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Mathew Street Festival or a Sure Start centre - what would you choose?

Larry Neild asks what is the point of a city council

Written by . Published on November 14th 2011.

Mathew Street Festival or a Sure Start centre - what would you choose?

QUESTION: what is the point of the city council?

If you're a struggling single mum in the suburbs would you vote to save your local Sure Start or pull the plug on the Mathew Street Festival?

If you manage a theatre, or a bar, or a restaurant would you say, yeah go ahead make people pay to park at night. The City Treasury needs the money.

Thatcher has gone down in history as the milk snatcher. Would you, as a Labour councillor, vote for free milk to be denied to children in one of Britain’s most poverty stricken cities?

Who would be a councillor these days?

The trouble with allowing people to be online
e-politicians it that it does not give you the
scope to say what you think

Liverpool City Council has given you, the citizen, the chance to wield the spending axe as an armchair councillor by inviting people to use an online budget calculator – You Choose - to consider where spending should fall, where efficiencies might be made, and where income might be generated. 

As a starter, leader Joe Anderson and his not-so-merry band of cabinet colleagues have produced a 12-page shopping list to show what’s in and what’s out in the coming three years.

Anderson has made one thing clear. There won’t be a repeat of Degsy days, refusing to set a legal budget.

There are things not on the shopping list. Should councillors be asked to scrap or reduce their own allowances – that could save over £1m. Should highly paid council executives and managers willingly accept a meaningful drop in pay for the greater good of society?

How about closing the tourism unit, even though visitors are very much part of our salvation?

The trouble with allowing people to be online e-politicians it that it does not give you the scope to say what you think.  Saving something means something else having to go – and you are the one to pull the plug.

It prompts an important question – what is a local council for? Is it the council’s job to ensure education of the young is sorted, or the needs of the elderly and the disabled are protected and cherished?

Around 200 years ago local councils emerged as a way of drawing together all of the local bodies that looked after different aspects of community life.

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. If Liverpool went back to such roots it would probably see protection of services for local people dominated above everything. In that sense the Mathew Street Festival would not even register on the civic radar.

Councillors need to ask themselves why are they there, in the council chamber, and the answer is to look after the lives and wellbeing of the people they represent.

A successful Mathew Street Festival is good for the city, good for its image (discuss) and has generated millions of pounds, in some cases for out of town organisations.

But is it part of the raw grass roots of why we have councils?

Yet in an ever changing world the city needs events and happening to generate local jobs and economic activity. Somebody has to pay. In the cruel world that is politics, councillors will be friends to some, but not to all.

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

AnonymousNovember 14th 2011.

Get rid of Mathew Street, it's a no-brainer, in every sense

AnonymousNovember 14th 2011.

The real no-brainer is the LDL contract. This is consuming £110m every year (or £75 m if you look at the LDL accounts - why the difference??)

Either way, a serious pile of cash. There is growing evidence that the city council doesn't know how to manage this contract effectively, which presumably means that BT is laughing all the way to the bank.

With these numbers, a 1% reduction in LDL costs is a 1% reduction in the council cuts.

Star dudeNovember 15th 2011.

Mathew Street puts money into the arse pockets of bar and pub companies from outside Liverpool. Cut the council funding and it would still go ahead, and the rivers of vomit would flow and bubble just as happily. Trust me.

NADiaNovember 15th 2011.

In old country there many of festivities in village like this you describe. In foothills of Urals, winter is chill and in summer at once we like to dress up and all families make much gay and dance the demented dance.

But no river of vomit yet! However as night fall, Nadia enchant boys and entrance to Volga eventually get full. Is then that vodka drink mixed with milk of suckling yak is served from watering can and sprinkle over chests. Is simple way to have happy time, no?

Philip CoppellNovember 15th 2011.

This is just a political move by Joe "The Cuts" Anderson, get rid of 60 councilors, one per ward and all the pointless jobs, such as cycling officers and enforcement people.

Pavement PizzaNovember 18th 2011.

I agree with 'Star Dude'. The Mathew Street piss-up is a bonanza for bar-owners and venues. Apart from licensing and health and safety inspections the Council should save its money for something more worthwhile rather than subsidising a moneyspinner like this.

Rich landowners stage festivals on their country estates because it nets them a fortune. The Council ought to take a back seat and concentrate on collecting some the "millions" we are told that the Mathew Street boozathon brings into the city.

Robert MarchbankNovember 22nd 2011.

Cant believe that we are talking of cancelling the festival. I bring a coach load (this year 48) up from Oxfordshire for the festival. I was just about to book the hotel but have now stopped until the council have made their decision. There must be loads of people like me who travel from all round the world for the Festival Weekend. It must bring loads of money and jobs to the city. Many of my friends enjoy Liverpool and its fantastic people so much they return throughout the year. Its a no brainer or is it going to be another daft decision like knocking down the Cavern. Liverpool is a fantastic place to visit and the Festival helps show it off (apart from the stupid bottle throwing that goes on ) We would happily contribute to 'Good Causes' while we are visiting. So come on, make a decision, and stick to it. Bob Marchbank

Pavement PizzaNovember 22nd 2011.

Who's talking about cancelling it it? I meant the cash-strapped Council should stop subsidising it and start making it pay. Bars make huge profits over this weekend; why can't they pay something back?

London RoadNovember 22nd 2011.

Yes, don't worry Robert, it will never be cancelled, but subsidising it with public money is just taking the frigging piss

Robert MarchbankNovember 23rd 2011.

please to hear it wont be cancelled . so I can go ahead and book the hotel and coach then? I agree the bars and vendors should put some money back in so the cash strapped council dont have to subsidise it so much.
Lets hope for another great weekend with the sun shining

Pavement PizzaNovember 23rd 2011.

Of course I won't be there, we'll be spending a long weekend in idyllic Oxfordshire...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 23rd 2011.

ha ha!

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