Posts in Merseyside

Esther_McVey_reshuffle.jpgWIRRAL West Conservative MP Esther McVey was one of the biggest winners in the Government reshuffle.

She was named employment minister at the Department for Work and Pension and now carries the rank of Minister of State.

But Liverpool's Labour MPs fared less well in Ed Miliband's reshuffle. West Derby MP Stephen Twigg was dropped from Labour's shadow cabinet.

He lost his role as Shadow Education Secretary and will instead be Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.

Garston and Halewood Labour MP Maria Eagle will stay in the shadow cabinet but has lost the transport portfolio to Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

Despite a reputation for political radicalism, Merseyside is also associated with low levels of political participation. In 2001, just 34% of electors in Liverpool Riverside turned out to vote, the lowest constituency turnout at a general election since 1918. The 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections saw Merseyside record the third lowest turnout in 41 policy force areas; just 12.7% of the county's registered electors voted.

A new report published this week by local think-tank ExUrbe explores whether such figures suggest Merseysiders are disengaged from politics generally. The report is based on a survey of 500 residents of 'Greater Liverpool' carried out in May 2013 at eight sites across the city region with the help of three Liverpool University politics students.

The last Labour government did some good things. They also made some baffling decisions in pursuit of policies almost universally opposed not only because they were ill advised but also seemed to run completely counter to the supposed philosophical basis of the Party.

One such issue was the abolition of Community Health Councils (CHCs), originally introduced in 1974 by a previous Labour government.

This proposal, originally consulted on in early 2001 to wholesale condemnation, foundered in the House of Lords, with the impending election causing it to be shelved.

duckmarine.jpgALL of us who have lived in Liverpool for many a year (or decade, or longer still) will be familiar with the sight of the Yellow Duckmarines trundling around the city full of bemused Japanese and Spanish tourists.

For anyone who has managed to miss the amphibious landing craft or failed to hear their deafening quack, then the events of the last fortnight will have come as a very big surprise indeed.

While, of course, Mr Brocklebank is not for one minute inferring that anyone familiar with these vehicles would be of the impression they were unsafe (after all, they've only sunk once before), the fact that the events of earlier this month came to pass was not a surprise to some, including former staff who (while, of course, they may have their quacks to grind) were quick to voice their concerns about the safety of the vessels.

THE voice of people hit by the Government's austerity policies is often drowned out by battling politicians, armchair pundits and London-based journalists.

This week the TUC aims to correct that, by giving a platform to the victims of austerity on

A double decker bus will hit the road, spending two days touring the region, highlighting the impact of austerity and spending cuts on working people and their local communities.

The tour is aimed at giving a voice to those suffering the most, while promoting the alternatives and building support for a future that works.

This needs no introduction.

FORMER Thai president Thaksin Shinawatra said, following his deposition in 2006 while on a visit to the UK, that "I'm very disappointed by the mature-democracy countries. I was ousted by a coup d'etat."

In recent weeks, one of Merseyside's longest-serving political leaders, whom mature democracy placed at the helm of one of our councils several times over the course of four decades, was ousted, that being Cllr Marie Rimmer in St Helens.

However, without being too pedantic, Mr Brocklebank should point out that there were some subtle differences between how events unfolded in the Far East and how they unfolded just down the M62: for one, Mr Shinawatra left many thinking that perhaps he knew the coup was coming, given that he decided to take his family and most of his possessions with him on his trip to Britain (and his chequebook, too, for he went on to buy Manchester City while stuck for something to do).

MANY a Merseyside eyebrow was raised earlier this week by the revelation that the region's, ahem, sperm banks are running so low on resources that they've had to resort to drafting it in from... of all places, Manchester!

But the smirks that may be across the faces of many a Mancunian this week (and Mr Brocklebank can only imagine the chants of Manchester United fans from the Anfield terraces on their next visit) will not be limited to this particular story.

marie[1].jpgOUT: Peter Papworth and Marie Rimmer

Last night was a night of the long knives in Merseyside politics.

St Helens council leader Marie Rimmer was deposed in a coup by her deputy Barrie Grunewald.

A coup that was plotted whilst she was on holiday in Turkey, and culminating with a vote of 22 to 18 in favour of Cllr Grunewald.

UNLESS the dear reader has been in an induced coma or hiding in a nuclear bunker deep under ground over the last few days, he has probably heard of the death of former Prime Minister, and scourge of Merseyside, Margaret Thatcher.

Given how interminable the TV coverage was, with the same clips showing for the thousandth time, it was lucky for Mr Brocklebank that the television on which he was forced to endure the continuous coverage was in one of his regular taverns.

Her passing did of course mean a retinue of former Conservative colleagues being trotted out in front of the cameras to mourn the loss of the Iron Lady.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

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