Perceptions Matter

I’ve said it before and I say it again – whoever advises Mayor Anderson does him no favours. Recent days have clearly illustrated this. As he and Wirral leader, Phil Davies, are being lambasted over low wage carers, the mayor announces that the city council is to “invest” in luxury training facilities for Everton Football Club.

Despite the argument put forward that there will be an increase in income to the council from the new facilities, there is a tremendous mismatch between a perceived subsidy for a multi-million private company, and a perceived failure to help low paid staff. This is on top of the mayor’s dismissal of the cost of his new bloated, highly paid bureaucracy, as “only £7 million” (a telling remark  which the local media again failed to pursue).

Meanwhile, in the contest for the Labour nomination for the new metro mayoralty, feedback from Labour members suggests there is a real contest underway. Initially, odds were on Mayor Anderson. He has had a free run from the local media, and he had a huge war chest bolstered by twenty thousand pounds courtesy of Liverpool Labour Group, plus money via fundraising through his developer friends. The glossy emails and fawning support letters flooding out from Liverpool Labour HQ evidence the resources at his disposal.

However, many members have commented to me about this, and are distinctly unhappy with our local personality cult. Their concerns are about character, probity, priorities, and interpersonal skills. What the final outcome will be to the selection, no one knows. Furthermore, whilst the eventual Labour nominee will begin as favourite to win next year’s election, nothing is certain.

We are currently in a very volatile political environment. We do not know what the agenda of the next Tory Prime Minister will be, and nor do we know what will result from the stand-off between the Labour leader and the Parliamentary Labour Party. It brings to mind that oft-quoted remark of one-time (and local) Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson that “a week is a long time in politics”. By that measure, the time between now and the ultimate election of a metro mayo, is a veritable eternity.

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