Saturday, April 30, 2011
LibDem Mike Storey in ageist attack against Labour rival
Jake Morrison is a hard-working young man who is standing as the Labour Party candidate for the Liverpool City Council elections in Wavertree ward where I live. I was delighted to sign his nomination form and have already voted for him using my postal vote.
Jake works in the Royal Liverpool Hospital as a Healthcare Assistant; He is also a UNISON union representative there and he dreams of one day being a Paramedic. He has been working since he was 13, he has never been without a job, all through school he was working in one capacity or another, at various shops and stores through the city, learning about good customer service.
He is also a member of Harthill Youth Centre's Management Committee and active in the City and North Liverpool Youth Advisory Group.
Since being selected as the candidate by Wavertree Labour Party members in September he has been working hard in the area. Spending time with Wavertree Neighbourhood Police Team and Liverpool Integrated Play & Youth Service (Harthill Youth Centre). He has spoken to thousands of residents in Wavertree and dealt with a lot of casework - I know this because I have been helping him with it, helping him to understand who to approach to solve residents' problems.
He has taken the time to talk to our local pensioners, being a regular at the bingo where he has sat down with residents to talk about their priorities, and he has been out with the detached youth workers to talk to other young people like him, about their desires for the area and what they would like to see.
He has knocked on at least 4000 doors in Wavertree ward since September talking to people so that he could understand their concerns and familiarise himself with every single street.
Jake became interested in political representation after taking part in a Councillor Shadowing scheme set up by the then LibDem council through Liverpool Youth Service a couple of years ago where he spent time with Councillors Joe Anderson, Marilyn Fielding and Alan Dean. He has been sitting in council select committees and coming to council meetings in the Town Hall for several years now. He has presented local radio shows on KVFM talking about politics and democracy, last year interviewing the then Deputy Lord Mayor Hazel Williams for instance about the nature of her role. He has met hundreds of senior politicians, including the Leader of the Labour Party and impressed everyone with his earnest interest and hard work.
I think it is remarkable that an 18 year old young man is so passionate about community politics, and has taken all this time and effort to understand and engage with the system, the processes, the issues and the people. He has really done his homework!
What an disgrace then that he is being attacked by the LibDems and by rival, Councillor Mike Storey in particular, because they say that at 18 he is too young to be a councillor.
Mike Storey was only 21 when he was elected to the council, 30 something years ago. He must have forgotten this - or at the very least is hoping you have! Irrespective of party politics, we should all celebrate the emergence of a new generation of community representatives, we should be delighted that we have young people who want to get involved in such a healthy way in Liverpool life.
We need hard-working representatives who are as diverse as our population. Young and old, black and white, gay and straight, male and female, religious, not religious, with young families, with grandchildren, with or without disabilities, a voice for every kind of resident.
The latest leaflet says "Labour spin doctors are now panicking that they have picked the wrong candidate". I have no idea what brings them to say this, Jake's campaign has excited members of the Labour Party across Liverpool and there are dozens of them, including cabinet members, coming over to help him every day, taking a few hours out of their own campaigning to support him. We are very proud of Jake indeed! We are very proud that by his remarkable efforts to engage with so many residents and to gain their support, he faces a very real fighting chance of winning this seat for Labour against such high odds.
I realise that Mike Storey and his LibDems are keen to save the seat, a seat that has been held with huge majorities by the LibDems for a long time, but this spiteful and increasingly hysterical attack does them - and the population - a huge disservice. Mike should behave like the elder statesman he purports to be. Former Leader of the Council, former Lord Mayor and now Lord Storey of Childwall (where he lives), he should be above such cheap tactics. And he is a headteacher too, who should be celebrating the achievements of young people and encouraging them to greater things - not decrying and belittling their efforts.
By his actions I believe he has lost the moral high ground and is no longer fit to serve, I look forward to welcoming Liverpool's youngest councillor on May 6th.