Merseytravel – An interesting Rex Makin article in the Echo

It has taken that well known local legal guru Rex Makin, in his Liverpool Echo column of 4th March, to place before us a matter that has been kept quiet for too long.  

Rex tells us that that in the very recent past Labour needed the Tories to form a coalition with them on Merseytravel. That particular coalition was to keep the Lib Dems out when they had the largest number of councillors on the Transport Authority.

So for all Labour’s taunts about not working with the Tories here is an example of them doing just that. Of course they also ran Sefton Council in coalition with the Tories for 2 months in 2008 but that is also conveniently no longer mentioned in polite company!

Pennine Warrior

My Brother-In-Law has a boat and each summer my wife and I are invited to go sailing with them for a week or so. We have been doing it for a number of years now and a great break it always is.

The boat is moored up in Scotland between the Isle of Bute and the Mainland and we often visit Bute, Arran and small coastal communities along that part of the Scottish coast. I had never sailed at all until a few years ago but it is a joy even when the weather is poor as it can so often be in Scotland

Here are a few photos of Pennine Warrior and her Captain:-

Shining a light on a murky political world

I was contacted yesterday by a young person but, how should I put it, a seriously cheesed off young person. You see they had found out about what had happened at the Sefton Council budget meeting last Thursday that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Or more to the point what had not happened!

I was contacted because they wanted me to know how let down they felt with a political party that had promised all sorts but then delivered nothing. I refer of course to Labour making no budget proposals and not putting forward any ammendments to the proposals on the table. Indeed, the changes made as a consequence of lobbying and listening to concerned campaigners were all made by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Councillors.

Clearly, my correspondent had thought that they (Labour) would put forward proposals to help youth and disabled youth groups and the fact that they had not had made them very angry.

Labour brazenly exploited people for party political purposes throughout the budgetary process. It is all well and good promising to help community groups and concerned citizens but then to so abjectly ditch them when the crunch meeting came was utterly appalling.

The ‘M’ logo for Maghull – What does it mean and who designed it?

Only this week I was asked to explain the logo that you can see on Maghull’s boundary signs, Town Hall and Town Council vehicles to a curious local youngster.

Well it was designed by Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and adopted by Maghull Town Council quite a few years ago. It depicts, in representative form, a grey stone canal bridge with the blue being the canal. The yellow represents the Mayweed flower which is said to have been very prevalent in the Parish many years ago and may have been a contributory factor to the name Maghull.

A few years ago a photographer friend of mine turned the logo into a pictorial one using the real thing i.e. the canal going under Red Lion Bridge and a field of yellow flowers to represent Mayweed. It looks great so credit to Keith Page for his imaginative piece of work.

Labour did nothing to help those who wanted their voices heard

Last night’s Sefton Council meeting was little more than a farce. Many members of the public turned up to hear how the Council was going to react to the representations they had made over Children’s Centres, Youth Centres, Disability Groups and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme amongst other matters.

Their issues were addressed by a budget put forward by the Lib Dem and Conservative Groups on the balanced Council where no party has a majority. But Labour who had courted every special interest group and promised to fight for them all had no budget proposals to make! So having marched these special interest groups literally around some local streets in the Borough Labour then ditched them having made no proposals to help them what so ever when they had every chance to do just that. Cynical manipulation comes to mind.

So what did happen? Well the Lib Dem/Conservative budget agreed to conduct a full review of Sefton Children’s Centres with a view to making savings in the operation of them. The budget decision did not put any of Sefton’s Children’s Centres under threat of closure. In neighbouring Liverpool the Labour run Council gave 4 Childrens Centres the bullet in their budget this week. What Labour says is not what Labour does.

The budget also agreed to a redesign of Sefton’s Youth Service to both save money and make youth provision as up to date as possible within what will clearly be fewer resources. The savings required to be made by the Youth Service, which had originally been £1.4 in 2011/12 were reduced to £500,000 with an additional £500,000 in 2012/13. There are no preconceived ideas about how the Youth Service will be redesigned but young people will be involved in the process.

The future of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme will also be looked at via the Youth Service redesign with this aspect being noted as a priority issue. Children doing an award at present will be able to complete that process.

Disabled youth groups were also made a priority within the Youth Service redesign.

So concerns were addressed and campaigners have clearly been listened to. However, Labour not only failed to support these positive moves they actually voted against them! In the end they were preening themselves as though Militant of the 1980’s was back in charge of Labour locally. An utterly unbelievable carry on and an abdication of responsibility by Sefton’s Labour Group of councillors.

Sefton’s budget

In the run up to Sefton’s final budget meetings today I attended a debate in Southport with my Labour and Conservative counterparts on the Council last night. Whilst the meeting was organised by a group opposed to the Council’s savings and indeed public sector savings anywhere, I assume, we had a reasonably informed discussion.

Clearly some of the attendees were of the hard left i.e. Socialist Worker party etc. and at times it was almost impossible to reply to a question without hitting a raw nerve that brought back shouts. Having said that the meeting was in a church and was very well chaired by a young lady called Kath. But to get back to raw nerves, they were of course all to do with what the last Governmnet did. Just the mention of Labour getting too close to the bankers and not controlling them brought back heckling because some on the left just can’t accept that we are in the mess that we are because of greedy bankers and the last Labour Government.I have commented on this before as many on the left and hard left hated Labour when they were in Government yet they seek to defend Labour now. Odd things are happening on the left.

Returning to the budget I hope that what the Cabinet agreed this morning and Council will discuss tonight will help to address the concerns that have been expressed about Children’s Centres, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Youth Centres. All these, I would add, fall within the Labour controlled Portfolio of Children’s Services where the detached approach of the Labour Group throughout the budget process has at best been unhelpful in trying to resolve these issues.