Thursday, July 31, 2008

From Aristotle to Liverpool 2008

It was Aristotle, over 2300 years ago, who described we humans as being political animals. It was not meant as a put down as in today's language; rather a categorisation. Aristotle saw the exercise of politics as a civic duty and that citizens should at once be willing to be ruled,and, be willing to rule. The former should prepare the citizen for the latter. Politics was to be an exercise of virtue, with persuasion as the key mode of operation.

To bring this to a current 2008 practical reality, I am, as a citizen, putting myself forward for election as Mayor of Liverpool in September 2008 - Byrne for Mayor.

I am ready and most willing, with full acknowledgement of the task ahead.

I am to face ferocious opposition from people who seek to control politics in Liverpool as cogs and wheels in the political party machinery. People who oversaw the 1999- 2004 Oasis development debacle where we as citizens saw $20 million of public funds wasted negligently to produce only a concrete slab. People who brought shame again to Liverpool with our Council being sacked a second time in 30 years. These are the perverse "political animals" of the modern machine politics era. Where personal careers and Party interest are served first and foremost, and the public interest placed a poor last.

It is a political reality that the Labor Party is the "natural" party in Liverpool. The Labor MP for Liverpool, Paul Lynch MP, commands a 70% primary vote at the State Elections. He has drawn a public purse salary and allowances of some $1.25 million across a decade whilst representing Liverpool. How well are we doing? Enough said.

The last two Liverpool City Councils had Labor majorities that saw Council hand over $15 million to a bunch of football boofheads and a spivvy hanger-on for them to expend, including self payment of generous $400K salaries, without effective oversight. This is still shameful. Whilst Council was sacked there was no action taken by the Labor Party State Government to seek financial re-compensation from the persons most responsible, being the Mayor ( Paciullo) , the General Manager (Carr) and the Chairman of the Finance Committee (Waller). Political Party interests are themselves first, second and third, with the public interest last.

Concerning this Campaign, I cannot do it alone. I have no personal wealth to draw on. I will seek funding and support from the same people I am asking to vote for me to be the voice for them as leader of the Council. More on this soon.

In closing this first blog contribution, I bring to the people of Liverpool that most fundamental democratic property from way back in the days of Aristotle- choice. A choice with substance and over 28 years of active engagement in the civic and social development within Liverpool.

I will be publishing soon a summary of my civic activity across those 28 years.

Note: Outside of Council I was the main public voice against the Oasis operation. I experienced the cold shoulder from Councillors, Officers and some local business people who closed their eyes to what was going on. I am happy to answer any questions you may have concerning this long, costly and sad saga. I will be relating some of the more interesting snippets over time via this Blog.

My best wishes to you all.

Michael Byrne

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