Thursday, March 15, 2012

In the dog house - LibDem resignations pile up

I have steered away from outright local Party Politics on the blog for a few years, since I was so royally done over by members of two of the opposition parties in Liverpool who didn't like my "in your face" criticisms of their political tactics.

They cost me more than they will (thankfully) ever know, which means they are not able to be as smug as they might have liked, and I shall say no more than that.

But tonight I am giving myself a "by".

Tonight I want to say something about the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council and the electoral situation they find themselves in.

At the final meeting of the Full Council tonight (there are still plenty of Select Committees to come though), a list of various LibDem councillors who had decided to stand down/retire was announced. I think I am right in saying that, apart from Woolton (so this does not apply to Barbara), they were all councillors whose colleagues had lost last year.

I have long been an advocate for those candidates who know they will lose, to instead retire rather than fight a hard campaign to no effect. I have always thought it must be better to go with dignity, thinking that if you had stood you might have bucked the trend, but without putting it to the test, and it would be disengenous of me to say anything different now. And of course if you stand down, you get a tribute at the final council meeting, something defeated councillors never get. (And why not? Shouldn't we try to be generous in those circumstances and give them a nod at the first council meeting after the election?)

I would also say that most of the retiring councillors have done a pretty good job as community representatives even if their politics stank. So all credit to them.

Most of the LibDem councillors who are staying courageously to fight for their seats will be unsuccessful. I wont cry about that but I admire them for taking the fight to us - and I absolutely understand it. Good for you for putting your record to the test. Some of the people who I expect to be defeated have been, by all accounts (bearing in mind I have only been on the council for six years), decent hard-working individuals who have done their best for a very long time.

I suspect there will be the need for a new leader of the opposition in May, I put my money on Pat Maloney for what it is worth (who is himself not averse to the odd unsuccessful Standards Board complaint about yours truly). Richard Kemp, the other obvious challenger, will just have come third or fourth or even fifth in the Mayoral Campaign (not second - I am taking bets if you are interested). So I don't see how the tiny rump of LibDems will be able to choose him. Paula and I have worked together very regularly on all sorts of things and although we are not friends, I do really respect her for the stance she has taken on many issues, and I think the LibDems would have done well to have chosen her to lead them some years ago. Good luck to her and her work at Edge Hill University.

I also think that the one-time "third largest party on the council", the Cleins, will be entirely finished after May 3rd, which can only be to the detriment of good humour and independent thinking within the council chamber and the select committees. I have always got on well with the Clein clan (or at least those who have sat on Liverpool council, rather than certain offspring) and although I am going to be absolutely thrilled to welcome fantastic new Labour colleagues in their place, I shall continue to retain a  small regret that both could not have been accomodated simultaneously.

And of course there is another big name in Liverpool that is certain to be defeated in May, assuming the powers that be allow him to self-nominate - otherwise it is an enforced retirement. A man who I have always believed was well-meaning and put the hours in, but was the unwitting puppet of a stronger egotistical man who always believed he could take his crown back in due course (but of course he lost his seat and all bets were off). The councillor he left behind in his image will not win the next election, and we all know that. So I want to pay tribute to him too as he leaves the political stage. I don't think we have ever had a cross word, I really quite like the guy and I know he knows that and I am always pleased to see him when we bump into each other.

But one of the names of those retiring really made me mad - and I am sure he has taken this particular action precisely to piss me off. Well done. I am pissed off. I refer to Little Lord Fauntleroy as our leader has been wont to call him. I am quite sure that his deliberations about whether to stand and fight, or whether to slink off with his tail between his doggy legs, were taken very much with me in mind. He knows that I so desperately wanted to see his fortress finally toppled, not by dirty tricks, or reporting people to standards committees or boards, or putting out lies on leaflets, but at the ballot box. And I am as certain as I can be that he has decided flight rather than fight because he knew this was going to be my finest hour.

He said in his speech tonight that he  may come back and stand again, sometime in the future. Bring it on, Dude, I will be here waiting, wherever you pop up. It doesn't have to be in this city. You could try your hand anywhere in the North West and I will be there to chase you off. I hope that is clear.

And finally I would like to speculate about  how many LibDem candidates will be found to put their names on ballot papers in the city of Liverpool.

I am aware that there are many seats, with only 7 weeks to go, with no named LibDem candidates and of course we all know the difficulties some LibDems got into last year about putting names forward for seats where there was no obvious candidate - of which I shall say no more.

I am looking at 30 wards and thinking the LibDems will be lucky to field 20 candidates

There you are, that is my final prediction.

I would have preferred victory through democracy, but will take victory through apathy if that is all that is on offer.

1 comment:

scouseboy said...

You've got me puzzled Louise.. I cannot think if the "person who may be allowed to self nominate"
Anyway, I think the Fib Dems will be down to a rump of 14 after May.
I agree with you, I think Kemp will self implode in the mayoral election.
I think the greens will come second.
That's how I will be voting in the mayoral election: 1)Joe 2)Greens