“and I say this as elected mayor..and Labour Leader or erm…on a board or something. I will bring more cafes to Liverpool. Just watch. Fuck the libraries. We need more cafes”
A while back I was informed by Roger “Joe Anderson is proper ace” Phillips on his phone-in that I “know absolutely nothing about politics”. It was during one of those Big Joe love-ins Roger likes to hold for his Shanghai bunk-mate in which the two of them tell the world just how proper ace Joe is. My question wasn’t political it was based on simple mathematics. I asked how Joe could keep a straight face as he made the “heartbreaking” decision to pass the 2012 budget in which Liverpool was yet again raped by cuts. I merely asked why Joe’s Mayoral piggy bank of £130million could not just be offset against the loss. Roger scoffed and offered no reasonable explanation. Apparantly that’s politics and I don’t understand it.
Fast forward 12 months and another “heartbreaking” rubber stamp from the Mayor/Leader as he sanctioned the closure of ten libraries across the city and upped Council Tax whilst halving bin collections. No illegal budgets here. I mean having the ball’s to carry out the promises people elected you to do ? Fuck that…people go to jail for stuff like that and have people like Joe and Roger call them lunatics. Again, actually having the balls to stand and fight against that which is 100% wrong, must be politics, and I wouldn’t understand it.
So we move on and Joe blames everybody for making him do stuff he doesn’t really want to do it’s a plain as day in Joes world that his yearly acquiescence to cuts is down to “”Failure and legacy of the Liberal Democrats which, by the way, was equal to that of Militant in the 1980s”.
Perhaps it’s me but what is being played out in our city is like watching an old Play For Today in which councilors and mayors trouser huge sums of cash and fringe benefits as developers basically take the piss. Todays Fifty Storey Tower is yesterdays piggeries or Braddocks. Back in the day it seemed that’s how politics was and having been highlighted in lurid “expose” these practices ceased. Somebody needs to tell Joe.
I may be well off the mark here but a couple of examples recently are straight out of Our Friends in The North. A few weeks back a very irate (and heartbroken) ELECTED Mayor (don’t forget the word elected. Joe loves it. To those 66,000 Joe smugly reminds us of at any opportunity. I feel for you.) Anyway, Joe sent an invitation to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles (who’s dog found the world cup in 1966) and a train ticket so he could “come to the city and see the impact of Government cuts”. He didn’t bother his arse and Joe implemented the cuts regardless. Then, as if by magic, Eric Pickles decided not to call in the Peel Holdings Liverpool Waters scheme. A scheme in which Peel Holdings appear to have plucked huge figures out of nowhere and then got Joe to tell us “it’s going to be cracker”. The scheme was highlighted in the Echo with diagrams. It’s huge. You can see how huge by the size of the boxes the Echo use in their illustration, a big box next to another smaller box which was Liverpool One and obviously for those who have difficulty grasping “smaller that the larger one” we have…a football pitch. Liverpool Waters is as big as loads of footy pitches. In welcoming this £5.9BILLION Scheme Joe beamed “I’m absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State shares the confidence we have in our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.” So I guess Eric Pickles won’t be using the train tickets and we can kiss goodbye to one of the world’s most iconic stretches of waterfront. Something else we destroy then mourn.
Peel’s figures are truly baffling. I mean 9,000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space and a 55 storey tower. It will provide offices, shops, restaurants (cafes), hotels and leisure facilities as well as a new cruise liner terminal. Sounds ace. Yet in a city that is selling off empty houses at a pound a pop just to get them occupied you have to wonder how these figures have just been accepted. Peel themselves acknowledge the dearth of empty apartments in the city and blame it on privateers offering little in the way of help in purchasing. With that in mind I thought Peel would have a solution for their new “community”. Alas they tell us “It is likely that much of the residential in Liverpool Waters will be private, sold to private individuals. We do not yet know the prices, particularly given the credit crunch. We are of course aiming to attract successful business people to live, work and invest in the area and the housing products will be aimed as high as possible.”
Amusing in itself yet it was the next bit of Peelspiel that had me cackling.
“Not having a job is the root of many people’s difficulties in owning their own home. The opportunity to get a job within Liverpool Waters is high and therefore this should help some to afford homes within the scheme.” So Peel will be taking people off the dole, allowing them top work in one of the many cafes and thus become “successful business people” so successful they will be able top buy a new house next door to the cafe the work at. Ace.
I find it distasteful seeing heartbroken Joe salivate at the thought of this scheme and ask how hard it would be to ask Peel to REALLY invest in Liverpool. £5.9BILLION makes a mockery of budget cuts and tax hikes. How about Peel Holdings REALLY getting involved in the city ? Even a very, very small percentage of £5.9BILLION would ease Joe’s heartbreak (which is going to be worse again next year) and maybe keep a few libraries open. I mean Peel love Liverpool, Joe loves Liverpool so much that they carry on talking in sunshine happy billions and fictitious tenants, shoppers and cafe owners as they cut more and more services with gutless ease.
“Sharon you are just a woman and I’m a proper Man Mayor. I’m Alf Roberts you are just Annie Walker. See that white envelope he’s holding ? That tells me we can get at least 3 cafes up here which would create about 2,000 jobs and a three runway international airport with more cafes”
Anybody would think money was changing hands, brown envelopes and that kind of nonsense. Surely not ? that would be like the Mayor/Leader sanctioning and applauding the purchase of a building using our money and not disclosing how much it cost or what the term of the “partnership” with the private developer are. We are getting another hotel and Joe is fucking ecstatic..so shut it and get back to finding that extra dough for the Council Tax.
As Roger stated. I know nothing about politics. I am confused about Joe’s role(s). Is he Mayor, shaker, mover and facilitator in bazillion pound deals or suicidal pawn forced to steal from the poor ? Councillor looking after his ward or Mayor sitting on multiple boards and making key decisions on how to spend OUR money without conscience or explanation. “We have bought the Municipal Building and we are turning it into a hotel. Done deal, don’t dare ask how much we paid and anyway there’s going to be a cafe”
I’m not suggesting for one second that Joe, Roger and the hacks at the Echo are laughing their tits off at people like me who don’t understand politics.
I would also find it hard to believe that a Mayor/Council Leader, heartbroken as he is, would descend into countless trivial and personal arguments at the height of the city’s budget meeting surely that’s what Twitter is for eh Joe ?
It is always reassuring to know that the doubters, not me like, are left with no room for cynicism as in these days of transparency a man holding high office with high remuneration to match is beyond reproach as every penny Joe earns (who said given) will be there for all to see. Full disclosure at all times.
If anybody comes across a definitive account of how many posts Joe currently holds and how much each pays I’d welcome a gander. I mean Joe works dead hard. Demolishing a world heritage site to facilitate cafes and shops isn’t easy. Then again Joe has two hats complimenting his two faces I’m sure one of them will justify all.
A far cry from those Joe is quick to mock. Men and women jailed for having guts and principle. A far cry from TRUE labour statesmen like Eric Heffer and Terry Fields expelled from his party and jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay poll tax. Terry Fields ELECTED Labour member taking a fireman’s wage and no more.
Ken Loach was quoted as saying that if ever there were a revolution it would start in Liverpool. Thirty years ago any revolution would have been politically motivated and the city had men and women capable of carrying it through. Now ? The people of Liverpool still know how to fight. Sadly it’s elected Mayor/Labour leader/Socialist is too busy with secret deals and a quest for even more cafes for any of that shit.
Then again..as Roger said…I know absolutely nothing about politics.