THERE are probably very few people in Liverpool who would say their local councillor is ‘one in a million’ – and they’d be wrong to if they did, because they’re actually one in five thousand.
Currently, 90 of the city’s great and good represent between them around 450,000 city residents.
But some in political circles have argued for some time that having close to 100 councillors is a luxury the people of Liverpool can ill afford, and given how few people turn out to vote in certain wards come election time, the public don’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of the worthiness of their elected representatives.
In the last week, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has revealed there will be a review of the city’s 30 council wards (with three members apiece), which could result in a recommendation that there should be fewer councillors in the city.
Certainly such a move would save money, given that the simple basic allowance for just turning up (or in some cases, not even bothering to do that) is £10,000.
Of course, given the review was Mayor Joe’s proposal, the Labour group is apparently unanimously supportive of the idea.
But, while there is the outward appearance of unanimity, the picture behind the scenes is rather different, particularly considering that Labour, with the greatest number of councillors, is the party which stands to loose the most members.
One Labour town hall confidante of Mr Brocklebank’s told him this week to “just wait and see how suddenly the ones who do absolutely nothing start whipping up petitions and doing a bit when they think they might be de-selected.”
So, should folks find that they begin to see a large number of people they don’t recognise standing posing for the cameras while pointing at broken paving stones or beer-can strewn playgrounds, they can be sure that the cull plan might just be serious after all.
MR B imagines the phrase the above brings to mind for most people would be that of ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’.
And the origins of that oft-trotted out saying are particularly relevant, where Liverpool council is concerned.
For one thing, it is widely credited to the late Liberal MP David Penhaligon.
Apparently, he supported the Lib-Lab pact of the 1970s on the basis that his own seat might have been in danger if a general election had to be called should the pact have been dissolved earlier, and is quoted as having explained his position by saying “turkeys don’t volunteer for Christmas”.
Fast forward 35 years, and Mr B understands that there is high anxiety within Liverpool Labour group about the next general election leaving a real turkey on the town hall steps.
As one Labour source told Mr B: “If Miliband can’t win a majority, we could end up in coalition with the Lib Dems, and how’ll that look for Joe Anderson,chumming up with (Lib Dem group leader) Richard Kemp after all he’s said about the Lib Dems?”
Who knows, it could be the start of a bootiful friendship!