18 July 2017
John Coyne is a former Green councillor and lives in the ward where Labour are aiming to eliminate Green Party representation. He writes about a recent attempt to get the Labour candidate to correct a misplaced attack on the Green councillors.
A message from the Labour candidate in St Michaels ward came through my letterbox. In his leaflet he says he's standing to be my local councillor because “...I don't believe the local Green councillors are active enough on the ground keeping our area clean."
Well, this doesn't match my experience of the three Green councillors, so I wrote to Stu Fordham (the candidate) and asked him for his evidence. Our brief email exchange is attached. I think it is revealing.
He came back with a photo of a pile of leaves which he said the Greens had failed to deal with. I showed him that Cllr Sarah Jennings had reported this site no fewer than seven times. (The failure to act on the reports lies with the Labour-controlled City Council, of course.)
But he has not responded to my invitation to correct himself and maybe apologise.
One other fact in the email exchange stands out. He says “Please see the attached photo below of a pile of leaves that I reported recently to Steve Mumby (sic), Neighbourhoods, which has now been cleared up.”
So this candidate thinks it's OK for him to have a direct line to the politician in charge of street cleansing, Cllr Munby, while the rest of us have to take our chances with the standard reporting procedures available to the citizens of Liverpool.
We know that resources for street cleaning have been cut and the Greens have been moderate in their criticism of those cutbacks because we know it is the government which has been taking the money out of the Council's bank account. Some cuts have been unavoidable. But if the remaining resources are now subject to political direction – to help Labour candidates make their points – then that is an unacceptable politicisation of the decent people working for the City Council.