Monday, 17 March 2008

Vote for my mates.. or else

Government minister Andy Burnham has rather crossed a line I think.

Visiting Liverpool for various ministerial engagements -including the opening of the re vamped Bluecoat arts centre in his position as culture minister - he also spoke at a business breakfast.

Nothing wrong with that in itself.

But it's what he chose to say.

The full story is on the Daily Post website but you can sum it up as.....

vote for my mates in the Labour party here as the government always gives a better deal to Labour Councils.

Whenever others have said that Manchester gets a better deal because the Government is politically partial when it comes to Cities, I have always felt a bit dubious.

But here we have it from the horses mouth.

Government Ministers, particularly those with involvement in funding decisions, are obliged in their official life not to be partial. So either Mr Burnham has been very poorly reported, or he was way over a line, or he was not acting as a minister (but then I suspect Liverpool business people would not turn up simply to hear an MP from Leigh)

Either way, I do hope that he can show that his travelling to and from the event, and any speech preparatione etc, was not funded by Parliament or the ministry and did not involve his ministerial transport or staff in any way whatsoever. Perhaps someone ought to enquire.


PM Swimmer said...

actually Mr Burnham is talking out his backside.

The best thing that Liverpool voters could do is work together to ensure that all seats be they council or parlimentary where as close as possible and completely marginal.
How does Liverpool ensure it gets lots of money and new initiatives from the government, its makes the government need the city in any electoral race.
By making the cities parlimentary and to a lesser extent council seats completely predictible and entirely unimportant to the general election we've sidelined ourselves.

So there you go Paula if you want to help your constiuents, if your really interested in getting the most money possible out of government start campaigning to get Merseysiders to organise their votes tacitically at every possible race, turn the city into a completely unpredictable marginal area.

it might sound rather craven and its hardly high minded politics but i'd suggest that the electoral system and the party political process we have is completely broken so we might as well push for the best out come for all of us.

So how about? I'll certainly devote my time to helping you pursue create an unpredictable marginal city!

Paula said...

The best way to do this.... would be single transferable vote in a multi member constituency - ie Liverpool as one constituency but with more than one MP. My guess is that in 2005 this would have yielded one or two Lib Dems, two Labour and maybe one Tory (or another Labour) Actually Wavertree constituency is very marginal now - witness the labour MP suddenly taking an interest. Garston is less so because of the way the boundary commission decided to ignore the city boundary. But if it were City wide representation I think a lot of voters would be freed up to vote how they really wanted to.. and the government (of whatever colour) would need to take notice.

The problem currently in places like West Derby constituency is that it is perceived as so safe labour that even the labour party doesn't pull its finger out - although the Bob Wareing independent challenge MAY shake things up a bit.

PM Swimmer said...

mmmmm but as pigs aren't flying there will be no electoral change before the next election and then there will only be changes afterwards if theres no clear winner, which isn't that likely.

So given that politicians are self serving greedy little porkers in the age of the professional politician and will therefore never change the system that elected them once their in office surely grass roots political campaigners should be advocating the canny use of the system to get the best result out of it.

rob said...

HI paula

you say that West derby in "so safe Labour" but its full of Lib Dem Cllrs!

labour only has 5 cllrs in the whole constituency, massivly outnumbered by the lib dems. Perhaps it should be explored why the lim dems cleary switch their vote to labour in the general election.

I live in west derby, dont belong to any political party but have to say Bob wareing was (and is) a poor "constituency" MP. I cant see him having a significant personal vote. Me thinks Mr Twigg will be around for many years.

Paula said...

Hello Rob

Clearly there are people who vote differently in different elections - but West Derby constituency is one of Labour's safest despite the different vote at local election time (hence the large number of people who applied for the selection!!!)

I see that the Bob Wareing situation has sparked some campaigning - both from him and from his labour opponent. Ironically Bob is doing now what he could have been doing for years - but there you go.

rob said...

I take your point Paula but I have changed the party who I vote for a fair few times (have voted for both shirley williams and malcom Thornton in my time!) but i woudl never consider splitting my vote and to be frank i dont understand people who do

a friend think that a lot of the lib dem support is west derby (paticulary west derby WARD) is disguised tory anti labour voting
no idea if that is true really.

As for Bob i have recently had my 1st leaflet off him in about 5 years, where as i have been inundated with labour leaflets in past 4 months. not so many from the lib dems. They appear to have rather given us the ghost. As far as im aware the local cllr died and i have not been informed who is standing in his place

Paula said...

Hello again Rob

I would never split my vote either!

Bob Ousby was the councillor who died recently. He was due to stand again , and actually had been doing loads of casework, but my colleagues are selecting a replacement any day now I understand.

Bob Wareing, like all MPs, has a communication allowance to use on reporting back. Most MPs use this for a yearly leaflet called something like a Parliamentary Report. It is taxpayer funded and so not meant to be too party political. I imagine that is what he is doing now. Given that it is taxpayer funded, and it is possible to find commercial delivery people to deliver it (which is what some other MPs do) it beggars belief that he hasn't done it before. But I suspect that is what happens when you get complacent!

Anonymous said...

The breakfast was full with local business people who are readily backing Labour in Liverpool after years of LibDem incompetence. It was a fantastic morning where people got to meet MPs, Labour councillors and the odd local celeb. Paula, I sense your bitter becuase you're own party couldn't attract such people to an event.

Love, as always, the organiser!

Paula said...

sweetie how wonderful to hear from you!
what makes you think we don't have a similar event?
Difference is your minister has broken several codes in what he has said.. in trouble me thinks!!!!

PM Swimmer said...

mmm I seem to recall posting as to why I felt I had to spilt my vote in Liverpool, including the reasons why I couldn't vote for the lib dems in council elections.

oh but wow yet again a critical post doesn't get added.

J said...

Come on Paula, you know what he said and you are just manipulating it for your own political advantage.

He never said that if it were a Labour council they would be given preferential treatment. He did say that a local council working with - instead of against - the Government would benefit the city.

Harmonisation between local and national politics is what all parties - your own included - claim is best. It is beneath you to try and suggest otherwise Paula.

Anonymous said...

Open tonight's echo and once again read a government minister telling people to vote Labour and the city will be given extra resources...what a disgrace!!! If the money is there now, why not hand it over to the current administration who have transformed the city over the last 10 years? Because they need to hold the city to ransom...they are dispicable!