Paula Keaveney writes: The Leading of Liverpool

As I write I have just finished my first week as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council.

And what a week it’s been.

As the first female leader of a major party on the City Council (that’s first ever) I had more than my fair share of attention. I have discovered the joys of the 6 am media call and suddenly being the person everyone wants to talk to.

And the enormity of the challenges ahead has been quickly sinking in.

Here in Liverpool we have a mountain to climb.

Like many of you we saw good, hard working colleagues swept away on election night. It was absolutely not their fault that they lost and it’s hard to see what more they could have done. Voters wanted to send a message and they did.

Those of you who’ve followed goings on here will also be aware that we have had some self-inflicted wounds, wounds that may take a while to heal.

But we are determined to draw a line, get on with things and start rebuilding.

The team may be smaller (temporarily) but it’s a good one with loads of talent and drive.

When things get tough you find out whether you have guts and commitment, and we have those things in spades.

The Liberal Democrats did such great things for Liverpool. Everyone knows about Capital of Culture, which did such a lot for the City’s reputation. But we turned so many other things around too – from getting the bins collected to getting our children’s exam grades above average. We also cut domestic burglary by a massive 30 per cent with the alleygating programme. And many of you will know of the new arena and conference centre that’s bringing so many more visitors to the City.

Now in opposition we need to focus, take the fight to Labour and show that we are once again the right people to lead the City.

This isn’t meant to be a “puff piece”. I am well aware we still have problems. But I wanted to reassure my friends and colleagues in the Lib Dems up and down the country that we are getting on with it. Together we will win.

Cllr Paula Keaveney is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • sean hessey 16th May '11 - 2:19pm

    Great start Paula
    What do you intend to do about the Liberal party question?
    They did us no favours in Wavertree.

  • LondonLiberal 16th May '11 - 3:18pm

    good luck! let’s hope you don’t have any cllrs defect to the labour party, like that experienced in wirral last night…

  • If Liverpool is anything like Scotland it’s not just a mountain the Lib Dems have to climb, they’re finished as a major force in the city and it’s not something they’ll likely be able to recover from for at least a generation.

    Up here in Scotland we always saw the Lib Dems as a centre left alternative to the Labour Party, a centre left party that wanted to redistribute a bit of wealth like Labour used to only without all the authoritarian stuff. That’s how they always potrayed themselves up here. Down in the South of England I believe they made themselves out to be something different, more like moderate Tories with liberal tendencies.

    Now they’re in government they’ve been found out, they can’t be both, and they’re yellow Tories, the sort that vote to make university cost £9,000 per year. That sort of thing is just not acceptable to their centre left voter based up here so their based left them. I suspect it might be the same in the North of England.

  • in reply to Sean.
    They (Radfords lot) reversed the trend in their Tuebrook heartland, we can learn from them.
    It helps no one but the greens and Labour having two Liberal partys in Liverpool.

  • Cllr Steve Radford 23rd May '11 - 9:52am

    Having the opening shot of the year with the new Leader asking the council to open up the committee system so all cllrs can substitute in the same party was a pretty simple declaration that the Lib Dem Group is totally demoralized and incapable of getting named cllrs and their alternates to turn up to their reduced allocation of committees

    The Lib Dems in the city had some merits but demolishing homes and forcing people out of working class communities showed the Lib Dems were devoid of liberalism .

  • tina romana 25th May '11 - 7:59am

    Dear Mr. Radford,
    when has any part of the party forced working class people out of their communities?
    You’re getting confused with the Labour party.

  • Cllr Steve Radford 1st May '14 - 6:41pm

    Tine – I am a Cllr and throughout HMRI your Lib Dems backed CPO s in the HMRI

    Dont blame Labour for your policies which funded by a labour government were pursued by a Lib Dem majority

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