Johnson’s plan to send in commissioners for three years to deal with the alleged corruption in the City Council has nothing to do with rooting out corruption. The Labour Council antics and, above all, their pro-business and implementation of austerity since 2010 has opened the door.
Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said on 24 March, that government intervention is required at Liverpool city council.
The intervention is due to a scandal that goes back to December 2019, when police officers arrested Nick Kavanagh, regeneration chief at Liverpool Council. Kavanagh was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in a public office. The senior Liverpool authority official was arrested alongside £1bn city developer Elliot Lawless as part of a corruption investigation into building and development contracts in Liverpool.
Kavanagh was subsequently dismissed by LCC.
On 4 December 2020, Joe Anderson, Liverpool’s elected Labour mayor, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. Four other arrests were made on the same day. Labour suspended Anderson.
Charges have yet to be made.
The Labour Party suspended Anderson. He denies all wrongdoing, describing the case against him as “bizarre” and has pledged to clear his name.
In the wake of the scandal, Jenrick ordered an emergency inspection of LCC, and from that, he ordered commissioners for Liverpool for three years.
The hatred against the Tory establishment runs deep here. The city’s last Tory councillor was elected in 1994 and there are no Tory MPs. But the government aiming to run the show.
Labour’s compliance with Jenrick
Starmer (Labour leader) and his parliamentary party agreed with Jenrick and voted with the Tories.
Left Foot Forward[i] received a statement from Steve Reed, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He said,
“We support the Secretary of State’s intention to appoint commissioners, not to run the Council, but to advise and support elected representatives in strengthening the Council’s systems. This is a measured and sensible approach.
“We would never support a Tory takeover. It’s about the government appointing independent people of the highest professional standing to help the Council improve as quickly as possible, and intervening directly only if the Council’s elected leaders fail to implement their own recovery plan.”
Reed fails to mention that Jenrick’s plan includes a review of Council assets. They will reduce the numbers of councillors from 90 to 30 with single councillor wards for whole council elections in 2023. Who voted for that? But Starmer agrees. Nowhere in England are there single councillor wards.
As compliant as for the last 11 years, Labour councillors and local Labour MPs reiterate Reed’s comments. So, Labour leaders locally or nationally have nothing to say about this offensive against Liverpool.
Only the people of Liverpool can work out how to deal with a Labour council that has mismanaged the city for so long. A first step is that all city accounts must be made public so that the population, not the Tory government, take the steps needed to address the problem.
Kill the Bill
Recently there have been many demonstrations (and many arrests) led by Kill the Bill. The bill in question is Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill. But the police looking to arrest in some cities[ii].
The proposed legislation, which has been pushed back from becoming law by the protests, also gives police more power to deal with static protests such as sit-ins or occupations – it referenced the Extinction Rebellion protests.
There are also proposals to impose start and finish times on protests and “maximum noise limits”.
The bill states police will be able to intervene in a protest where noise impacts those around it.
The bill will also make it easier to convict protestors as it reinstates the offence of creating public nuisance into common law.
There are demonstrations mainly of young people every weekend, and there have been many arrests.
Building the resistance
Only the workers, oppressed and people of Liverpool can defeat the Tory invasion because this is an attack on Liverpool’s democracy. The Tory dictate is an attack of national significance. If they can get away with this in Liverpool, they can get away with it anywhere.
But most union leaderships are quiet or in the case of Unison’s council leaders’ do not oppose the Tory intervention.
It is therefore union branches and social struggles that need to build the resistance
Union branches in Liverpool must discuss the situation that Liverpool is threatened with. No compliance with Tory dictate. Their attacks over the next three years will hit not only council workers and residents but hit all workers in struggle.
Say NO to the Tories!
Unite the unions, residents, and social movements against Tory attack!
Defend our democracy on the streets
We say we say Kill the bill! Not us!