Bernard Hogan-Howe

When I heard that Bernard had got the top Policing job in England I thought good luck to him. I was impressed with him during his period as Chief Constable of Merseyside and remember only too well how he turned up in Maghull on one occasion when there was some trouble in KGV Park with youths. He was certainly hands on!

I know that he had a keen eye on his officers as well and came down hard on those who were not up to scratch or worse, corrupt.

So my best wishes to him; it is a tough job being London’s top Cop, a job that has brought a number of his predecessors into deep waters. I will be surprised though if Bernard is not a success, he has what it takes from what I have seen.

Merseytravel are watching you! (and me)

My good friend Cllr. John Dodd (Meols ward in Southport) is an opposition Lib Dem member of that somewhat struggling local authority organisation Merseytravel of which much has been written in recent times as it has staggered from one crisis to the next. I could not resist posting what John said to me in an e-mail yesterday as it shows that Big Brother is alive and well in Merseytravel monitoring us Lib Dems. Of course I have recently posted about its Chairman (who is also a Sefton Councillor) treating the whole of Sefton Council to readings from Iain Brodie-Brown’s Birkdale Focus Blog so we must assume that many hours are put aside at Merseytravel checking on who is saying what about them. Who knows it may be full time job for someone! This is what John had to say to me:-

At Merseytravel’s authority meeting this afternoon, the new committee structure was passed with an all party agreement.  Mark Dowd, as chair of the authority, announced the Labour party nominees for chair and vice chair of committees.  Although Mark Dowd has relinquished the chair of Rail Services and Customer Forum (Sefton), therefore losing 2 chair Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA’s), he is now vice chair of Rail Services (SRA), so overall he has relinquished just one SRA.

Due to my writing on the Meols ward blog that I welcome the new committee structure, I was requested by the monitoring officer to issue the following personal statement at the start of the meeting:  “Although I have stated on my ward blog that I welcome the new proposed committee structure, I have come here with an open mind”.  Merseytravel must be using officer’s time to observe councillor’s web sites.

Lancashire County Champions

Congratulations to Lancashire County Cricket Club on becoming County Champions today. It’s 77 years since they won it outright – 1934!

As a Nottighamshire supporter who saw his team win it last year and one who has many Lancashire supporting friends I can share in their delight tonight despite the fact Notts, in beating Lancs at Southport a few weeks ago, nearly put paid to the Lancs dreams.

And Yorkshire got relegated to Division 2 as well!

‘It’s the [Sefton] economy stupid’ to paraphrase Bill Clinton

Now who said this just a few hours ago?
“You have to be ruthless, focusing on the investments that transform growth potential: transport, energy, digital communications. Roads and rail so manufacturers can transfer goods. Better broadband so small, high-tech companies can flourish. Renewable energy so low-carbon industry can too.
If you modernise this kind of infrastructure you stimulate activity in the shorter term and you build systems high growth industries can use for years to come. Transport schemes announced in the Spending Review, for example, will deliver major boosts to growth. Like the Switch Island link road in Merseyside, where £20m of Government investment will generate 35 times that in economic benefits”
It is nice to know that that the project that I fought for over a number of years at both local and regional level is now being used as an exemplar by the Nick Clegg our Deputy Prime Minister. Yes, we won this battle following years of maybe, maybe the Coalition Government, as one of its first decisions, stumped up the money and building work will be starting in the near future.

Changing as it tries to survive – Merseytravel

Let’s be clear it is good that overly bureaucratic Merseytravel has realised that it needs to change with the times. Over 30 Committees are now to be reduced to just 8 and Merseytravel, despite only making the changes because of pressure from others, has done the right thing.

BUT if Merseytravel wants to taken seriously again after all its recent embarrassments it needs to drop the legal action that it is funding against one of its own members! The issue, if there is a legal issue (which I very much doubt), is between the Chairman and the other member – it is not for Merseytravel to take legal action, spending public money, on such a matter.

Come on Merseytravel, you have to keep changing to survive. One good change does not solve all of your problems.