Words were had at last Wednesday’s Maghull Town Council meeting with the Labour administration and I coming to verbal blows about the carry on over the Town’s firework display (which after all the fuss is now back on) and also over the weeks of closure of Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee Bar that operates from Maghull Town Hall.
Sadly, I also had to remind the Labour Mayor that it was not her job to make party political remarks as we all look to Mayors to be impartial whilst in their year of office.
The trouble started (over the firework display) about 3 weeks ago when Labour spin doctors issued a press release saying that the annual Town fireworks display was under threat and that if sponsors could not be urgently found it would not go ahead this year. They even claimed that the problem was Government funding cuts! A bit rich when Parish and Town Councils don’t get any funding from Government and the only money that had been lost was what we all saw as temporary fireworks funding from Sefton Council which the Town Council had benefited from over the past couple of years. For donkey’s years the Town Council had happily funded its own display having taken it over from the Round Table in the early 1990’s.
Anyway we Lib Dems hit the roof when we heard that Labour were trying to kill off the display. Fortunately, the Labour back tracking started almost immediately though. By the time we got to last last Wednesday’s Town Council meeting the written report, saying the event should be cancelled (and the money used as a budget saving) had been overturned and now Labour were fully supporting us opposition Lib Dems in saying that the firework display should go ahead.
Thank goodness for that but what on earth was all the original fuss about? It could hardly have been money as originally claimed as a useful question (from a Labour member) brought forth an answer from an independent officer of the Council that the Labour run Council is running, in the present financial year, with an unallocated under spend/reserve of between £130,000 and £150,000.
So we got there in the end and the firework display has been saved but it left a nasty taste in the mouth when it became apparent that Labour were seemingly trying to push the blame for the proposal to ditch the fireworks display on to the Town Clerk when it was clearly their own public statement that had caused all the problems in the first place.
As to the closure of the Youth Coffee Bar during the summer, the fact is that we Lib Dems on the Council did not accept the Labour view that the Coffee Bar had to be closed for Health and Safety reasons during building work on the Town Hall roof. Our view was that youths climbing the scaffolding was not going to stop by simply shutting the Coffee Bar, as it also happened on evenings when the Coffee Bar was not open. Other solutions to ensure the scaffolding was not readily accessible should have been pursued. Our view has not changed and shouting at us because we have consistently challenged the ruling Labour Group’s view on this matter is not going to change our minds. The fact is that had we Lib Dems been running the Council the Youth Coffee Bar, which we provided at the request of local youngsters, would not have been shut.
And this was at a parish council meeting!