Saturday, March 13, 2010
11 Liberal Democrat Councillors to retire in Liverpool local elections
Yes, you did read that correctly, 11 of the 46 LibDem councillors in Liverpool are standing down in May 2010.
The Daily Post reports the full list here
Some of them are absolutely understandable and deserved the applause in the final council meeting of their terms in office - Councillor Trevor Jones and Councillor Roger Johnson for instance, have had a long life of public service and fully deserve a restful retirement. Councillor Paul Clark likewise, makes in my view a pragmatic decision to leave the council on a high, having served recently as Lord Mayor, and with an equally long period of service. This is much more dignified than leaving through the ballot box. If I were in his position, after his years of service, I think I would make the same choice.
Other of the retirements are also entirely to be expected - Hirst, convicted of electoral crime, should have stood down 15 months ago when he was found guilty, or 12 months ago when he lost his appeal. There will be no tears shed in Wavertree ward - and I speak as a resident thereof.
And neither will there be hankies waved in Croxteth as the defector who kept the LibDems in power for 2 years, Nadia Stewart, leaves the political stage.
Colin Eldridge leaves to concentrate his attention on the General election where he is a candidate in the marginal constituency of Liverpool Wavertree. Given the kicking the LibDems gave my co-councillor Liam Robinson for daring to put his name forward for Kensington and Fairfield, whilst cutting his teeth as a first-time Parliamentary candidate in Fylde for the General Election (where the Labour Party has never won), Eldridge had no choice but to put his money where his mouth is. He and his apparatchiks would know that the charge of hypocrisy would ring loudly across Liverpool Wavertree if he had not stood down.
What is more curious is why Councillors Josie Mullen, Jean Seddon, Andrew Tremarco, Linda Jane Buckle and Peter Allen are leaving the council. Are they dispirited with the job? with their party nationally or locally? do they fear defeat through the ballot box? did they jump or were they pushed? I like Josie and Andrew, I am sorry to see them both leave. I have not really met the others, we have not shared any committees that I can recall and have never worked together on any panels or projects.
And who will stand in their places?
That is an equally interesting question.
Keeping it in the family?
How many of the new candidates will be partners or family members of the rump left behind, rearranging the sun loungers?
I understand that the LibDem candidate in Wavertree ward is the partner of Councillor Keith Turner, his ex-wife being on the council already, her own partner was defeated at the polls 2 years ago.
I have heard that Peter Allen's defeated wife in 2008 in St Michael's is standing again but in Greenbank ward. The husband of Jean Seddon who is standing down, stood unsuccessfully in Fazakerley ward last month, will he try again? I am told that the LibDem candidate in Knotty Ash is the girlfriend of one of the councillors there.
Currently we have four Cleins (the third biggest party in Liverpool as Paul told the chamber to great acclaim a few meetings ago), two Clucas', two Gould's, two Kemp's, all those Turner links... while the Allens and the Jones's double acts finished in 2008.
I look forward to reading Brocklebank or David Bartlett as they attempt to construct the new LibDem family trees after May 6th.
What about the Labour Party's family trees? I hear you ask... A fair question, I think I am right in saying that one councillor is the partner of another councillor's daughter and of course it goes without saying that it would be wonderful if Joanne Anderson was able to join her father on the Labour benches, but that is the extent of our connectivity just now as far as I know.
I am amazed frankly, at the scale of these retirements. Very nearly a quarter of the LibDem group are leaving. Contrast this with the Labour Group, Green Party and Liberal Party - not a single retirement between us - and we are 44 strong.
You must arrive at your own conclusions about these 11 retirements but I do think it is a question worth posing. Would a confident group be haemorrhaging like this?