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Above is Sefton Lane in Maghull in 1956. I lived in one of the houses (No.27) from December 1968 to April 1982. I recently purchased the photo on ebay.

The same shot 57 years later

The same shot 57 years later, remarkably with little traffic on the Lane as it is a very busy road these days.

Click to enlarge the photos

Regions would get their own minister

The Labour party has announced that nine English regions would get their own Government minister if the party were to win next year’s election. The network of “regional ministers” would form part of Ed Miliband’s drive to devolve power and bridge the north-south divide. They would champion their areas and supervise plans to transfer £20bn to “city regions” over five years to be spent on job-creation, housing and transport. Ministers would be appointed for London; the South-east; South-west; West Midlands; North-east; North-west; Yorkshire and Humber; East Midlands and the Eastern region. Meanwhile, an editorial in the FT calls on Whitehall to give more power to the UK’s cities. The piece argues that Whitehall has too much power over local spending and that larger cities need to have greater control over important areas such as housing, skills and infrastructure.

Well here we have the Party of centralist control seemingly saying it wants to give power away, but it does not take long to realise that what they are really saying is that they will send a Minister to supervise, direct and control things! Another smoke and mirror policy announcement I fear from an ever desperate Mr Miliband seeking attention.

Of course the regions of England need power devolving to them, of course Westminster is too powerful – Liberals have been arguing this for generations. But you don’t decentralise by sending a boss from London to oversee what the ‘plebs’ are up to and keep them on the straight and narrow. Real decentralisation gives power away and trusts people to make decisions that affect them their families and their communities. You trust them to make mistakes as well!

Of course Mr Miliband’s problem is that he does not trust his own Labour troops in the regions of England; give them too much power and the next thing they will be promoting socialist ideals and doing left wing things.

This all highlights Labour’s fundamental problem; a right wing leadership (which at times pretends to be left wing) with a left wing activist and councillor base which most of the time is forced to do right wing things!

With thanks to the LGiU

Having represented Lunt Village for a number of years now I am fully aware of the activities of those who choose to dump rubbish rather than dispose of it properly.

Lunt Village has long been a fly-tipping area in its back lanes that, until recently, connected it with Thornton. The new Switch Island to Thornton Link Road servers the linking single track road that once connected these two communities. The road has been shut for a couple of months now.

Household junk

Household junk

Shut it may be but the dumping continues much to the frustration of Lunt’s residents who keep me posted about the environmental crime.

BT phone directories

BT phone directories

Recently I toured the area from Lunt right through to Ince Blundell with a Sefton Council Environmental Protection Officer. The objective was to make her aware of the problem spots from my perspective but also for me to understand what she can do to help.

Builder's rubble

Builder’s rubble

We found the usual rubbish – builder’s rubble, tyres, some asbestos, household junk etc. but the Environmental Officer saw something that I may have overlooked. Yes I saw it but instead of my thinking why dump compost she was informing me that this was the remnants of a pot-farm! We found quite a lot of it and a distinctive smell could be noticed if the compost remains were disturbed. We also found huge numbers of BT telephone directories in a stream – it seems that someone may well have been paid to deliver them to houses but they could well have pocketed the money and delivered hundreds of the books to the stream that sits at the side of Longdale in Lunt Village.

Pot farm remains and tyres

Pot farm remains and tyres

The problem – Evidence! We desperately need registration numbers of the vehicles bringing rubbish to be dumped. The problem, however, is that the dumpers and fly-tippers tend to turn up at the dead of night when no one is around.

More Pot farm remains

More Pot farm remains

We have previously discussed covert surveillance and this will be looked at again. The trouble is it costs an arm and a leg. But if just one fly-tipper could be brought to court, fined and made a public show of maybe it would be a lesson to others?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/veteran-bootle-mp-joe-benton-6949406

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I was sad to see this Liverpool Echo headline and really do hope that Labour members in the Bootle Constituency are not trying to deselect Joe Benton MP.

I have commented before about Joe who is one of those politicians whom those of us in other political parties can honestly say is a good and decent man doing a good job for his constituents.

I do hope that Joe’s retirement will be a matter that he decides and that he does not become a victim of the ambitions of others.

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www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster

Maghull Community Radio asked Maghull’s Councillors to display a red carnation on 15th April and I am happy to support their request.

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Voters trust their local councils nearly twice as much as they do MPs, but most people believe politicians at all levels in England are liars, research by IPPR North has found. Years of expenses scandals and accusations of sleaze mean that only 36% of English adults have faith in the parliamentary political system, compared with 64% of people who trust local councils, according to the study. Just 15% of voters believe that government ministers tell the truth most or all of the time, compared with 24% believing the same of MPs; 28% of voters believe councillors usually tell the truth, it found.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 8

With thanks to the LGiU for this story

I always get a good feeling when the cricket season starts after a long winter. This year was all the better as my team Nottinghamshire won their opening Division 1 County Championship match against Lancashire.

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Notts had a poorish season last year last year in the County Championship and almost got themselves relegated to Division 2. Lancs on the other hand had a good season by winning the 2nd Division Championship and gaining promotion to Division 1.

The return match between Lancs and Notts is at Aigburth Cricket Ground in Liverpool on 13th July.

The fortunes of the Borough’s leading football club seem to be on the up after a number of good results recently.

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Not so long ago Southport were staring relegation from the Football Conference in the face and some of their long-suffering supporters feared the worst.

Today’s 2 – 0 win against Tamworth makes their tenure in the league look certain.

Probably the best known and historically most prominent Conservation Area in the Borough of Sefton is the one that the Borough is indeed named after.

St Helen’s Church is a delight with parts of it being well over 800 years old. If you get the chance to visit it please don’t miss out.

St. Helen's Church, Sefton

St. Helen’s Church, Sefton

I recall back in 1994 a team of handbell ringers from Arizona playing there and they were quite staggered with age of the church and its history. Their visit was as part of a tour involving Maghull’s accomplished hand Bell ringers. See their web site at:-

www.mphr.org.uk/

Ye olde Sephton Bowls Club

Ye olde Sephton Bowls Club

Punch Bowl Pub

Punch Bowl Pub

Punch Bowl Pub with St. Helen's Church

Punch Bowl Pub with St. Helen’s Church

These photos are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

I often wonder how many politicians of genuine independent thinking may be left as year on year their all-controlling political masters churn out and then demand that silly sound bites are used during every media interview or are placed within every press release.

‘The squeezed middle’ comes to mind as a present favourite but there others which are just as meaningless. Ed Miliband, poor chap, seems to be fed a diet of them and looks so wooden as he tries to sneak them into every interview. But he is far from being alone as senior Tories do it just as ham fistedly. Sadly, I fear it is taking root in senior Lib Dems too.

Of course it is not a new stunt ‘the Pound in your pocket’ comes to mind and ‘never had it so good’ as well but what worries me is that such pointless/meaningless phrases, which easily slip off the tongue, are now just everyday language to our political leaders.

An MP who comes to mind who you would have to try hard to get to do sound bites is John Pugh of Southport, his independence of mind and thought is not easily contained or compromised. But I digress; the issue here is that politicians use sound bites to duck issues, to mud sling and to avoid answering questions.

Why though do the media let them get away with it? Surely, a blatant sound biting stunt from a senior politician would benefit from a firm rebuff along the lines of ‘yes that childlike sound bite is all very well but it does you no credit as a supposedly serious senior politician’! Imagine the howls of indignation and protest, but so long as such media put-downs were fairly handed out across the political spectrum (which of course they would not be) would it not make the sound bite politicians far more wary about trying to take us all for soft Joe’s and Jane’s?

Sadly, many in the media often serve us just as poorly as our political leaders, because of their own political/proprietor bias and unwillingness to take on those in power. As a free thinking Liberal one can despair at the poor quality of public debate either as it comes from politicians or as it is reported by the media. We are indeed poorly served.

I originally wrote this posting for Liberal England blog site where it was published, see this link:-

www.liberalengland.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/guest-post-we-are-all-poorer-for-sound.html

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