Election Selection : Week 6

xmas-frank

Understandably, considering this week’s atrocities in Manchester , politics and the general election in particular has been put firmly in its place. That place being a self-serving sideshow – most usually played out in the gutter.

Et Tu, Frankie?

Talking of which we note this week that Birkenhead MP Frank Field took some time out from writing for his usual safe havens  ( The S*n, The Daily Mail) to get a letter printed on enemy territory in The Grauniad  (aka The Guardian).

https://amp.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/21/how-might-labour-get-a-fair-hearing-for-its-popular-policies

Note how Frankenfield stabs the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn  , ever so politely, in the back:

‘In the event of a defeat on 8 June, Jeremy’s manifesto must be the point from which a new PLP alone chooses a parliamentary leader who is able to build trust and legitimacy with the electorate. For the new parliamentary leader not to start from here, and to revert to Blairism, would miss the point of just how much Jeremy has changed centre-left politics. The test which must be passed in the new parliament is to combine a popular programme with a leader who possesses prime ministerial qualities.’

So basically, having apparently already conceded defeat , the bitter and twisted poverty tourist says he likes Jezza’s policies but he thinks his main failing is that he lacks the gravitas of his late heroine, Margaret Thatcher . With the narrowing gap in the opinion polls we’re left wondering whether Frankenfield has made a very rare political mis-step or is he just being spectacularly disloyal and duplicitous as usual?

Manifesto Fun

Quite rightly ,one of last week’s commentators took us to task about  whether we’d actually read each political parties manifestos for the forthcoming general election. To which we could only reply – ain’t nobody got time for that!

So following on from our commentary about the Resolution Foundation’s analysis of the manifestos of the two major political parties and the similarity between their welfare policies we move on to expert opinion on the manifesto pledges dealing with finance and crime ( is there a difference we hear you cry !).

Financial think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) , tells us that neither the Conservative or Labour Party party’s general election manifestos sets out an honest set of choices :

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/26/conservative-labour-tax-spending-plans-ifs-general-election-manifesto

And so it would appear that you pays your money and you’re stuffed either way you vote!

Meanwhile the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies published their assessment of the key manifesto pledges by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

With the appalling events which took place in Manchester this week their analysis takes on greater significance. Interestingly they reject the notion that , given the lack of strong evidence that more police cut crime, a policy to increase police numbers is not desirable. This points to a broader challenge, as Will McMahon argues in a comment piece on the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies website in May 2017

https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/sites/crimeandjustice.org.uk/files/UKJPR%20Focus%2C%20Assessing%20the%20Manifestos%2C%20May%202017.pdf

 The resourcing of mental health workers and social workers to manage demand presently met by police officers should be a high priority. This would necessarily mean an overall shift in government budgets away from policing and towards the training and employment of social work and mental health professionals. This approach could lead to a radically downsized and less publicly visible police force, shorn of its social work responsibilities and instead, focusing on the estimated 16 per cent of incoming calls to command and control centres that are actually about law-breaking.

As we’ve said before – the information is out there to make your electoral choice. All we ask is that you make it an informed one!

Green ‘N’ Gone

 

Jeff Green

So farewell then Cllr Jeff Green as leader of the local Conservative group.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15272929.Wirral_Council_Conservative_group_has_a_new_leader___Jeff_Green_ousted_after_15_year_reign/

We won’t be shedding a tear as we were never a fan. We regularly made the observation that he was someone who seemed more comfortable being in impotent opposition than being in a position of power.

As we know Green briefly reaped the rewards of the Martin Morton whistleblowing scandal by getting the backing of the Lib Dems to oust Labour leader Steve Foulkes and to subsequently become the leader of Wirral Council.

However his tenure as leader was short lived and he seemed relieved to resume the position of a perpetual purveyor of “‘faux outrage” (to quote Labour councillor Matthew ‘Matty Patty’ Patrick) . Meanwhile the returning Labour administration, this time under Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies, went back to their bad old ways – cover ups, secrecy and cronyism – all in the name of rampant reputation management.

All of which meant that the seismic shockwaves that were supposed to result from a series of whistleblowing cases ended up being no more than mere tremors.

Of course Green should have read the writing on the wall ( or more accurately the writing in the first Patricia Thynne investigation into the Wirralgate scandal ) when Foulkesy described him as ‘kindred’.  As both are now ousted party leaders their bond can only be closer.

As far as we were concerned his apparent complicity with the Wirralgate scandal revealed in the second Thynne report is his biggest failure when it comes to trying to hold the Labour administration to account. His compliance resulted in the biggest scandal in Wirral Council’s history to be all neatly wrapped up in an unwarranted apology from Foulkesy to Green.

WIRRALGATE! – A Portrait in Green and Yellow

We shall wait and see as to whether Green’s successor as Tory leader , Cllr, Ian Lewis adopts the same collusive approach as Green and takes to winking at his oppo, Power Boy Pip, after declaring how ‘outraged’ he is about the latest Wirral Council cock up.

Mayor Balls

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So have you all voted yet in the bore-fest that is the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor election?

We studied the Mayoral election booklet that was sent to Leaky Towers before we decided where to place our X ( or X X – as we lucky people get to choose a second candidate!) We’re still not sure what the Liverpool City Region ‘Metro’ Mayor is for , although we read that he – because let’s face it it will be Steve the Brickie – will have a range of powers including strategic housing and planning ,transport and highways, business growth, energy and environment, finance and European funding.  He’ll be a busy boy then – although doing what exactly we’re not quite sure. I suppose we should be thankful that this election didn’t take place 20 years ago as our very own Frank Field said he’d fancy his chances. Can you imagine Frankenfield meddling in everything left, right and centre? Frightening! But anyway back to the current eight candidates and their policies/pledges/pleas/promises – call them what you will…………………… http://liverpoolcityregionelects.org/media/1006/mayoral-booklet.pdf

We’re trying to be objective here but what struck us reading them all is that Steve ‘Brickie’ Rotheram’s pages are decidedly short on any actual concrete plans. Plenty of soundbites and platitudes  and needless to say ‘the vision thing’-  “ My vision is for a region that is ambitious ,fair,green,connected and together”, ” I will stand up for every community and ensure every voice is listened to”  etc; etc;  Yes , Steve , but how?

All of the other candidates set out exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it . Even though one candidate Paul Breen doesn’t appear in the booklet at least we can tell from his handle Get The Coppers Off The Jury what he wants to achieve !

Roger Bannister ( Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – TUSC) may not be the same man who was the first to run the mile in under 4 minutes but he does set out 5 key aims.  Tony Caldeira (the Conservative Party) sets out a 6 point ‘Tony’s Plan for the City Region’ .

Similarly Tom Crone (Green Party)) has a 5 point plan as does Tabitha Morton ( Women’s Equality Party) who has the same number of ‘priorities’. Carl Cashman has 4 parts to his ‘vision’ whilst Paula Walters (UKIP) must have double vision as there are 8 parts to her particular ‘vision’ for the City region.

Shame that none of the visions ,plans ,priorities will come to fruition as we know that with six boroughs in the City region and all of them Labour-controlled that Steve the Brickie is a shoo-in . This might explain his ‘can’t be arsed’ entry prepared by his agent , head of North West Labour executive, Anna Hutchinson. We are however treated to a full page picture of Steve the Brickie wistfully gazing into the middle distance wearing a ’96’ badge , campaigning wristbands and stroking a puppy ( we made the bit about the puppy up – but you get our drift).

So having considered all the information on offer we’ve decided to vote for Tabitha Morton from the Women’s Equality Party. With a name like that she seems to be ‘one of us! one of us! one of us!’ to purloin Steve the Brickie’s rather cultish election tagline. Talking of cults wouldn’t it also be good to shake up the tired old male -dominated City Region political scene? Go Tabitha!

 

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