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A two-star performance

TV cameras roll as the Laz Word parks up in a front-row seat for Liverpool City Council – The Opera.

Published on March 5th 2009.


A two-star performance

THEY say Liverpool has more theatres than any city outside London. Do they include Liverpool Town Hall in that collection?

Wednesday night’s budget meeting of Liverpool City Council lived up to its reputation, with councillors offering award-winning performances in what must be the country’s only political repertory company.

They could sell seats for these performances, with billboard posters declaring.... “The Council- a 2-star performance. Not to be missed – future stars are born here.”

There was a taste of things to come when Lord Mayor Steve Rotheram, playing the role of Town Constable, issued a warning to councillors about choosing their words wisely. He may well have said .... You need not say anything defamatory unless you wish to do so, but anything defamatory you do say will may be taken down in evidence and used against you.

As he was issuing his edict, a council official handed me his BlackBerry and said what’s this all about? He scrolled down to the exclusive Liverpool Confidential story published late Wednesday afternoon revealing the council was going to put controversial night parking charges on hold.

It’s not true, he insisted.

A choir of kids from Norris Green and Croxteth were ushered into the crowded chamber, led by Stars In Their Eyes winner Liam Moore who founded Voice in the City. They sang the anti gun/gang song, You’re the Voice. They were given a standing ovation. The aim is to release the song in the summer

and hope it gets to Number One.

Musical interlude over, it was time for fireworks. The council agreed to allow a team from BBC's The One Show to record the debate. They are doing a report next week about car parking, and if you are lucky you may see me on the programme, and the whippet if you are even luckier!

Labour leader Joe Anderson led the attack on the car parking charges. Lib Dem Peter Millea gave a robust response, with no hint the scheme was to be put on hold.

Anderson waved a report and called it a fabrication. Tempers flared as Anderson was attacked for essentially naming an officer in a critical way. Apparently it’s not allowed.

Somebody referred to that warning from the Lord Mayor about defamation. Anderson did not run to his shelter, but stood his ground and continued to wave the report.

The vote was taken, Anderson’s challenge to the budget won 40 votes –including support from veteran Sir Trevor Jones. But the Lib Dems mustered 43 votes, so it was defeated.

I wondered whether the traffic wardens were already poised for the off outside the Town Hall with their ticket machines. Not a hint of parking proposals being shelved or put on hold. Had Liverpool Confidential got it wrong? Were Laz’s contacts taking the p out of parking?

Hmm. Wait for Act II.

The One Show team got some powerful footage. “Is it always like this in Liverpool?” asked the cameraman in wonder.

“Nah,” I replied. “Don’t know what’s up with ‘em, they’re quiet tonight.”

As I stood on the steps of the Town Hall that council official came up. “It’s on hold,” he said.

If Liverpool Confidential's indignant emailing readers played a part in this little drama I say it's democracy in action.

But there’s work to be done. Us car users may have won the battle, but we haven’t won the war.

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RatepayerMarch 5th 2009.

This is classic Laz stuff. Oh how I wish I'd been there. Don't they do a matinee performance.

DigMarch 5th 2009.

I close my eyes and try to imagine what it must have been like in there. I imagine scenes from The Three Stooges. 2 star council you say? N'yuk n'yuk n'yuk.

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