Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome to Newsham Park!

I thought you might like to see the first of the Welcome signs, up in Newsham Park.

I shall hopefully be in a position to blog and publicise the full extent of our park improvement work very soon.

Watch this space!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Can you pack bags for a good cause?

Help needed with volunteer bag packing next weekend.

Messages from Cllr Jake Morrison, Wavertree ward.

I had not expected to need any further help, but our local Police Team have had to pull out, they were going to have 10 volunteers helping!

Ella is a 3 year old girl in Wavertree who has cerebral palsy, their mobility car & equipment was stolen, and then found damaged. (More information from this Liverpool Echo story)

Ella’s mother Sarah has asked me to help with funding to purchase new mobility equipment that they cannot get on the NHS, which will cost around £1400.

I’ve managed to get two slots in ASDA Sefton Park (Smithdown Road) 26th & 27th May, next Saturday & Sunday, between 10am & 4pm. We will be doing some bag packing to try and raise the funds.

If anyone is free at any time during that, and can offer us a hand, please let me know, it will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Jake
 email jake dot morrison at liverpool dot gov dot uk

Friday, May 18, 2012

IDAHO in Liverpool for 2012

The International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated on 17 May each year.  The day calls for respect for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgendered people worldwide.

May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 17, 1990.

In Liverpool, a range of events including, IDAHO 50, the Navajo Merseyside LGBT Chartermark Awards, Stanley Street Quarter commemorations on Saturday and Liverpool City Council at the Town Hall on Sunday, will mark IDAHO with a single message of campaigning against homophobia.

On Stanley Street on Saturday 19 May, from 10am to 3pm:

Liverpool City Council
- Fostering and Adoption Service
- Registry Office, Hate Crime
- Youth Service
- Anti-Homophobic Bullying
- Stanley Street Quarter
Merseyside Probation
Queer Notions
Liverpool Pride
Liverpool Hope LGBT
Liverpool John Moores University

Together with other organisations and their supporters will highlight their work to campaign against homophobia with a range of exhibits and information stalls to engage the public about this important work.

Photo: Councillors Louise Baldock and Gary Millar with Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast planting pansies in the grounds of St Luke's Church on Leece Street, with the artist and pansy project creator Paul Harfleet on 17th May 2012.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Liverpool Local Government Elections 2012, a campaign manager's view

A new day has dawned, has it not? 

Or to be a bit more precise, rather a lot of new days have dawned since May 3rd

I can see that I have had a lot of visitors this week, most of them I suspect were looking for my views on the Local Election results and the Campaign for Mayor of Liverpool. 

(Photo caption: Boss, we only seem to have these bundles of red votes on our table, and we have been counting for ages, is that right?)

I can only apologise for my tardiness. After an intensive campaigning period, I did need to give some time to my business, now that it is my principle source of income. I have had four new clients in the last fortnight at Local Marketing Liverpool, but you didn’t come here to read that, I know. You want to read the goodies about Liverpool City Council, so I shall set to forthwith. 

Let’s start with the Mayoral Election

Despite all the bravado across the letters pages of the Liverpool Echo over the last few months, the people did indeed vote for Labour’s Joe Anderson. As the Guardian helpfully sets out, 

“Liverpool has voted in its first directly elected mayor, with Labour's former council leader Joe Anderson winning by a comfortable margin. To loud cheers from the party faithful, the Labour candidate was declared mayor just after 4am at the Liverpool Tennis Centre in Wavertree, after taking almost 60% of the vote.

Independent Liam Fogarty came second with 8,292 votes, leaving the Liberal Democrat candidate, Richard Kemp – who was first elected to Liverpool council in 1975 and was confident of gaining the runner-up spot – in third place with 6,238 votes. The Conservative Tony Caldeira came seventh.
The turnout was just 31.7%, with 101,301 Liverpool residents voting in the mayoral election. Of them 58,448 opted for Anderson, giving him 57.7% of the vote.”

The full election results were reported on the Liverpool City Council Mayoral Election Results website and you can see that 8 of the 12 candidates lost their deposit (5% of the vote cast required to save £500) – including the Conservative Party, although any student of Liverpool politics would not be surprised to hear that. 

Personally I too did not find anything surprising about the way the votes were cast. I did attempt to predict the mayoral ballot results (and did not do too badly but I have thrown away the paper and cannot recall exactly where I had each candidate. I didn’t have Liam in second, but I think I did have him the Greens, Tony Mulhearn and the LibDems broadly on the same with the rest a bit further down the list. ) Irrespective, it was obvious to any observer that with such a big field and a popular front-runner, most candidates would be bunched up at the bottom, and so it came to pass. 

It is a matter of great joy to me as a passionate defender of Equality and Diversity that the far right parties did so badly. I would like to think this result sent the message “Don’t bother to come back ever, we don’t want you, never have, never will” but history has shown that they are eternal optimists who never really truly go away. As I write I am reminded of David Mellor in 1997 “Up your hacienda, Quiggins, Whitby and Rimmer.”

So that was the Mayoral elections, the people of Liverpool voted for a trusted pair of hands, for a man who shared their own vision of a resurgent city. And let us all join in wishing Mayor Joe the very best of luck and fortune as he pushes on with his Labour agenda for Liverpool. 

And then we come to the Local Elections in Liverpool 2012. What wonderful results, again. I seem to have been writing that since 2006, 6 years of solid Labour gains. 

Of the 30 seats up for grabs, Labour won 27. That made 10 gains.

We were thrilled. Only 9 of them were on our key seats list. Even with our optimism running high, we had never dreamt of winning Woolton, particularly because the Tory/LibDem coalition cuts resulted in us having to close both their library and their swimming pool (both very old and although attractive, far too expensive to bring up to 21st century legal standards).  We also never expected to win Church (and we didn’t) or St Michaels (Green), Tuebrook and Stoneycroft (Liberal Party). 

So while the media may have said that Cressington was the shock result of the night, where Labour’s Mary Aspinall, (a new rival to Tina Gould as the one of the best turned-out councillors in the city) beat the LibDem leader of the opposition, Paula Keaveney, we fully expected to take that seat, having taken the first one, under the radar, the previous year. Paula’s tweets made it obvious that she was fighting back, lots of reports of door-knocking in “South Liverpool” which was brand new for any LibDems for the last decade, so we knew she was putting up a fight, but it was always going to be too little too late, while her party nationally is in a disastrous coalition with the Tories.

Our 9 targeted gains included all the remaining seats in Walton constituency and West Derby constituency (barring T&S), along with Greenbank and Mossley Hill in Riverside constituency and Wavertree and Childwall ward in Wavertree constituency. We hit them all. 

Whilst everyone in Wavertree CLP was keen to see Richard Wenstone succeed, we did not expect a victory in the Church seat, so once he was selected as candidate, we asked him to manage the delivery of his campaign utilising only his local party members. However we were impressed by his candidature and the efforts that Church ward Labour Party members were putting in, such that we took a decision in early April to join him, where we could, and where time allowed, to have a bit of a go. It was not truly with any expectation of victory, but we did have a great number of activists so we could spare a few, we have always believed in rewarding effort with support and you never know! Actually he did surprisingly well without actually making it. This one of the few seats where the LibDems made an effort.

Indeed, one of the more interesting features in these elections was the way in which the LibDems had pulled right back and were defending so few seats. Of the 11 seats up for grabs, I have calculated that the LibDems were only campaigning in any seriousness in Church, Woolton and Cressington. They gave up on the rest as far as I can determine. 

I do realise that I am only telling you what you already know, assuming you are a local Liverpool political anorak, but even so,  you should stop and think about that. 

The LibDems abandoned Wavertree, Childwall, County, West Derby, Knotty Ash, Allerton and Hunts Cross, Mossley Hill (mainly) and Greenbank .

Imagine that. Put yourself back a few years, how about 2006 when I was elected to the council, contributing to a Labour Group of only 30. There were 56 LibDems, now there are 10. 

Remember more recently, 2010, Rosie Jolly won in Wavertree with 3118 votes. Two years later Kevin White, for the same LibDem party managed a paltry 358 votes, a tenth of the amount. Now if that does not make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, I don’t know what will. 

I just want to single out a few particular results, with your indulgence. 

Kensington and Fairfield ward – consider Liam Robinson, the man that Frank Doran loved to hate and called Labour’s man from Blackpool (that is Liam who still actually lives in my street, four years later whilst Frank’s nose grew as long as the grass in the front garden of his abandoned property on John Lennon Drive). Liam won with a majority of 1944 this year after his first election where he got in by only 197 votes. (And Frank, should you happen to read this blog any time soon, good luck with the forthcoming nuptials (honestly, good on you!) and I hope life in Rainhill is going really well, but can I please ask, before I have to bring the neighbourhood ward support officer to bear, can you please sell the house, or take in lodgers, or something. It is a real eyesore and we have had a few complaints about it from your neighbours which at the moment I don’t really feel I want to pursue, but in the end I may have to.)

Picton ward – no report would be complete without mention of this seat, where in 2008 Andrew Makinson taunted candidate Tim Beaumont and me (his agent) as he held the seat by 247 votes. He talked of “Fortress Picton” and how the walls would never crumble. This year Labour elected its third councillor, Nathalie Nicholas, with a majority of 1763 votes. I am delighted with this ward in particular. It is represented by a very diverse team, as befits its population. Nathalie in particular is worthy of mention because she was a graduate of the Liverpool City Council Operation Black Vote scheme in 2008, where she shadowed Steve Radford. This was a scheme to encourage more ethnically diverse candidates to put themselves forward for office She was a member of the United Colours of Kensington Face Painting Team at that time so we had links that way, and I was happy to support her, along with Steve, as she worked through the programme. We were delighted when upon graduation she applied to join the Labour Party and it was only her work, study and family commitments that stopped her from making a serious bid for election until now. She did stand in Church ward last year but that was with no serious expectation of victory. I don’t want to say too much about Nathalie because I am hoping that the Echo and Post will feature her story in the next few months and I don’t want to steal their thunder. 
Fortress Picton is build from red brick these days, Andrew!

And of course I delighted in the election of Helen Casstles as my own new ward councillor in Wavertree ward, bad luck to Warren Bradley who did have a pretty good personal vote after all it would seem, despite his conviction, but it was not enough to stop the progress that Jake Morrison set in train the year before. 

For information about the fabulous Childwall result, the final seat to change hands in our constituency this year – and a particularly interesting perspective on Jewish representation in the city, please see below. 

Extract from The Jewish Telegraph this week – alas the online paper does not allow for each blog to be separately linked-to, as a new one is posted, so the old one is lost. Hence I need to save this here for posterity. May 2012

End of an era as Eddie's support is in de-Clein
THE Labour landslide in Liverpool added two more Jewish councillors - although it was the end of an era when veteran Lib Dem Eddie Clein lost his Childwall seat to Ruth Hirschfield.
Ruth will be joined in the council chamber by Barry Kushner, who triumphed in Norris Green.
Richard Wenstone failed to take the prize target of Church ward, the only seat in Liverpool successfully defended by the Lib Dems.
Elsewhere, Shimrit Manning came fourth for UKIP in Picton, Lib-Dem Rachel Oelbaum was third in Speke-Garston while the Greens' Raphael Levy came second in Everton, behind Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast.
Blackpool-born, Yorkshire raised Cllr Hirschfield only became involved in the Labour Party after meeting MP-to-be Luciana Berger, who was aiming to be candidate for the Wavertree seat late in 2009.
She joined the campaign team and was elected chairman of the party in Childwall.
Last year neighbour Jeremy Wolfson was elected Labour's first ever councillor for the ward and, 12 months on, Cllr Hirschfield repeated the triumph.
A graduate in Russian from the University of Leeds, she once worked with Soviet refugees in Rome.
She works as a supply teacher, teaching English as an additional language.
She and her husband Alex, an internationally-renowned professor of criminology, have one daughter, Madeline, a first year law student at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
The family belongs to Liverpool Reform Synagogue.
Eddie Clein bowed out after serving as a city councillor in six different decades, thought to be a record in a metropolitan authority.
The 75-year-old who served a total of 43 years, said: "I will miss it terribly, it's like having my right arm cut off.
"I'll miss the personal involvement with the people of Childwall and the satisfaction of solving a constituent's problem.
"I have received lots of kind messages since I lost, including some from Labour councillors."
When first elected as a Tory in Speke in 1969, he was the youngest member in the council chamber and when ousted last week, he was the oldest.
Eddie represented Childwall for the Lib Dems for the last 28 years, during which time he served as Lord Mayor in 2000 and led the Lib Dems on the Merseyside Fire Authority for 17 years.
Eddie now intends to write his memoirs and continue to work as a pharmacist.
He still plays table tennis competitively and also tutors at an evening class at Harold House.
He is also happy to chauffeur 11-year-old grandson Jared - a top cricket prospect who captains Liverpool Boys - to matches and trials.
With no local elections for another two years, is this the end of Eddies political career?
"It's not on the agenda at the moment," he replied, adding, "but even if the heart was willing, I'm not sure if the legs would be up to it."
Eddie's defeat also means that there are no Cleins on the council when just over a year ago there were four.
Last year wife Pam and brother Paul were both defeated while Paul's wife Jan didn't seek re-election.
Paul, a former cabinet member with responsibility for education, has agreed to become one of new Mayor Joe Anderson's advisors on educational matters.

Whilst I love all of my Labour colleagues (no really, I do, honest, we are not riven in the way that people think we are, or if we are, I am oblivious to it, as I get on with everyone, pretty much), I was delighted to see some of my particular bezzie mates get elected. I won’t name names, they know who they are. And I hope some of them end up on my committee this year, assuming of course that I have a committee, don’t lets be counting our chickens. 
I am truly delighted to welcome the following 12 new members to our group this year (2 replaced sitting Labour councillors); Daniel Hughes, Ruth Hirschfield, Eryl Owen, Mary Aspinall, Jay Roberts, Nick Crofts, Emily Spurrell, Barry Kushner, Nathalie Nicholas, Helen Casstles, Lana Orr (who carries on a family tradition), and Mark Norris. 

And just as an aside, in E&D terms,  we sat in the pub on Sunday and calculated that we now have 32 women councillors from 72, just 4 short of 50% - although the next two (God willing, in Riverside and Allerton and Hunts Cross, if we win them and hopefully we will) will both also be women, making 34 from 74, bringing the share a tiny bit nearer. 

We also worked out that (without checking with everyone personally for their dob), 24 of our 72, that is a third, are under the age of 40. I call that impressive! 

And as for LGBT councillors, I reckon we are up to 9/72, without naming names.

We now have four BME councillors – which is rubbish, but which is getting better slowly, and we have at least half a dozen with various disabilities. 

We are not quite there yet, (or maybe we are?) but we are fast becoming the most representative group of councillors in Great Britain. 
It is enough to make your heart swell!

Big Lottery workshops - how to get some cash for your projects

Race Online 2012 is the national campaign set up to help millions more people benefit from access to the internet by the end of the Olympic year 2012.

Big Lottery Fund has been working closely with Race Online, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision and other partners to encourage people and communities to get connected online and access the valuable networks, shared learning and opportunities.

They are investing up to £100,000 in Liverpool in the form of grants of up to £10,000 through their Awards for All programme to support the Go ON it’s Liverpool initiative.

Liverpool City Council wants to help make sure that the organisations that apply have the support and advice they need to apply for funding for digital inclusion projects.

 They are holding 4 information workshops across Liverpool in May targeted at all sections of the community.

14 May Parklands High School 4pm-7pm
15 May The Florence Institute 10.30am-13.30pm
22 May Broadgreen International School 4pm-7pm
25 May Everton Football Club 10.30am-13.30pm
For more information and to book your place, or call 0161 261 4616.

Please note that places are limited to one person per organisation.