Is the whole price/prize point about Merseyside’s Mayor actually a load of rubbish?
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015 Part 1 of 2
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015 Part 2 of 2
You can view what was said at a public meeting earlier this week on the subject of devolution for Merseyside above. It’s openly admitted however that the communications/engagement/public relations side of this has been pretty poor.
I will disagree with something that’s been said throughout this process since it doesn’t make sense (although from press reports Cllr Phil Davies has done a U-turn in favour of a Merseyside Mayor).
It’s been stated (in the video above by Ged Fitzgerald, Liverpool City Council Chief Executive and Mayor Joe Anderson before) and again and again that the price of devolution is a Merseyside Mayor. This whole process based on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill which is wending its way through parliament.
I realise legislation does get amended, but as it’s on its 8th parliamentary stage out of ten it’s going to be eventually (especially as it’s a government bill) mainly in the form it’s now in.
Here’s the section on an elected Mayor.
It modifies the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 to state:
(1) The Secretary of State may by order provide for there to be a mayor for the area of a combined authority.
(2) An order under subsection (1) shall not be used as a condition for agreeing to the transfer of local authority or public authority functions.”
In other words what is repeatedly repeated (and perhaps why they’re so bad at communications) doesn’t make sense. The government can’t say we’ll give you this if you have an elected Mayor and the price/prize thing is a load of rubbish. The government can’t do that as the legislation that will underpin this (which has to come into force to trigger the next stage which would result in devolution) makes that unlawful.
With me so far?
The government knows this is going on and I’m sure that it doesn’t make them look favourably on Liverpool when these sorts of political shenanigans to make them look bad, are being played out amongst Merseyside’s more ambitious Labour politicians.
So why would this have got started?
My best educated guess (as trying to make sense about what’s going on with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with its poor public relations is like wading through treacle) is a certain Labour politician wants (again) to blame something unpopular in some quarters on a Tory government (even if it isn’t entirely true).
Add to this the ambition in some quarters to actually be Merseyside’s Mayor (because once it’s a done deal all they’ll need is the Labour nomination) gives a motive.
So that’s my opinion. The whole price/prize thing is a politician’s way of deflecting the blame knowing that generally the media won’t inquire too deeply and I think readers of this blog can make a jolly good guess as to who wants to be Merseyside’s Mayor.
Once again Labour are blaming something they want (a Merseyside Mayor) on the government, stating an untruth (that it’s a condition of the devolution deal which it’s not because the legislation would make that unlawful) and hoping everyone will believe it?
Well who do you believe? I’ve outlined above the consistent line that they’re trying to spoon feed the Merseyside public and the press whilst deflecting any attempt at scrutiny by politicians by openly refusing to state how the negotiations are going?
There will be an extraordinary public meeting of all Wirral Council councillors (as well as public meetings of councillors in the other areas of Merseyside and Halton) to discuss the devolution deal. Wirral’s will be held on the 19th November starting at 6.00pm in the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall.
Isn’t it about time the public were told the truth?
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