Southport – For mild winters

The postcard depicted below is from the National Railway Museum’s collection

And the claim was as true then as it is now because the area around Southport generally does have milder winters. I say that as someone who has lived in the Nottinghamshire coalfield and Rochdale where winters really are winters.

But what also caught my eye about this postcard was the small print at the bottom because my old dad was the manager of Thomas Cook’s Lord Street shop in Liverpool from December 1968 to probably the early 1980’s when he moved to manage their shop in Southport. I’m guessing that there was no Thomas Cook shop in Southport at the time the postcard was published.

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Brexit and Sefton Central Labour Party

I hear that Formby Labour members voted for a 2nd Referendum recently. Not sure how comfortable or indeed uncomfortable that will make Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson.

I also understand that at a meeting in Aintree on 15th February that the Constituency Labour Party will be debating a similar motion.

I’ve been trying to find out what the MP’s views on Brexit are but 5 e-mails to his office have so far not brought back any answers.

I’m guessing that as the MP is a Shadow Minister in Corbyn’s team that he will be compelled to take his lead from his leader and we all know that Corbyn is a committed Brexiteer.

It will therefore be interesting to see what the CLP does. Does it follow the lead of its Formby members and call for a Peoples Vote thereby potentially putting its own MP in an embarrassing position or does it play it safe and back a Corbyn Brexit?

I imagine that such issues are live across the CLP’s throughout the UK with Labour being so split over Brexit. Having a Brexit leadership in the House of Commons but a membership which is vastly Remain by conviction must be a tough if not impossible square to circle.

When the Lib Dems started calling for a 2nd Referendum on the final deal, with an option to Remain, now quite some time ago, it then looked like the campaign would be just a Liberal one. How things change with many prominent Labour, Green and SNP members and MP’s joining what is now a genuine cross-party movement. Why even some prominent Tories are backing a Peoples Vote.

However, when the matter was recently debated on Sefton Council Labour & Tory councillors were firmly against backing a Peoples Vote/2nd Referendum. My posting from November 2018 refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/16/old-political-chums-band-together-on-sefton-council-to-block-peoples-vote-on-brexit/

Brexit is the biggest political issue of our times and it is tearing our two big political parties apart, so when push comes to shove which side of the fence will the Sefton Central Labour MP be on?

Lydiate – Altcar Lane flooding

The Lane was flooded yesterday and clearly, the water froze overnight. However, by this afternoon the road was clear again. This was the scene about 1.30pm today:-

But as you can see the water in the deep ditch is still very high. I had noticed how high it was last Monday but also saw an excavator seemingly trying to clear it then. I’m guessing a blockage in the drainage system is the cause?

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Switch Island – The accident hot spot where the obvious seems to have been all but ignored?

I’m probably getting near to doing this one to death but with Highways England having just spent a few £m on ‘upgrading’ it for safety reasons I’m struggling to see how they have effectively tackled speeding.

To my mind, one of the major issues at this junction has always been the approach speed of vehicles coming off the M57. Yes, I know that unfamiliarity with the junction (by infrequent users) and the complexity of it leads to accidents as well due to drivers veering from lane to lane. And it seems to be this aspect that Highways England has tried to address with new signage (although some say it has made things worse), lane lights etc. BUT the vital speeding aspect has seemingly been ‘addressed’ by just putting up large (and largely ignored) 50mph and 40 mph signs towards the end of the M57. That they are ignored is sadly a given.

The other day I was traveling from Maghull to the Aintree Retail Park so had to cross the end of the M57. As I waited at the lights to cross the M57 traffic two cars literally flew past at goodness knows what speed and the drivers must have been banking on having green lights right through to the junction and onto Brooms Cross Road because the speed they were going meant there was no way they were going to be stopping.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the M57 needs speed cameras at the end of it just like the M62 has at the Liverpool end just before the Rocket junction. So the question Highways England is why has this obvious safety aspect been ignored?

Oh and by the way, having spent all that money how come a street lamp has not been moved out of the middle of the cycle path yet around Switch Island? Highways England were informed of the need to sort this out well before they started the project by me and indeed by Sefton Council’s Rights of Way Officer.

Over to you Highways England…………

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting

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Council Tax – How many more political mouths will want feeding on Merseyside?

I recently raised the issue of our Metro Mayor wanting you to dig deeper into your pockets to pay for his staff, wages and office running costs but of course we also have a Police and Crime Commissioner too and guess what they want you to dig deeper as well! Here’s a link to my post regarding the Metro Mayor’s grab for your pocket:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/01/20/metro-mayor-tax-another-call-on-your-pocket/

As for the Police and Crime Commissioner here’s what they are demanding in the next Council tax year beginning April 2019:-

My point is that I am very far from convinced that we need a Police and Crime Commissioner and the jury is certainly out over the Metro Mayor post because the 3rd rate devolved powers to the Merseyside Mayor make it hard to justify the cost of having one.

Bizarrely, both posts are the creation of the Conservatives who used to claim they wanted to keep the rates/Council tax down!

Whilst I was never a member of if it, in my time as a Borough Councillor or Council leader, my impression was that the former Police Committee made up of councillors from across Merseyside worked well and it was one of those things that was not broken and did not need fixing. But the Tories knew best and had been taken in by the American way of running Council areas with elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners. Why they didn’t go the whole hog and call the P&CC’s Police Chiefs and give them a fancy uniform I don’t know.

But hey you get the grand positions and then surprise, surprise they want paying, they want to hire staff and they need premises to operate from. Seems the Tories have simply added folks to the public payroll and frankly what do we have to show for our generous ‘donations’ to either cause?

And before you ask, no I’m not saying that we all don’t have to chip in to run local services, it’s just that I don’t believe adding more glorified posts to the local payroll is the way to do it.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Click on the chart above to enlarge it

Liverpool – Its former St. James Station – Will it ever reopen?

The Liverpool Echo has the article (with the rather over-optimistic headline?) on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/inside-abandoned-st-james-station-15732458

I’ve posted about this long talked about reopening project before – here’s a link to my previous blog:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/09/08/liverpool-st-james-station/

The trouble with railway wish list projects like this is that they rarely move forward and what about the price tag – est £50m – for the new station! How on earth do we manage to get such a huge price tag for a new railway station? There must be something wrong with how railway infrastructure is procured in the UK?