Saturday, April 30, 2011

LibDem Mike Storey in ageist attack against Labour rival

Jake Morrison is a hard-working young man who is standing as the Labour Party candidate for the Liverpool City Council elections in Wavertree ward where I live. I was delighted to sign his nomination form and have already voted for him using my postal vote.

Jake works in the Royal Liverpool Hospital as a Healthcare Assistant; He is also a UNISON union representative there and he dreams of one day being a Paramedic. He has been working since he was 13, he has never been without a job, all through school he was working in one capacity or another, at various shops and stores through the city, learning about good customer service.

He is also a member of Harthill Youth Centre's Management Committee and active in the City and North Liverpool Youth Advisory Group.

Since being selected as the candidate by Wavertree Labour Party members in September he has been working hard in the area. Spending time with Wavertree Neighbourhood Police Team and Liverpool Integrated Play & Youth Service (Harthill Youth Centre). He has spoken to thousands of residents in Wavertree and dealt with a lot of casework - I know this because I have been helping him with it, helping him to understand who to approach to solve residents' problems.

He has taken the time to talk to our local pensioners, being a regular at the bingo where he has sat down with residents to talk about their priorities, and he has been out with the detached youth workers to talk to other young people like him, about their desires for the area and what they would like to see.

He has knocked on at least 4000 doors in Wavertree ward since September talking to people so that he could understand their concerns and familiarise himself with every single street.

Jake became interested in political representation after taking part in a Councillor Shadowing scheme set up by the then LibDem council through Liverpool Youth Service a couple of years ago where he spent time with Councillors Joe Anderson, Marilyn Fielding and Alan Dean. He has been sitting in council select committees and coming to council meetings in the Town Hall for several years now. He has presented local radio shows on KVFM talking about politics and democracy, last year interviewing the then Deputy Lord Mayor Hazel Williams for instance about the nature of her role. He has met hundreds of senior politicians, including the Leader of the Labour Party and impressed everyone with his earnest interest and hard work.

I think it is remarkable that an 18 year old young man is so passionate about community politics, and has taken all this time and effort to understand and engage with the system, the processes, the issues and the people. He has really done his homework!

What an disgrace then that he is being attacked by the LibDems and by rival, Councillor Mike Storey in particular, because they say that at 18 he is too young to be a councillor.

Mike Storey was only 21 when he was elected to the council, 30 something years ago. He must have forgotten this - or at the very least is hoping you have! Irrespective of party politics, we should all celebrate the emergence of a new generation of community representatives, we should be delighted that we have young people who want to get involved in such a healthy way in Liverpool life.

We need hard-working representatives who are as diverse as our population. Young and old, black and white, gay and straight, male and female, religious, not religious, with young families, with grandchildren, with or without disabilities, a voice for every kind of resident.

The latest leaflet says "Labour spin doctors are now panicking that they have picked the wrong candidate". I have no idea what brings them to say this, Jake's campaign has excited members of the Labour Party across Liverpool and there are dozens of them, including cabinet members, coming over to help him every day, taking a few hours out of their own campaigning to support him. We are very proud of Jake indeed! We are very proud that by his remarkable efforts to engage with so many residents and to gain their support, he faces a very real fighting chance of winning this seat for Labour against such high odds.

I realise that Mike Storey and his LibDems are keen to save the seat, a seat that has been held with huge majorities by the LibDems for a long time, but this spiteful and increasingly hysterical attack does them - and the population - a huge disservice. Mike should behave like the elder statesman he purports to be. Former Leader of the Council, former Lord Mayor and now Lord Storey of Childwall (where he lives), he should be above such cheap tactics. And he is a headteacher too, who should be celebrating the achievements of young people and encouraging them to greater things - not decrying and belittling their efforts.

By his actions I believe he has lost the moral high ground and is no longer fit to serve, I look forward to welcoming Liverpool's youngest councillor on May 6th.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

LibDem Councillor Gary Millar, Old Swan, defects to Labour

Defections are a funny thing, you have to welcome them, even when you don't want to. But once again, and for the third time in a couple of years, I am actually pleased that he has crossed the floor.

I like Gary Millar. I have things in common with him, we are both LGBT, we meet regularly at LGBT events, I even gatecrashed his 50th birthday party with a girlfriend and we are both business people. We have often met at business breakfasts and business events, particularly Sirroli ones, over the period since he was elected.

He was never one of the "angry" squad, never a finger pointing ranter in council meetings and I am sure that he will add some great additionality to our group. Nick Small and I in particular, as local business people, as well as being councillors, will welcome his input into the work we need to do to create more jobs in the private sector.

As Chair of the Labour Group I would say that we won't take just anyone into our group, we have to believe that defectors are genuine and have something to offer the group and the residents of our city, Gary clearly does, on both counts.

LibDem Two Horse Races and Graphs

Fascinating comparisons to be made in Plymouth!
Apparently some parties CANNOT win here, irrespective of what polling tells us. Porky Pies anyone?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More LibDem leaflets in disguise

These come from a byelection in Cornwall earlier this year, LibDem red leaflets - and I am told they were also put out in blue, although I don't have a copy of those.

Just for interest, despite the repeated insistence that "Labour cannot win here" and "it is between the Conservatives and the LibDems", the actual result was

Labour 1st
Conservative 2nd
LibDem 3rd

Jude Robinson was the first Labour councillor and the first Co-op Councillor elected to the new Cornwall Unitary Authority.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Liberal Democrat leaflets in disguise

Nick Clegg - and Chris Davies MEP - are keen that Liberal Democrats should be actively campaigning in these elections. I wonder what they would make of these leaflets I have picked up from two wards in Liverpool published by incumbent LibDem councillor candidates?

Coloured red, rather than the traditional orange/yellow, one of them does not use the logo, or mention the party at all, where the other is a more traditional focus but still in red.

What would the motivation be?

To avoid getting an ear-bashing during delivery of the literature?

To try to give it a chance of being read before it goes in the recycling bin?

To give the impression that these are the Labour candidates?

Why stand for a party that you are not proud of?

It is bemusing isn't it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why the LibDems are as "stuffed" as our letter boxes

Liberal Democrat Chris Davies MEP, who I have blogged about before, has issued another missive to the Party faithful, advising them on the best way to campaign. Once again I find my jaw dropping in disbelief. They have absolutely zero idea of how to win elections - which can only be great news to everyone in the North West of England.

On the 20th April he wrote to LibDem members (such few as there are left) with the following message.

Leaflets, Letterboxes and Liverpool

It is amazing that a single sheet of paper pushed through a few letterboxes can make such a difference.

Here we are with all the wonders of the internet, not to mention televisions, radios, texts and newspapers that contain pages and pages and pages of words and pictures, news and opinions. Yet a sheet of paper - often bearing the masthead ‘FOCUS’ – can change the political composition of a council ward.

To be fair it usually takes more than one such piece of paper, and the words and their presentation make all the difference, but half a dozen single sheets of A4 can transform the local political scene.

I learnt most that I know about them in Liverpool during the late 70s and early 80s.

I learnt that a very effective election campaign could be mounted in just 4-5 weeks, although it always helped if as many pieces of paper as would be delivered to homes during this period had also been delivered over the months before the close of nominations.

I learnt to think in terms of a leaflet every weekend.

The first would grab the reader’s attention by highlighting a local problem or three. It would also introduce the Liberal candidate and point to some of their achievements or hopes for local improvement.

The second would be a plain typed letter from the candidate to local residents, again drawing attention to problems that needed fixing and making a commitment to act if elected.

The third would emphasise strongly the failings of the other parties, contrasting them with the demands for positive action being taken up by the Liberals.

And the fourth would emphasise that more and more people in the area were promising their support to the Liberals (quite accurately by this time), would again highlight the things that needed to be done to bring about improvements locally, and would remind voters that our candidate would be a local champion.

Then we would be into election week.

The fifth leaflet, delivered on the Monday and Tuesday and into Wednesday, would be a last minute call for action, perhaps a petition of some kind.

Finally, there would be the ‘Good Evening’ and ‘Good Morning’ leaflets to be delivered on Wednesday evening and polling day morning – a short and simple letter from the candidate thanking residents for their reception during the campaign, summarising the key issues, and reminding them that good wishes were nice but they only counted if turned into votes.

Every leaflet, without exception, would identify that the real contest was between the Liberal candidate and whoever was their closest rival. With a first-past-the-post election system votes for other candidates would effectively be wasted. (People like to back potential winners, not certain losers).

When I sketch out this campaign plan to candidates they often cry, “But I can’t put out six pieces of paper!” My response is, “Well, why not?” Ignoring the 5% of properties that are out of the way or have very long drives, there aren’t many council wards in which the vast majority of homes cannot be reached by one person delivering over 24 separate hours. So you go out for 3 hours each evening, and for two sessions on Saturday, and the job is done.

Then you start delivering the next one (and yes, the leaflets have to be written when you get home).

And, of course, you book a holiday from work during election week so that you have the time to do what is needed.

Of course, most candidates (I hope) have a few friends who will help, especially in the last few days. Perhaps there are even some Liberal Democrat members in the ward to share a bit of delivery. So the actual time commitment needed may be less than I have suggested. If they are lucky the candidate might even have enough time to do a spot of canvassing to get a better idea of what’s on people’s minds.

I put these lessons into practice in Liverpool, and the result was that I won the safest Labour council ward in England – although in truth it took me two elections to do it..

Later I took the lessons I had learnt to the old Littleborough & Saddleworth constituency when I became parliamentary candidate in 1985. The following year we applied them in a couple of wards where the Liberals usually came a poor third.

We won Shaw with the biggest swing in the country from Labour to the Liberals.

We won Littleborough with the biggest swing in the country from the Conservatives to the Liberals.

Of course, a few things have changed since then. Most important is that the extension of postal voting means that now there are in effect two election days so the campaign has to start a bit earlier and a special effort has to be made when the postal votes go out.

But the basic task of communication remains the same, and many of us across the country have Liverpool Liberals to thank for teaching us the lessons, although I’m not sure whether they are sticking by them themselves these days.

Even though our hard working candidates are still winning plenty of support it is difficult to hear some past Liberal Democrat supporters saying they will not vote for us this time.

Difficult, and sometimes ridiculous.

“I don’t like what you are doing in government,” said one woman to me. “Well if you were in our position what would you be doing instead?” “I don’t know but I don’t like what you are doing.”

We’ve exploited the protest vote ourselves in the past, and finding that people are protesting against US is a new experience for many Liberal Democrats.

But I’ve known it a lot worse. I’ve been out canvassing when our former party leader was on trial charged with conspiracy to murder. Now THAT was difficult!

Having the opportunity to wield political power is the reason that political parties exist (another lesson I learnt in Liverpool). Liberal Democrats will be in government until 2015. We’re going to build up a record of achievement, but we are also going to have to accept responsibility for the hard and unpopular decisions that come with governing.

My worry is that, despite all the training opportunities now provided by the party nationally and regionally, some of our candidates have not yet learnt the old lessons of Liverpool campaigning, and some of our councillors have forgotten them.

The secret to success continues to lie with those few pieces of paper.

Chris Davies MEP

Far be it from me to point out a few strategy failings to the Liberal Democrats, however, safe in the knowledge that they wont listen and they don't care, I will make the following points.

In no particular order, I give you the following tips;

1. Some voters cannot read very well - or at all
2. Some voters can read but English is not their first language
3. Most voters like to meet their candidates and talk to them about their concerns, not be told via a leaflet what they are told their concerns are
4. People vote for people, not for bits of paper
5. Labour has been putting out leaflets too, the battle of the leaflets is at least honours even, although lately we have been winning on that front. So you need considerably more up your sleeve than that.
6. Some of your LibDem colleagues in Liverpool (Old Swan for example) have started putting out red topped leaflets with no mention of the LibDem party or the logo, in the hope of riding on our coat-tails, how will that help your party?
7. It is not 1980 any more, you cannot keep relying on the old ways, that is why you have lost pretty much everything other than Southport in the last few years.
8. On GE day in 2010 in Livepool Wavertree we were knocking on the doors of Labour Promises (people who said they were voting Labour) and reminding them and encouraging them to vote. We knew who they were because we spent months finding out by talking to them. Your guys were putting out "Today is Polling Day" leaflets until at least the early afternoon, and guess who won?

Errr, that will do for now...

Keep up the campaign advice Chris, you are doing a great job of ensuring that LibDems NEVER win here

Dino's is now extinct

It has taken years, but our hard work and persistence has finally paid off.

I have a pile of correspondence that fills a whole ring-binder about this derelict club on Deane Road, Kensington (not far from my beloved cemetery). A lovely street with several listed buildings dating back hundreds of years, as well as some splendid Victorian terraces, it has been blighted for a very long time by this scruffy failed nightclub.

We have been working very hard with the HMRI (Housing Market Renewal Initiative) HIT team for five years to see this removed.

With our support and the urgings of local residents, the owner of Dino's has been served with all sorts of legal notices, I wont bore you with all the details but finally we were able to take action "in default". What this means is that the council paid for a demolition firm to remove this eyesore but has put a "charge" on the land so that it can recoup tax-payers monies in due course from the owner.

There were all sorts of hold-ups with council lawyers leaving and the case not being passed on, legal notices running out, having to start from scratch more than once as the owner moved the "goal posts" or promised to take action which he didn't then follow through.

And then when we were ready to knock it down, and had found the money to do so, we found more issues around sorting out the disconnection of the power supplies. There was a further hiccup when we found asbestos which had to be removed on a special licence. But in the last few days of March 2011 the club was finally cleared away.

What is really sad about this story is that the LibDem Tory Coalition Government has scrapped HMRI so all the great work that they have done over the last 10 years will now come to an end. If there is a scruffy empty or derelict house in your street, who will now force action upon the owners?

Yes, there have been controversies around some of the mass clearance Pathfinder areas, but what has never been in any doubt has been the value they have brought when forcing owners to restore and rejuvenate individual derelict and empty properties that were like "bad teeth" in otherwise perfectly good streets. I am not talking about the Edge Lane demolitions here, I am talking about single properties here and there across the HMRI area that have been sorted by this team.

There is a house on Carstairs Road for instance that was derelict and is now a beautiful family home again, likewise they leaned on the owners of the old police flats on Edge Grove until they were brought back into use and tidied up. There are far too many to list, but at least 50 in Kensington and Fairfield alone I would guess have been tackled.

On a few occasions when all else failed, they have taken steps to demolish buildings, and this was one of those.

They have been the best, most responsive, most helpful and committed team within the council that I have worked with in five years. If you used a free community skip in your area, the chances are that it was paid for by this team. If you had special measures introduced to your home to keep you safe while the area was changing - cameras, barbed wire, reinforced doors etc, then this was probably sorted by the team. If you have had a survey about insulation or better heating, it was probably their healthy homes team that provided it, if you have reported concerns about a dodgy landlord who was letting his tenants live in squalor that failed health and safety inspections, then you should be pleased that it was this team that sued them and made them bring those properties up to scratch for vulnerable tenants. And if you have been made aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (and perhaps heard my long running public safety advert on Radio City), then you have been helped by this team of dedicated staff.

What a travesty to end their good work, what a disgraceful act by this Coalition Government.

As he notified me of the final demolition of Dino's, the Public Protection team leader, said to me "I am glad that one of our last triumphs through the hard work of both the HMRI HIT and the Vacant and Dilapidated Properties Teams will be the demolition of Dino's. There were times I must admit when I feared that it was not going to happen because it was one of those cases where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, however we got there in the end.

Please express my thanks to your constituents for their patience and understanding while we were trying to deal with the Dino's issue and I am glad we were able in the end to resolve it for them."

And my message back to the staff is this; Thank you for everything you have done for our area, five years ago there was blight and dereliction across the area, now there is a real and visible improvement and we know only too well the part you have played. Good luck in all that you do in the future and take our best wishes with you, you have left behind a legacy of improvement that we are all truly grateful for.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why I voted No to AV today

My postal vote came today and I used it to vote for Jake Morrison, the Labour Party candidate for Wavertree ward where I live, and to vote "No" to AV, Alternative Voting.

I have written before about why I am against AV but my thoughts have crystalised in recent days and so I thought I would express them again. (It is a bit technical and unless you are following the debate, you should probably look away now.)

My first reason for supporting First Past The Post (FPTP) is that it is a straight-forward reflection of local popular opinion. The candidate who secures the most votes in the constituency is elected to Parliament. They appeal to the largest number of those who express their opinion.

There are those who will tell you that in constituencies like Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber which is a true four way marginal and the MP has been elected with a quarter of the vote before, the winner is not representative because they didnt secure half of the vote - more people didnt want them than did want them. But who are we to force a two party choice on to our voters? If a population has four broad preferences and the margins move up and down a little each time, why is that unacceptable? Why are we insisting on homogeny? Why are we forcing voters into having a view on the main challengers?

There are those who will talk about the evils of tactical voting, that some voters feel obliged to vote for someone they don't really like ahead of their preferred candidate, on the basis that this person has a better chance of beating someone they dont want at any price, and that we need to find a way to help them to express both of those points of view. Speaking personally I will always give my vote to the party I want to win, because that is the only way they might ever succeed. This year in Wavertree ward, under FPTP, Labour has its best chance in decades, if Labour supporters dont get behind their candidate then this wont happen. For years many have voted LibDem to keep the Tories out, right across Liverpool, but by voting for their first choice this time, together, they can make a real difference.

And of course the same will be the case in seats where voters choose to vote Tory to keep Labour out where really they wanted a LibDem etc.

AV proponents, however, say that while you may choose to vote for your preferred candidate, where they are not a front runner, you should take and express a view on who you would prefer from the other candidates to actually represent you. (See "plumping" below for why voters who want one of the front runners will probably not choose to use any of their subsequent choices).

This seems to me to be forcing a choice upon voters that they may well not want, just because we want to push up our own chances of success where we are one of the parties in the running. This system of voting does not benefit voters, it benefits political parties, it is self-serving.

And for a majority of voters, particularly in safe seats or two way marginals, the system wont be used anyway by the voters. "Plumping" refers to those voters, like me perhaps, who don't really want anyone other than their first choice and who, even when given a choice of say six candidates, will only vote for one preferred candidate and not offer second or subsequent alternatives. Most people who are voting for one of the front runners (one of the "two horses" indeed) will not use their other votes, this is plumping. We wont be engaging in AV, we will be voting for only one candidate. So for many of us, this system will not affect the way we vote and will not benefit us - AV proponents ask us to choose a system that in the majority of elections for the majority of voters wont interest them - so why on earth is it being proposed?

AV proponents insist that only a candidate who has won 50%+ of the votes can be truly representative. But let's think about that for a minute. Let's say that we have run an AV system, redistributed 2nd, 3rd, maybe even 4th and 5th preferences, and arrived at a candidate who has secured the magic figure - a candidate who is first past the post in fact, but a new artificial post set at 50%+.

Are they truly representative though, if, of that magic half of the voting population, 35% say of the public actively chose them, 9% (2nd choices) preferred them to the other front runners, at least one of whom they loathe, and 6% (third and subsequent choices) were frankly scraping the barrel having exhausted all the other candidates first?

So, in short, it is a self-serving proposition designed to help parties who are likely to be in second or third place and are hoping to shore up their support by looking further down the list to supporters of other parties to boost them - it is not about the voter, whatever the AV proponents would suggest. No voter has EVER said to me "I wish I had a second choice", and I have been knocking on doors for 20 years. It is a message that says "We have been unable to demonstrate sufficient reasons why you should support us so we will manipulate the system and get in by the back door instead".

And it is a system that tells a diverse population with a range of views to get into line and stop trying to be different. It's not acceptable to vote for who you really want, we want to manipulate you into becoming main-stream, you will come to the ball! Or to put it a different way, it is the Henry Ford version of voting, "You can vote for any party you like, from these half a dozen put before you, as long as it is ours".

If that is the new democracy, you can stick it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Delhi lease of life for the old Aldi store in Fairfield

(Did you like what I did there?)

The old Aldi closed last year and the Labour team made strenuous efforts to find out what would replace it, but all we could discover was that it was on the market and the owners would take the best offer.

A few months ago shop fitters and decorators turned up on site and I took the opportunity to call in and talk to them about the new owners. I learnt that it had been bought by the owners of the New Delhi cash and carry just up Laurel Road and they were opening it as a retail store. But it was not until a few weeks ago that the detail became clear with the unveiling of a banner in the carpark, advertising the L7 Village Market

Tonight, coming out of the Labour Party office, we saw the doors were finally open and so young Jake, Paul and Adam and I went over to see the new venture for ourselves.

And how exciting it is! I suppose it would be best described as a continental food store, selling authentic and original food from all around the world.

Take these huge buckets of olives for instance (and I really wanted to!) and the smaller jars and packets above, yum!

And then there was the baklava display, next to beautiful cakes and biscuits

They stock bags of rices, spices and flours (including chapatti flour!) along with fruit, veg, bakery, meat and frozen food - like samosas, halal burgers, there is even going to be a small cafe.

Owners, brothers Steve and Paul are following in their families footsteps, having opened their first retail outlet on Holt Road 50 years ago, we could not have asked for a better company than the New Delhi to take over this empty shop - and come back to retailing.

This is going to be great for everyone in Liverpool, come to L7 for a truly continental experience, you don't need a passport!

I cannot wait for the official opening next month!

Monday, April 18, 2011

On an extraordinary time in Liverpool politics

Who would be a Liberal-Democrat politician in Liverpool just now?

Their standing has fallen considerably since the national party joined the Coalition Government with the Tories. Warren Bradley was in my view quite right to say earlier this year that "entering the coalition could spell disaster for the Liberal Democrats." He said the party would be “wiped out” in the North if it did not start challenging decisions like the scrapping of the £350m Building Schools for the Future Programme.

The by-elections in Croxteth ward in November saw them secure less than a quarter of the vote, despite one of the seats being vacated by a LibDem (who is now standing for the DUP in Ballymena it would appear from their website).

There seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel when the Party agreed to join in a cross-party budget setting team, putting political differences aside for the benefit of the people of Liverpool. The decision was warmly received across the city and the Leader of the LibDems addressed a united march, one city one voice, against the cuts at the end of February.

Alas, the unity could not be sustained, and following what is alleged to have been a difficult LibDem meeting a couple of days before the council's budget meeting, the LibDems pulled out of the agreement. This undoubtedly left Cllrs Warren Bradley and Mike Storey who had been part of the cross-party team, in a very difficult position. Mike in fact voted for the budget, while others in his party abstained or voted against. The LibDems came in for a lot of local criticism for what was seen as putting their party and its electoral chances before the people of the city.

The situation seemed to have calmed down somewhat until very recently when it would seem that the reception he was receiving on the doorstep shocked Cllr Bradley, the leader of the Liberal Democrats. I am interested that he only appears to have begun to campaign for the election in March, so much for tired old LibDem promises of "working for you all year round" but I digress.

Labour selected its candidates back in September and LP members have been systematically knocking on doors across the city ever since. Our returns show what Cllr Bradley has only recently discovered, a collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats, in their heartlands as much as anywhere else.

Clearly rattled, he sent a now infamous "Private and confidential" email to Nick Clegg in Westminster (although it seems to have been copied quite widely - to the "parliamentarians" and his councillor colleagues). In it he says "The boil is about to come to a head and burst (probably on election night) when we lose some very well respected and experienced colleagues from Liverpool City Council." and calls for Nick Clegg to pull out of the coalition. "At present, after knocking on many doors, all I feel is dejection and upset that the Lib Dems, the party the people trusted implicitly have become like the others and deserted their followers"

The leaking of this email to the local and national press only served to deepen the strength of feeling against the LibDems in Liverpool and Councillor Richard Kemp was quoted in the newspaper the following day, threatening a leadership challenge post elections. Nick Clegg dismissed Warren's concerns, legitimate though I am sure they are, saying his party would not be quitting the Government and had to "stick with the plan".

Liverpool LibDems it seems are in complete disarray and totally disheartened, many wards currently represented by LibDems report no election material from them and no sign of any campaigning. A deep depression at the prospect of losing once safe seats has seen many candidates throw in the towel saying if they cannot win then they wont waste time, money and effort trying to do so - something which a former campaigner in the city described to me as "a self-fulfilling prophecy".

Then came this morning's extraordinary news.

On April 5th the Liverpool Echo was reporting the details of some of the candidates fighting this year's local election, under the heading Liverpool LibDem leader Warren Bradley enlists son, 18, for local election battle. Interestingly, once again, the LibDems failed to find enough supporters to stand in all 30 wards. Nobody it seems wants to be a LibDem in Liverpool.

News broke today on Dale Street Blues that Daniel Bradley has denied signing the nomination submitted for Central ward, a form which it is alleged was witnessed by his father.

And by lunchtime Warren had resigned as leader, although it is fair to say he refuted the allegations of electoral fraud and said he would be taking legal advice.

So with two weeks to go before polling day, no local leader, no viable message on the doorstep, a collapse in local support and an unrepentant national leader, where do the LibDems go from here?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Census 2011 - bus coming to Liverpool

Census Bus Comes to Liverpool City Centre this Thursday

The purple double decker census bus will be coming to Liverpool City Centre on Thursday 14th April.

It will parked in Williamson Square from 10am – 4pm.

Census staff will be available to answer questions, help people fill in their forms and provide new questionnaires if needed.

The team will include people speaking Chinese (Mandarin), Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Polish, Arabic and Somali.

Form filling events are also happening in Lee Valley Millennium Centre, Netherley from 10am – 2pm on Thurs 14th and Fri 15th April 2011.

The Census is vital for Liverpool. The number of people counted will be used to calculate the funding our communities receive from government for the next 10 years. Information will be kept confidential and will not affect benefits or tax.

Write Now Festival schedule


All performances are at The Actors Studio, Seel Street

Friday 15 April 2011
7 – 8pm (The Place Where We Stand) Spion Kop
8:30 – 9.30pm Excess Baggage

Saturday 16 April 2011
2:30 – 3.30pm Striker
4 – 5pm Rocker Of Ages
5.30 – 6.30pm It Works For Us
7 – 8pm Mrs Bojangles
8:30 – 9:30pm The Bridge

Sunday 17 April 2011
2.30 – 3.30pm Monkey Nuts
4 – 5pm Striker
5.30 – 6.30pm Excess Baggage
7 – 8pm Rocker Of Ages
8:30 – 9:30pm (The Place Where We Stand) Spion Kop

Monday 18 April 2011
5.30 – 6.30pm The Bridge
7 – 8pm It Works For Us
8:30 – 9:30pm Mrs Bojangles

Tuesday 19 April 2011
6.30 – 7:30pm Writer’s Forum (Free Ticketed Event ~ tickets must be obtained)
8 – 9:00pm Ten Tall Tower Tales (Tickets £5.00)
9.15 - Monologueslam (Tickets £5.00)

Wednesday 20 April 2011
5.30 – 6.30pm Striker
7 – 8pm (The Place Where We Stand) Spion Kop
8:30 – 9:30pm Monkey Nuts

Thursday 21 April 2011
5.30 – 6. Rocker Of Ages
7 – 8pm Mrs Bojangles
8:30 – 9:30pm It Works For Us

Friday 22 April 2011
2.30 – 3.30pm The Bridge
4 – 5pm (The Place Where We Stand) Spion Kop
5.30 – 6.30pm Monkey Nuts
7 – 8pm Excess Baggage
8:30 – 9:30pm Rocker Of Ages

Saturday 23 April 2011
1 - 2pm Striker
2.30 – 3.30pm Excess Baggage
4 – 5pm It Works For Us
5.30 – 6.30pm Mrs Bojangles
7 – 8pm The Bridge
8:30 – 9:30pm Monkey Nuts

Liverpool’s Write Now One Act Play Festival

From a press release I have been sent about this great festival

The Plays and Playwrights

Liverpool playwrights are well represented in Write Now 2011 with three pieces, including Craig Brennan’s exploration of the contrasts between events on the Kop at Anfield and the Boer War event of the same name in The Place Where We Stand, Spion Kop.

In Excess Baggage by David P Griffiths, a farcical comedy set in John Lennon Airport two newly-weds are asked to look after an old man’s suitcase with comic results. While Huyton-born Stephanie Blakeborough’s unconventional rom-com, promises to delight. Mrs. Bojangles, the story of a retired showgirl who takes on the role of matchmaker.

Liverpool centric but not Liverpool exclusive seems to be the overwhelming feel of this festival, with submissions coming from as far away from Jersey.

Write Now is also proud to announce Liverpool born playwright Neil Walden’s Striker - a play especially for the Family Audience. Black Box Creative Communities, which runs the Write Now Festival is renowned for its youth orientated work and is delighted to bring this expertise to the 2011 festival. So be prepared for a comedy adventure for everyone aged 4 and above; expect spaceships, pirates, mysterious going-ons and a werewolf!

The aim of Write Now is to create a lasting impression and support network for new theatre talent across the North West - and the legacy of the festival is already starting to show. Following the success of I’m Ed Caesar in Write Now 2010 Nick Brelsford returns with a new production set in the Walker Art Gallery, The Bridge is an intriguing look at how art mirrors life.

Other productions also include Rocker of Ages by Kate Shaw, It Works For Us by Dick Curran, whose play Islanders recently won the MEN Best Fringe Production 2010 and Warrington-based Natalie Hickman’s comedy Monkey Nuts.

Further details about how to get involved - and dates and stuff - are available at: -

Polish Easter celebrations in Liverpool

Polish Easter

Family Craft Workshops
Saturday, 16th April 2011, 11am - 4pm

World Museum Liverpool
Weston Discovery Centre, Level 3
William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

For more information:
Phone: 0753 172 3006

Polska Wielkanoc
Rodzinne warsztaty artystyczne
Niedziela, 16 kwietnia 2011, 11.00 - 16.00
World Museum Liverpool
Weston Discovery Centre, Level 3
William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

Dodatkowe informacje:
Telefon: 0753 172 3006

What's on at the Kensington Community Learning Centre in April?

April 2011 ESOL Classes.

We are enrolling now for our next round of non-accredited ESOL classes:
• Intermediate – 6 sessions - 11.30 Mondays - starting Monday 4th April
• Beginners – 5 sessions - 9.30 Mondays – starting Monday 11th April
Places are subject to availability and assessment. Pls phone or call in for an assessment appointment.

Thursday 14th April
(follow up session 21st April)
1pm – 4pm Ebay Workshops

Our ebay workshops are just for you. KCLC are committed to training and supporting local residents in the setting up and operating of an ebay trading account.

Monday 11th April
(follow up session 14st April)

10am – 1pm Digital Photography Workshops

2 x 3hr sessions covering the basics of using a digital camera and how to edit and print your photos using Adobe Photoshop. With plenty of hints and tips – ideal for all levels.

Thursday 14th April

1pm – 3pm Card Making class – ‘Teabag folding’ techniques

( £2 per person to go towards materials )

Let us show you how to make beautiful handmade cards using paper folding techniques (teabag folding!). Staff and volunteers on hand to show you how.

Monday 25th April

10am – 1pm Skype Workshop (a video / webcam function on your PC)

Talking to people in real time, through your PC. Let us show you how to keep in touch with your family and friends all over the world – it’s safe and FREE !

...and don’t forget !!!

EVERY MONDAY L6 CREDIT UNION hold a weekly surgery at KCLC – 10.30 to noon

EVERY TUESDAY The local Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) hold a drop in surgery from 10.00 to noon.

EVERY WEDNESDAY Book in for one of our initial assessments and let us find an IT course for you – from complete beginners up to level 2 – courses are FREE*

EVERY THURSDAY Learn Direct are here running a range of online accredited courses. From English and Maths to NVQ’s in Customer Care and Retail.

Card Making & Scrap Booking sessions for all levels, with volunteers and tutors to give you extra support and ideas

EVERY WEDS/THURS/FRI WORKING LINKS are here – appointments not always required.

ALL WEEK FREE* IT courses for all levels

*£5.00 annual learner pass payable for all accredited courses, PLUS gives you FREE access to our drop in facilities for 1hr per day

291-299 KENSINGTON (opposite McDonalds)

Tel.. 0151 260 1006

Liverpool's new Dog Hotline

There's is a great new dedicated phone line for reporting the following problems:

Dog fouling
Nuisance dog barking
Dogs running stray

The dog hotline number is 0151 233 3022

Staff answering these calls will have extra information on how to tackle these problems so that the council's response will be 'smarter'. We'll also be able to collect better intelligence about where there are particular hotspots that need extra attention.

Issues relating to dog fighting or dangerous breeds need to be reported to the police on 0151 709 6010 or 0800 555 111.

Looking for HR work in Liverpool?

Courtney Consultancy, a Liverpool based HR company are expanding and seeking new experienced HR Advisors. Ideally, seeking people with experience as a HR Advisor, or Manager who would be happy to work with a range of clients across the North West, providing ongoing HR support. A good HR Generalist would be ideal.

Contact details
2nd Floor

Vauxhall Neighbourhood Council Building
Silvester Street
L5 8SE
Office: 0845 309 6191