Liverpool Liberal Democrats have just kicked off the next stage in our work toward regaining power in Liverpool.
We don’t run the council, in fact we are some way off running the council. But we know that the ruling Labour administration has no real vision, and as part of our way back towards running the City we wanted to develop and articulate one.
So we have published a document and started a “listening exercise”. Headlines include our aspirations for Liverpool to be the Green Capital of Europe and for us to take real advantage of the opportunities in the Localism Bill. You can find the document on our website at www.liverlibdems.org.uk, which has already been getting some very good local press coverage.
Written almost entirely by Cllr Richard Kemp it makes some statements about the way we could travel, but then asks some key questions of the people, organisations and communities of Liverpool. We took a deliberate decision not to answer all our own questions, but to genuinely consult and listen.
We have mailed our document to stakeholders all over the City and replies are coming back.
We felt also we had to be honest. Lib Dems lost power in Liverpool in 2010 and then managed to shoot ourselves in the foot repeatedly in the run up to the last elections. We felt we needed to own those mistakes and move on. This is risky but right.
Since publishing the document, Cllr Kemp and I have experienced some vitriol from the current leader of Liverpool Council. He seems annoyed that we have the nerve to publish a vision and to talk about Green issues and listening to people. Good. This makes me more confident that we are hitting home and having an impact.
Obviously our document is very Liverpool specific. But other Lib Dem groups or parties might want to start a similar exercise. It’s a great way of not just building bridges with external organisations but of getting conversations going within your own group or party.
Cllr Paula Keaveney is leader of the Lib Dem Group on Liverpool City Council. She blogs at paulakeaveney.blogspot.com