I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute during these heightened security times to the staff and emergency services, particularly the police, who all work tirelessly to make sure the General Election held yesterday happened in an effective, efficient, transparent and safe manner. Thanks to them, democracy is able to function and we are all able to vote in a free country.
It has been a great election campaign, starting with an excellent Labour manifesto, and it’s a credit to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, John McDonnell and the national team that we have enthused so many young people, offered a vision of hope, and shown the country that there is an alternative to the Conservative austerity measures one that promoted equality and fairness.
It was an inspirational team effort across Merseyside, and I am proud of everyone who spread themselves thin campaigning in their home constituencies and in the key battleground seats of Wirral West and Wirral South and indeed the whole North West. To everyone who went out and fought for Labour I say “well done”.
It’s also very encouraging from our own sampling in Green and Lib Dem seats in Liverpool that their support is collapsing. Congratulations also to Lisa Gaughan who became Labour’s newest councillor, after winning the by-election in Riverside ward.
Theresa May is clearly now a lame duck Prime Minister. She may have managed to persuade the DUP to lend their support to her but she is no longer strong and stable – she’s very weak and wobbly after a terrible campaign.
The Labour Party’s campaign however shows what we can do when all the parts unite and work together. There was effective and engaging leadership and I know from my conversations with Jeremy and John that they want to build a national Labour Party which builds on our strong local government teams. Together we can stabilise the party and show the country what we can really do.
Back in 2015, when the results came in, I don’t think anyone thought that we would be back within reach of Government in such a short time. But, to give credit to our leadership they have put us back in play. Together, we can build on the manifesto we already have, develop the policies the country wants and give the country a chance to have a truly transformative government very shortly indeed. Make no mistake the Tories will implode and there will be instability for our Country that will need strong opposition, this will give us the opportunity to build on what has been achieved.
The public is now comfortable with where we stand and we have a clear platform to provide hope, end austerity and show people the difference we could make to their lives.
This is good news for Local Government and it is good news for Liverpool. I said before the election that the Government’s ideological austerity agenda had come back to haunt them and derail their campaign. First seven years of local government cuts and the damage it has done to social care unpicked the Tory manifesto; followed by years of cuts to police forces unravelled the Tory reputation as the party of law and order in the face of several terrorist cuts. Needless and ruthless dismantling of public services has created a situation where citizens in this country realised that our government wasn’t able to look after them in their old age, nor keep them safe – two of the most fundamental expectations people have of the state. This is a wake-up call to us all – we can forge a new economic policy based on growth and sharing the great wealth our country is capable of generating.
So, celebrate, give thanks, and get some rest before we must start campaigning again, for what I believe will be another election this autumn. As the famous saying says – go home and prepare for months more of doorknocking!