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The Laz Word....on Cameron's big idea for Liverpool

Phil Redmond is my main man, says PM, as volunteer scheme gets thumbs up

Published on July 20th 2010.


The Laz Word....on Cameron's big idea for Liverpool

HE gave the world Grange Hill, he gave the biggest ever promotion to patio-builders through Brookside and he almost single-handedly rescued Liverpool's Capital of Culture programme.

It may seem good on paper, but in the front-line of everyday life in a city where tens of thousands are desperate for a paid
job, it could well
prove a disaster

Now Professor Phil Redmond has been hand-picked by PM David Cameron as the coalition government's new local innovation champion.

Prof Phil is jumping aboard the Cameron/Clegg bandwagon in a scheme supposedly designed to help charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups provide public services and set up local projects through volunteering.

Opponents of the coalition have already slammed Cameron's 'Big Society' initiative as part of his mission to redistribute power from the state to individuals. They fear the scheme is a way of switching paid-for work from the state to the voluntary sector.

Cameron chose Liverpool Hope University to launch his new 'dream', insisting the Big Society idea will make a big difference to Liverpool.

Cameron asks us to imagine parents setting up great new schools, charities rehabilitating offenders, neighbourhoods taking over local services. New freedoms, he cries, are being handed to a really local level. Liverpool, says Cameron, “has come forward to be one of the first areas to experience these new Big Society Freedoms”.

Really, well I haven't come forward, have you? Has the city council, have our five Labour MPs, have we had a referendum shouting .... Come On Up, David, we'll have it here.

Not quite. Instead seems as though our very owner Scouser- in- (Cheshire) exile, Professor Phil has come forward on our behalf. Thanks a bundle Phil,we can't wait to roll our sleeves up to take over the work left undone by the predicted massacre of public service jobs.

Redmond told the PM of his plans to build a volunteer programme in local museums, involving out-of-work young people - giving them a purpose and a real stake in the cultural life of this city.

That'll go down well in areas of Liverpool populated by disaffected, disconnected and disenchanted young people desperate for proper paid work. In fact their hopes could fade away altogether with feared job cuts.

People volunteer because they want to do their bit for society, students volunteer because it earns them brownie points on their empty CVs.

Will this programme lead to a new version of community-conscription, in other words enforced voluntary work? A generation of young people in Liverpool resented the hated YOP scheme, introduced in the 1980s and viewed as a form of cheap labour.

Redmond is reported as saying: "From the Liverpool perspective what we learned from our year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 is that if we work together we can do better things. The other example is the UK City of Culture initiative which involves getting all the arts organisations together every four years to ring-fence some money to help one city."

One of Redmond's own Big Society Ideas will see the expansion of the current volunteer scheme at National Museums Liverpool.

Redmond, chair of NML says the museum body already has over 500 volunteers working alongside staff at the museum, half of them aged 30 or under.

Not so long ago Friends of NML, led by former Conservative MEP Andrew Pearce, had a spectacular fall-out, leading to them being disbanded to be replaced by the new volunteer corps. The ill-feeling continues to this day.

Redmond says of the new corps of volunteers: "There is a model here for us to let people run public assets such as museums, libraries and council services outside normal staffing hours." The carrot is “such training could be used to gain an employer-recognised qualification”.

So we'll see museum and gallery staff and curators, after the NML's own staff cuts, directing freebie volunteers to do the donkey work. It may seem good on paper, but in the front-line of everyday life in a city where tens of thousands are desperate for a paid job, it could well prove a disaster.

I just wonder whether a city with the highest unemployment rate in the North West, with areas of incredible social deprivation, and where the most ambitious schools re-building project in our history is rejected by the selfsame Cameron, will embrace or be in any mood for what some will see as a political gimmick.

On the other hand, whether you love him or loathe him, you cannot ignore the passion of Phil Redmond to do his bit for the city and for Merseyside. Isn't it better to have people like him within earshot of David Cameron, as opposed to shouting from the wrong side of the barricades?

If Cameron's Big Society idea is the future, we need to be there sniffing around that £400m pot of gold up for grabs to fund projects. Better for us to nip in first before the likes of Manchester beats us to it.

Phil Redmond has, in the past, been a big supporter of Labour and I've always imagined that at some stage we'd be bowing our heads as we refer to him as Sir Philip or even as Lord Redmond of Brookside Park. But I'd imaged such an accolade would be bestowed by Blair or Brown, rather than Cameron or Clegg.

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

juddaJuly 19th 2010.

Aren't these remarks typical of moaners from Liverpool. Not one 'rant' came up with a better idea - all they could do was complain. Get off your backsides and come up with ideas instead of complaining - moaning - crying and being self pitying. I have lived in Liverpool over 70 years and our forefathers would cringe at the current 'so called' scousers. Just shut up and start helping to get this country finances back into the black by either moving or come up with some innovative ideas like they did.

princess primroseJuly 19th 2010.

why have you got a foto of a creature from Fraggle Rock, on this page,,,,,,what?oh its Professor Redmond! with all that money and confidence hes got youd think some one would tell him that he looks like hes the separated at birth brother of Alisdair Darling, or a reject from Fragglerock!

John BoyJuly 19th 2010.

Liverpool exists on public sector jobs, not private Jimbo. Manchester exists on private sector jobs. Being told that your job is about to go, by Cameron, is a fukcing good reason to be pissed off. Especially when Lord Redmond, darling of the Left, is the hand-maiden assisting this bidding. There is plenty of place in society for a volunteer movement, but not when it replaces real jobs. Stop talking in tired, ill informed cliches.

Tricky WooJuly 19th 2010.

Does anyone remember the episode where Roger Huntington lost all the Christmas presents? They got robbed from his car.

WappingJuly 19th 2010.

What Radio4fan says about Brukie is only part of the story: By showing Liverpool people behaving badly it validated the behaviour of sections of the population who felt that they could live up to the scrounging thieving image Redmond was so proud to present.

Radio4fanJuly 19th 2010.

Brookside did as much, if not more, to harm the image of Liverpool than the Militants in the 1980s. It gave the impression of Scousers as scrounging, robbing, thieving, murdering yobs. They should have declared a public holiday on the day of the last lousy episode. Good Riddance to Brookside. Pity they didn't run PR out of town on the same day.

Real LiverpudlianJuly 19th 2010.

Redmond has all the qualifications to be a professional scouser in that he has made his fortune peddling a negative impression of the place and its people, he wears scouseness like a badge and speaks in an unintelligibly exaggerated Liverpool accent but taking great care not to actually live here, cf. Tarby, Cilla.

Darth FormbyJuly 19th 2010.

Redmond is a post op Carla Lane and a dirty sweaty sock. His sucking up is pitiful. I think we should apply for an exclusion order to keep him out of Liverpool.

Dawn FrenchJuly 19th 2010.

Yes fair enough on removing the rant editorial. But it wasn't mine, it was Terry's.

jimboJuly 19th 2010.

Oh and Redmond is and always was a miserable sod. But Liverpool and its people should stop whining and get on. Look at Manchester FFS.

jimboJuly 19th 2010.

And why does Manchester exist on private sector? They get off their arses and get on with it rather than moaning about the good old days in the docks.

RosJuly 19th 2010.

I know the real reason why Redmond is sucking up to shamcam...its because being mentally disabled he might lose his DLA benefits

ManThebarricadesJuly 19th 2010.

There will be a great need in the not too distant future for volunteers to help run the soup kitchens we'll be setting up when the ConDems' cuts start to bite.

silver TiaraJuly 19th 2010.

So when i was asked if us Liverpool peeps were excited that our city has been be chosen to Pilot Cameron's 'Big Society' : ..... oh!! i thought,, it was something to do with Cameron Mackintosh and a new musical!

AnonymousJuly 19th 2010.

Cameron and his new Very Best Scouse Friend Redmond can't talk about scrapping our school projects, sacking shedloads of people, starving our infrastructure of funds, and then expect us all to be excited at the prospect of doing voluntary work as some part of Big Society. We are staring Forced Labour in the face here. What I hate is the way those of us you see this scam are written off as whingers. Last night on Radio 4 a top guy from a national organisation representing youth organisations was cautious and doubtful, and indeed was saying voluntary organisations all over the country are facing closure. Lets hope and pray we are all wrong and the Bid Society will be the best thing ever. But don't hold your breath.

jimboJuly 19th 2010.

Stop whingeing, I am with www.oldholborn.net/2010/07/big-society.html…

UB40July 19th 2010.

At least Thatcher PAID kids to work on the YOP schemes. Cheeky chappie that Redmond

Mr B WareJuly 19th 2010.

DANGER lrks ahead! Redmond, accordingly to some, has aspirations to be elected Mayor of Liverpool, God Help Us. He went to Downing Street, rolled over and allow Cameron to tickle his belly just to be told ... what a good little boy. Redmond didn't even bother to ask any of us if he had our consent to throw Liverpool's collective hat into the ring. He's be hell on earth if he gets to run our city. Let this be a warning to anyobe thinking an elected mayor is a good idea. It's bad enough seeing the way officers and civil servants run rings around our p*** poor councillors. Imagine if they only had to encircle a single desk.And what about the idea of volunteering. Volunteers running post offices? That'll keep the Data Protection Agency Volunteers busy, Civvies doing rehab work with ex-offenders, that's keep the British Red Cross (volunteering to staff the A&E at the Royal), volunteers running schools? It will make St Trinians seem appealling.Don't these egg-heads realise, we pay our council taxes so properly trained and (hopefully) accountable people will run the services we need in an organised way. There is nothing wrong with people with a bit of spare time doing charity or volunteer work, properly supervised by full time staff. Finally there's one thing as bad than having the likes of Redmond as Elected Mayor, and that's an army of unelected tin-pot dictators running our communities. Suddenly Australia, clapped in irons if needbe, seems attractive.

Dawn FrenchJuly 19th 2010.

Editorial: Rant removed for being obnoxious. Soz

Mimbo JimboJuly 19th 2010.

Where's he moved to? I wanna nick his milk?That comment shows just how little you understand Jimbo.

LEON KAYJuly 19th 2010.

Phil Redmond is nothing more than a jumped up working class twat.

AnonymousJuly 19th 2010.

This cannot be serious. We are being hijacked by political invaders. Does Phil Redmund realise he's been picked so when it fails (as it will) Cameron will scream ... it wasn't me gov, honest, it was him over there, that Scouser in the corner.Most people volunteer as they want to give something back to society. With this scheme people are still waiting to receive something from society ie proper work.

Echo and The BrookymanJuly 19th 2010.

I don't think Redmond needs to promote himself anymore, the pathetic Liverpool Echo has become one long advert for his ambition to lead this city to a scouse wake. Tonight they carry almost a half page advertising a feature for tomorrow night Phil Redmond "Why I brought Big Society to Liverpool and why it will be good for me...sorry I mean the City"A few pages on and there he is again in drag I think, at Hope University being "honoured" again. And wait for it, Phil says he is humbled. (howls of laughter all round) At least Joe Riley has a bit of a go in his column but it goes nowhere near balancing the night after night Redmond is our Guru and spiritual leader editorial that is being spewed out by them. The Culture Supremo. What absolute rubbish! It shows how the Echo have completely lost the plot with their PR spin guff and how completely out of touch they are.Redmond is after a Knighthood and to be the first Elected Mayor of Liverpool. Now he is being promoted so much by the Echo that he may soon take over from the Beatles as the nightly feature.I used to think an Elected Mayor might be good but if there is a 1% danger that it could be Redmond who has now self servingly leapt into bed with Cameron and the Conservatives then it is something we should fervently oppose. You don't represent me Redmond, you don't represent anyone I know and apart from in the eyes of gullible fools you do not represent Liverpool or the aspirations of its people, so don't dare pretend that this is about anything other than tyour own ego and ambition. I don't envy you your millions but clearly it is not enough for you, you crave respect and power and will jump into bed with anyone who provide you with a chance of getting it.

The speaking ClackJuly 19th 2010.

What can I do for the city? Be a responsible citizen a friend to my neighbours and community, support events that are organised and delivered for the benefit of local people or visitors whom I will welcome. Work hard and think of others. Retain a sense of humour and a sense of what is right and wrong. When I feel it is wrong, then say so and make my voice heard. When I see waste challenge it and not roll over like a lap dog to every spin machine of the council and local press. Pay my council tax on time and oppose resources being wasted on junkets when I see my fellow citizens deprived of decent homes. Jobs and some of the opportunities I have been lucky enough to enjoy. Love Liverpool and love the right to speak out and challenge things you believe are wrong wasteful or unjust.

Ronnie de RamperJuly 19th 2010.

Judda, a quiet word in your ancient ear if I may. What are you moaning about? Are you whining because the forefathers of current Scousers begat those self-pitying Scousers, or because they did not beget (begat?) more like Phil Redmond. He has get-up-and-go, like everytime he flees Liverpool back to Tarporley. Maybe we need more like Professor Fluffybutt, ever a playful smile creasing his pock-ravaged counternance and glinting from his one remaining eye. He never looks downcast, not since his neck's been in a brace anyway. So I say: banish all misery with Professor Puckerbutt. Make Puckerbutt our Innovation Champion (some might say they just did). And get our finances into the black by taxing self-promoting media tosspots 100%

NefertittiJuly 19th 2010.

That's right. labour-loving Lord Redmond thought it was alright to write about the plight of people made redundant at Petrochem, picket lines and make all people in Liverpool look like violent crooks. Now it is equally alright to blow smoke up Cameron's arse and say let's staff my museums with unpaid labour because we are about to sack all the ones we do pay.

The Professor under the patioJuly 19th 2010.

Larry says: On the other hand, whether you love him or loathe him, you cannot ignore the passion of Phil Redmond to do his bit for the city and for Merseyside. Isn't it better to have people like him within earshot of David Cameron, as opposed to shouting from the wrong side of the barricades?Well no, Larry, it is not. The man is a self obessed buffoon who talks in meaningless claptrap. His passion for the city? Do you really believe that? A passion for self promotion and mixing with any influential or powerful people that are fool enough to listen to him and buy into any of the inane drivel that he spouts. Single handedly saved capital of culture!! Says who, apart from the Echo? He did nothing for 5 years and then when the Culture company had blown every last penny on canopes, chardonnay and ludicrous salaries, go nowhere schemes, six figure pay-offs and free-loading, he was put forward to "oversee" the programme that was already in place. He wanted to cancel the spider, remember, that was his contribution, that and an abysmal quote for the TV. The man is a complete joke and it is staggering why anyone or any institution pays him any attention. How the hell he and his wife got to be Chair and in charge of finances for NML beggars belief. Look at the complete financial cock-up over the X museum. £750,000 paid out instead of the £70k to deal with the coveneant. A possible law suit over the dumping of the original architects, the floor needing to be replaced at god knows what cost before it has even opened. Costs spiralling out of control. No wonder he wants an army of volunteers, with a £78,000,000 bill and rising, with no realistic opening date. They will need the first aid courses for when the cheap replacement cladding falls off like it's been doing on the rest of the rubbish that's been built. i wish he would volunteer to sod off out of the political life of this city and stick to writing trashy TV soaps.

jimboJuly 19th 2010.

Perhaps the real reason he is hated in Liverpool is because he has made money and moved out without milking the state.

Professor (a proper one) ChucklebuttyJuly 19th 2010.

I hope that bloke Tummie de Rumbler is not implying that I too am not a proper boney fido professor! I'll have you know that I studied with Professor Albert Eyestrain. He helped with the Atom Bomb and I worked on the Stink Bomb. He gets all the fame and yet my bomb is used much more than his. In fact it was me that told him to try doing the Tea=MC bit with a square instead of a triangle. As for Redmond, Mr de Rumpled he quite right, he is not a proper qualified and educated Professor like what I am. It is just a courtesy title for all Punch & Judy men and all it means is that he is qualified to work with suasages and a operate swizel. When he was awarded his honourary scroll, you should have seen his face when he unrolled it and saw what they had written inside! I can't put it on here.

JuddaJuly 19th 2010.

I'm still waiting for a positive comment - you still keep moaning. Please don't slag everything - come up with positive ideas rather than complaining and slagging people. It is so easy to be self pitied, look at yourself and say "WHAT CAN I DO FOR THE CITY" I bet the next comment will be someone moaning - just watch I will be amazed if it is not

Darth FormbyJuly 19th 2010.

About 70 years ago judda, mass forced deportation of chinese sailors was taking place in Liverpool, leaving at least 150 women and maybe 1,000 children destitute. Bessie braddock was doing her thing about 70 years ago in Liverpool. About 70 years ago the Government sent a battle ship and two destroyers to Liverpool. Scousers have always fought against and resented the way the city has been treated by the English judda, and if you were a scouser you would know that. Any scouser, from any point in history, would find it hard to stomach your cap doffing compliance.

Ronnie de RamperJuly 19th 2010.

Will you stop calling this unprincipled self-promoting and thick charlatan a 'Professor'. He isn't a genuine professor, hasn't got the brains of a genuine professor. Professor Chucklebutty has more claim to the title than Redmond.All Redmond craves is recognition. There is nothing he won't lick, no place his tongue won't go, until he gets his 'Sir' or 'Lord' bollocks. It's pitiful just watching his self-abasement in pursuit of this trash.And of course, the 'Big Society' is just made for Redmond. A shallow concept meets a shallow man.

Father Ted CrilleyJuly 19th 2010.

Is that a picture of Father Larry Duff? I must give him a call.

Wwwwwredond AdmiwwwwrerJuly 19th 2010.

Yes but Heather soon got rid of Roger and married that nice Nick...oh but he was a middle class heroin addict wasn't he. Well you can't blame him, all those years thinking he was Ken Barlow's brother and then talking to a mop and a cushion during rehab at Hickory House. Yes in Redmonds world the entire population was up to no good, thieves, skivers, drug addicts, rapists, murderers, conmen, racists, psychopaths, cult followers, living in a several armed sieges, having it off with all the neighbours, teenage alcoholics, randy priests (well I'll forgive him that) Yes, Phil Redmond, Liverpool's Cultural Ambassador. Crookside Close.

BlueWarriorJuly 19th 2010.

Thanks a lot Phil, that's my wife out of a job then just as NML are looking to cut an immediate 25% of jobs with a total of 40% being targeted. How long before the rest go to be replaced by volunteers. Perhaps next time staff are forced to work overtime just to open up the museum at night so your family can have an exclusive view of a firework display, you'll ask volunteers to do it.You're a sell-out Phil.Perhaps next time you want

Sold down the riverJuly 19th 2010.

Redmond's idea that inner city salvation can be found in museums and galleries is laughable

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