Friday, 5 May 2017

Rotheram Rocks It

Image Source: Twitter
Written By: Scott Gunnion

So, true to what surely must have been almost universally-held expectations, Steve Rotheram has been elected Mayor of the Liverpool City Region. It was a decisive victory for a campaign that was never ever really in doubt.

And splat goes Anderson, diminished and dethroned. Egg on face in place of his usual morning fry-up. And though he never could seem to fit into those pinstriped parachutes he wore as suits, it was the local Labour electorate that decided he was ultimately too big for his boots.

His very political survival is now entirely dependant on being adopted as the Labour candidate for Liverpool Walton, though there are rumblings that Corbyn's son has his eyes on the plum seat, plus what's to guarantee they'd have Anderson anyway? After all, he did poll pitifully behind Rotheram in the primary to decide Labour's candidate for the Metro Mayoralty.

What is truly interesting about the result is that the Tory candidate, perennial bridesmaid Tony Caldeira, managed to crack 20%; I expected 10%, at best. And even that would have been impressive. Perhaps that is an omen for things to come in the uber-marginals on Merseyside: Wirral West, Wirral South and Southport seats.

The Lib Dems were decimated, polling a paltry 6%. You have to remember, up until 2010, the Lib Dems ruled supreme on Liverpool City Council. Now they are nothing. They're not invited to the stag night and they're certainly not invited to the hen party.

So what now for Steve? He has a vast budget to preside over. In Parliament, he was Corbyn's bag man (Parliamentary Private Secretary officially), but now he has the chance to be his own man.

He starts at an immediate advantage: he isn't Joe, who seems to me to be widely reviled, discredited, sneered at and dismissed. For some reason, Liverpool Labour just hasn't taken to him.

But this is Rotheram's time to shine. He kicked Caldeira to the kerb and now Joe's a no-show at the table of decision-makers.

The Liverpool region Mayoralty, like its Manchester equivalent, will be the standard by which future guinea pigs in this democratic experiment are judged by.

Get it right, and this could mark a whole new era in devolution and democratic participation. Get it wrong, and power will retreat from the people and land in the safe haven of Parliament's smothering embrace and the covetous hands of the London-centric elites.

We shall wait and see ...

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