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The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

Gypsy Rose Neild gazes into one of his crystal balls to see if there will be any miracles in this week's council elections...

Published on April 28th 2008.


The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

THERE are swirls of colours in my crystal ball as I foretell this week’s election results. Who will be the political wizards running the Town Hall come Friday morning?

My crystal ball tells me that Liverpudlians will wake up May 2 with a hung council – and there will be
those who say the council should have been hung years ago

I can see streaks of red, oh and there are two green streaks. What does that mean? Can I see blue? No, there’s definitely no hint of blue in the mix.

But what’s this? Orange racing around like crazy. Could it be the Lib Dems dashing around like amber-arsed flies, desperate to cling onto control in the council chamber?

Wait, it’s the goldfish. I forgot to take them out. I’m actually using my goldfish bowl: Have you seen the cost of crystal balls in Rapid Hardware lately? Jumped up in price last week – didn’t see that coming.

Now I need to concentrate, so can I have a bit of quiet please? I forsee the most nail biting time since the first batch of Objective One graduates took their final exams in nail-extension diplomas, funded by the first batch of Euro lolly from those kindly sprouts in Brussels.

Now the mists of time are clearing to reveal 1998 when Labour was wiped out by a Lib Dem landslide. Actually, it was more of an avalanche. Mike Storey marched his men – and women – out of the political wilderness into the promised land that was Liverpool Town Hall.

He didn’t exactly have the power to part the Mersey, but he did present the city with the Ten Commandos – his disciples who helped him sweep to power. Storey had been expecting five wins on that barmy May night in 1998, but his victory tally was double that. It was, in every sense, a miracle, and the soothsayers all nodded sagely: Labour would be banished from power for at least a decade.

The Lib Dems went into the election with 42 of the 99 seats, and a jubilant Mike Storey woke up next day leading an army of 52, including himself. Labour had 39; the Liberals, four; George Knibbs’ breakaway Liverpool Labour had three, and there was one independent. Over the coming years, the Lib Dems consolidated their grip and, at one time, held 70 out of 99 seats.

A decade on, and my crystal ball (I’ve put the goldfish in a Hartley's jam jar for a minute) is detecting signs of change, big change, just as my tea leaves told me in 1998.

Let’s stir things up a little and see if I can predict this week’s results. I’m looking at one major shock for the Lib Dems.

Is one of Warren’s Warriors, Marilyn Fielding, safe in her County ward seat? I’m not so sure. Former Lord Mayor Frank Doran looks perilous in Kensington where Labour already have the other two seats. The number three in my pack of cards tells me there could be a hat trick here for Joe Anderson’s Labour army.

I see gains for Labour in Belle Vale and Yew Tree, and possibly a recount in Anfield, which Labour could easily win.

West Derby could be interesting because Cllr Ann Hines, standing as a Liberal – having been deselected by Lib Dems, could split the vote and unwittingly let Labour in. Old Swan is another vulnerable seat for the Lib Dems and Picton looks interesting.

My crystal ball tells me that Liverpudlians will wake up May 2 with a hung council – and there will be those who say the council should have been hung years ago.

The Lib Dems will have 43, 44 at the most, Labour around 41 or 40, Steve Radford’s Liberals will have three, there will be two Greens – a second for St Michaels ward, joining eco-champion John Coyne, while Nadia Stewart, related to the legendary Ken Stewart, will remain as an Independent.

The Lib Dems will have the most seats, but Labour will work with the Liberals and the Greens to take control. The spirits tell me that Labour will not be blessed with a repeat of the Lib Dems' 10 gains in 1998, but, depending on the weather this Thursday, may just rally the troops to do even better than I have predicted.

The current town hall line up is Lib Dem 47, Labour 35, Liberal 4, Green 1, Ind 1. There are two vacancies – one Lib Dem and one Labour.

One thing is certain this Thursday – the Liberal Democrat miracle will be over.

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

London RoadApril 28th 2008.

I really hope everyone is going to go out and vote Labour today. Please don't let these Lid Dem clowns stay in power. GO AND USE YOUR VOTE or live in the capital of cock ups for another two years! I don't think I can take much more.

London RoadApril 28th 2008.

It is a disaster, and we've got them for the next two years. Richard Clein is mounting a leadership challenge, but they are still all rats in the gutter.

London RoadApril 28th 2008.

Jesus Christ. I feel like emigrating to Vietnam with Gary Glitter. This is truly he city that can't be arsed. Will the last person who voted the Lib Dems in, please turn out the lights

V. I. Lenin AirportApril 28th 2008.

Oi! The Tonys! At no point in you rant did mention the Napoleon of incompetence Mike Storey who has been responsible for the C.o.C.-up for five years, appointing (non-European) dopes and cretins to the well-paid jobs and who was made "Member for Regeneration" despite being sacked for unprofessional conduct mere months before! A prime arse deserving of a furious kicking.

Rot N. BoroughApril 28th 2008.

If Liam Fogerty could get that nice and capable Mr. Livingstone to stand as our elected mayor then his plan might be worth considering. Having the machinery in place to directly elect a mayor is one thing, having anyone worth voting for is quite another.(And I don’t even like Londoners)

Red MaxApril 28th 2008.

Well how bad can it get for fire man Sam running around like a little school boy shouting out do you want to be in my team . You have been warn Sam put put the fire or your toast will get burnt.

JesusApril 28th 2008.

Liam effing Fogarty has been bleating on about this for three years to my certain knowledge and he still han't got the required signatures on his effing petition. What he says is absolutely correct - but like a true dilettante he prefers to throw rocks from the sidelines. If he had joined Labour he could have helped get the extra seven vote needed to win County ward and kick these bastards out. But he prefers to stand on the sidelines bleating and wringing his hands in despair. Shut the **** up Liam and tell your mate Redmond he can **** off too - a card carrying member of the Labour Party who has done **** all to advance the cause in this city. Time-wasting bastards.

TonyApril 28th 2008.

Get out and vote the Lib Dems out!

tramway fieldsApril 28th 2008.

It could be good to hang the council, I mean have a hung council

Liam Fogarty, amayorforliverpool.orgApril 28th 2008.

What a shoddy, sad way to decide who should run our city. No wonder Liverpudlians are giving up on politics. This pantomime sums up everything that's wrong with politics Liverpool-style. This is a political "mugging" which flies in the face of the voters' wishes. Turnout was down again as 73% of Liverpudlians eligible to vote stayed at home. Turnout in Central ward was an abysmal 9.6%.At this crucial time for the City, Liverpool needs clear and credible political leadership. It needs long-term thinking. Instead it has politicians who are happiest indulging in strokes and stunts for short-term political gain. No wonder most Liverpudlians hold them in contempt. C'mon people - join our campaign for an Elected Mayor. If it's good enough for Londoners it's good enough for us. And long overdue...

Eleanor RigsbyApril 28th 2008.

The Lib Dems have really blown it. Look at the mess of the city in the culture year and the traffic chaos on the Strand. Hope the roadworks are finished by Friday so they can march out of the city without any holdups. Don't want them saying they were forced to stay because the roads were all blocked on them. Will be interesting to see if Mr Laz's crystal ball is accurate. Wondering whether to have a bit of bet on it at William Hill, wonder what the odds will be?

AnonymousApril 28th 2008.

Oh my word!

Tramway fieldsApril 28th 2008.

For 15 minutes we had a hung council, till a former Labour councillor defected from being independant to join the lib dems and give them back conntroll. So now Liverpool is run by the Lib dems a party made up of former Liberals, Conservatives, Labour who defected to the SDP and an independent who jumped ship from Labour then jumped again. This is real democracy!

catch_22April 28th 2008.

In part I have to agree with the last comment whilst a directly elected mayor would be great at present with the way in which people tend to simply stick their cross based on primarly on the colour of the rosette a candidates wearing combined with a general trend towards worshipping celebrity we'd likely end up with a competition between the narcistic redmond capaigning with a hastliy adopted red badge using a picture of him from the '80s, the harpy Esther Mcviegh trying to look young and glamarous for the tories and god knows who for the libdems probably some washed up footballer or god forbid professional scouser who left the city the minute they had the bus fare. There is certainly no chance that we'd get to choose anyone competant. Frankly the whole idea makes me want to vomit. Though given the general political apathy and failure willingess to be shat on by most of its citizens maybe Liverpool is just getting the leadership it deserves.

The TonysApril 28th 2008.

Here are some reasons why people should get fired up and get out to vote today to drive the Lib Dems out of the Town Hall.The Mathew Street fiasco.Fitting up Lee Forde.Paying off failure with millions in public money.Bradley's personal ineptitude, weakness and lies.Incompetence.Conspiracy.Costs.Cock-ups.The worst council in the country.And that's without mentioning the Lib Dem's arrogance, deceit and betrayal.In Liverpool, Capital of Culture 2008, the Lib Dems have wasted the best chance in our lifetime to bring hope and real regeneration to some of the city's poorest communities.Look at the decay, neglect and despair in parts of Kensington, Picton, Belle Vale, Anfield and Everton - people feel left out and let down.The Lib Dems need to pay.After all, they have made us all pay for their failures and incompetence over the last 10 years.And they have made the weakest and most vulnerable pay the most.Using your vote on May 1st will be no bloody use at all to Liverpool.Unless you use it to vote Labour.Get fired up and do something positive to build a better future for our city.

outside the tentApril 28th 2008.

the deal with nadia stewart was done weeks ago

astonishedApril 28th 2008.

This is just a disaster for Liverpool.

Penny LaneApril 28th 2008.

Everyone is as bent as everyone else, don't be fooled for a second. Perhaps that's what 73 per cent of the people of Liverpool know already and it's just a few of us who get blinkered occasionally. Had Anderson, the fierce critic of champagne quaffing politicians, have won the other night, then he would undoubtedly have been inundated with offers to knock back the bubbly with every ne'er do well speculator and carpetbagger in the city. Would he have refused? I think not.

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