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Saturday, 19 September 2015

New perspectives

I'm very happy to see the new Green Party team on the City Council settle down following my successful replacement by Cllr Anna Key.  Anna made her maiden speech and gained cross party support for her council motion on Wednesday.

To have a proper (possibly permanent) break from positions of responsibility, I've shed my roles on Green Party national executive, chair of the Association of Green Councillors, leader of Liverpool Green Party, St Michaels ward councillor and, finally, as a school governor.

With this new freedom, I can devote some time to writing, such as this blog, without worrying about taking time away from urgent work directly helping people.

Corbyn and the New Politics

The emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is interesting and very hopeful.  It is part of a shake up of politics showing that the politics of the future does not have to be like the politics of the past.

There is a lot of convergence between Green Party policy and Corbyn's platform, but there are important differences too.  One of the most hopeful signs is his wish to engage positively with opponents and debate ideas.  Much more to be said on this.

But same old politics in Liverpool City Council

I hesitate before suggesting people look at the video of last week's Council meeting.  Corbyn culture has not yet taken hold in Liverpool Labour. For example, instead of engaging with the Green proposals on recycling we hear a repeat of the falsehood that "Greens opposed fortnightly bin collections".  They know we didn't, but if a brazen falsehood is repeated often enough it sometimes sticks.   (For the true record on Greens and fortnightly collection see here.)

Nine minutes into the Council meeting we have a classic example of the Mayor's response to scrutiny and criticism - a 15 minute rant against his evil accusers, particularly in the form of LibDem councillor Richard Kemp.  According to the judge in Anderson's Employment Appeal Tribunal, which dismissed his appeal, the Mayor's conduct "can reasonably be regarded as culpable or blameworthy".

The judge had also said "It is unclear to me why the legal department of Liverpool should have been acting on behalf of the Claimant in his private capacity." and that has encouraged some people to demand the Mayor pays back the £89k legal fees that Liverpool council tax payers have stumped up.

For me, the most troubling aspect of his behaviour in calling his critics "liars" is that he appears totally sincere about it and unshakable in his self belief.  To avoid any dissenting voices being heard, he would not permit any questions as if there is only one true point of view that should be heard.

From my reading of that Tribunal judgement, I think the Mayor is seriously misinforming himself.  Also the press and local BBC coverage has so far failed to drill down into the essentials of this case.  I hope to do that drilling down in a future blog post.

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