Brexit – Labour have a bloody cheek having already backed the Tory’s Hard Brexit at any cost!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39398049

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

I despair I really do! The party has that has back the Tories pretty much every inch of the way towards Brexit now has the bare-faced cheek to talk about what they will not support about Brexit.

Hey Mr. Starmer that horse has bolted with the Labour Leadership riding it! What’s the point in locking the stable door now, unless you are trying to cover Labour’s tracks.

Labour – Goodness me they seem very troubled

It goes without saying that if UKIP were not in the mess that they are the press would be all over Labour’s internal troubles even more than they have been. So Labour must be glad of UKIP continually grabbing the political misery headlines (with the help of a BBC obsessed by UKIP) as it helps keep their troubles under the radar somewhat.

But just look at the facts, they are startling and they show how deeply troubled the Labour Party is despite it having a terrible far right Tory Party Government to hit against.

Here are just some of their troubles in no particular order as it is so difficult to know where to start and how to rank their difficulties.

* Is it me or does their Deputy Leader have difficulties being loyal to their Leader? Because that’s how it looks to me.
* On Brexit, why do Labour feel that their best interests and those of the UK are served by backing our far right Tory Government?
* How do you end up with a political party which has a Leader from the left whilst the vast majority of his MP’s are not of the left?
* How many times do you have to amend the membership of the Shadow Cabinet as Labour MP’s quit or are asked to leave.
* Just how unclear does a political party have to be about its policies? It seems that no sooner does their Leader say something than other MP’s and Shadow Cabinet members are queuing up to make their disagreement known.
* How come Labour seems to have almost forgotten that it’s the Official Opposition to the Tories in Parliament?
* How does an opposition party manage to lose a Parliamentary seat to the Government of the day (Copeland) – such has not happened for many a year.
* Why are Labour MP’s resigning mid-term (Copeland and Stoke so far) in seats held by Labour for generations.
* What on earth were Labour doing in the Stoke by-election trying to look for all the world as though they were a UKIP-lite Party?

And more locally

* How come that noises from within Sefton Central Labour are so openly negative about their chances in the future?
* It may only have been a Town Council by-election in Prescot last Thursday but Labour lost a seat to the Lib Dems by a huge margin. The Lib Dems took 68% of the votes cast with Labour tumbling down to just 28%!
* Why are Labour sources predicting that they will probably lose the Sefton Seat at the next election when the incumbent Labour MP is sat on a huge majority?
* How come Labour activists are openly speaking of their party coming out of the next General Election with 120 seats or less?

I could go on but this list is enough to make any political party wonder if it has a future.

My assessment of Labour is this. They have elected a Leader of the left but hardly a competent one, so the move leftwards has been made far more difficult than it needed to have been. Indeed, with so many Labour MP’s being not of the left (Blairites) a hardly functioning leadership keeps getting shot full of holes; not from Tories, Lib Dem’s or the SNP but from its own disgruntled ranks!

Labour has always prided itself on being both a broad church and having strong internal loyalty. The broad church is now the problem as the left and right wings of Labour’s congregation really can’t stick each other and loyalty well that’s very much a thing of the past. Interestingly, that once fierce loyalty came from the trade union movement that gave birth to the Labour Party and it was based on the fact that if the early trade unionists did not stand together at all costs they would be defeated.

The electorate generally does not like divided political parties so unsurprisingly, other than Labour’s core vote which will vote for it almost no matter what the Party stands for, progressive voters in particular are turning their back on Labour. What’s more Labour’s membership is falling too and the Lib Dem’s (and to a much smaller extent the Greens) are benefiting from that as people join them.

So what does Labour have to do to start to put itself back together? Well that depends on what it wants to be and there’s certainly no agreement there amongst Labour’s MP’s and members. The vast majority of their MP’s want a return to some form of a centrist/Blairite-type Party – just don’t mention the Iraq War or privatisation of parts of the NHS though! The vast majority of Labour’s members on the other hand want it to be an obviously socialist party. I think poor old Ed Miliband did try to bridge the huge gulf by nudging Labour leftwards but it was a hopeless compromise and as we all know the wrong Miliband had won their Leadership race back then and he was going nowhere.

Having been a member of a political party that pressed a huge self-destruct button (labeled Tuition Fees) and which only just survived it I can recall being in the self-dug hole and that almost unstoppable urge to dig it deeper. But the difference with that Liberal suicide attempt and the one that Labour is engaged in is that we Lib Dems stayed remarkably united even during our darkest hours.

Labour may be many things but united it is certainly not!

Can you help Bill?

I must admit to being quite shocked this week when the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper dropped through my letter box, indeed it was something that was not in it that really concerned me.

There was no picture involving Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson and that disturbed me so I wonder how Bill must feel.

But we can all do something about this by looking for photo opportunities for our MP, so there’s a challenge for those of us who flicked through every page this week looking for Bill.

You would think he would have an employee whose job it would be to find the photo opportunities, but if he’s not got one maybe be should recruit one soon. Just a thought:-)))

Lydiate – Land North of Turnbridge Road – Our response to planning application for 34 dwellings

Trees taken out at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road

I thought it may help others (who may wish to make their own comments) if I published here the representations that Sheila and I have made to Sefton Council’s Planners with regard to the recent planning application for this site.

Tree felling machinery at work on the site in September 2016.

I am sure others will have additional ideas about how their representations should be framed but this is what we have said:-

*****

Planning Services
Sefton Council
Magdalen House
30 Trinity Road
Bootle
L20 3NL

Yr Ref DC/201700456

Land North of Turnbridge Road Maghull – Site within Lydiate Civil Parish

We write to make representations on the planning application as invited by your letter of 17th March.

Protection of the Green Belt

Firstly, our understanding is that the site is presently within Green Belt but that Sefton Council intends to remove it from such protection. This is clearly an unwelcome move and we oppose the reduction of the Maghull/Lydiate Green Belt.

Wooded nature of the site prior to September 2016

Secondly, this site was significantly wooded (as it had been for very many years) until a huge number of trees were felled in September 2016. Our understanding is that such works were undertaken without a licence from the Forestry Commission and that the felling has been subject of an investigation by said Forestry Commission. Our view is that the felled trees need to be replaced in significant numbers and to achieve this the number of properties to be constructed on the site should be reduced to accommodate a greater number of trees than is presently being proposed. The sight lines from the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and indeed on all sides of the development should replicate the wooded views prior to the felling. The fencing which presently abuts the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path will also need careful consideration so that it is both secure but does not preclude the natural tree/shrub line from being the true screening of the site. In other words the starting point for consideration of the soft landscaping of this site should be that which was there prior to the seemingly unlicensed felling that took place last autumn, not from the state of the site as it is now i.e. following the felling. The Forestry Commission report on the site, following the felling, obviously needs to be accessed and taken into account in the assessment of this application.

Drainage issues

Thirdly, it is vital that the stream/drainage ditch that arrives on this site from underneath the canal is in no way hindered in its flow through to Maghull Brook, indeed this watercourse needs to be protected and kept clear both during and after the construction of the properties. Similar comments obviously go for Maghull Brook too of course. If this is not achieved the previous flooding issues suffered by properties in High Banks and Southport Road (documented by SMBC Drainage Engineer Sam Dimba) could well make an unwelcome return.

3 storey apartments

Fourthly, no properties adjoining this proposed development site, or indeed that are close to it, are more than 2 stories high so the roof line/height of the development needs to be pegged back to that of the surrounding Maghull & Lydiate properties. This is therefore an objection to the proposal to build a three storey block of 9 apartments on the site.

Construction traffic access

Fifthly, access to this site for construction purposes is clearly going to be problematic due to the presence of two weight limited canal swing bridges at Bells Lane and Green Lane. These bridges go out of service at times due to vehicles crossing them that are too heavy. There is obviously every opportunity for construction vehicles to make this situation worse for all concerned locally if they try to use the bridges. One alternative that may be under consideration is to take construction traffic through the Green Park Estate and thereby worryingly close to two primary schools – Green Park & St. John Bosco. However, this is clearly a concern due to the narrow nature of the estate roads and the congestion in Green Lane, Green Link, West Meade and Round Meade at schools times. The other alternative, a temporary road off Bells Lane for construction traffic, also raises issues that will need to carefully considered due to the narrow nature of Bells Lane and a weight limited canal swing bridge previously mentioned. It is also the case that roads such as Turnbridge Road and Greenbank Avenue could be hugely and detrimentally impacted on by construction traffic if access is agreed via Green Lane/The Green Park Estate. This is clearly an issue that will need to be fully addressed prior to any construction traffic accessing the site. What’s more the developer will need to be transparent in defining how construction traffic access will be properly managed/policed. This will require a clear and effective contact process for residents to be able to both report and stop any transgressions of the finally agreed access route(s).

Clearly our primary consideration is the protection of the Green Belt as defined prior to the present Sefton Local Plan being developed. However, should Sefton Council be determined to take this site out of the Green Belt and release it for the development of housing we hope that notice will be taken of the representations in this letter.

In summary the major issues are:-

* Protection of the Green Belt.
* The replacement of the many recently felled trees on the site.
* Perimeter fencing being secure but not obscuring the natural wooded view of the site. Wooded sight lines surrounding the site prior to September 2016 being replicated.
* Open drainage steams/ditches not being compromised during construction or indeed after.
* The 3 storey apartments being reduced to 2 storey.
* Access to the site during construction being very carefully managed.

Yours sincerely

Tony & Sheila Robertson

Merseyrail – The continuing RMT dispute & an interesting short video of the new trains that have sparked it

Merseyrail’s new Stadler Train

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyrail-hit-strike-grand-national-12775553

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above

Can’t help thinking that Merseytravel (as opposed to Merseyrail) in effect fired the starting gun for this dispute by not finding an agreement with the guards union RMT before they ordered trains that would operate without guards.

Maghull – Volunteer work on the ‘Meadow’ behind Sefton Drive

I have posted a few times recently about the work of the Merseyside North Volunteers who have been trying to tidy up/clean up the the start of the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull behind Sefton Drive.

I went to have a look at their work a few days ago and here are a couple of photos which show how much bramble, rubbish and overgrowth has been cleared away and of course the seats that they have erected too. It’s looking good.

Looking north towards Lydiate Station site with Sefton Drive to the right. Much bramble clearance is evident.

Time for a sit down. Theses seats were only put in in the past few days but I made use of them talking to a fellow cyclist who was off to Southport along the Cheshire Lines Path.

The Merseyside North Volunteers work with the environmental charity Sustrans who created the Cheshire Lines Path.