Saturday, April 25, 2009

Maintaining standards

I want to thank all the many people who have supported me over the last 24 hours, phoning and sending texts and emails, and posting positive comments on this and other blogs. I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been and how generous with their support and encouragement at such a difficult time.

Seeing yourself splashed over the papers in a negative story is very painful, as I expect you can imagine and it would have been impossible to handle without the support I have received.

But what concerns me is not the damage to my reputation (I can live with people criticising me for swearing and I have said much worse in my time), it is the damage to our cross-party work in Ethical Governance.

I have worked really hard this year with Councillor Paula Keaveney the LibDem Executive Member for Ethical Governance (who I want to thank for her inclusive approach on this), with the councillors and independents on the Standards Committee -and particularly the chair, Howard Winik, who does a great job for our city. LibDem Cllr Stuart Monckom and I worked on a paper together in his home where he made me very welcome, and I have been meeting fortnightly with a small working group made up of officers and councillors (Cllrs Keaveney, Moore, Eldridge, Mullen and Williams), with the monitoring officer and the deputy monitoring officer, to work on improving the behaviour of councillors and the relationships between councillors and officers.

I think together we have done some really great work and it is my sincerest hope that our efforts are not in vain. I also think we have broken down some barriers between the political parties and proved that we can work together for the common good if we try.

It is a bitter irony therefore that the negative comments I made two years ago about all LibDems and all Liberals have now come back to haunt me. Actually, some of them are okay!

It is obvious that under the circumstances, particularly given the damning editorial in yesterday's Echo, my continuing with the Ethical Governance brief could potentially damage that good work. I would be horrified if our planned presentation to Annual Council about the values we want everyone to embrace, could now be held up to any kind of scorn or ridicule on my account. I don't want the Echo to find anything else to criticise our council standards for.

I am infuriated that a description used by a sitting Tory Prime Minister about his own cabinet is okay for him but deemed unacceptable when I say it, but we are where we are. 

So, with great sadness I have decided to stand down from the Ethical Governance Portfolio and from the Standards Committee.

And where better to make that announcement than on this blog?

As to where that leaves blogging politicians, I really don't know, perhaps I will start a separate entry about that next week and see if we can get a sensible debate going.


Anonymous said...

The Echo is read by less and less people and there is a reason for that. It's crap. The 6th form editorial they wrote yesterday (I had to just search for it because I didn't actually read it first time, which tells its own story) was ridiculous. But resigning on the back of it gives them far more credit than that excuse of a paper deserves. It has stopped standing up for this city and is nothing more than an advertising rag supporting the manchester economy.

Susan Watson said...

I feel very sad about the decision you have had to make, and know for a fact that both the Labour Party and good people of Liverpool will be poorer for it. But I also know that your hard work and efforts for the residents of Kensington & Fairfield will continue, and that one day it will receive the recognition it deserves.

scouseboy said...

I am really sorry to see you are standing down from your role in ethical governance, because of the petty hypocritical actions of your neighbouring councillor.
I hope Joe Anderson and the rest of the Labour group recognise the good work you have done, and hopefully,as a result,you will be given another portfolio next year, which I am sure you will equally put your heart and soul into, and, whatever happens, I am sure you will make a success of whatever political task you are asked to perform.

Ethical Bill said...

Well Anonymous,
Seeing that most Labour "newsletters" over the past few years have consisted of little more than scanned in headlines from that same "crap advertising rag", what does that say about the Labour campaign?

You can't have it both ways!

Noticed that "Dude The Dog" was demanding Louise's resignation yesterday. Is this Dude's first scalp?

Anonymous said...

Ethical Bill - What on earth is "Dude the Dog"? And regardless of what Labour leaflets say or do, the Echo is still crap. It is read by less and less and believed by even fewer. More people read the Mirror in Liverpool.

Louise Baldock said...

Should I have allowed this latter post? It draws attention to a vile blog which I usually choose to ignore.

But I think that, given the situation I find myself in, and the tone of the contribution this person has made, you should see this, read it and follow the links.

It is important that we contrast the work of a Liberal Democrat politician who hides behind anonymity to stick the knife in to Labour politicians - and believe me, "gratuituously offensive" is a mild criticism when you read what this person says on this website - with me, who says what she thinks, up front and is ready to be held accountable when it all goes pear-shaped.

If you want to know how low (some) LibDems can sink, and why I might have got hot under the collar about them some years ago, then you should go and read through their site and make sure you check the archives too. Don't slouch about how intensive your critique could or should be.

I shan't be drawing attention to them again, much like the BNP, I feel they don't merit the oxygen of publicity.

But I am damned if I should be held up as some kind of a pariah in this city by the Echo or by cowardly LibDem politicians, when this sort of bile is a regular feature of Lib Dem life in Liverpool.

This "dog fouling" was supported by the official LibDem website until I objected to their senior people about a gratuitous parody over my attendance at a campaign to fight breast cancer.

That same unpleasantness is still on their website, unless they remove it over night (so let's hope that others more than me have taken lots of screen shots).

Following my private complaint to key Liberal Democrats, the link from their offical website to this particular blog was removed, but it seems clear to me from today's entry on my own blog that the support for this shameful website is still there within the LibDem party.

PS this person calls me his blogging nemesis, Wikipedia says "Nemesis is now often used as a term to describe one's worst enemy, normally someone or something that is the exact opposite of oneself"

May I just say that I am very happy to be the opposite of the people to contribute to this Dude the Dog diatribe. And if that makes me their nemesis, then so be it.

Ian Jackson said...

Agree with Anonymous. I'm fed up with Labour politicians and workers resigning for absolutely no reason. It just encourages the press and others. Before long we'll see Gordon Brown being 'forced' to resign for breaking wind in a public place. You should just get on with the job, get the real message across and ignore this nonsense.

MandyMoo said...

Anyone who knows me knows that my political beliefs are the exact polar opposite of Louise's. That said, I consider Louise to be one of the most genuine, hardworking and refreshingly honest councillors that I have ever come across. Bettering the conditions for the good people of Kensington and Fairfield is Louise's number one priority, every day of the week. Louise never switches off and will do her utmost to help anyone who needs it. This country should be embracing councillors of the calibre of Louise Baldock. Regardless of our politics it is in everyone's best interests that councillors everywhere are as totally dedicated to the well being of their constituents as Louise is. I have read the so called offensive article and recognise it for what it is 'a joke'. Maybe if the good folk of the Lib Dems spent as much time looking after their constituents as they do trawling through other people's blogs and wasting everyone's time with such petty small mindedness then they would have a party to be proud of.
Making positive comments about Labour politicians is totally alien to me and is not something that I will make a habit of but Louise Baldock is one of the good guys and I wish we had more like her!

Tannoy said...

Hmm, not sure that you should have resigned over those comments Louise. I'm not a supporter of your political ideology, but it seems a bit of a small incident to me, and fairly obvious that you wouldn't genuinely mean that ALL LibDems were OB's. If every councillor who had done or said something as bad resigned as well, I think we'd be well on the way to having 90 by-elections.....

Anonymous said...

Re. MandyMoo's comment; - it wasn't the Lib Dems who made the complaint about Louise, It was Steve Radford of the Liberal Party. The Lib Dems just ignored it as a silly thing to say.

Do try to keep up!

MandyMoo said...

Re Anonymous (scared to reveal who you are??)...Lib Dems/Liberals who gives a toss!!! Whoever it was is sad, sad, sad, sad.........!

daily pundit said...

If you need cheering up visit Chris Paul's blog. He's turned Lib Dem bashing into an art form. No-one does it better.

Labour of Love

Howard Winik said...

Thank you, Louise, for your kind comments about the City Standards Committee. All the members have appreciated your hard work and commitment and we are sorry that circumstances have meant that you have had to stand down. Although the Standards Board for England decided not to take any action against you in respect of the recent complaint, you have, nevertheless, felt it appropriate to resign your ethical governance role, and so protect the City's reputation from any personal criticism levelled against you. That you did this so promptly, is a testimony to your commitment to high ethical standards. You have so much to offer in this field and I do hope you will find yourself able to continue with this work in the future. In the meantime, thank you again for your efforts to date and good luck!