Wednesday, January 01, 2014
A Triumph Of Spin Over Substance On Dale Street
The season to be jolly has, alas, passed & 2014 is upon us. Some things don't change, though. One of them is the inspired leadership of the city of Liverpool under Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson. Before looking ahead, however, it's worth casting our minds back to 2012 when Joe won an election which attracted a turnout figure of 31.7% (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/may/04/labour-joe-anderson-liverpool-mayor ).
It seems that Joe was helped in his campaign by our old friends Aurora Media (http://www.auroramedialtd.com/ ) which has now resurfaced as Archetype Studio (http://www.archetypestudio.co.uk ). Archetype, by the way, claims to have a philosophy (http://www.archetypestudio.co.uk/Philosophy ) which it expresses at some length. Archetype may wish to view that as information. However, many might beg to differ; PR companies don't do "information", they do promotion & spin.
Bringing ourselves back to the beginning of 2014, Joe looks set to continue his intellectually-challenged dual track approach of bemoaning the Tory cuts whilst implementing them. He was at it again in the Oldham Echo the week before Christmas (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/government-cuts-leave-merseyside-worst-6433422 ). Marc Waddington's piece acknowledged that the further round of cuts mean that "Liverpool will have lost 19.4% of its total 'spending power' by 2015/16 compared to when the Coalition took over, a drop of £122.9m -- the worst hit in the country."
As you'd expect, Joe was in no doubt about the consequences:
"Every single person in Liverpool is going to be affected and every single service will face significant reductions or be withdrawn altogether."
He also warned of the less than blissful ignorance that many in the city display about the further cuts via Twitter just yesterday (https://twitter.com/joeforliverpool/status/418044052869627904 )
Information about the cuts to come is one thing, leadership in the face of those cuts is quite another & Joe's idea of leadership appears to be an awful lot of hand wringing & wailing accompanied by the implementation of said cuts. Joe would doubtless take umbrage at this characterisation; he doesn't take dissent well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZnc5bGOtJs ). Few, however, can remain unaware of his established modus operandi.
It's been said before but is worth repeating that Joe's approach is a case study in cognitive dissonance; in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela recently he recalled what he felt when visiting South Africa during the Apartheid years (http://liverpoolmayorjoeblogs.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/in-tribute-to-mandela/ ):
"Seeing the divisions and appalling injustice Apartheid created first hand was a huge wake up call for me. My time in South Africa inspired me to get myself an education and develop a strong sense of social justice."
Joe concluded: "Freedom fighter, visionary, president, leader, Madiba; your legacy will never be forgotten."
Part of that legacy included a willingness to fight unjust laws regardless of the hardship & personal risk involved. It would be most welcome if Joe recognised that. After all, Cameron's Guildhall speech last November in which he drooled at the prospect of permanent austerity (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-insists-that-squeeze-on-publicsector-spending-is-permanent-8933539.html ) is the clearest possible reminder of that old phrase, weakness invites aggression. Joe's weakness helps feed the appetite of this ConDem government.
No amount of PR can disguise that. Happy New Year.