So is Skem’ to get linked to Merseyrail? It’s still a wait and see

The old Skelmersdale Station – now long gone in the name of 1960’s progress!

The Liverpool Echo has the latest in what is clearly going to be a very long saga with at present an uncertain outcome – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/skelmersdale-could-finally-merseyrail-station-17549470

An economy which has to give welfare to those in work effectively subsidies rich corporate companies who refuse to pay their employees enough to live upon.

If you feel that our economy is failing the poorest in our society and underinvestinging in our vital public services then read on and have a look at the link below to a video from the Tax Justice Network:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcWr3Yad2WY&feature=youtu.be

If you think our economy reasonably and fairly distributes wealth, provides excellent public services and looks after those who are less fortunate then surely you’ll not have read this far. But if you hold such views and have got this far and even looked at the video you’ll probably be spitting feathers by now!

Now you may be not be surprised to learn that this old Social Liberal and former trade union officer thinks the video actually hits a very important nail squarely on the head.

The fault-line in our economy is oft pointed at as starting with Thatcherism and has been developed by every government since. To quote a phrase from the video we have been on ‘a race to the bottom’, in my view, for 40 years or more. In that time the poor in comparison with the super-rich have been progressively getting poorer as the economic gap has widened as a direct consequence of governmental policy.

I don’t expect you to agree with me if you have done well out of an economic system designed to do what it has done unless of course you have a social conscience as well as wealth that is.

What I like about the video is that it paints a picture which makes it very clear that our political classes across all the major parties have bought into the economic structures which have delivered the the state we are in. The capitalist model is now being run globally in an extreme form which only benefits massive corporations and our politicians, across the political spectrum, have made it happen. It’s no use jumping up and down about the evils of Thatcherism as many are prone to do when we have have been voting for alternative supposedly progressive parties which have effectively been delivering versions of the same thing!

What the video does not address though is that moving forward our capitalist system is going to have to change fundamentally to combat climate change and the our climate crisis. Investing in oil and coal for example will have to stop in favour of renewable energy and it will require governmental action to make this happen. Just look at Australia, a country literally on fire but which mines massive amounts of coal on which its economy is very much reliant and which is the direct cause of its present and indeed future environmental crisis!

In my view the economic/social model which works well is that used in differing ways across the Scandinavian countries.

Liberalism and socialism go their separate ways in two specific areas I might add. Liberals believe in individual freedom (with responsibilities of course) whilst socialists believe in the collective/authoritarian model with policy being decided centrally and handed down to people. We also promote very different economic models as Liberals will back individual freedom to invest and innovate whereas socialists will want to centralise economic policy controlling most if not all aspects of investment and innovation. What we seem to have under our present economic model is actually too much freedom to invest irresponsibly and against our wider environmental and social interests with too little governmental guidance and direction especially when it comes to the environment and the distribution of wealth.

If you are comfortably off you may well be spluttering into your coffee having got to the end of this posting!

My thanks to Stephen Hesketh for the lead to this posting.

Melling – St. Thomas’ Church Lych Gate

Melling folk will know that this lovely lych gate to St. Thomas & The Holy Rood Church on Melling Rock was attacked and burned by vandals last year. I watched the craftsmen repairing it last June:-

I also blogged about lych gates and their history a while back (Jan’ 2017) and here’s link back to that posting should you want to know more about them:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/01/17/sefton-church-brooms-cross-and-lich-lych-or-lyke-gates/

Looking at the new oak wood repairs a few days ago brought home to me the craftsmanship of the past which is still alive today.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Leeds Liverpool Canal swing bridge at Green Lane – Closure for repairs

Sign on Green Lane Maghull adjacent to canal swing bridge. A Maghull in Bloom planter can just be seen behind it.

I saw this sign and wondered what the long closure was all about. The Canal and River Trust website gives the answer and the link below refers:-

canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices/15189-bridge-15-methodist-swing-bridge-maghull-leeds-and-liverpool-canal

The odd thing is that the C&RT says the bridge will be closed for longer i.e. until 13th March? This longer period could just be for canal boats though? I’ve run this past Sefton’s Highway Engineers for clarification and will update when I know more.

Barge at Green Lane (Methodist Turn Bridge), Maghull

14/01/20 Update from Sefton Council:- The date on the C&RT link is for the closure of the actual canal which needs to be done in 1 phase as the bridge will need to remain in the canal closed position during the upgrade works.

The highway part of the bridge will be closed twice. Phase one to remove the working parts that require attention (27/1-7/2) Then it will be closed again (24/2 -11/3) to install the upgraded parts.

A floating walkway will be installed during the closures to minimise disruption for pedestrians. A diversion will be in place for vehicles.

Lydiate (and everywhere else) – The quest for speed and how it impacts on our lives

Southport Road, Lydiate

This is a matter I have oft thought about and not necessarily in the way you might think.

Yes, we all see the mad drivers blasting through our communities at a rate of knots neither aware or caring about the potential consequences of their actions. Indeed, in my own community of Lydiate there are growing concerns from Joe and Jane Public about irresponsible speeding along Southport Road and Moss Lane and I’m quite sure others can add to these two roads.

To his credit local Labour Parish Councillor Neil Spencer is trying to get the powers that be (Sefton Council and Merseyside Police) to address this problem and I’m with him all the way. I’ve previously tried to get Moss Lane’s speeding addressed and the rural part of it was reduced to 40mph a few years back. And my Parish Council colleague Edie Pope campaigned for the speed restriction to be reduced to 40mph along the section of Southport Road where it becomes Mairscough Lane because it’s a notorious accident black spot near the junction with Church Lane. But, and its a big but, bringing in lower speed restrictions does not stop the mad drivers who want to blast along at 50, 60 or even 70mph as they don’t really care. So good luck to Neil, let’s have another go at trying to make Lydiate’s roads safer.

Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

But to me this speeding problem is probably far more deeply seated in our way of life than we may realise. Everything has to be quick, immediate and now. Our working lives are all about doing things faster to save costs and boost productivity. We leave too shorter time to get from one place to another, probably because we are either too optimistic about how long a journey will take or because everything we do is at 90mph so to speak. In turn all this causes much stress an anxiety so should we really be surprised if it produces more and more racing car drivers on our streets? Just a thought……..

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop from 2019, which was meant to make drivers think about their speed.

Merseyrail Tour raising funds for Alder Hey

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station

I’ve been informed that there’s a rail tour coming up on the Merseyrail network on Sunday 26th January 2020. The tour will be raising funds for Merseyrail’s charity of the year, Alder Hey Children’s charity.

The tour can be booked from the Branch Line Society (BLS) website www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php and is charged at £25.08 per person. This is a relatively cheap price as in previous years the BLS tour on the MR network has been charged at a higher price.

The tour involves coverage of all lines of the MR network including the stock interchange line (transfer between the Northern and Wirral line, not usually used for passenger service), Sandhills reverse sidings, arrival/departure from platform 2 at Hunts Cross and use of a number of less used platforms on the Wirral line. Full details of the tour are provided in the link above.

Depending on the progress with the introduction of the new fleet this time next year, this could be the last rail tour operated by the Class 507/508’s.

The previous tour on Merseyrail (The Branch Line Society’s Bootle Brush hauled by Class 47’s) in December 2019 prompted a number of people comment on the lack of notice of such tours taking place so here’s some notice of the up and coming one.

My thanks to Craig for the lead to this posting

A Merseyrail electric Class 507 EMU at Bootle New Strand Station.