As the Comprehensive Spending Review hit us all a Sefton resident e-mailed me to ask if I was happy with the huge cuts in public expenditure. Happy, well obviously not as no one seeks public office to then take such unpopular decisions. However, knowing that such things have to done and having the courage to do them is a different and probably more important point.
Despite the savings being massive and their consequences far reaching the alternative them is what? You know they are not too dissimilar to what Labour had in mind to do if they had been re-elected although they now play a game of ‘we would not have cut this or that or the other’ without ever detailing what they would have done.
Of course the alternative was to put the UK on the same track as Greece i.e. one to almost complete financial melt-down. Just look at the facts, for every £300 the Government has been getting in as income it has been spending £400 and this has forced Government to borrow an eye watering £400million every day! In this financial year this will total extra borrowing of £150,000 million. It is staggering yet Labour still seem to be living in their own little world where money still seemingly grows on trees.
So the answer to the question is that the Coalition Government had no real choice because to do nothing or not enough would have created a far, far worse situation. Oh and just in case anyone thinks that I am in some way protected from the savings and cuts can I make it clear that I am employed in the public sector as are members of my family.
In these hard times some god news, Sefton has been awarded Fairtrade Borough status by the Fairtrade Foundation. I have long supported the principles of Fairtrade and have been a part of the steering group that has been promoting them in Sefton. So it’s thanks to the companies, community groups, churches and retailers who have helped us achieve this status. To celebrate I am having a Fairtrade mug of tea as a type this posting.
Today I was out with Children from Green Park Primary School and 6th Form Students of Maghull High School as they litter picked and planted bulbs along the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Green Lane, Maghull to Bells Lane, Lydiate. This was all part of a joint effort from the Schools in the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough to improve our local environment. An enjoyable time was had by all and it was great to be involved. Credit to Maghull, Melling and Lydiate Parish Councils for helping to fund the event and to the Pride of Sefton Charity for bringing along their excellent new canal barge for refreshment purposes. A good community day building on the local adult volunteer canal actions days first brought about by Cllr. Geoff Howe a couple of years ago.
Sadly, later in the day as I drove through Switch Island an accident had only recently happened and an ambulance and recovery truck were on the scene together with some friendly chaps from the Highways Agency who were stopping and directing traffic. I got to talk to one of the Highways Agency staff and what a nice guy. He was obviously used to dealing with accidents every day (fortunately this was not a bad one) but he kept us informed about what was going on, what he wanted us to do etc. Well done the Highways Agency they managed the unfortunate situation very well.
Whilst we all get carried away with the Country’s cash crisis there is a big danger that our greatest challenge becomes an issue that gets pushed onto the back burner. I refer, of course, to global warming. If we agonise over money for too long and fail to effectively make those even tougher decisions that are required, if we are to hand over the earth to future generations in anything like a livable condition, then we will have failed those future generations.
As the 20th October draws near Labour are cat calling, complaining, saying the savings are the wrong ones at the wrong time etc. etc. whilst still not saying where their savings would hit. Nothing new there then, as the way they have been carrying on since the election shows them to be in complete denial of what went on during their years of rule.
But from deep in the Labour’s inner workings comes their next attack. I am told it is an 8 page document that local Labour activists are expected to order and then deliver next weekend. I am sure that it is 99% written already despite the fact that none of us know what will be in the spending review. More ‘nothing to do with us gov’ and its those rotten beggars in the Coalition Government who are making too many cuts too soon’. I await my copy with interest assuming it will be going out in Sefton Central of course.
Which brings me to the Coalition itself. Is it a good thing? Yes, of course it is as the alternative would have been a disaster. No, I am not referring to the much talked about potential Lib Dem/Labour Coalition as that was never a runner anyway. It would have required the support of other nationalist political parties from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and would not have lasted a week! The alternative I refer to is if the Tories had won a majority with Cameron being a prisoner of the rabid right. We saw that in the 1980’s and none of us doubt what would have happened to the poor if it had been repeated. Of course, the rich would have done very well again thank you very much.
But what we have now is Cameron’s rabid right being blunted by the fairness agenda promoted by the Lib Dems in the Coalition Government something the left of the Tory Party can live with. So lets hear it for politicians working together as we hit the hardest financial times most of us can remember whilst recalling that Labour and the bankers had a huge hand in putting us in this mess.
Let’s for once ignore the party political battles over this road. Today I received a letter in the post (not an e-mail, a hand written letter!) from a person who has lived in Maghull since 1939, the letter recalls the history of this long awaited bit of highway right back to 1939! I am told that folks back then expected a road to be built northwards from the small island which is now known as Switch Island which would connect with the road to Southport. My correspondent thinks that the Second World War put a stop to it then and also goes on to say that a subsequent attempt to build the road had Thornton residents opposing it! You just can’t imagine that now can you as when I got involved in campaigning for the road in the late 199o’s it was Thornton residents leading the fight for the new road. So there you have it a bit of history and I am pleased that the resident shared it with me.