Eddie Clein on ‘Falling off the Fence’, his memoir of six decades in Liverpool politics

falling off the fence eddie cleinEddie Clein, a long-standing former Lib Dem councillor and former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, has recently published his memoirs of his six decades’ involvement in the city’s politics – from his first win in 1969 through to his final defeat in 2012, aged 77. Here Eddie tells LDV a little more about his life and what the book covers…

As a key player in Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat administration (1998-2010), I thought it was important to place on record some of the party’s achievements and some of the personalities involved. Having been in public life for six decades it took me several years researching and checking facts before putting pen to paper.

I was first elected in the ‘swinging sixties’ as a Tory, before serving for almost 30 years as a Liberal Democrat, serving as the millennium Lord Mayor and as Chairman of Regeneration. The book focuses on both of these milestones but also has chapters dedicated to Derek Hatton and Militant and Hillsborough (having served on the working party set up after the tragedy).

In terms of what to call the book there have perhaps been times in my political career where I was not as decisive on certain issues as perhaps I should have been. Often I could see both sides of the argument and as I refused to be whipped, I was free to abstain on a vote. I have been chided many times by Labour councillors for, in their words, ‘sitting on the fence’.

So those days are over, I am now politically neutral and have finally fallen off the fence. I just hope people have as much joy reading the book as I have had writing it!

‘Falling off the Fence’ is published by Boxed Off Publishing (ISBN 978-0-9928478-0-7) and costs £7.99 (+£2 p&p). It is available online at www.fallingoffthefence.co.uk. You can follow Eddie on Twitter @eddiecleinbook.

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8 Comments

  • Daniel Henry 7th Jun '14 - 5:09pm

    Is there an ebook version available?

  • Stephen Donnelly 7th Jun '14 - 8:43pm

    Still puzzling over : So those days are over, I am now politically neutral and have finally fallen off the fence.!’.

    Also just wondering ( I really do not know the answer). Was he ever a Liberal ? What were the lasting achievements of the Liberal administration in Liverpool?

  • Steve Comer 7th Jun '14 - 11:32pm

    Stephen asked “What were the lasting achievements of the Liberal administration in Liverpool?”

    Have you ever been to Liverpool Stephen? I first went in the 1980s just after the 47 Militant Councillors were expelled. The whole place had an air of decay, and Liberal activists had to keep reminding me to retract the radio aerial on my car, because it wouldn’t last five minutes if I’d left it up. Crime and anti-social behavior were endemic, and public services just did not function, some areas never even had a proper bin collection.

    The last time I went was when party Conference was held there, but I went there 3-4 times when the Lib Dems were running the city. What a transformation, regeneration was everywhere, social enterprises had sprung up to get the unemployed back into work, the Arena had been built, the city centre had a lively night life, Liverpool One had reinvigorated the retail offer in the city, and it had become a major tourist venue. Liberal Democrats made a huge difference and stopped one of England’s major cities from sliding into permanent decline. The Liverpool I see today is almost unrecognizable form the city I first visited din the mid-1980s, and much of that change is due to the hard work of Liberal Democrats running the city from 1998 until the Coalition robbed us of power there.

    I don’t know Eddie Clein, but the book sounds like an interesting eye witness account of major events in the Liverpool’s history.

  • Ok, so when will it be available as an e-book? I only buy e-books. Looks interesting. David

  • Stephen Donnelly 10th Jun '14 - 9:36pm

    Steve Comer. Left this too long so you may not see my reply. I live in Lancashire, so know Liverpool reasonably well. Manchester has developed much more quickly over the same period. There was a property boom. The last Labour Government invested in infrastructure. Not sure we can claim credit for any of that.

  • Frank O'Donoghue 11th Jun '14 - 3:15pm

    Steve Comer appears to be perpetuating the bad press Liverpool all too frequently gets. What a ridiculous comment about “retracting your car aerial” Having lived in Liverpool for 78 years it seems to me that the Lib Dem activists he refers to had been reading some of the nonsense that was being printed at the time he refers to.

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