When Paul Brant resigned as a councillor, Mayor Anderson took over his role as the city’s finance guru. When Ged Fitzgerald had his collar felt by the old bill, our illustrious mayor declared that he would fill the gap as Liverpool Council’s chief executive. Now that Malcolm Kennedy has been demoted from the cabinet, it seems that our man for all seasons has added the regeneration brief to his onerous responsibilities. A stupefied citizenry asks: is there no limit to the man’s talents?
Er, it appears that there is, difficult although it may be to believe. In one of his usual spats of ill temper, the mayor has withdrawn those Liverpool Council staff who were seconded to the Combined Authority. Their role was to work on new funding for Liverpool, so it seems that hizzoner has shot himself – or, rather, the city of Liverpool – in both feet.
Still, this is small potatoes when compared to UNESCO’s looming decision on the city’s World Heritage status. Only one other World Heritage award has ever been rescinded – we can only hope we are not the second. Mind you, UNESCO have been deliberating since before the mayor added to difficulties with his proposal for a stadium at Bramley Moore dock. We should not be surprised by the mayor’s indifference given the his publicly expressed contempt for World Heritage status. It would be doubly ironic if we were to lose it in Liverpool just as Wirral Council seek the coveted status for Birkenhead Park and Sunlight Village.
The silence of the Liverpool Labour group on this is deafening. One would have expected some effort on their part to rein in the mayor and his flights of fancy. This tendency of the mayor to chase his fantasies (Cunard Building, Everton’s training ground, the International Garden Festival site) is costing the city dearly – and will cost many of them their council seats eventually. Who, for example, has questioned a Commonwealth Games bid that will “only” cost us £137 million? Who has sought guarantees that the money will be recouped? Of course, there are no guarantees despite the mayor’s bluster. Who has asked Everton if they have agreed to their proposed new stadium doubling up as an athletics track? Indeed, who will really own that stadium – EFC or LCC?
Catchy press releases and public relation gimmicks do not add up to a row of beans. I can see some small advantage to a politician whose vision is limited to a sycophantic report in “The Echo”. I can also anticipate the predictable support of the mayor’s hotelier and developer friends – there can be nice pay days in the mayor’s “bread and circuses” approach to running the city. Me? I would rather that the mayor concentrated on the legitimate interests of the many in Liverpool rather than the self-interest of the few.