As I have written previously, Alison McGovern the Labour spokesperson on Education and MP for Wirral South recently explained to Parliament that based on a visit to Brighton and her observation of people living on the Streets of our City, the Green Council appear to have the wrong priorities. Despite the distance between her constituency and Brighton (274 miles) or her Westminster office and Brighton (53 miles) she believes she is capable of forming this sort of judgement. In any case two members of the local Labour Party have added their voices to this criticism of the work of their own Council and have robustly defended the Parliamentary intervention by Alison McGovern. Today Andy Winter, CEO of Brighton Housing Trust wrote in his blog “Rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove has become a political and public priority. Through partnerships and co-operation that exists within the City, involving BHT, the City Council, Sussex Police, CRI, and other organisations, we have prevented the situation becoming much worse.” These comments reflect exactly the point I made in one of my previous blogs. However it appears that some of our politicians prefer their own opinions to the judgement of an expert like Andy Winter and my observations.
A few days ago I spotted a press report from my home town of Crosby that the elected Mayor of Liverpool, Labour party member Joe Anderson is in the middle of a court case against a School which many of my childhood friends attended. The reason for the court case is that in 2012 the School ended their contract with Mr Anderson who had been acting as a mentor for some of the students. His remuneration for this role was £4,500 a year and he had stopped working with students two years earlier in 2010. However he believes the School should continue the payments so that his pension can be protected! As Mr Anderson works a mere 4 miles from the constituency office of Alison McGovern and she is the spokesperson for their Party on education I presumed that she would agree with me that Mr Anderson has the wrong priorities. However neither Alison McGovern nor the Labour Party appear willing to comment on this issue. This afternoon I requested a comment from Steve Bassam on this matter. Steve has been the Labour Chief Whip in the House of Lords since 2010. So far his only response has been “sorry I don’t know enough about the issue to usefully comment.” Its rather a pity that Alison McGovern did not take that point of view when Caroline Lucas interrupted her speech in March. However it is surely time for someone within the Labour party to speak up on the conduct of the Mayor of Liverpool with as much confidence as they managed when they were criticising the hard work of a widespread partnership in Brighton & Hove that is actually doing some good on behalf of all of us!