Letter from a Doctor! – Southport & Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust

A couple of days ago I got a call from a resident who was more than a little upset about a letter that had been received. The letter looked like it was from the above NHS Trust or at least it was dressed up so that the reader would most probably come to that conclusion. At the very least those who produced it wanted readers to think that the NHS Trust was linked to the letter.

The give away though was the ‘printed and published’ at the bottom which was the smallest I have personally seen on a piece of election literature because that was what the letter was. Indeed, it was published by our local Labour Party and was clearly intended to put the fear of god (assuming you have one) into those who would receive it about the future of the NHS.

And now there are more angry people about who have realised the letter is an electoral stunt that has put the NHS Trust in an embarrassing position. Yes, the doctor penning the letter worked for them but no he clearly did not have permission (and would never have got such permission) to use the Trust’s name for party political purposes.

Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust has now been forced to ask the press to help them explain to residents across the Sefton Central Constituency that they do not wish to be seen as being a party to the letter. But what on earth possessed the doctor to think that dragging his employer’s name into party politics would go down well? Surely, any working person be it in the public or private sectors would expect to end up on a gross misconduct charge if they did such a thing.

But the really sad part of this is that Labour chose to manipulate the NHS Trust for their own gain and they chose to do it in such a way as to frighten or offend those receiving it. I don’t think Labour thought through the fact that folks would be offended by the letter though…………………………..

Maghull Square Pay and Display – What will Labour do as pressure mounts?

Maghull’s Lib Dem councillors have launched an internet petition against the planned pay and display parking charges for Maghull’s shopping centre. The petition, which is at http://signme.org.uk/730, calls upon the Maghull Group Company to abandon the proposals and for Sefton’s Labour Leader to withdraw Council cooperation with the company over the charges.

In a separate move Lib Dem Councillors have been talking to residents who live in the Leighton Avenue and Towers Avenue area which, like Sandford Drive and Roedean Close, are directly behind the shopping centre and could well suffer from vehicles being parked in them to avoid the charges.

Cllr. Bruce Hubbard says “Residents are rightly upset by this out of the blue announcement about parking charges and they fear that as they live close to the shopping centre their roads will suffer from vehicles being parked there as drivers try to get around the charging.

What’s more we have now found out that the charges are likely to be imposed for 24 hours a day! This looks like a cash cow being prepared for milking to me.”

I have been in contact with a representative of a resident group who park their cars in the Square in the evenings when they go to the theatre by bus and the managing agents of the Square have told them that charges will be 24 hours a day. So it looks to me like locals are to be driven away from the shopping centre all day every day; what on earth is going on here?

It is important that Sefton Council, whom we are told has been involved in cooperating with the charging, comes off the fence and fights for Maghull and district residents. That is why we are calling on the Labour Leader of Sefton to withdraw the Council’s cooperation.

Frank Hornby Trust

The Heritage Centre at Meadows Leisure Centre - call the Centre for opening times before you set out as the room is a multi-use facility

Here is an update about the Trust’s activities as I am often asked about our progress.

Hornby fever seems to have grabbed Maghull good and proper, why even the former Everest Pub is now called the Frank Hornby and it was opened by the Trust’s very own Les French.

We are planning a model railway exhibition in November that Trustee Len Green is organising so more news about that in due course.

This week I met with a lady from the Heritage Lottery Fund together with fellow Trustees Mo Kundi and John Keogh. We were joined by Sefton’s Meadows Leisure Centre Manager who has, together with his staff, been a big supporter of the Trust.

The meeting was to discuss how we can put forward what will hopefully be a successful bid for Lottery funds to enable us carry out a full theme of the room we have use of in Meadows Leisure Centre. We are also looking to produce a piece of public artwork to place outside the Leisure Centre possibly looking akin to a Meccano built item.

But more important than anything will be engaging Maghull people, schools, children and private Hornby collectors in this process so we have quite a bit of background work to do before we can submit a bid to Lottery.

Like Maghull in Bloom working with the Hornby Trustees is a delight and it is certainly putting Maghull and its world famous resident firmly on the map.

More news as things develop.

Parkhaven Trust – A credit to Maghull

Yesterday I had a fascinating tour around the Parkhaven Trust’s buildings and grounds off Liverpool Road South/Sefton Lane, Maghull.

The Trust, which emerged from the former Maghull Homes, is well known to me as I worked there in a part time capacity from the age of 17 to my mid 30’s. Back then it was still a reasonably traditional facility for epileptic sufferers many of whom had been there for generations. Indeed, some of the residents had been put there in the days when some families found that having an epileptic amongst them was socially unacceptable. Thank goodness times have changed.

The Parkhaven Trust was hosting a meeting of the Sefton East Parishes Area Partnership and prior to the meeting we were treated to a tour of the state of the art facilities it has for people with disabilities. Much has changed since I worked there but it was a joy to see how the elderly and those who are less fortunate are being cared for. And I met a chap there whom I knew who was receiving care. He is a long-standing Maghull resident had some years ago come to play snooker with the residents many times.

The Trust is also engaging with the community and has provided ‘Growing Plots’ for local residents to rent at only £2 per week. They have already rented them all out and have a waiting list. The grounds, growing plots and greenhouses that are used to help those with learning difficulties are a real credit to the charity and Maghull in Bloom judges will be looking at them in 2012 as part of the Town bid for North West in Bloom.

But did you know that the Trust’s grounds are open to the general public to enjoy? They are so why not have a walk around them but please, if you take a dog, keep it on a lead.

Sefton Council – Discussing economics

Apart from the bizarre episode where Labour were backing the mega rich at the last Sefton Council meeting on 12th April (see my recent blog on bus passes) there was what turned out to be an interesting debate about the economic mess that we all find ourselves in.

Yes, there was the usual political mud slinging caused by the partisan and intemperate nature of Labour’s motion that we were debating but when that silliness had subsided there were 3 what I will call serious contributions to the debate.

The first was from the former Conservative Leader of the Council back in the 1980’s Sir Ron Watson who now sits as an Independent Conservative. His point was that instead of shouting at each other maybe we should lobby Government for a particular policy move i.e. that all of a tax payer’s ISA allowance could be put into a cash ISA instead of half of it having to be put into a more risky stocks and shares ISA. He said this would help the elderly who were getting a poor return on their savings and I agree with him.

The second contribution of note was from Patrick McKinley a Labour member who treated us to a thoughtful Keynesian economic analysis of the recession and what should be done to get out of it. If I read him correctly he was saying that Keynes economics would promote economic stimulus via more Government investment in the Country.

The final speech of note came from my Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem group on the Council Iain Brodie-Browne. Iain, did not disagree with Cllr. McKinley other than his conclusion i.e. Patrick’s Keynesian solution had a big flaw in it – it needed the Government to borrow more money to have the cash to invest. The problem being, and Labour just don’t seem to get this, is that Blair and Brown created a huge economic problem when they borrowed too much during the good times. Iain’s point was that whilst Keynes economics would lead you to borrow during the bad times Labour had, by their own fiscal policy, put GB in a position where it can’t borrow to the extent required now as we had already reached our borrowing in the good times.

We are borrowing now just to stay afloat, if we try to borrow too much (and Labour says quite oddly that the Coalition is borrowing too much now) we will simply pay high interest rates and push GB back into a bigger economic mess.

To a simple person like me I read this as Blair and Brown held down taxes but increased public expenditure. They then filled the gap with borrowing and because they did this when the economy was on the up we can’t borrow now, to the extent required, to smooth out the downturn. Or they spent what we had not got and now we have not got anything to spend when we need it! Thanks Blair and Brown and of course the dodgy bankers as well whom you only kept a ‘light touch’ eye on!

Belle Vue – An unforgettable trip to the dogs

Having never been to a dog racing meeting I decided what the hell let’s give it a go when an amateur photographer mate of mine asked me to tag along with him.

He is an excellent photographer; indeed we have some of his work up in our house. He is always looking for new photographic opportunities. So he was not going to the dog racing to lose his shirt more to get some good photos of the racing.

We went on Friday 13th! Anyway, we got in OK and went outside for the first 3 races so he could take his photos. What struck me was the speed those greyhounds run at; it is incredible. The dogs really seem to enjoy the running but a race is over in a couple of minutes. No sooner has it started than it has finished.

After, I think it was the first race, a dog was carried back towards the exit gate and we wondered what was wrong with it. So I asked the young woman carrying it. It had cramp she said and will be fine soon. And so it was only a minute later.

Soon after the 3rd race I went to find a gents and left my chum on his own. When I came back he had an odd story to tell me. He had been spoken to by Belle Vue Security about what he was taking photos of. He responded by saying he was simply an amateur photographer who had come to take photo’s of the racing. Security were not happy and asked him not to; they even asked him to delete a photo he had of the dog with cramp being carried! A protest along the lines of ‘I checked your web site specifically to ensure that I was aware of any photographic policy and there was nothing there to say photography was unwelcome’ got him nowhere and he was politely asked to stop it. It also seemed that if he had been using a simple instant camera that we all can carry in our pockets they would not have been particularly bothered but because his was a ‘proper’ camera they did not like it. What’s more they asked him how he got in without being searched! The reply was along the lines of ‘like everyone else as no one was being searched’!

We pondered on this strange turn of events and our conclusions were:-

• They thought we were animal rights activists looking to photo injured dogs for publicity purposes or
• They thought we were trying to identify dogs that could subsequently be stolen.

Whatever their motives were it was an odd experience where a perfectly innocent pastime was seemingly being interpreted as a threat by Belle Vue Security. Just goes to show what can happen when you are picked up on a CCTV camera!