The Usual Suspects At It Again

Another election, another opportunity missed. Elections are at the heart of democracy giving the people the chance to decide how they are governed.  If there is election, there is democracy, right? Wrong. 

Liverpool is the perfect example of the political perfect crime. The illusion of choice, makes the people think they made an impact. The metro mayor election on Thursday gave the Liverpool City Region an opportunity to choose a metro mayor. A position that hasn’t been fully explained other than to say “it gives a voice for the region.” Obviously all the councillors, MPs, mayors and Lord Mayors don’t have enough to say so we need another in the mix. 

Less than 30% of the electorate turned out on Thursday. Maybe because people don’t care, maybe because people didn’t really understand about it. 

There was never any doubt that Steve Rotheram would win. Not for his political prowess, not for his desire to make a change, not because he wants to unravel the corruption that has tied Liverpool in knots. No, because he is untouchable.

Don’t get me wrong, he pushed for justice in support of the Hillsborough campaign and he achieved what he set out to. He deserves the utmost praise for that. But does that automatically qualify him for the role. He’s been politically untouchable. He was always going to win. 

The unfortunate thing is he is a part of the Labour Party. The party that has milked Liverpool dry, and particularly in recent times not delivered anything in return. 

We have councillors who are cabinet leads on initiatives in sectors where they have their own business. We have a team who defines what culture is. We have a council that competes with local business rather than supports it. The council is too big and the root cause is in the corruption of the leaders. 

Selling properties to friends. Blocking international investment. Having zero ambition to develop the city. Living off the risks taken by private organisations and claiming as their own success.

Liverpool One was a fantastic initiative by the council. They completed sorted the city centre out and created much needed retail, leisure and domestic space. Oh no sorry, my mistake, that was Grosvenor. But they made the deals and set everything up didn’t they? Or was that the previous Lib Dem administration. I have no political party bias, I like people who get things done, and Labour do not get things done. 

Steve Rotheram wanted to give the city region a voice in Parliament by taking on the metro mayor role. Now Joe Anderson wants to give the region a voice by stepping down from his city mayor role and taking Steve’s old job as an MP. Bit strange that. Joe being in a rush to leave. 

Maybe the Labour Party want to avoid the awkwardness if the darling of Liverpool, our Steve gets asked to look into the corruption of Joe. Steve can’t investigate his old mate, so let’s work this out and avoid this whole situation. 

Joe is no Verbal Kint. He won’t limp down the Cunard steps then turn into a powerful stroll as he jumps into his chauffeur driven car. Actually he will do all of that except without the limp. He’s bold as brass, he’s untouchable, as least Dick Turpin wore a mask! 

But it’s not just Joe. The council is rotten to the core. The soft property deals, the “£2.5million” spent on St Johns Market, all these things are too big for one person to entirely manage. The senior levels of the council must be complicit. How can this be addressed? By changing it from the top, changing the organisation that governs it. Changing the motivation. It needs to be taken down from the inside and exposed for what it is. Unfortunately Liverpool just threw away it’s best opportunity. 

As of Monday normal service will resume. Joe will start preparing his personal items and wait for the chauffeur. One of his trusted cronies will fill the position for the rest of the tenure that he was meant to fill and the wheels will keep on turning.

French novelist Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr once wrote “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

Liverpool has just proved this to be true this week. People thought they were making a change but all that has happened is to cement the status quo. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Cesspool: a storage container for liquid waste and sewage. It is often used to describe a disgusting or corrupt place. Let’s focus on corruption for today’s thoughts. Example: Liverpool.

Liverpool is an incredible city. It is steeped in history, as you would expect for something that has recently had its 809th birthday. It has a glittering past due to the fact that it was always home to the doers and the dreamers. Those who wanted a little more and were prepared to go out and get it. I’m not here to give you a history lesson, I’m here to ask why the glory days are over. 

There has always been a boldness of the leaders of the past that have shaped this city. One of my favourite examples of this is the doors on St Georges Hall. SPQL. Engraved into the doors is a reference to the Roman Empire. On the shields of the Roman soldiers that marched across the continent, SPQR was engraved. “For the senate and the people of Rome” It’s a striking symbolic statement that the doors of one of Liverpool’s most famous landmarks would have a reference to one of history’s all conquering civilisations and cast itself amongst them, as if to say that Liverpool too is a civilisation not to be messed with. I know, I know, I wasnt going to give a history lesson but that’s just a little taster.

So how does a city decline so steeply so that one of the city’s most ambitious symbols is currently stood behind one of the city’s most lacklustre projects? Christmas Markets 2016. Liverpool Markets Ltd. A stain on the city’s can do spirit of the past.

The Christmas markets in Liverpool is not the reason for this blog, it merely typifies the sad state that the city is currently in. It brings an almost poetic end to a shambles of a year and it shines a rather large green lantern across the city, which should highlight the greed and corruption that resides in the Cunard Building.

Liverpool of the past lived to be a world leader. A world leader in trade, in transport, in everything which it turned its hand to, Liverpool and its institutions strived to be the best. Today Liverpool lives for election cycles, for photo shoot opportunities and handouts.

St. John’s Market reopened this month. £2.5million was spent on it. Allegedly. Can someone tell me where? Can you walk into this new market and tell me that it is a different spec to what big yellow storage would request if they were to open a new site? I’m certain they don’t spend £2.5million on fit outs. So I ask again, where is the Arteta money Bill? I mean Joe, but I’ll be back for Bill in a bit. An insider tells me £600,000 went on lights and electrics. Go inside and tell me that has any truth in it.

The fireworks. What the fuck was that? Did they blow the budget on a graphic designer for all those billboards that popped up everywhere? How can you take loads of explosives, blow them up in front of one of the worlds most iconic waterfronts and still manage to fuck it up? I’ll tell you how; Culture Liverpool. Now this is a waste of space, time, money, oxygen. It’s a significant in road into this supposed £90million shortfall the council currently has. You know the one that they’ve decided they are going to waste money on holding a referendum to ask you if you want to pay more council tax to help them pay for it? Smashing idea. Culture Liverpool is led by a woman who claims to be responsible for the capital of culture win in 2008. It won’t surprise you that she isn’t from Liverpool, but something about a corrupt money pit with a £3billion budget drew her in. She sounds like Debbie McGhee, she’s certainly helping to make your money disappear. Even if we take her at face value, why are we even still talking about the capital of culture win 8 years later. 8 years after what the world at our feet and managed to achieve a wonderful puppet show and an international festival of business that happens in Liverpool because no one else wants it, because other cities in the world are more concerned with actually doing things. 8 years later and still the carpet in the airport says capital of culture winner, it’s embarrassing.

The city stinks like a cesspool because the Cunard building isn’t big enough to contain it. The council is meant to facilitate business in the city not own it. Two councillors and a third party are currently looking to create a collaborative working space in the city for start up businesses. This isn’t a council initiative, it’s private business aim of the councillors using the knowledge they have from within the council to further their own ends. Guess where the funding will come from? Yes that’s right , Liverpool City Council your council tax will pay for this. Is that not the purest example of corruption? I wonder if this will be on the ballot when they explain where your tax is spent.

How about the commercialisation team? They do a great job don’t they. A streamlined working group that engages with the worlds biggest brands and seeks out new opportunities with a bold and determined strategy. Not Livepool Councils team though, they are shite. They managed to pay MTV for the privilege of putting their logo all around the city to legitimise LiMF. Seriously. Who made that decision? Pay an increasingly irrelevant brand so that you can advertise them across all the billboards you have paid for so that people turn up to your free event  and watch a coked up Shaggy do just enough lines to get It Wasn’t Me out of his swinging jaw. Great job team.

There are other arms to the council though. The Business Improvement District. Although officially not part of the council, several staff members are seconded over and if you don’t pay your annual fee then the council’s collection team will enforce it. Seems like the council to me. Seems like racketeering to me but let’s move on. Headed up by a reverend who in his capacity as representing the needs of local businesses. Many of whom will be independent bars and restaurants , he is abusing his position of power to secure the rights to St Luke’s, the bombed out church, and convert it into a leisure destination that will compete with many of the businesses he currently represents. It’s like a right of passage. Get into a position of power, abuse it, carry on.

All power corrupts apparently. That is why the council should be held accountable but how can they be held accountable to things that the public do not know about? That is why I am writing. I am passionate about this city and how it can regain its status as a world leader but something needs to change, and I suggest we start at the top.

Think of these things when you read about how essential services need to be cut. Think about it when you see another ribbon cutting. Think about it when you see another event where the same group of people get together to pat each other on the back about a job well done #itsliverpool 

Or as my namesake said; ¡hasta la victoria siempre lad!

Cesspool of Life

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Viva la revolucion

So this is the first blog post of Che Blogara. There’s a revolution coming. It’s a different kind of revolution than what Che Guevara himself fought for. This is a fight to regain control of a city. To take it back from the corporations and corruption, and re establish it as a global city. Che’s own image has been taken, commercialised and sold to a generation of people who don’t know his struggle. This blog takes inspiration from his strength, his rebellion and desire to make it better for people like him. Che Blogara wants to take back his city. To encourage local enterprise. To localise the high street and keep wealth local, rather than supporting the tax avoiding multi nationals that have made every city in the UK, a carbon copy of each other.
Privately published 11 March 2014

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Look into my eyes, don’t look around the eyes…

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I think I’ve wrote about this sort of thing before, but since I’m writing this with a different motivation, I’m not going to check but I’m going to continue writing and see if I magically repeat myself…

When did people stop getting rewarded for doing actual things? Now it seems you can be rewarded for turning up. If I take 5 minutes to look at LinkedIn, there’ll be no end of award ceremonies and people that don’t really know each other patting each other on the back just in case one day that person does become successful at something so that they can cling on to their coat tails.

I see it consistently on LinkedIn, peoples job titles changing from chief of this to champion of that but what does it all mean? I’m certain I’ve had a rant about “entrepreneurs” before, but seriously, how long can someone lay claim to running a successful business before someone says “erm…a real business has an output, what’s yours?” How many ego stroking “business news” stories must I read in the local paper about someone’s desire to take their business global. Its such a repetitive chain of self obsessed, self promoting people that its sickening to look at.

I’m not sure if its the same in every city, but in this city, if people put the same amount of effort into making things happen as they do to putting another feather in their cap, then we truly would have a global city. A city where global businesses want to come and explore new opportunities.

Instead, I see people giving lectures on starting a business when their only experience is one failed, fundamentally flawed business. I see people giving lectures on Intellectual Property, when their only attempt at a business was to rip another one off. On a side note, I find it hilarious how popular the term “IP” has become. Its like one of the must have buzzwords for people pretending to be important. I’m sure IP lawyers rub their hands with glee at the prospect of all these armchair experts on the loose.

I see articles with supposed role models headhunted. Its like people are afraid to call these impostors out. They hypnotise their surroundings, making people believe their reality without substance. Don’t look around the eyes, you’ll see there’s very little substance.

Living in social media is fine if it makes you happy. Pretending you have a global business is a wonderful game of make believe to play with yourself, and if you can get people around you to fall for your empty proclamations then more fool them. But when they are idolised, and set as the inspiration for the next generation then what are we actually raising? Another generation of people who don’t quite get anything done? Its hard enough as it is to find people who like to solve problems but if we’re inspiring the next generation by holding up those just ahead of them as pioneers despite achieving very little then we are walking down a very dark, stagnant path.

Its the medal for participation movement. Everyone should get a medal? No they shouldn’t. The best people should get a medal for doing the best things. Simple. If we reward people for doing nothing then what will they continue to do? I’m sure Pavlov explained this quite definitively.

Liverpool has a history of entrepreneurship. It has a history of enterprise. Businesses started on the docks, creating international trade links. Truly global businesses.

Its funny, how a city where ships played a central role in bringing back its wealth is now a city full of empty vessels making an awful lot of noise, and little else. I say funny, I mean sickening.

 

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I’m Not Like Anybody Else

  Have you ever noticed how the people who don’t think they are cool, are actually the coolest people? Or how the people that think they are normal, are usually pretty special? It’s good that isn’t it. When people underestimate themselves but you can see their strengths shining through, it’s endearing. It makes you like that person that little bit more. Humility. 

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be confident in themselves, or that you must undersell yourself to be likeable, but what I am saying is that there is a group of people at the polar opposite. The people who claim to be great without proving anything. Those whose actions are a marked removal from their proclamations. 

The people who claim from the outset that they are not like everyone else. I’m not one for talking about myself, I’d go as far as to say I hate it, as it makes me uncomfortable. Clearly, I’ve got some issues, but we aren’t here to have a go at me; it’s these others pricks that need addressing right now. It’s gotten to a point where hearing “I’m not like anyone else” or something similar, is like an alarm bell. It’s an air raid siren, but an air raid siren for a flock of seagulls that have been eating the remnants of last nights curry all day, and are about to do a fly by. You’re not going to die, but you’re going to get seriously shit on.

If people put the same amount of effort into their actions as they do into their self promotion campaigns and image building then I’m sure they could become the person that they wish to be. 

I’ve never been one for unnecessary praise. If I haven’t personally achieved something then I don’t want praise for it. I don’t care how close I was to the successful task, unless it was my responsibility then don’t thank me. It’s something I’ve always thought about wages. I can’t bring myself to accept a set wage. I want to be paid for my successes. If I have a bad month, I don’t want the same as if I’ve changed the world around me in another month. I’m all for performance related pay and praise where it’s actually due. Again, the “I’m not like everybody else” crowd are the polar opposite. They want paying and they want praise; usually for something they haven’t actually done. 

It seems to be the same type of person that I moan about on here all the time, but it’s because there’s so many of them about. I seem to just be gaining the knowledge to pick out each disgusting personality trait. It’s not a male or female trait, as the two people I have in mind at the time of writing are opposite sexes. It’s a horrible trait of a sense of entitlement. 

I really could go on about this for a long time, but I feel like in some way I’d be promoting these people. I’m sure I’d be classed as a hater.

I like a little rant, it gets all this off my chest and it helps me to get to my own conclusion that all these self promoters can tell as many lies as they like, but if you were to judge them by their actual successes, then it would all go quiet, very quickly. To finish with a quote from someone who inspires me…..

Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t – Jay Z

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Consultants, Innovators, Entrepreneurs… Self Appointed Arseholes

 There’s a place for consultants. Those people who have been there, done it, bought the t shirt. Their advice and insight is invaluable. The best way to learn anything is through the experience of actually doing something so if someone is willing to pass on their knowledge to help this next person progress, then that’s fantastic. If you are lucky enough to do well then it is your duty to send the elevator back down. 

Innovators too, shape the world around us. True innovators. People that facilitate the breakthrough in curing a disease. People who design the next every day gadget that makes our lives that little bit easier. People that change what we perceive to be the norm. Fantastic people, I salute them.

Entrepreneurs create jobs. They take chances and risks that others can’t or won’t and create opportunities for employment for other people. They are the backbone of our economy and they have my utmost respect.

So why are they arseholes? Well, in short, they aren’t. Not the genuine ones anyway. The arseholes are the people who display the medal, but never went into the battle to achieve it. They clutch at the title, but have no discernible skill.

It falls under the umbrella of the popular “fake it to make it” saying. There’s certainly a use for that saying, but like anything else it has its limits. 

There are too many people out there using the titles, regurgitating the key buzz words and pretending to be experts in their field. Ordinarily it wouldn’t bother me, I would be happy to let them continue their charade and move on with my life, but the fact is they hinder progress. 

They spend their lives having meetings for the sake of having meetings. They say something against the establishment for the sake of being anti-establishment. Not because they have any superior knowledge. More likely because they have some inferiority complex, but I’m no psychologist.

I hate people who self promote when there is nothing to promote except the self promotion itself. It’s a vicious cycle that can be see everyday in the world of social media.

My gripe with these people is that unfortunately you have to meet them to establish that they are in fact frauds. 

I don’t see a way around this though, and this blog doesn’t do anything to help solve the problems I’ve identified. Oh fuck, I’ve become everything that I hate.

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I’m here, you can see I’m here… Say it

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Here’s one. Bravado. There’s loads of that about. There’s a lot of the “oh if he was here now I’d say this…” That’s a popular one. As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s also the most popular lie. In my first post, I wrote about empty vessels making the most noise, I seem to be picking up on a theme here, or maybe my life is just full of empty vessels. I noticed a post on Facebook, I think, something about the difference between men and women fighting. The post went something along the lines of; 5 minutes after men fight they are best mates, 30 years after women fight they still hate each other. There’s some truth in this, but it’s nothing to do with gender. There are two types of people when it comes to issues of anger and confrontation amongst each other. There is the person who doesn’t gossip, doesn’t tell the world what he/she will or won’t do, doesn’t berate their apparent opponent and generally lives their own life, and reacts when confronted in a manner true to themselves. I love this person. Anyone who remains the same, has my utmost respect, because let’s face it, sometimes it takes a lot not to fold, or at least bend slightly, on certain issues. I mean, we all want to keep the peace don’t we?

Well, no. No we don’t. Because there is that second group of people. Personified by the person who, won’t take no shit, allegedly. The person who says it how it is, apparently. Basically, remember Mouth from the Goonies? Well, a sinister version of him. A liar, a story teller, a pain in the arse.

There are times for subtlety. In a working environment, we’re all subject to the paymaster at the end of the day, and we have to obey certain rules. Fighting in the office is a no-no, as far as I’m aware. But socially? There is no referee. No warden, policing what you can and can’t say. So why do the underhanded jabs exist. Why can’t these people address their true feelings and get their issues out. I’d have so much more respect for them. I’d even class them in the first group of people. I’d go as far as to say I love them. But no, this second group of people seem to thrive on the clandestine pursuit of getting one of over on a rival/target/any rational human being.

I don’t understand this. Maybe it’s just me, I mean, I do love an argument, but why throw a half hearted dig? In a boxing match you wouldn’t be rewarded for it. You’d find yourself on the wrong side of a knockout blow if you picked the wrong target. Ask George Groves. And what is boxing? It’s a perfect manifestation of everyone’s lives, everyday. It’s the physical representation of verbal sparring. Give a little here, take something there, line up the killer blow. Boom. It’s done. Yet, I am consistently surprised by the amount of these “group 2” people who attempt to start sparring, when they are clearly unarmed, or unprepared for what will follow.

This is turning into quite the rant here. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to tell you I’ve had a run in with a “group 2” person recently. But my own frustrations aside, isn’t life too short? Put up or shut up is a phrase I’ve heard. It should be a mantra for everyone. If you’ve got something to say, say it. Don’t make sly remarks and run and claim victory. If you don’t feel like you can win the battle, then you must be wrong, so don’t start it.

To be honest though, I love an argument, so if you are debating about whether to have one with me, I’d say do it. Then when you lose we can be mates. But if you’re one of them group 2ers, I’d say jib it, because I’ll only end up writing a blog about you because I haven’t got the bottle to say it to your face.

Wait there….. Oh shit.

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