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23 January 2012

Tony Mulhearn replies to diatribe of council leader Joe Anderson against the 'Liverpool 47'

The following is Anderson's letter in the Liverpool Echo:

In reply to his letter (ECHO, Jan 4), to say Tony Mulhearn has a selective memory is putting it lightly.

We're well used to Mr Mulhearn picking and choosing his history, leaving out the bits he doesn't like.

For example, sending redundancy notices out to council staff in taxis. He also fails to mention that the houses built under his leadership were only built with the help of a loan of 100m, borrowed from Japanese and Swiss banks, which was finally repaid only a few years ago with huge interest, to the same bankers he now lambasts.

The 100m loan cost taxpayers 157m to repay. There are loan sharks out there offering better rates than Mulhearn negotiated.

He says that we have capitulated and have done nothing.

But Mr Mulhearn conveniently forgets that under my leadership Liverpool City Council has recently announced a scheme to build 2,500 new homes over three years, as well as eight new secondary schools.

We have set up an apprentice company creating 1,400 jobs and have announced investment in a new exhibition centre.

We have reduced a bloated management team and taken away bonuses and perks, and we have also managed a reduction in funding of 150m from Government.

Liverpool is now a city completely different from the one Mr Mulhearn left behind. We have worked hard to repair the damage to our city's image created by people who deliberately exploited the despair that people felt during very difficult times.

I would have more respect for him if he argued for a revolution and an overthrow of this current government - the fact is that didn't happen in the eighties and most reasonable people know that is not going to happen today either.

The self-destructive leadership of Mr Mulhearn set our city back years. It left us with a reputation for militancy and confrontation.

It is a reputation from which our city - thanks to 13 years of sustained investment from Labour - is only now finally emerging.

I have said I will not repeat the mistakes of Mr Mulhearn and his militant friends. I will set a legal budget despite massive cuts, and at the same time I'll build new houses, I'll build new schools, and I'll create jobs and apprenticeships on a massive scale.

If he's opposed to all that, then he really doesn't represent the interests of ordinary working people at all.

Cllr Joe Anderson, leader, Liverpool City Council

Reply by Tony Mulhearn:

Mr Anderson's flights of fancy

There are so many falsehoods and distortions in Joe Anderson's latest intemperate attack on me and the 47 (Echo 16/1/12) that I can only deal with one or two. His regurgitation of the myth of redundancy notices is not even worthy of comment.

The debts he charges me of leaving the city with are pulled straight out of Billy's Weekly Liar. The borrowing from foreign banks was at an interest rate actually lower than those on offer in the UK at the time.

When the 47 were removed from office by Thatcher's unelected district auditor, Liverpool's debt per head of population was the same if not lower than most major English councils.

Anderson claims Liverpool is a completely different city than in the eighties. Aside from a very nice waterfront and shopping centre, it is.

Today 10 people chase each job; the city has the highest number of families in the UK without a wage-earner, and the highest number of people waiting for affordable rented accommodation.

And in spite of massive council job loss and cuts in services by Anderson's and previous administrations, last year the city was faced with a budget deficit of 120 million, and that was before the Con-Dem cuts policy which he is implementing.

Anderson also seems confused about my political beliefs. To clarify: the Socialist Party stands for replacing capitalist society with a socialist one; then the fabulous wealth available could be harnessed to benefit the 99% and not milked to enrich the already filthy rich 1%.

If memory serves, Mr Anderson himself used to subscribe to this magnificent concept. I wonder why his views have changed?

As to his phobia about making a stand and being branded militant, my old friend Terry Fields put it very well when he said 'a militant is a moderate that's got up off his knees.'

Tony Mulhearn



http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13545