Liverpool’s public spaces

LIVERPOOL – PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?

Last May a BBC reporter was about to interview me on Exchange Flags when a security guard approached saying ‘You can’t do that there ‘ere, this is private property,’ or words to that effect.

The BBC reporter accepted this directive, while assuaging my indignation at being moved from an area that has been publicly owned for centuries.

A recent report confirms that the trend appears to be insidiously seeping into large areas of the city. Take L1: The entire estate is built on private land, owned by a private property corporation called Grosvenor.

Having sold off the land to the private developer (or rather, technically speaking, having granted them a 250-year leasehold of the site), Liverpool City Council has essentially relinquished all control over the development. The bins, street lighting, round-the-clock security team – all are under corporate control. The city centre has effectively been privatised.

Liverpool’s citizens need to be vigilant less they wake up one morning to find our public spaces owned and controlled by an unholy alliance of Peel Holdings and Grosvenor.

 

Heseltine’s world

What  planet does Lord Heseltine occupy when in the opulent well-heeled  surroundings of London’s Mansion House he told an audience of business leaders that Liverpool was one of the ‘leading lights’ of the Northern Powerhouse (Echo 18.2.16).

Bloated with self-satisfaction befitting a Freeman of the City gifted by Mayor Anderson, he declared ‘Liverpool has a real opportunity to shape its own destiny and it will be important to set clear priorities for investment for it to really thrive…’.

Just who stands to thrive?

The same Echo reports: ‘Liverpool NHS jobs face the axe because of community health funding cuts. Up to 30 NHS staff in Liverpool could lose their jobs as services including exercise classes for dementia patients face the axe.’ This adds to the £340m already slashed from social provision.

This shows the glaring contrast between Tory mendacious hyperbole and the reality of life for thousands of the city’s people whose lives are damaged.

Councillor Gladden rightly laments this further outrage, but words aren’t enough. The council should declare ‘enough is enough’ and take any measures necessary to protect out people.

Roger Bannister for Liverpool’s mayor

TRADE UNIONIST AND SOCIALIST COALITION (TUSC) NEWS RELEASE

15 February 2016

 

ROGER BANNISTER FOR LIVERPOOL’S MAYOR

TUSC (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition) is delighted to announce that Roger Bannister will be their candidate in the election for Liverpool’s mayor.

Roger lives in Kirkdale and works in Knowsley where he is branch secretary for local government trade union Unison. He is also a member of Unison’s national executive council,

Roger has stood for TUSC in the Kirkdale ward consistently campaigning against all austerity and for a radical socialist no cuts alternative.

On being unanimously endorsed as candidate Roger declared:

I am delighted to stand for mayor of Liverpool on behalf of TUSC to provide a real alternative. The current mayor and his Tory chums offer us nothing more than endless austerity. I believe we should be standing up to the Tories, fighting to defend public services and the people who rely on them and those who work in them. In this regard I pledge my full support for the junior doctors currently defending their hard-won pay and conditions from this bullying and brutal government.

Roger is demanding fair funding for Liverpool’s public services. Roger said:

The Tories have just found £300million to defray the cuts in the Tory shires. What an example of the north-south divide, where’s our £300million? If the current mayor had fought the Tories instead of giving their leading representatives the freedom of our city, then maybe Liverpool would be shaking the Tory tree now too! My campaign for mayor will be demanding the Tories return the £millions they have stolen from our city’s funding, starting with £300million to match what they’ve given their mates, and demanding we organise a massive fightback to defeat the Tory cuts.

Roger added:

The trade union of which I am proud to be a member and a leading elected representative, has recently adopted a position in favour of councils setting no-cuts budgets, using all financial powers available to defend council-provided services and building a massive fight back against Tory-led austerity. That position will be my central policy going into this election. I challenge Mayor Anderson, and other candidates also standing for parties who claim to be on the side of the trade unions: will they adopt the no-cuts policy of my trade union or will they adopt the pro-austerity policies of the Tories etc?

Roger will build on the near 5,000 votes received by TUSC candidate Tony Mulhearn in the last mayoral election.

Roger can be contacted on 07954 376 096

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For further information contact

Daren Ireland on 07787128498 – Dave Walsh on 07969511796 – Tony Mulhearn on 07939098455

 email: Merseysidetusc@gmail.com

An open letter: reply to John McDonnell’s piece in Labour Briefing of February 2016.

Dear John

Your assessment of the Tory government’s brutal attack on local authorities is absolutely correct. This is a government acting as the political wing of the fat cats, hedge fund managers, private equity companies and the bankers: the class that crashed the economy in 2008 for which the working class are paying at enormous social cost.

However, you appear to be advocating the ‘dented shield policy’, in reality a ‘no shield’ policy, of Kinnock and his acolytes in the 1980s. In mentioning the ‘no rates’ strategy pursued by some councils in the 1980s you imply that it failed then so it will fail again. In Liverpool we spectacularly won the first round of that major battle. We adopted the tactic of setting a needs budget, identifying the shortfall in our budget – which was £30m – and then launched a mass campaign based on the slogans ‘better to break the law than break the poor’ and ‘no cuts in jobs and services’ which set as its objective winning back the cash that the government had stolen from the city. If all of those councils who had engaged in that campaign instead of knuckling under had stood firm like Liverpool there is no doubt in my mind that Thatcher would have been compelled to retreat. In the event the other councils retreated and left Liverpool isolated.

I note that you do call for a mass campaign of opposition to cuts with the objective of placing the blame on the Tories. But if this is to be effective it must be on the basis of Labour councillors refusing to vote for cuts.

Remember, Jeremy Corbyn was propelled into the leadership on a clear anti-austerity programme which must include Labour councillors voting against cuts. If such a call was made by you and Jeremy and linked to a mass campaign against austerity the Tories could be compelled to retreat and to abandon the current all-out assault on the working class and every gain it has made since 1945.

Yours fraternally

Tony Mulhearn

FANS IN REVOLT

THE MAGNIFICENT 10(000)

As one of the 10000 fans who walked out on Saturday I was struck at the sense of solidarity in a common cause. The organisers should be congratulated for focusing attention on the way the he money pouring into the game from TV rights, merchandising and promotions is being misused.
The blind anarchy of the market means players receive eye-watering pay, and lucrative contracts advertising underpants and toiletries, while thousands of fans are being priced out of the game.
Once again Liverpool is blazing a trail and receiving national support and recognition for its stance. The question is how is the problem to be solved?
A national solution is necessary. The game needs to be run by a democratically elected body made up of elected fans’ reps, the Professional Footballers Association, representatives from teachers’ trade unions, and coaching organisations. This could reflect the interest of the grassroots and would create a culture where the interests of football and its fans would be given priority.
Tony Mulhearn, 107 Chelwood Avenue, L16 2LL. 07939098455

Barry’s budget: fantasy or reality

It really does get tiresome to have to constantly reject the falsehood that I favour an illegal budget (Echo 29 Jan.).

Thousands of the needy would not recognise Councillor Kushner’s description of his council’s stewardship of the city’s affairs. His idea of protection seems to be closing 10 of 17 Surestart children’s centres; privatising the 10 remaining supported living houses, previously staffed by properly trained council workers who were replaced by casuals on zero-hour contracts; reduction of financial support for the disabled; care in the community slashed out of existence; library services degraded; care of the elderly in tatters; child care provision privatised. Mr Kushner’s glowing portrayal would suggest that the £304m cuts in social provision is a figment of my imagination.

Mayor Anderson himself has declared that Liverpool is ‘on the brink’ and faced with services ‘melt down’.

This outrage continues while the latest revelations about Google reveal a culture of tax dodging on an industrial scale. There is enormous wealth in this country and it’s up to this Labour Council, not to defend the indefensible, but to fight for Liverpool’s fair share.

Tony Mulhearn,