Swinson – Time to stay strong as Brexit heats up

Now let me say this first, Swinson was not my preferred candidate to become Lib Dem Leader, but as my preferred candidate did not stand I voted for her over Ed Davy. Secondly, it’s a little early to say how she will do in the post which she won with a pretty huge majority. Best to say I’m a disloyal (I always see myself as being disloyal to my party by the way*) sceptic of her leadership but one who will applaud her if she becomes a good leader.

So what to make of the Swinson/Lucas/Corbyn tussle over how a government of national unity can be put together to defeat Johnson and No Deal Brexit. I think a fair assessment of the present position is to say that Corbyn will get involved if he can be the head of such a government and that the Green Leader agrees with Corbyn. Swinson however holds the view that Corbyn’s a too divisive a figure to be the at the head of such a movement and that she thinks a more widely accepted figure should do the job. She wants either Harriet Harman and/or Ken Clarke to do the leadership role.

A government of national unity to stop a No Deal Brexit will need dissident Tory MP’s to back it and whilst this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, based on the House of Commons arithmetic, it is also the key to why the potential leader of such a government should surely to be a widely accepted and trusted figure i.e. not a present opposition party leader.

I understand that Jeremy C wants to be PM just as Lucas and Swinson do too; why else would they be political leaders? However, the present Brexit crisis faced by the UK is not one where individual political ambitions are the most important thing. Indeed, the imminent danger of a No Deal Brexit is what needs to be stopped and clearly a non/less-contentious leader of a short-term government of national unity is required to do that.

Once you put a political leader up to do that job politicians will take sides especially if that person is seen to hold views way to the left of right of the center of UK politics. So telling Jeremy that he’s not the person for the job is a matter of political pragmatism for me because he’s not a man who politicians from differing political backgrounds can coalesce around. And if they can’t coalesce around him by implication his government is highly unlikely to commend a majority in our fractured House of Commons.

Sadly Lucas has misjudged this issue just as she did a few days ago when bizarrely she suggested an all women Cabinet to run the UK. Now don’t get me wrong, I do accept that women make better leaders than men because they are generally less likely to be politically tribal etc. But to suggest, as Caroline sadly did, that no men can be trusted to take on senior government positions is just not sensible or practical politics. Politics is the art of the possible, what Caroline was suggesting was clearly highly improbable.

The other problem with Jeremy is his political baggage associated with Brexit. Across the political spectrum people say he’s not had a good Brexit and has not handled the matter at all well. Significantly, this is often said by Labour Party members and supporters so it’s not just a opposition view of Jez. It also has to be remembered that Jez is at heart a Brexiteer and he wants what he calls a ‘Labour Brexit’, whatever that may mean. And there’s the rub because he’s not going to get the chance to negotiate a Labour Brexit until he wins a General Election and Labour winning such an election seems at best slight if present opinion polls are anything to go by.

Will Labour now sit back and say it’s our way or no way over a government of national unity or will they back off on their wish to crown Jeremy as PM for this interim emergency government?

For what my view is worth I think Swinson’s stance is right and that figures such as Clarke and/or Harman are best placed to try to put a Commons majority together to defeat a No Deal Brexit. I say this simply because her position is more logical, more likely to work and it’s the art of the possible rather than the improbable. And to balance my view of Swinson I remain highly sceptical of her seemingly strident anti-SNP views. I get that she’s a not a nationalist and is in favour of the Union but we need the SNP onside over Brexit, so poking them in the political eye regularly is not helpful.

But above all this the real elephant trap is that a Government of national unity which gets rid of No Deal Brexit could also be used as a platform to promote a Brexit Deal! If Swinson was involved in that it would finish her and the Lib Dems. Think about it, there are quite a few Labour and Tory MP’s out there who want to get rid of No Deal but who would be happy to get out of the EU with some form of a deal. They would probably be happy with Corbyn at the head of a Government as he’s on their side. Any Government temporary or otherwise which tries to negotiate a deal to leave the EU will end up in the same appalling mess that Teresa may found herself in. Swinson needs to be very cautious and ignore the Corbynite ritualistic tribal abuse presently being aimed at her. If she weakens she could easily end up enabling a Brexit deal of whatever kind and frankly no one will have any sympathy for her then.

Political tribalism has blighted UK politics for far too long. Of course other political parties have good ideas which should gain wide support but our tribal system teaches our politicians to slag off ideas from opposition politicians just because they are not ‘one of ours’. It’s time to do the right thing to save the UK from the mad idea that a No Deal Brexit will be fine. It won’t be – our public services will suffer, tax revenues will fall, exports will dry up, unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, workers rights will be chucked away, environmental and food regulations will be ripped up. Only the rich and powerful will benefit from a No Deal Brexit. And let’s not forget that any form of Brexit, with a deal or not, will cause all of these disaster scenarios to come into play to some extent – the best deal the UK has is the one it has now with the EU. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

* If you don’t get my disloyalty, it’s associated with my view that we should trust no one with power. Our job is to hold those who hold power to account, not to idolise them.

310 Bus Route – Liverpool to Maghull – in the days of Ribble

I picked up a copy of a book published in 2001 called ‘Glory Days – Transport in Liverpool’ not so long ago mainly due to my interest in local railways but on page 93 I saw a 310 Ribble bus with the destination ‘Park Lane Lodge’ on it.

Photo credit Arnold Richardson/Photobus

A query to a local bus expert confirmed that the photo was indeed taken in Maghull outside Northway Primary School at the junction of Dodds Lane and Moss Lane Lane. The bus used to terminate (having come from Liverpool) in Ribble days at the junction of Park Lane and Parkbourn.

The photo is undated but the bus is noted as being a 1959 example of a Leyland Atlantean, so the shot must be from the 1960’s. Behind the bus in the far background looks to be the roofs of houses on the Lathom Avenue Estate and nearer to the bus is Northway Primary School.

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for his help with this posting

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Greens Lane Downholland

The road surface outside Lavender Barns (just into West Lancs & therefore just outside Lydiate) is in a terrible state. Two parts of it have been patch repaired more times than is sensible and in places is more patch than original road surface. It’s really bad for cyclists I might add as you have to weave around the ruts and patches especially after rain. This what it looked like last Sunday:-

Greens Lane Downholland looking towards Lydiate.

The photo is looking towards Lydiate and indeed the boundary (where it becomes Eagar Lane) is just out of shot around the corner.

I’ve raised the matter with Lancashire County Council hoping that they’ll resurface this short section of the lane rather then keep patching it.

Maghull – Foot and Cyclepath to Maghull North Station

I keep on pressing for the promised footpath/cyclepath from Park Lane to the now far from new station to be opened up ASAP. Indeed, I’ve recently raised the matter with both Merseytravel and Sefton Council.

I went to have a look at where the path runs (from the far end of the station car park) towards Park Lane a few days ago and you can clearly see it together with the signs:-

The path was actually laid out back when the Ashworth South site was going to be a new prison so why on earth the present housing developer needs to restrict access to the Station via it beats me. Sefton Highways tell me it’s down to Persimmon Homes to say when the path becomes accessible and from that I’m guessing it forms a part of the site which will be adopted at some point by the Council along with roads and pavements.

I’ll keep on banging the drum………

Lydiate – Coppull Road Tree

News reaches me that Sefton Council is likely to remove a street tree in Coppull Road due to it leaning over and obstructing the pavement.

Now as a life-long tree-hugger this worries me but having looked at the tree I have to admit that something needs doing and removal looks to be the only safe way forward – with a replacement tree being provided too of course.

Lydiate & Great Altcar – Stenciled slogans on country lanes?

If you’ve walked, cycled or driven along lanes such as Pygons Hill Lane in Lydiate or Acres Lane in Great Altcar you may have, like me, noticed these slogans and wondered what they mean. They are not all the same but this one is in Pygons Hill Lane:-

Is this one of those situations where most folk out there know exactly what this means and I’m just in the dark?

And here’s another one in Longdale Lane, Lunt:-

When asked Sefton Council Highways Dept. had no idea.