Well, the campaign appears to be well and truly off the ground. The candidates are bobbing and weaving in their anxiety to take up mayoral reins. Having seen the way the Liverpool mayoralty has thrown accountability and transparency out of the window, and Tories feted whilst Labour leaders have been abused, candidates in search of untrammelled power and patronage are not in short supply. “I will have some of that!” they think as they measure the best way to satisfy their ambition.
No, I am not speaking of the declared candidates for metromayor. I refer to those hoping to succeed Joe Anderson as monarch of all they survey in the Cunard Building. It speaks volumes of the arrogance which has overtaken some of Liverpool’s self-declared leading lights, that they aspire to a non-vacant role. Deputy mayor O’Byrne has made her hopes clear for some time. It now appears that Cllr. Barry Kushner has thrown his hat in the ring with an attempt at rebuttal based on the usual exaggerated claims and paean of praise on behalf of Mayor Anderson.
The timing for rebuttal is again remarkable given Mayor Anderson’s latest attempt to garner votes with a railway station at Paddington. A previously announced idea, it is like most other mayoral plans of late, either uncosted or highly debatable. So, for example, with reference to his last transport announcement, it would be illuminating to know (a) how a new ferry would be paid for and (b) how the tendering process would necessarily give a ferry contract to Cammell Laird.
These transport notions are intriguing because the mayor paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds to David Cameron’s chum, Phillip Blond (via his public relations company – Res Publica), to advise him on transport. Aspiring successors to Mayor Anderson could do worse than get hold of Mr Blond’s expensive advice and see how these things are done – or not, as the case may be.
On the other hand, their manoeuvring for position might be somewhat premature. It may very well be the case that perceptive councillors around the city-region will use their influence to ensure that Labour Party values are upheld. If so, the coveted vacancy will not arise.
PS. If you know of members who might be interested in these and similar issues (just like Cllr Kushner apparently was), please send me their email addresses for inclusion on my distribution lists. It is educative for members to know what is really being done in their name.