February 2009 Archives

I've spotted a paragraph in some Liverpool Council documents about the city's "failing infrastructure".

On face value this is a very stark thing for the straight talking city treasurer Robert Corbett to be writing about.

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Well done to Paula Keaveney, excecutive member for ethical governance on Liverpool City Council, for winning her first round of the BBC's Mastermind last night.

Her specialist subject was Seinfeld.

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Liverpool Council chief executive Colin Hilton's campaign to save the good people of the city money was this morning revealed.

Deputy leader Cllr Flo Clucas asked why a chart on the morning's executive board agenda was in black and white instead of being coloured coded (in a traffic light system).

"It's me being mean again," quipped Mr Hilton. "Trying to save on colour printing."

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This morning I spent an hour in a room full of elected mayor enthusiasts.

It was meant to be a debate between Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, council leader Warren Bradley, Labour leader Joe Anderson, elected mayor campaigner Liam Fogarty, and lobbyist Frank McKenna at the offices of PR firm Paver Smith in Liverpool.

Instead, as Cllrs Bradley and Anderson couldn't make the hastily arranged debate, it became a bit of an elected mayor love in.

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I meant to blog on this the other day, but forgot to.

My colleague on the Echo Vicki Kellaway wrote a piece about the St Helens mayor who admitted on the Weakest Link that he shopped in Manchester, despite having urged people to shop locally.

Cllr John Beirne then later told viewers: "Anne took the mickey out of my accent, but there again, we can't all fall into money and leave the town we were born and brought up in and change our accents like some people can, Anne."

He made some effort to defend his home town, telling the presenter it wasn't so tough being a hairdresser in St Helens because people in the town "tend to look after their hair".

I've resisted putting in a pun here about the weakest link, etc, etc.

The full article can be found here.

Top five Merseyside MPs' websites

By David Bartlett on Feb 24, 09 11:03 PM in

The Hansard Society today reported that MPs see new social media as a way of broadcasting to the public rather than engaging with constituents.

It's not surprising, as I mentioned in a previous blog the Labour party uses social network site Twitter as a broadcast facility instead of one to engage with people.

I'm not surprised in the least by the findings of the Hansard Society survey.

It spurred me on to have a look at the websites of Merseyside MPs. To be frank many were pretty unimpressive.

Credit crunch Britain and Lidl

By David Bartlett on Feb 24, 09 04:00 PM in

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I've just seen credit crunch Britain in action.

You know that we are all tightening our collective belts when half a dozen residents turn up at a Liverpool planning meeting to speak up in support for a Lidl supermarket.

"The cost of living is going up and Lidl gives you more choice and much better prices," said one.

Usually residents and businesses make the journey to Liverpool town hall to object to plans, but seldom to speak in favour.

In the end the plan for Speke Hall Road, south Liverpool was turned down by planners because it would have broken policies on building outside district centres.

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One is a fictional Democrat in Baltimore, USA. The other a Liverpool-born Labour secretary of state. They're both idealistic and ambitious.

For those who don't watch The Wire, Tommy Carcetti is the fictional character who starts on Baltimore council and goes on to become the elected mayor of the city, and eventually governor of Maryland.

The other of course is Culture Secretary Andy Burnham who has been one of Labour's rising stars. He was also recently voted most fanciable MP in a Sky News poll.

Any more suggestions for lookalikes?

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Birkenhead is like most Labour safe seats, Margaret Thatcher is a figure of hate among certain sections of the electorate.

This however doesn't seem to be stopping the town's MP Frank Field from repeatedly talking of his respect for the Iron Lady.

About a month ago he admitted he still admired her.

I'm not quite sure what it is about the elected mayor, but every time the issue crops up it seems to be widely debated in Liverpool (well, at least among those interested in politics).

There was a lively debate on Dale Street Blues and more comments can be found on this thread on the Yo! Liverpool online community forum.

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David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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