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Exclusive: Giants set for 2016 return

Mayor Joe Anderson talks to Larry Neild about food banks, the haters and missed opportunities

Written by . Published on January 3rd 2015.

Exclusive: Giants set for 2016 return

 THEY were here in 2012 and again in 2014. Now there is every indication that the Giants are coming back to Liverpool in 2016.

The big hint that French puppeteers Royal De Luxe will be parading around the streets of Liverpool in 18 months came from Mayor Joe Anderson.

Mayor Anderson has admitted he has already been in contact with their leader, Jean Luc Courcoult and revealed that discussions between the two are due early this month “about 2016”. 

'Some of the stuff I have had on Twitter and letters I’ve received with excreta, I just think it is sad that people do that. I’d much rather have a conversation with people so I can explain things to them'

It could be that this time the story will be weaved around the Battle of the Somme which took place in 1916. 

 The centenary anniversary year of that famous clash takes place as Liverpool will be hosting a return if the International Festival of Business. This follows the success of the UK’s first IFB which took place in Liverpool in 2014.

The Mayor insisted the return of the Giants depends on funding, but linking it (again) to the four-year long commemoration of the First World War enhances the chances of winning government grants and financial support. 

Ahead of a scheduled theatre appointment yesterday (Friday) with consultants at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, the Mayor spoke frankly of the past 12 months and the year, and years ahead.

 “I remember as a kid being dependent on social services for toys at Christmas and dependent on grants for clothes to go to school in.  I never thought 50 years later there would be people in this city dependent on food banks," he said.

“I spoke to one young man at a food bank who was so hard up he put baked beans in a plastic bag to heat them up in a kettle. He had no cooking facilities at all."

Jolly green giant. Picture by Wesley StoreyJolly green giant. Picture by Wesley Storey

 On demonstrations and protests outside his Liverpool home, the Mayor said: “I think people can cross the line a bit. I can understand the frustration and anger of people. I’ve seen people riding up and down the street with ‘Joe Must Go’ posters. It is upsetting for the family.  


“Some of the stuff I have had on Twitter and letters I’ve received with excreta, I just think it is sad that people do that.

“I’d much rather have a conversation with people so I can explain things to them. A lot of the things they are opposed to I am also opposed to, a lot of the things they want, I also want.” 

He went on: “Some people say it is part of the territory, but there are things like encroaching on the family, it is not fair and not right. Yes, demonstrate outside the Town Hall, or the council offices, or lobby me at meetings. But I don‘t think it is fair to demonstrate outside my home and I don’t think most people will think of that as fair. But I can’t stop them, it’s a free world and I believe in free speech so I will just have to get on with it.”

Mayor Anderson says Liverpool City Region will suffer the consequences of slamming the door on a metro mayor, unlike close neighbours Greater Manchester who have signed up to the move.


Talks between the Mayor and Royal De Luxe leader Jean Luc Courcoult are resuming next monthTalks between the Mayor and Royal De Luxe leader Jean Luc Courcoult are resuming next month

This week it was announced Knowsley Council has decided not to support a city region mayor, preferring to stick with the current system of a combined authority consisting of the six leaders meeting as a regional cabinet.


“Manchester has exploited the opportunities from the Government and embraced a modern style of governance around devolution. I think that opportunity will be lost to Liverpool City Region now. Here we are in the first week of January and it is clear we will not get the same opportunities as Manchester is enjoying. Some people wrongly say it is a power grab by Liverpool from our neighbours.  It is a power grab to our region from the Government. I have also said we should work together as a city region and be more closely aligned, to ensure all six authority areas benefit. 

“I’d like to campaign for the Mersey tunnels debt to be paid off by the Government so we can cap tunnel fees at £1.50 to cover maintenance costs. It is difficult to get such things if we are not united.” 

*Hear Mayor Joe Anderson discuss his hopes and aspirations in a candid interview to be aired on City Talk 105.9fm this Sunday (January 4) at 9am in City Talks Politics with Larry Neild, also available live via www.citytalk.fm

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2015.

Same old...

MerseysiderJanuary 5th 2015.

Why bother with Knowsley? It's hardly an economic powerhouse is it? Empty and expensive white elephant schools left to rot, worst unemployment, deepest deprivation. Why should they have the veto to piss on everybody else's chips? Their population can only benefit from a vibrant economy in Merseyside as a result of more strategic planning.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyJanuary 5th 2015.

but the vote is about what the councillors benefit from, not the population. Never trust a leader with an alliterative name, Pol Pot, Ron Round...

Ann ArchistJanuary 6th 2015.


Green TambourineJanuary 5th 2015.

He says he wants a conversation. But he doesn't. If anyone else talks, he just SHOUTS!!! And he won't talk about the WILDLIFE!!! The Mayor doesn't care

Judith PattersonJanuary 8th 2015.

Fund puppets, but what about the important things mayor?.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 8th 2015.

Yes, things such as marketing the city and raising its profile to the world, as well as bringing many tens of thousands of visitors in to spend their money locally. What are you doing about that Mayor? D'OH! Judith strikes again

AnonymousJanuary 8th 2015.

I have no wish to rain on anybody's parade, but you are easily pleased anonymous. "Marketing and raising the profile of the city", you hope to do this by using a French company instead of the many talented people who live in this already renowned world class city. I dismay at the pictorial evidence both on Confidential and the Liverpool Echo, that implicates not only the Mayor but the Health and Safety Executive in allowing such an accident waiting to happen, similar to Duckmarine proportions, to proceed for a third time. Was there ever a risk assessment or method statement for this enterprise? People riding on moving contraptions without harness. Galvanised buckets full of shackles perched above a child's head. Not a safety helmet in sight. Police oblivious to the public's welfare, wandering aimlessly with their holiday heads on. By all means show the world what we are capable of, but do it properly, safeguard the public. Next time it might not be just Granny who loses her head. How much of the projected £100m will find it's way into council coffers, enough to cover third party liability insurance, or compensation should it be required.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 8th 2015.

Oh yes, we all heard of the huge loss of life, mutilations and broken toenails as a result of this froggy carnage fest! You really think it went ahead with no RAMS? Tuck up well and don't forget an extra layer of cotton wool

AnonymousJanuary 8th 2015.

I'm glad one councillor knows what a risk assessment method statement is...

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