Areas of Concern

Two matters rearing their heads in the media recently, create alarm in many quarters. The first issue is a “report” into alleged infiltration into the Liverpool Riverside CLP. I am no expert on that particular party, nor would I claim specific information relevant to it. However, I do have extensive knowledge and experience of entrism in the Labour Party, and of evidential reports supporting claims of it.

Having read the “report” quoted (originally in “The Guardian”), I have concluded that it has no merit whatsoever. It is a farrago of smears, unsubstantiated allegations, insinuations, and imputations. When the Labour Party was trying to excise Militant entrists from its midst, this “report” would have been laughed out of court. It simply fails to make the most basic case that there is a takeover of Liverpool Riverside CLP underway.

In fact, what has been described has been the experience of most constituency parties for as long as I can remember, with some members aspiring to run a constituency party differently from the incumbents. Accusations of anti-Semitism (in more than fifty years in the party, I have never witnessed an instance of it) or of aggressive debate (rather, passionate debate) are unsustainable and unsubstantiated, and certainly bear no resemblance to the days of Militant’s influence. I trust that Labour’s National Executive Committee will waste no time discussing this document.

The second issue to arise comes courtesy of trade journal “Place North West”, a must read for property developers. It is calling on interested parties – i.e. businesses – to bid for projects to be financed from the Single Investment Fund. This is supposed to be under the authority of the Combined Authority and the metro mayor. It is worth £257 million over the next five years, and bidding for the first round closes on December 9th, 2016.

The missing piece in this jigsaw is the metro mayor – we do not yet have on! However, it illustrates how the Combined Authority under the current chairmanship of Mayor Anderson, and serviced by his familiar, Ged Fitzgerald, appears to be committing the funding available in advance of the election of a metro mayor. Whilst what is being done is perfectly within the scope of existing agreements with government, is it within the spirit of the putative role of an elected metro mayor? The latter is in grave danger of being shackled into someone else’s agenda. Is that what we are to vote for next May?

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