Thursday, May 09, 2013

Deposed & Discredited, Warren Tweets His Defiance

It can be a lonely existence when you're a discredited former council leader. If people do listen to you, they won't take your words seriously. Former friends & colleagues turn away awkwardly if you approach them; they mutter something about being late for an appointment & having to dash. You're seen in the same way as one of those blokes in the corner of the pub who keep up a continuous, monotonous monologue, the half-empty pint glass keeping you company.
Such is the fate that has befallen Warren "War Zones" Bradley. 
It's a far cry from the days when Warren could confidently claim that his leadership of Liverpool City Council represented a high water mark in the city's civic history & that the ConDem coalition would preserve & promote social justice ( ):
"Social justice that Liberal Democrats believe in will be a golden vein that runs through the coalition government."
Alas, that "golden vein" was surgically removed from the coalition's anatomy at birth & no one informed Warren about it.
Also unwise was Warren's support for a convicted criminal ( ).
Nor did it help when Warren's grasp of local history failed him when he declared that the Three Graces dated from the Middle Ages ( ).
The city's Lib Dems, a shameless shower who would tolerate most things as long as they didn't get in the way of their bread & circus policies (remember our wonderful Capital of Culture celebrations?), were happy to have Warren in charge. Sure, he could be clumsy. Sure, he could be uninformed. However, he was, to quote Lenin, a useful idiot.
As the months & years moved on, though, Warren blabbed a little too freely & when he openly admitted that his legacy was a series of war zones across the city ( ), his colleagues decided that enough was enough.
So you can see how Warren has become embittered & resentful. Liverpool politics can be an unforgiving environment, a jungle, even, & Warren found that he was easy prey.
But now he's biting back. Oh, yes, he is. According to David Bartlett today, Warren has taken to Twitter to snap back at those who so cruelly left him to the wolves ( ).
One particular tweet, addressed to current Lib Dem leader Richard Kemp, is described as "foul-mouthed". Said tweet is certainly malevolent, but I wouldn't say it warrants the adjective Bartlett applies to it. It is, however, ungrammatical:
"@cllrkemp you're a complete tossa [sic], your quotes regarding Rosie just about sums [sic] you up. Once a dick, always a dick..."
The "Rosie" referred to in Warren's erudite missive is Rosie Jolly, a Lib Dem councillor who defected to Labour. Jolly's move, according to Bartlett, prompted Kemp to remark that "her efforts had been 'below what we expect of a Lib Dem councillor'."
Bartlett writes:
"The ECHO contacted Mr Bradley at 1.44pm to ask if he was responsible for the foul-mouthed tweet.
"But the former Lib Dem refused to answer, repeatedly saying, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' "
Sadly for Warren, as we've seen over the years, there are times when even he doesn't know what he is talking about. Warren's twitter feed, containg a series of incriminating tweets, can be found here: .
Deserted, embittered & wounded, Warren takes aim at his sworn foes from the Twittersphere. It's so sad, isn't it? 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Demolition & Dereliction: This Is Anfield

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: David Conn is in serious danger of giving sports journalism a good name. He's returned to the issue of Liverpool Football Club's expansion plans ( ). Conn writes of the homeowners in the streets adjacent to the Anfield stadium & their battle to secure a fair deal in return for moving out of houses earmarked by the club for demolition: "These homeowners believe they should be paid enough not only to buy a new house but to compensate for the years of dereliction, stagnation and decline, and crime, fires and vandalism, even murders which have despoiled the area. Their resentment is compounded by the fact that they are being forced to move so that Liverpool, and their relatively new US owner, Fenway Sports Group, can make more money."
Conn essays the subterfuge employed by the club in acquiring at least some of the properties & notes: "That left residents with the belief, which has endured ever since, that Liverpool were buying up houses by stealth, to keep prices low."
He goes on to describe how the club's decision to favour a new stadium in Stanley Park arose from consultations with people in the Anfield neighbourhood. However, residents still suspected, correctly, that the new stadium would never come to fruition. The club's former chief executive Rick Parry reportedly came to the view that a new stadium was necessary during a consultation meeting:
"Parry looked at a map and was struck by how hemmed in by houses the ground would still be, even if expanded. Yet even as the plans developed over years, many residents did not believe Liverpool would ever build a new stadium. Partly this was because even after all the outcry over Anfield Plus [the original plan to demolish houses behind the Main Stand & Anfield Road End], Liverpool still bought houses on Lothair Road, including No. 10."
Most of those quoted in Conn's piece are vehement in their criticism of the club's actions & the way in which it has gone about its business. The club's unsavoury tactics have been common knowledge locally for some years. Indeed, one could even go back as far as the late 70s & early 80s when the club put pressure on the residents of Kemlyn Road to move out. Many of the residents were elderly & in no position to counter the club's intentions for that side of the ground. Commendably, Conn refers to this episode in his article.
The culpability of Liverpool Football Club for the overall state of Anfield has been highlighted in the last year by both this blog ( ) & by the Liverpool Preservation Trust ( ).
Moreover, the club's opaque approach towards the local community was again evident when it delayed for an inordinate period of time its announcement that the Stanley Park stadium would not be built. It finally confirmed its decision months after it first became apparent ( ).
The cast of characters with more than cameo appearances in this sorry saga should be recalled. One such figure is David Moores, chairman of the club prior to the arrival of Hicks & Gillett. In selling out to the corrupt couple, Moores walked away with a cool £89m in his back pocket. Some time later he appeared in the Oldham Echo to lament what had become of the club he professed to love ( ). In dutifully noting down every lachrymose utterance from the former chairman, the Echo, typically, failed to pose any pertinent questions about Moores' eagerness to take the money & run.
Another character to consider is the club's current managing director Ian Ayres. He admitted last year that the expansion of the Anfield stadium is all about maximising revenue. Pretty obvious, you might say. After all, that's business. True, but he was refreshingly brazen about the fact that fans would be expected to pay considerably more for the pleasure of watching a mid-table team ( ): "We're not looking at reducing ticket prices -- that's not realistic."
Far more "realistic" was Ayres' contribution to the excruciatingly embarrassing "Being: Liverpool" documentary last year. Ayres was filmed riding a motorcycle past the Liverpool waterfront. To an American audience (the programme's intended target) it may have seemed quaint. To a local audience it was a moment of supreme stupefaction. Less Easy Rider, more Queasy Rider.
Over the last three decades the civic involvement in the club's grandiose visions has been depressingly supine & it's no surprise to see in Conn's superb article that the current city council is continuing this craven behaviour over the club's demolition plans. Conn notes that "several people accuse the council, which is negotiating via agents, of starting with low offers, forcing people in difficult circumstances to negotiate hard or be seriously disadvantaged."
Yes, not content with implementing the ConDems' cuts on a city which didn't fully recover from the decline of the port & subsequent deindustrialisation, Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson's administration is doing its damndest to ensure that Liverpool Football Club gets its way.
To coin a phrase, the "managed decline" of Liverpool 4 is a war of attrition against the Anfield residents in which they've always been outgunned. As David Conn concludes, this is Anfield indeed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Grim Prospects For A Pariah

Arch purveyor of sewer sentiments, Kelvin MacKenzie has kept, by his standards, a relatively low media profile since the start of the year. There have been sightings of the liar now & again, most jarringly as a guest newspaper reviewer on the BBC News channel recently; the phone calls & emails that flowed the Beeb's way would have left the corporation in little doubt that MacKenzie's presence was a gross abuse of licence payers' money (the reviewers are paid for their time). Most recently, he could be spotted in the company of Jeremy Clarkson at Thatcher's funeral. A veritable Brains Trust, wouldn't you say?
MacKenzie had hoped to pen a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. Indeed, the paper's editor, Tony Gallagher (@gallaghereditor, if you feel like sending him a tweet or two) had declared on the Telegraph website that the liar would contribute on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately for MacKenzie, reaction to his first column helped ensure that it was the only column he would scrawl for the Telegraph; many online commenters raised the subject of Hillsborough, one referred to him as a "ghastly little man", a quintessentially Telegraph put-down.
MacKenzie's short-lived stint at the Telegraph was yesterday mentioned by Roy Greenslade on his Guardian blog ( ). Greenslade noted that MacKenzie left the Daily Mail last July, having been employed as a columnist there for less than a year, & that the BBC, newspaper reviews notwithstanding, is noticeably reluctant to have him as a panelist on Any Questions & Question Time. Greenslade observed:
"Why should this be? In a word, Hillsborough. Twenty-four years on from the tragedy he cannot escape the fury of Liverpool for his front page that defamed the city's football fans."
Regarding MacKenzie's sudden departure from the Telegraph, Greenslade reported that Tony Gallagher "was made aware by the sports desk of deep upset about the hiring of MacKenzie by its writers, especially its star columnist Alan Hansen."
Hansen was, of course, in the Liverpool team which took to the field on April 15th, 1989. In the years since he has had to confront & correct the smears about Hillsborough which emanated from MacKenzie's infamous front page. As Greenslade noted, Hansen's possible resignation from the Telegraph in protest at MacKenzie's appointment would have caused the paper acute embarrassment.
Greenslade opened his piece by asking:
"Has Kelvin MacKenzie become unemployable?"
After the faux-aristocratic flummery & pomposity of the taxpayer-funded Thatcher funeral this week, it would be an appropriately Thatcherite fate for MacKenzie to find himself without work (& income) indefinitely. Such a fate would be welcomed by many.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Anne Williams 1951 -- 2013

Anne Williams, whose 15 year-old son Kevin died at Hillsborough, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer ( ). Anne defied medical advice to attend Monday's anniversary service at Anfield.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Areas Of Lesser Importance To The Tories

Those of a certain generation may recall Thatcher's comments when she paid a flying visit to the city in March, 1989. News had broken that day that the Bird's Eye factory in Kirkby was to close with the loss of 1,000 jobs. Thatcher was asked by local reporters for her reaction. Her reply was chillingly sociopathic. They couldn't remain competitive, she intoned. If they couldn't compete & keep their costs down, they had to lose their jobs.
Sermon duly delivered, Thatcher left, alongside Hillsborough liar Bernard Ingham, in a speeding car which attracted a flying egg.
The last nine days have served as a stark reminder that the divided realm she bequeathed is still with us. While central London was witnessing her funeral, whole swathes of the UK marked Thatcher's final journey in a way which reflected the impact her policies had on those areas. Liverpool, of course, wasn't to be left out of proceedings; this was the scene outside St George's Hall a little earlier: .
Merseyside was always going to be largely barren ground for the Tories during the 80s. Indeed, they knew that early on during the Thatcher years ( ). The antipathy was mutual from the very beginning & was made clear to a national TV audience ( ).
There are Tories who deny that the Thatcher years were marked by a targeting of areas like northern England, South Wales & Scotland, & it would be inaccurate to say that areas in & around London didn't suffer, too. They did, as Glenda Jackson pointed out in a damning critique last week during a Thatcher nostalgia-fest in the Commons ( ).
However, the regional nature of Thatcher's policies was pronounced & entrenched throughout the 80s, as well as beyond. The Tories knew, & still know, that there are no-go areas for them north of the Midlands. They can live with that. Their base is elsewhere. Anyone who still demurs from that harsh political fact need only listen to what Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph & Thatcher's authorised biographer, had to say on BBC 5Live this morning. Moore opined that areas which opposed Thatcher & everything she stood for were "less important" ( ) -- his comments come at 4 minutes 50 seconds in the clip.
"Managed decline". "Less important". With those two dismissive quotes you have the Tories' real view of those who opposed their policy of deindustrialisation. It's a view which Cameron, Osborne (didn't someone have any tissues for him today, by the way?), et al share.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Janus-Faced Joe

It wouldn't be human to deny a certain grim pleasure from the passing of those whose actions have caused havoc & misery for others. Reaction on Merseyside to Thatcher's death has been pretty much as expected. Robin Brown penned an interesting piece on Seven Streets, too (
At this time it would be tempting to recount the 80s, that baleful decade of Toxteth, Militant, Trevor Jones, Heseltine, the Garden Festival, Hillsborough et al. Too tempting. Another time, another blog post.
However, I can't let today's reactions go by without highlighting the contradictory gibberish of one. It came from Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson with this tweet ( ):
"Tories believe in division and inequality. Thatcher defined that and Thatcherism continues today as bad or worse than her period in office."
It beggars belief that a Labour leader who makes a virtue out of his willingness to implement Cameron's cuts should bewail Thatcher's record & legacy. It seems to have escaped Joe's attention that the Thatcherism he condemns is perpetuated, in no small measure, by Labour councils which arrogantly tell people that they've got no alternative (to coin a phrase) but to make Tory cuts. Like, ooh, Liverpool City Council. Joe may lament the ethos of Thatcherism, but he does nothing to counter it; say what you like about the 47 (& many do), but they did stand up to the Tories. Selling off part of Sefton Park is an act one would expect from a Thatcherite philosophy which recognises the price of everything & the value of nothing. Today's Labour Party subscribes to that Tory tenet.
Thatcher is dead, but Labour lieutenants of capital like Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson do nothing to oppose policies that she could only dream of.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hillsborough Families To Sue Liar

Guido Fawkes ( ) might have chosen a better time to declare that arch-liar Kelvin MacKenzie was his "ethics adviser" ( ). Fawkes, or Paul Staines, to give him his real name, was speaking just a few days before the Hillsborough families announced that they were going to sue MacKenzie for "malfeasance" ( ).
The reptile who was described by Trevor Hicks as "a low-life" offered crocodile tears when the Hillsborough Independent Report was released last year. MacKenzie's true venality is something the families have always known & highlighted: "Although MacKenzie offered 'profuse apologies' last September after the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel exposed the article's allegations as wholly unfounded, lawyers for the families also accuse him of adopting a different approach privately."
MacKenzie isn't the only one to finally face the reckoning. The families also indicated their intention to bring proceedings against South Yorkshire Police & Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
Proceedings against the South Yorkshire force are clearly necessary from a moral perspective. However, there is also a financial aspect which the Guardian report relates with damning clarity:
"Families received payouts as low as £3,500 for the deaths of loved ones, sums later dwarfed by settlements to policemen, who were awarded up to £330,000 after suffering post-traumatic stress from witnessing the crush on the stadium terracing."
That the police officers' "suffering" was judged to be almost a hundredfold bigger than that of the families is an often overlooked aspect of the greatest cover-up in British legal history.
MacKenzie et al can be in no doubt that their moment of reckoning looms larger by the week. Staines might wish to reconsider his admiration for a proven liar.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Metropolis On The Mersey

One can only surmise that Big Al Machray & his minions at the Oldham Echo saw the silent movie classic Metropolis some years back & decided that Fritz Lang's 1927 production ( ) should act as the blueprint for the city of Liverpool & its port in particular.
That's the only conclusion to be drawn from the fawning adoration bestowed by Oldham Hall Street on yet another plan to "transform" the Kings Dock ( ). A fetish for a futuristic dystopia would normally be sufficient reason to consult a psychiatrist. In Big Al's case, however, it qualifies him to edit a paper whose capacity for self-delusion & denial would impress Saddam's former spin doctor, Comical Ali.
The Echo's piece has been penned by Marc Waddington, who enthuses:
"Up to 1,000 jobs could be created by the new masterplan for the waterfront area, which will include apartments, offices, hotels & leisure complexes."
Here we go again with Echo buzz phrases. "Up to" a thousand jobs, you say? So it could be considerably fewer than that. Going by previous instances, it would be sensible to view that phrase as, well, imaginative. Additionally, the use of "could" is a sure indication that Oldham Hall Street is doing its usual trick of whistling in the wind while the icy blast of a triple-dip recession, coupled with the cuts, freezes Merseyside more effectively than any meteorological factors.
Then there's the artist's impression of what the Kings Dock "could" (copyright Oldham Hall Street) look like, &, yes, it is truly hideous, a fact not lost on a few commenters. "BigEnd" (nice moniker) declares:
"This looks like the lovechild of the Malmaison Hotel and the new museum. With a dash of DNA from the ferry terminal. Please -- are there any architects out there with some sense of style? We deserve better than this."
Yes, BigEnd, we certainly do. Alas, we won't get it while the Oldham Echo champions such monstrosities.
Another commenter (Stewart f43) asks:
"Is it just me, or do these designs look like something out of Star Wars? 'Brutalist' isn't the expression for this -- try 'plain ugly'. Was nothing learned from the awful old Pier Head design?"
To which one must sadly reply that nothing will ever be learned by the latter-day Bourbons who hail such grotesque vanity projects as graceful adornments to the city's Botoxed waterfront.
So who is behind this plan that the Echo is keen to promote? Well, it's the work of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), whose chief executive Deborah McLaughlin is quoted in Waddington's piece. However, she cautions:
"No specific figure has been put on investment in the overall development plan, but it is likely to run into hundreds of millions of pounds."
That's conveniently ambiguous, wouldn't you say? Moreover, it beggars belief to view the project itself as viable in the near to mid-term future when the economy is, at best becalmed in the ConDems' Doldrums, & any lending from the banks for infrastructure projects is a bit like Liverpool's chances of a Champions League place: nice in theory, but impossible in practice.
The role of messenger is crucial in cases such as this. As messenger, the Oldham Echo yet again shows a dispiriting willingness to publish what is effectively a puff-piece for HCA. The Echo is well-versed in promoting the interests of unaccountable, unelected business interests & their schemes to "regenerate" the region (do I hear the name Peel Holdings faintly in the distance?). That Waddington's article is a puff-piece is apparent from reading HCA's own blurb about the project ( ), the use of terms such as "transform" & "masterplan" eerily evident in the HCA piece as well as a suitably supportive quote from Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, the city council's cabinet member for regeneration. Cllr Kennedy has been vocal in his view that the "development" of the Lime Street area has been good for the city. Those with aesthetic taste would beg to differ.
The waterfront has been disfigured by supposedly grand projects which say more about the backers of such schemes than any PR blurbs could hope to obscure. Those schemes have veered between farce & wilful civic vandalism ( ).
Fritz Lang's classic was supposed to act as a cautionary tale against the dangerous cocktail of hubris & technology; the apparent "progress" being merely a mirage. It's a lesson the civic goons, the Oldham Echo & the business interests they eagerly acclaim are destined to ignore.

Exposing The Perogative Of The Harlot

There's no greater fear for a tabloid newspaper editor & his (almost all of them are men) proprietor than a reporter who undergoes a Damascene conversion. Imagine, therefore, the palpitations felt by Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express & the Daily Star, at the willingness of Richard Peppiatt, a former hack at the latter rag, to expose their distortions, smears & bigotry. Peppiatt has now started a vlog (video blog), as Roy Greenslade noted the other day ( ).
Desmond was the reptile who charmingly informed the Leveson Inquiry that he had no time for ethics ( ).
Greenslade refers to Peppiatt's delivery & presentation as "What The Papers Say with attitude." It could also be viewed as Estuary English Jon Stewart.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thatcher's Poodle Repeats The Same Old Lies

The reaction of those instrumental in spreading the lies about Hillsborough has ranged from seeming remorse (the late, unlamented Irvine Patnick) through to a claim of victim status (the specimen that is Kelvin MacKenzie). Bernard Ingham's response has been that of the cornered rat, lashing out in characteristically venal fashion, despite the findings of the Hillsborough Panel.
Ingham was at it again last week with an outburst which says so much about the individual whose actions during the 80s warranted the soubriquet, "Thatcher's poodle" ( ).
Revelling in his ignorance & hubris, Ingham declared that he hadn't read the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report & also claimed that "political games were being played."
Clearly, Ingham is well-qualified to identify "political games" when he sees them. After all, the role he played in helping Murdoch to acquire both The Times & Sunday Times in 1981 can be filed under the category of political machinations ( ).
Ingham's charmless ejaculation of bile reminds me of what the right-wing hack Donal Blaney wrote a few weeks ago on the Daily Mail's Right Minds blog ( ). As someone who was at Hillsborough, Blaney is very much in a minority of one when he exonerates Patnick et al. That may well have everything to do with Blaney's hard Right politics & nothing to do with reality; an ideologue always inhabits a bubble. Indeed, Blaney refers to Patnick as "the Tory MP who worked most closely with the police". Well, that's one way of putting it.
Expressing astonishment at the condemnation of those such as Patnick, Blaney goes on to say:
"When I attended the Carling Cup Final at Wembley last season, I was greeted by the sight of a banner that read: 'Expose the lies before Thatcher dies'. What lies is Lady Thatcher responsible for exactly? None. The Bishop of Liverpool made that plain in the Hillsborough Report but why let facts get in the way of years of grievances, real or imagined?"
Blaney's professed incredulity is couched in characteristically Daily Mail terms. As such, it attempts to distract attention from the cover-up at the highest levels of government. It's a cover-up whose origins lay in the visit that Thatcher, accompanied by Ingham, made to Hillsborough just 24 hours after the disaster, as David Conn noted in a Guardian piece last year. The article quoted Ingham ( ):
" 'You can't get away from what you were told,' Ingham said. 'We talked to a lot of people; I am not sure if it was the chief constable. That was the impression I gathered: there were a lot of people tanked up outside.' "
Conn later focused specifically on Thatcher's involvement in the cover-up:
"Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said Ingham's explanation that the 'tanked-up mob' account was given to Thatcher by the police confirmed the families' long-held suspicions.
" 'The prime minister got it from the very top, from the police force which caused the deaths of the 96, then went on to blame the fans. It's an absolute disgrace and it sickens me.' "
For Blaney's information, the Bishop of Liverpool made no specific mention of Thatcher at the launch of the Panel's report. As for his sneering reference to "years of grievances, real or imagined", perhaps Blaney might find it instructive to read a government paper released under the 30-year rule at the end of 2011 ( ).
Maybe we shouldn't be so taken aback by Blaney's words. After all, as someone who is pleased to be described as the nearest thing the UK has to a Fox News commentator ( ), Blaney seems to be an arch-exponent of denial & delusion, as this classic blog post from October of last year attests: .
However, it's to Ingham that we must, reluctantly, return. His disdain for those he regards as the architects of their own tragedy sits uneasily with an episode from his own ostensibly law-abiding background ( ).
Additionally, Ingham's willingness to believe any old pack of lies he's told explains his presence in Chris Morris' brilliant spoof on the evils of the deadly drug "Cake" back in 1997 ( ).
Given Ingham's , ahem, chequered track record, it's puzzling why he continues to be viewed by the media as a credible commentator, a point you could make to his agents, United Agents (email: or phone +44(0)2032140884). 

Speaking Truth To Power

Seeing as today is George Orwell Day, here's an apt quote from the man himself:
"Journalism is printing what someone else doesn't want printed: everything else is public relations."
That observation has lost none of its relevance.

The Joys Of A Free Press

In this post-Leveson age for the press it's good to know that the Augean stables have been cleaned out. Isn't it? Actually, there are one or two such stables in existence & they're not always to be found in the Murdoch empire. The People, a sister paper of the Oldham Echo, has been forced into a retraction which indicates that the bad old practices never really went away ( ).
Speaking of the Murdoch empire, you can always rely on The Sun to churn out lies, distortions & smears. The putrid old rag has been caught out in its attempts to do the ConDem's dirty work ( ).
Leveson said the last thing he wanted was to see his report gathering dust at the top of the bookshelf. Alas, that seems certain to be its fate.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

More Tea & Sympathy From Joe

I do hope the warm wine & canapes went down well at the city's waterfront today. Cameron popped by to appear with Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson to help promote the city's International Business Festival next summer. The meeting of minds took place at the Museum of Liverpool. As befitting the venue, the message from Cameron (& one from which the Labour Mayor didn't demur) was ugly & brutal: the cuts will continue ( ).
Unsurprisingly, Cameron arrived via a rear entrance. His loyal, junior lieutenant Esther McVey, MP for Wirral West & champion of local regeneration ( ), however, found herself running the gauntlet of demonstrators, one of whom correctly informed Merseyside's answer to Sarah Palin: "Your cuts are killing people!" ( ).
Uncle Joe could have used the event to lambast the cuts' effects & declare that as Labour Mayor he will organise a campaign of civil disobedience against measures which have no electoral mandate. He could have said that, but instead delivered this gem ( ):
"As the first directly elected mayor of the city I confidently predict that the best days for the city are ahead of it as we continue to grow and become an economic hub and a major port once again."
Adopting the sort of rhetoric habitually employed by US politicians may not work to Anderson's advantage; predicting that the best is yet to come despite the ConDem cutters is guaranteed to invite a sarcastic Scouse response. Additionally, the notion that the city can return to being "an economic hub and a major port" will make many wonder if Uncle Joe was reading from a text prepared in 1913, not 2013.
(The US allusion is strangely apposite in Anderson's case. It appears that he covets the sort of powers enjoyed by US city mayors, such as Michael Bloomberg in New York, despite the fact that his remit is severely curtailed in comparison; a friend told me when I was in Manhattan that Bloomberg's electoral success with New Yorkers lay in the fact that he's perceived as a "Dad" figure, someone who will admonish excesses which are a consequence of civic leniency & address the city's electorate in a style resembling that of a resigned, weary tutor repeating something for the umpteenth time. Anderson may yearn to be seen as Liverpool's "Dad", dispensing quasi-paternal wisdom to his flock. Some hope. Whereas New York remains the world's most famous metropolis, Liverpool is, sadly, just another post-industrial city engaged in, at best, an existential debate about its purpose & role in the twenty-first century. )
Mayor Anderson made headlines in some of the national media over the festive break ( ). However, even this seeming warning of what the cuts will mean for local government was rather undermined with this assertion:
"Liverpool is succeeding because we have, like other cities, been given backing, and the results are starting to show in the confident city we have become."
Venture outside the city centre, to, say, Kirkdale, Norris Green, Netherley or Kensington & you'll find precious little of the "confidence" that Joe proclaims.
As if that wasn't enough, Joe made a point which would have had Cameron, Clegg & Osborne in paroxysms of mirth:
"Neither myself nor other core city leaders are denying the need for austerity or the need for local government to take its fair share of reductions in public spending. Our call is simply for fairness in how that austerity is distributed across the country."
Fairness In Austerity! Compassionate Cuts! Great slogans, wouldn't you say?
Anderson's acceptance of the need for cuts on the basis that we've all been living beyond our means buys into a myth which was exposed by Dan Silver in a Guardian piece the following day. Silver noted that the ongoing legacy of the 2008 financial crash was now presented as a government deficit crisis ( ):
"The financial crisis of 2008, which for many has discredited the dominant model of financial capitalism, has been maintained by those currently in power. It has been reconstituted as a debt crisis caused by government deficits."
It would have been welcome at today's exercise in mutual self-congratulation if Anderson had publicly & vocally shared this analysis of the situation, told Cameron so & declared his intention to stand up to the Tories. But he didn't. And he won't.
Happy New Year.