HOW long ago it seems now since the Government and Liverpool council were like the best of friends.
Westminster’s finest, proud as punch that the city was willing (or, rather, its council was willing) to be its mayoral guinea pig, and Liverpool thrilled at all the oodles of money that would flow through the City Deal it had struck with the coalition.
But, Mr Brocklebank must confess, he always found it to be the oddest pairing since Bing Crosby and David Bowie got together to sing Peace on Earth Little Drummer Boy.
And, lately, that goodwill has gone rather bad, albeit it with somewhat amusing consequences. For when Mayor Joe Anderson was visited by the Ghost of Summer Past and suggested in his letter to the Prime Minister that the continued cuts undermining society could lead to the kind of unrest (don’t say riot, whatever you do!) that we saw last year, one of David Cameron’s henchmen was quick to respond with a put-down.
Eric Pickles (The Ghost of Christmas Dinners Past) is the ideal politician to be the man in charge of local government, looking every bit the Yorkshire alderman of a JB Priestley play.
Mr B understands that in his early days on Bradford council (not so much the professional Yarkshermun back then, apparently), he used to read his carefully crafted speeches from a music stand in front of him.
Now, having swapped the shires for the Big Smoke, he certainly likes to keep his eyes on the comings and goings in the provinces.
Not least Liverpool. Hence when stood at the Despatch Box, when dishing out the local government finance settlement, his sneering nod to Mayor Anderson’s “unrest” predictions, informing the House that Nostradamus needn’t worry. The jeers on the government benches made it quite clear the coalition understood who was being referred to.
Later that day, though, it was Liverpool Town Hall’s turn to do the jeering when a groveling email arrived from a Whitehall civil servant, apologising for getting the figures in the settlement they had sent to Liverpool , well, wrong.
This government can’t do its sums right? You wouldn’t have needed Nostradamus to predict that one.
GOODWILL, it would seem, does not abound in all of us this time of year.
One of Mr B’s colleagues was in the supermarket the other day when he spotted, at the next checkout, a senior Liverpool council Labour member.
The said politician was asked by the checkout lady whether they would care for any packing to be done by the volunteers of some neighbourhood charity.
The councillor duly accepted the offer, and so the volunteers packed away the shopping.
However, far from reaching into his pocket for half a crown and instructing one of the youngsters to go to the poultry shop and buy the prize turkey for some other poor unfortunates, the Labour man left without dropping so much as a copper in their tin!
More a case of “Bah! Are there no workhouses!?” Mr B thinks.