mean bold decision to reach out to the people (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cabinet-meetings-outside-london-cost-pound200000-each-1230639.html ):
"The [cabinet] sessions, which were held in Birmingham and Leeds last year, along with one in Liverpool tomorrow, could land taxpayers with a bill of £600,000."
New Labour minister Rosie Winterton is wheeled out by High Command to put the requisite spin on the meeting in Leeds (safeguarding jobs, etc.). If a more risible excuse is trotted out by a politician in 2009, I'll be surprised.
It's worth recalling what the Oldham Echo said in an editorial last October about tomorrow's meeting in the city (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/liverpool-columnists/columns/2008/10/14/a-trip-to-the-real-world-100252-22028803/ ):
"A major criticism of New Labour is that it has lost touch with ordinary people.
"So the only true justification for the cabinet visit is that the most influential figures in government are leaving the rarified atmosphere of the Westminster village to find out more about life in the real world.
"In that sense, ministers will be the beneficiaries of some Scouse commonsense.
"But that requires them to learn from the experience and then act on the feedback.
"Anything less is political window-dressing."
Yes, that's it. They'll see what things are like in Liverpool. At the Albert & King's Docks. Just as the tourists do. Then they'll be whisked back into the limosuines & the M62 will beckon.
Something tells me the Oldham Echo's coverage of tomorrow's meeting won't include the phrase, "political window-dressing".