Merseyrail – Should their fare structure copy Bandwagon Burnham’s Manchester approach?

Merseyrail Class 508 EMU at Maghull Station


The Liverpool Echo has the story on its website – see link below

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/1-ticket-manchester-commuters-been-15395226

Well, I’m certainly no fan of Andy Burnham, who has always struck me as popularist who jumps from policy to policy depending on which way the political wind is blowing, but has his latest pronouncement as Mayor of Greater Manchester hit the right note in terms of trying to reduce congestion on our roads?

A Manchester Metrolink Tram

Here’s a link to Transport for Greater Manchester’s website with details of their low fare scheme:-

www.tfgm.com/press-release/early-bird

Would I be right that Mersey Metro Mayor was caught on the hop by the Echo in effect challenging him to come up with a similar deal for Merseyside? The fact that a spokesperson from Merseytravel responded for the Mayor makes he think so.

My own view is that public transport needs to be cheap, reliable, convenient and of high quality and frequency if we are to get folk to leave their environmentally challenging cars at home.

Devolution frustrations as seen by Jim Hancock and Richard Kemp

jimhancock.co.uk/devolution-frustrations/

The article is on Jim’s blog site accessed via the link above

I remember Jim, as others will, from his BBC North West Regional News days and respect his views. I’m sure he and other devolution skeptics (and I include myself here) are right to think that government is not that keen on the process of devolving power to the regions of England, except that is when it suits them to be able to blame the regions for whatever the troubles of the day are.

It might seem odd me being a Liberal, having been brought up on a diet of power needing to be exercised at the lowest possible level of government, but I opposed the devolution deal for the Liverpool City Region. I opposed it as it was a second if not third rate deal that was hardly worth having. My views have not changed.

Yes we now have a City Region Mayor but for me that post, whomever holds it, is a bit like the Police and Crime Commissioner one in that no one really thinks either will bring any positive change to Merseyside.

What has also concerned me since first hearing that government wanted a city region mayor for Merseyside is that it would make the sub-region more Liverpool centric with the towns and communities surrounding Liverpool always playing second fiddle. I’ve seen little to change that point of view either. Bringing more power and influence to Liverpool is often at the expense of its surrounding communities.

Devolution as presently practiced in England is indeed half hearted and deeply flawed.

And later on the same day that I published this posting I found that Cllr. Richard Kemp was on a similar theme:-

richardkemp.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/the-north-wests-two-metro-mayors-add-little-to-the-development-of-liverpool-and-manchester-city-regions/

£300m for Northern Powerhouse Rail will go nowhere

To say that I was utterly and completely underwhelmed by the announcement of this ‘new’ money to assist with the so called Northern Powerhouse Rail project yesterday at the Tory Party conference is to put it politely.

£300m will go nowhere with a massive civil engineering project such as this

I knew I was right when the BBC said Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham had welcomed it – I would not want to be on the same page as Mr Burnham.

I must qualify as one of the North West Region’s greatest skeptics with regard to the Northern Powerhouse, or Northern Poorhouse as I like to call it. Just look at the Billions upon Billions of £’s spent on railways in the South East of England; it so dwarfs the tiny amounts being brushed off the Chancellor’s table in a northerly direction as to make us look like we are indeed being treated like inmates of a poorhouse.

No I’m sorry but I want to see investment into the North of England in the Billions of £’s from Government before I will join the likes of the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester in welcoming what to date has been small beer monies at best.

Merseytravel Staff Briefing

Merseytravel logo

Don’t you think this is an odd article to appear in a Merseytravel staff briefing, it even name drops the Labour nomination for Manchester Mayor? I wonder if all the other to be declared candidates will get such publicity from this taxation funded public sector body?

Labour selects Mayoral candidate

Steve Rotheram will be Labour’s candidate in next year’s Liverpool City Region mayoral election. The MP for Walton beat Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and MP for Wavertree Luciana Berger in a vote of Labour members in the region, with the results announced on Wednesday (10th August). Fellow MP Andy Burnham won the Manchester mayoral nomination for Labour on Tuesday. The other parties have yet to decide their candidates for the election which will be held on 4th May 2017.

Oh Mr Burnham did you really think the Northern Poorhouse was anything more than spin?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/burnham-warns-going-back-northern-11697806

I am not known for my support of Andy Burnham but this piece in the Echo really does make me wonder how he and indeed other Labour worthies ever came to the conclusion that George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse was anything more than party political froth.

Talked about for a handful of years what on earth has been delivered for the ‘North’ that would not have happened anyway? Any medium to large project you can think of has been linked to the Northern Powerhouse in recent times and just about every council policy document you look at name drops it. But that does not mean that things have been achieved because of what some now refer to as the Northern ‘Poorhouse’.

Right wing Labour politicians are clutching at straws by begging for a policy devised by a now ousted Tory Chancellor and that was of little substance to be saved.

Labour’s new civil war over racism and power

To see senior Labour figures literally kicking verbal lumps out of each other may be entertaining to those of us who despise the authoritarian Labour Party but what is going on is more than a spat about racism vitally important though that is.

For a party supposedly of the left to be openly at war over racism is bizarre in itself but I go back 30 years or more to one of the most telling things I was told as a young politician. It came from a young Labour Party member who quite openly said to me that there were more racists in his party than in the other political party or words to that effect. And it seems to have come to pass many years later played out on our TV screens with senior Labour figures making such allegations about others in that comradely Party.

But of course this is just the latest spat in Labour’s ongoing civil war. The Red Tories want Corbyn out, they want him to look like he can’t lead his party, they are making the Labour Party impossible to lead.

Yes Corbyn is no great leader of men and women but neither is he the appalling man many of his own MP’s are trying to make him look like. He probably has many principles which his own party is trying to make him compromise. They may, in many cases, be principles that we libertarians could not agree with but at least he has principles.

Burnham is quite obviously jockeying for position as he can smell a possible end to Corbyn’s leadership and he needs to reinvent himself again after getting such a pasting in the last leadership election. He’s even using left wing rhetoric these days; very different to that he used when he lost to Corbyn and even further away from his days as a Blairite Minister privatising the NHS.

The majority of Labour MP’s want their party to swing back to the right, to be Blairite under a more palatable title. No more New Labour by name but very much so in policy terms.

My argument is that a right wing Labour Party is no good for the UK. Yes they may be able to unseat some Tories but why do we need Red Tories to replace Blue Tories? The changes would only be at the margins.

What we need is a radical, diverse and yes yet more radical alternative to Labour settling back down as the just slightly better alternative to more Tory years. Canada has that alternative model and those of us who want open inclusive government should take note. Why even some Americans can see that a more radical path needs to be taken with the rise of Bernie Sanders in the Democrat Party. I am always amazed to hear Labour Party members arguing for Hilary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination.

Justin Trudeau did not come to power by being slightly less right wing than the Canadian Tories he did it by turning the Canadian Liberal Party into a radical party that is openly prepared to tear up old outdated policy stances.

Radical policies are not based on class war as Labour and its core supporters believe, they are based on true empowerment of people, celebrating diversity and getting voters to coalesce around a common radical and positive agenda. Labour are incapable of such an approach whether the left or right is running their show.

The UK is crying out for a Justine Trudeau type leader not talk of moderation and aiming for the center ground, or worse centre ground positioning dressed up by left wing rhetoric. Is Tim Farron up for that?