Gun Crime – It’s an almost everyday event these days

The Liverpool Echo has the latest gun crime ‘event’ on its web site (this time in Bootle) see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shots-fired-bootle-street-children-14971390

Worryingly, there is every danger that we will start to see gun crime incidents as normal every day events as the media relentlessly churn them out. Normalising may creep up on us when we should be treating each event as totally unacceptable in a civilised society.

Liverpool – Austrian students attacked – The shameful march towards racism of Brexit Britain

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/gang-30-teen-yobs-attacked-14772049

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

It’s as though the day after the EU referendum the forces of racism felt that they had been given the green light to treat anyone who is not British and white as undesirables. I’ve read numerous pieces since then where increased racism has been linked to the Brexit vote and I fear that there really is a link.

What on earth was going on here? The attack was allegedly by 15 year old girls! It’s utterly appalling and brings shame on Merseyside which has long been a place to welcome visitors from far and wide. And remember children are not born racist, it is conditioned into them by those around them. In other words they have been taught to be intolerant appalling racists.

Better Days Ahead – Well there has to be surely

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMr3_5bO8fU

Above is a link to a most wonderful tune by jazz guitarist Norman Brown.

Hey things are more than a bit grim at present. The NHS is falling apart at the seams, the police are so under funded they struggle to protect us from crime, our schools are at breaking point with budget cuts, Northern would rather run buses than trains, Government is all at sea and their Official Opposition doesn’t seem to know how to oppose them. Trump keeps going bonkers, global warming is going to create a living hell for future generations and Brexit is going to see job losses, an economic downturn (yes we can keep going down!), less environmental protections…………. But you get my drift, as a progressive times have never been so tough – Thatcherism and Reaganomics were grim but we are are potentially on the road to far far worse.

So what do you do in the face of all this misery? You realise that there will be better days ahead as the electorate are sure to slam the brakes on whose they put in power and U-turn the political juggernaut away from the march towards fascism back to a progressive way forward. Well we’ve got to hope so because staying on the course the UK is presently on means a very poor outcome for us all but for the poor it does not bear thinking about!

But until May is put out of her misery and until Corbyn learns to oppose try listening to this tune by Norman Brown entitled Better Days Ahead, it will lift your weary soul…..

Gun Control – Can kids beat the gun loving American establishment

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43526413

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

Well can they beat the American gun culture that is so strong and more importantly so supported by the US political classes? We worry about our urban gun crime problems in cities like Liverpool (and Merseyside generally) where shootings are a weekly event but in comparison with the USA they are fortunately on a much smaller scale.

Maghull – Cheering on the new police station? No, remembering what we lost to rehouse the police!

The former Maghull Police Station in Westway, Maghull.

My letter to the Champion newspaper in response to all the cheering about the Town’s new Police Station

Dear Sir,

So Maghull has a brand new police station within Maghull Town Hall, but please forgive me if I don’t join in the cheering of Maghull Town Council and the local MP.

You see the Town lost a youth facility and a CAB help point to make way for the police to move into the Town Hall from Maghull Square.

Sorry I don’t see Maghull and district’s policing benefiting except that they will have lower overheads in their new premises. But where and when will the CAB facility be rehoused locally, many months after it was closed down in the Town Hall? And where are the youngsters now going that used to use the Youth facility?

This is at best a 2 – 1 defeat i.e. CAB and youth out – police in. You could even argue that it’s 3 – nil defeat as the police already had a home in Maghull and they were originally said to be downsizing to a shop unit.

I despair I really do.

Tony Robertson

Switch Island – Too complex and the junction with Brooms Cross Road does not work

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-42946503

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

During my time as a Sefton Councillor I was involved in pretty much all the activities which eventually led to the building of Brooms Cross Road.

It all started with us marching through Thornton to try to get the new road project back on the agenda of Sefton Council. It had previously fallen off that agenda with the demise of what was then called the ‘Blue Route’. That former project would have seen a great deal of tree loss through Ince Woods and it fell pretty much for that reason. Here’s a couple of photos of us marching back around the turn of the century:-

Cllr. Geoff Howe and a young me on this shot marching with Thornton residents. My placard says ‘83% of Thornton residents want a relief road’.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

The campaign gathered momentum and we managed to get all-party support for the new road (without damaging the woods) on the then balanced Sefton Council where no one party had a majority. Then I went, as Sefton Leader, to try to gain support from regional governmental bodies which existed at the time but are now defunct. We got that support.

I’ve read recently that some folks think that Sefton Council was asked to make a financial contribution to the project late on. In fact Sefton was always putting money into the project, indeed it was the promoter of the new road knowing full well it was going to have to put money in the pot.

The junction of the road with Switch Island has of course been the big issue especially as so many accidents have occurred there since the new road has been open and connected to an already complex junction.

Photo taken during the construction of Brooms Cross Road This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

I recall being shown a computer programme by the Highways Agency (now called Highways England) which predicted traffic flows and how they would change with the new road in place. I must admit to being sceptical at the time but the professional engineers said they had taken account of all the issues and that the plan would fly. It didn’t.

With the benefit of hindsight and the experience of watching what goes on at Switch Island my view is that the junction is simply too complex. What I mean by this is that new or irregular drivers encountering it have a bewildering array of signs and road markings to take on board. Unsurprisingly, they get things wrong and then have to swing across lanes, often without the due care required. Add into this the small minority of irresponsible regular users who expect to be able to fly through the junction at high speed (often running red lights) then you have a heady brew and accidents are always going to be on the cards.

The new lane indicator lights are innovative but how much they will actually help is yet to be seen. What I can’t get my head around is why speed/red light cameras were not been installed a long time ago. Surely dropping the vehicle approach speeds and taking the manic red light running out via such cameras would dramatically reduce the accidents, would it not?

Does Switch Island need fly-overs? Well yes it does and it has needed them for a long time now. Surely A5036/Dunningsbridge Rd docks trucks should be able to access the M58 without having to negotiate the island/junction and the same with traffic coming off the M57 wanting to travel down Brooms Cross Road.

And a final thought, beware of those promising to sort out Switch Island because with increased traffic it may only get worse, especially if no speed/red light cameras are installed.

Click on the photos to enlarge them