I never cease to be astonished by the claims made in politics. The underlying assumption too often is that all voters are naive. When will people learn that overstating the case often undermines their own credibility? Thus it was in the 80s when otherwise laudable achievements became lost in exaggerated numbers which people quickly saw as nonsense.
I thought of this whilst reading once again the spin put on Liverpool Council’s otherwise sound record in some areas. Like the school-build programme – always a potential vote winner, you might think. Political credit in abundance for those improving the future for our young; but you would possibly be wrong.
Take the south end of Liverpool. We know that Mayor Anderson’s disregard for green spaces was a major factor in losing seats there earlier this year. Yet that mishandling did not stop with antagonising those who do value green spaces. The mayor gave the go- ahead for a replacement school for St. Julie’s to go on open space in Woolton. Yet in next door Speke, about 2 miles away, there is a state of the art secondary school – just 12 years old and built for 900 pupils – in pristine condition and lying empty. Why, say puzzled citizens, do we build a new school on green space when we already have an empty school nearby?
Moreover, the empty school was built under PFI, meaning that it still carries a total debt, with interest, of £58 million. This is costing the Liverpool council tax payer £12000 per day! This has been the case for the last two years. At the time, the mayor said it would cost the council £25 million to buy out the contract, but the council did not have the money. Fair enough, but why then spend £13 million buying Everton’s training ground, and spending over £20 million (the council refuses to confirm the final cost) on the vanity project of the Cunard Building?
These are the economic priorities of the madhouse, inappropriate to Liverpool, and inappropriate to the city-region. Hopefully, Labour members will bear this in mind when they choose their candidate for metromayor.