Lydiate – Village Center Site – Separating dogs from children

Regular readers of this blog site may recall my previous posting (of April 2017) about the conflict there has been between dogs and children on this site. It was really all about that small minority of dog walkers who do not clean up after their dogs. Here’s that previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/04/23/lydiate-dog-fouling-of-park-surrounding-lydiate-village-centre-site/

The solution? A fence that has now been in place for a while. You can see it in this shot:-

Reverse this phrase – ‘Labour gathering Momentum’

www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/25/momentum-loyalty-test-would-be-mps-labour-corbyn

The Guardian has this interesting piece on its web site.

That Labour is ‘suffering’ another period of entryism akin to that it had ‘trouble’ with in the 1980’s (Militant) is a given. But entryism and the radical changing of direction of political parties is nothing new although Labour in particular does seem have periods where what it believed in yesterday is no longer what it believes in today more often than other parties. It’s social democrat and hard left wings seem to be in continual battles to be top dog you might say.

But if you look at the Tories now they are nothing like the political party of Heath or even Major. Often now referred to as ‘Bluekip’ and at times leaning worryingly towards fascism is it not reasonable to look upon all those UKIP supporters and activists joining and voting Tory as entyists too?

And then there was the Clegg period running the Lib Dems. Apart from that period being an utter disaster for the Party there were what seemed to be very genuine fears amongst the party membership and indeed the electorate that what had been a genuine party of the center left under say Kennedy, Grimmond etc. had been hauled over to the right, certainly in economic policy areas. Not quite entryism but a significant and truly unwise experiment which may well take years to ‘wear off’ with left leaning liberal voters.

Momentum gathering Labour

So policy lurches in political parties are nothing new as there are other examples across all the main political parties if you delve into their pasts. However, is what is happening within Labour of far greater significance? I ask as the process within the party under Momentum does seem to be much more far reaching. Not so much Labour gathering Momentum but Momentum gathering Labour.

But is there anything fundamentally wrong with Momentum, if they are the dominant creed within Labour these days (and we assume they are), demanding loyalty to their policy agenda before Labour candidates are selected/reselected to fight elections for the party? There seems to be a logic to that argument to me, although it does significantly change what Labour have often referred to as their ‘broad church’ where once they tolerated and even celebrated a membership with vastly differing views.

Employee Ownership – This needs Liberally promoting yet again

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/budget-liberal-dog-that-hasnt-barked.html

Iain Brodie Browne has the opinion piece on his blog site – Birkdale Focus -accessible via the link above

This cause together with the promotion of cooperatives and mutuals is what made he realise I was a Liberal back in 1979 when I was wondering as a young lad where my true political home was.

The us and them approach to work by both the Tories and Labour seemed so negative to me and it still does now. And having spent 42 years years as an active trade unionist in the public sector (22 of those as a Branch Secretary) I have not seen a more positive way to re-balance our workplaces, our economy and our society.

So thanks to Iain for running this up the Liberal flagpole once again because its time is now and it will always be so.

Driver only operation of trains – Have ASLEF shafted fellow trade union RMT?

Readers of this blog site will know I have been keeping a close eye on Driver Only Operation (DOO) of trains, with particular reference to the industrial dispute involving franchise operator Merseyrail and the RMT union where removal of train guards is planned when new Stadler rolling stock is delivered in a couple of years time.

Merseyrail’s new Stadler Trains, to be delivered in a couple of years time, are at the heart of the dispute about driver only operated trains.

In case you are not up to speed a brief recap – Merseytravel the transport committee of the Liverpool City Region (a public sector body) decided to accept a tender for new trains that can/will run without train guards. Unsurprisingly, the RMT union which represents train guards said we are not having that. Merseytravel in effect then passed the dispute, which they had created, onto Merseyrail the private sector franchise operator of trains on Merseyside – a sort this out, we are washing our hands of it type situation if ever I saw one. So Merseyrail find themselves in dispute with their own train guards union over a matter (that they had little say in?) but one that they have to accept and in effect justify and promote! The dispute is ongoing with little sign of a solution so far despite many Merseyrail RMT strike days.

So what’s ASLEF got to do with this dispute. Well they represent train drivers and on the infamous Southern rail franchise where the most significant dispute over DOO has been taking place over a long time period a settlement has recently been reached with ASLEF. It in effect buys them out of the dispute down on Southern. And buys them out could seemingly not be a more appropriate phrase as they, the train drivers, have gained a 28.5% pay rise over 3 years! What’s more we are told that other than in exceptional circumstances a second safety trained member of staff (an On Board Supervisor or OBS) will be on board all Southern trains – is that not all but alternative speak for a train guard?

Ironically, the Southern dispute was being propped up by the Department for Transport who were seemingly out to break trade union refusal to accept more DOO trains. Well it’s cost the DfT quite a few bob in the end and train guards with a different name but doing a remarkably similar job!

The RMT union though are far from happy, not least with their comrades in ASLEF who they seem to see as having taken the King’s Shilling so to speak.

So how will the dispute resolution on Southern affect Merseyrail? Well you can bet the RMT are probably more motivated to fight on than they were before, if their members will continue to back prolonged strike action. The guards and indeed RMT seem to be holding the public support they have had since the dispute started as rail users, particularly female ones, want to keep an on-board second person for customer safety reasons. Merseyrail are only offering this facility on some trains, where problems and disorder are more likely as far as I can see. On that basis resolution of the dispute would seem to hang on Merseyrail extending the second on-board member of staff to all trains?

As a lifelong trade unionist seeing ASLEF and the RMT being caught in a divide and rule type situation is unfortunate. However, sadly trade unions do have the ability to act in very selfish ways that they usually claim to be very much opposed to and it seems that the old adage ‘everyone has their price’ still applies.

So Merseytravel/Merseyrail. Let’s bring this dispute to an end. Time to back off and put second on-board safety critical member of staff on every one of your new Stadler trains and you can call them whatever you like so long as they look and act like train guards.

Merseyrail this Christmas – Things to watch out for when planning a journey

Maghull North Station site on 4th December with a train running through from Ormskirk.

Be prepared especially if you are using the Liverpool Ormskirk Line – the link below to the Merseyrail site may help

www.merseyrail.org/plan-your-journey/merseyrail-christmas-services.aspx

In particular please keep this in mind:-

Planned Engineering Work
Maghull – Ormskirk

Wednesday 27 December until Sunday 7 January 2018

Preparation for the new Maghull North station will take place between December 27th 2017 and January 7th 2018. Rail replacement buses will run between Ormskirk and Maghull stations.

Passengers are advised that to reach their destination station at their normal time, they will need to catch the rail replacement bus at their origin station 20 minutes earlier than their usual train.

And spare a thought for the Mersey Avenue residents who are having a tough time because of the construction works associated with the new Maghull North Station.

With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting

Maghull – Its Wind Orchestra packs out Palm House again

Liverpool’s Sefton Park Palm House was packed out today for another performance by Maghull’s very own community wind orchestra.

This lovely venue really seems to suit MWO and they have quite a following these days. BTW I leaned today that they have been in existence for nearly 40 years and there were 85 of them playing today. In 2018, to celebrate their 40th anniversary, MWO will be playing a one-off special concert at Liverpool’s Philharmonic hall.

Christmas music and some scores from films were the order of the day for this latest performance. Always nice to hear them and to run into some old friends and former work colleagues. I had not seen Phil Davidson for two or 3 years but have run into him twice this week and it turns out he’s a fan of MWO.

Click on the photos to enlarge them