Has a collective madness overwhelmed the Labour Party? The national farce is bad enough as it staggers from crisis to crisis; but there are suggestions of a more localised infection. The latest Liverpool snippet is that mayor Anderson has considered standing as an independent in next year’s metromayoral election.
I do not know the truth of this, but I would not be surprised. Ever the poor loser, nevertheless Joe would be mad to go down this route. Having been clearly rejected by Labour Party members as their candidate next May, he would garner little support amongst the wider electorate. However, he has always been determined to be king of the castle. Remember his threat to withdraw Liverpool from the Combined Authority when the other leaders failed to make him its chairman?
This is where a more immediate worry creeps in. It appears that Mayor Anderson and his Liverpool acolytes are trying to pre-empt where they can, any future decisions by an elected metromayor. The Labour candidate for the role – Steve Rotheram – is the favourite for the job in May. He has already made it clear that he will not be bound by decisions made in advance of May’s election, which would have the effect of restricting his freedom of manoeuvre if elected metromayor .
The leaders of the five other councils will be vital in ensuring that the spirit and the letter of the legislation covering the Combined Authority and the metromayoralty are kept. Whilst they can do little to restrain Mayor Anderson from acting pre-emptively in his Liverpool barony, they can ensure that nothing is done via the Combined Authority which would attempt to shackle the future metromayor.
I am sure that they are astute enough to recognise that failure to control Mayor Anderson on the Combined Authority would guarantee conflict in the city-region post May, 2017. That would not be in either the boroughs’ interests or in those of the Labour Party. One man’s frustrated ambition cannot be allowed to create a future confrontation with an elected metromayor.