Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The shock departure of Culture Company Events boss Lee Forde is a huge blow after the resignation yesterday of Joe Anderson.
Anderson's departure was a major political setback, destroying the cross-party consensus which had been created when the Culture nomination was won in 2004.
At a stroke it has given the green light to a ferocious political battle over 2008, for at least the next 18 months.
Forde's departure is a huge body blow to the nuts and bolts of the organisation - he was one of the few competent senior managers still working in the Millennium House Fun Palace.
More than that, Forde was of the city. He knows Liverpool, understands Liverpool and has been active and professional in trying to improve the city's cultural offer.
He was central to all the plans for events in the city over the next 18 months - Mathew Street, Tall Ships, the opening and closing ceremonies and all the other public events that the city usually stages.
However, never one to hide his feelings (a true Scouser then, ed) he has made no secret of his increasing cynicism about the way the Culture Company was being run.
He has rolled his eyes as the well-paid likes of the Harbarrowboy, the bullshitter Donaldson and the invisible man communications boss (we have actually forgotten his name! Paul something isn't it? ed) have made Liverpool a laughing stock.
Forde had made no secret of his contempt for their amateurish machinations, their constant changes of mind, their bright ideas that are world-class one day and jettisoned as easily the next, and their awe-inspiring ability to spend tens of thousands on the third rate.
But most of his colleagues have been completely taken aback by his walk-out. He had just had enough of all the 'fannying about' as he memorably described it.
Certainly Forde's Number 2, Eddy Grant will have no hesitation in now telling the Harbarrowboy exactly where to go if he is expected to do Ford's job as well.
Which means the Harbarrowboy will either give the job to someone who is patently not up to it from within the organisation, or he will throw a huge wad of money at an outside consultant to try and dig them out of the deep do-do.
But given the particular circumstances - six months away from the start of 2008 and right in the middle of the historic 800th birthday celebrations (we joke, ed) few sensible operators will want to volunteer for the job.
It is a poisoned chalice, even for someone like Andy Redhead, a professional operator who staged the Robbie Williams world tour and has worked for the city before.
Unless - someone else, someone completely different, can save the day.
Step forward Chas Cole.....
PS We will be returning soon to the subject of the Culture Company's spiralling salary costs and the astonishing invoices for chauffeurs and posh dinners, which Joe Anderson exposed.