I must admit to having had quiet a laugh when I read that Labour’s new Leader wants Lib Dems to work with him, but for a critical and well balanced assessment of how we Lib Dems react to such an ‘appeal’ check out Richard Kemp’s (our Leader on the Local Government Association) view by following the link to his blog. By the way Sefton has given notice to the LGA of its withdrawal from the organisation to save cash.
But all this made me think about why we Lib Dems are vital to British politics and then out of the blue I got talking to a young woman who gave me a very sound reason why Lib Dems are vital. She said, each Labour Government ends in economic failure and each Conservative Government ends in social failure. Her view was that the Coalition Government may well be a very positive thing as it kicks the Tory right wing into the long grass and allows the social conscience of the Lib Dems to positively influence the political compass of Government.
One further thought, if we go back to 1997 when Tony Blair swept to power even those of us very much opposed to Labour/New Labour hoped for some positive change after the Conservative’s latest ‘social failure’. At first the signs were good but of course it all went down hill and effectively ended with the appalling Iraq war, which the Tories to their shame supported whilst we Lib Dems were left to stand alone against an illegal war.
Blair was, of course, was no socialist more a mixture of Social and Christian Democrat and he realised that Labour’s history of economic failure was a millstone around their neck. He set out to change all this by being seen to be tough on the economy and getting close to the banking community. For a while it worked but when the bankers started to put the economy at risk Blair and Brown did nothing to reign them in, instead they, in effect, ‘backed the bankers’ who were in the process of destroying our economy. This together with Labour’s high levels of spending and borrowing is at the heart of why we Lib Dems hold Labour responsible for our present economic troubles. It is also why we laugh when Ed reaches out to us and why all those terrible job losses in the public sector are really Labour’s job losses!
On Thursday I was treated to a briefing about this new Act and what it means for both public and private sector organisations. The briefing was put on at Bootle Town Hall by Hill Dickinson Solicitors and whilst the subject may at face value seem quite dry the hour long event was very interesting indeed.
Many folks think that bribery and corruption are rife in public life yet in my time as a Sefton Councillor I can hardly recall it ever being issue. I do however remember a story told to me many years ago by a chap who used to be a Borough Councillor. It seems that this chap was also on the Planning Committee and some daft beggar approached him saying words to the effect that if you can get my application thorough I will do some work on your house for free. The Councillor was a little taken aback so took some advice and the next thing that happened was that the person making the offer got a call from the police!
May I thank Hill Dickinson for inviting me to their event; I am sure it will have been a useful contribution towards ensuring that public life continues to be substantially free of corruption.
May I say that I am pleased with the share of the vote we Lib Dems got in this by-election. 31.9% is slightly raised from the General Election result of last May and clearly it shows that the Lib Dem vote is holding up despite us having to take all the tough decisions that Labour have been ducking. Another bad result for the Tories though; their heads must be down in Sefton as their local blood-letting has been followed by a very poor result for them in this by-election.
I managed to get over there to help the Lib Dem cause once so I can’t claim that I made a big impact on the result of this by-election but as I say I am quite chuffed with the result and our share of the vote.
There is an hilarious article in this week’s Crosby Champion newspaper where local Lib Dem campaigner (and ace snooker player I might add) Jack Colbert has been ‘outed’ by a local Conservative Councillor for being Chairman of Crosby Conservative Club. The sad Tory seems to think that the ‘outing’ of Jack will shine badly on him but of course the opposite is true.
We all knew Jack had ‘taken over’ the Tory Club from the inside as he has been going there together with former Labour and Conservative Councillors for years! Indeed, Jack was asked to become Chairman of a Club that is, I am told, disaffiliating from the Tory Party! This reminds me of another local Con’ Club in Maghull that has dropped the name Conservative and now calls itself Kennsington House Social Club. Frank Hornby helped found that one by the way.
Its been a bad week for Sefton Tories with 1 councillor resigning the Tory Whip, 3 being suspended and now Jack taking over their Club but best of all is Jack’s one liner when contacted by the press:-
“I only go for three reasons; because there’s cheap ale, good snooker tables and no Conservatives!”
Just a bit of an update. As you may recall Sefton’s Cabinet recently agreed to fund (using Government money) a number new play areas aimed at older children with 4 of the new play areas being in the East Parishes – Maghull (2), Lydiate (1), Aintree Village (1).
The problem was that the money (£33,000 per play area) was having to be spent by 31st March 2011. This short timescale was a problem to enable the projects to be properly developed, by the 3 Parish Councils who own the parks involved, so I asked Sefton’s Chief Exec’ to extend that deadline to allow more time. That she has agreed to and the projects can now be taken forward in a more sensible timescale as required. I am pleased to have been able to assist the 3 Parish Councils over this.
This should allow Andrew Blackburn who is guiding the Maghull & Lydiate projects and Terry Baldwin’s Team in Aintree to successfully bring forward the projects.
I have been asked a few times recently about the Trust and how it is progressing, so here is a brief update.
* We are negotiating with an eminent collector of Meccano to buy some of his collection.
* We are looking into how we can provide display facilities in the Hornby Room of Meadows Leisure Centre in Maghull. For those who don’t know if you visit Meadows the Hornby Room is the first on the left after you have gone through the main doors. There is nothing to see yet but that is what we (myself and my fellow Trustees Les French, John Keogh, Mo Kundi and Cllr. Len Green) are working on
* We are still on the look out for donations of Hornby items and memorabilia from the public so please get in touch with me if you have anything you would like to donate to the Trust.
* We are very grateful for the help and support we have been given by both Sefton Borough and Maghull Town Councils. We also want to acknowledge the positive encouragement that we have had from National Museums Liverpool.
Check my previous postings about the Hornby Trust.