IF THERE’S one man who gets up mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson’s nose more than local government secretary Eric Pickles (and Mr Brocklebank himself), it must surely be former Walton MP – and Labour colleague, no less – Peter Kilfoyle.
The spirit of fraternity between the two is long dead, and soured during the 2010 general election when Kilfoyle hit out at the nomination of “student politician” Luciana Berger for the Wavertree seat and Joe responded by saying some people (though not him of course) thought Peter was “past his sell by date”.
But Kilfoyle’s retort of “I’m glad Joe’s defending me - just like I defend him against people who say he’s incompetent” probably landed the “Killer” blow on their relationship, or what there was of it in the first place.
Fast forwarding past the row over Kilfoyle’s candidacy for police and crime commissioner, which Mayor Joe appeared to canvass the party faithful not to support (not that he think’s he’s past it, mind), and the latest clash comes over that most sensitive of subjects - Peel Holdings and their Liverpool Waters plans.
Kilfoyle’s think-tank ExUrbe (which Joe thinks should be named ExTinct) has recently produced a 200-page report about the land and property giant’s apparent chokehold on the city’s future and the “blurring of the boundary between public and private interests”.
At the meeting of the full council last week, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Kemp hailed the report and asked that Kilfoyle be given audience for his concerns at the upcoming regeneration select committee.
Joe, needless to say, was dismissive of the report, and Mr B even heard a few hisses at Kilfoyle’s name from the sycophantic rank and file.
But as the former Walton man told Mr B afterwards: “He should have said ‘This is a matter between Peel and the think-tank’, not rush to Peel’s defence. I rest my case.”
ON THE issue of the blurring of the boundaries between public and private interests, BT (parent company of Liverpool Direct) makes a return to these column inches.
The BT empire has now expanded beyond the boundaries of Liverpool, and has gone into partnership with Lancashire County Council (which is run by ex-Liverpool finance chief Phil Halsall and was formerly the domain of current city council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald).
But in recent weeks, one West Lancs councillor has discovered that access to Labour MP Rosie Cooper’s website has been blocked, its reputation apparently “unverified”.
While West Lancs council and One Connect stress that this was a technical fault that arose on the transfer of control of the IT system, and nothing to do with political censorship at the Tory-controlled borough, the councillor in question was quick to point out to One Connect chief David “Mack the Knife” McElhinney that there was no problem accessing the site from council computers for the last five years, before One Connect came to be.
Readers may recall how, at Liverpool council, Mr B’s colleague David Bartlett’s Dale Street Blues blog was blocked by the internal computer system (a platform which has oft been critical of the LDL contract, if not Dr McElhinney himself.
Mr B understands that Dr McElhinney responded to the councillor saying that despite having resolved the issue, someone had since contacted the local media (which Mr B feels is not his favourite of institutions), and that this had led to three-way discussions between the district and county councils and One Connect.
Apparently, the good doctor “dreaded to think” how much this could have cost the taxpayer – albeit a relatively simple one that shouldn’t have taken two days to resolve.
If the terms of the deal with West Lancs are anywhere near as financially favourable as those to BT through the LDL venture, Mr B too dreads to think of how much public money this simple enquiry could have ended up costing.