An economy which has to give welfare to those in work effectively subsidies rich corporate companies who refuse to pay their employees enough to live upon.

If you feel that our economy is failing the poorest in our society and underinvestinging in our vital public services then read on and have a look at the link below to a video from the Tax Justice Network:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcWr3Yad2WY&feature=youtu.be

If you think our economy reasonably and fairly distributes wealth, provides excellent public services and looks after those who are less fortunate then surely you’ll not have read this far. But if you hold such views and have got this far and even looked at the video you’ll probably be spitting feathers by now!

Now you may be not be surprised to learn that this old Social Liberal and former trade union officer thinks the video actually hits a very important nail squarely on the head.

The fault-line in our economy is oft pointed at as starting with Thatcherism and has been developed by every government since. To quote a phrase from the video we have been on ‘a race to the bottom’, in my view, for 40 years or more. In that time the poor in comparison with the super-rich have been progressively getting poorer as the economic gap has widened as a direct consequence of governmental policy.

I don’t expect you to agree with me if you have done well out of an economic system designed to do what it has done unless of course you have a social conscience as well as wealth that is.

What I like about the video is that it paints a picture which makes it very clear that our political classes across all the major parties have bought into the economic structures which have delivered the the state we are in. The capitalist model is now being run globally in an extreme form which only benefits massive corporations and our politicians, across the political spectrum, have made it happen. It’s no use jumping up and down about the evils of Thatcherism as many are prone to do when we have have been voting for alternative supposedly progressive parties which have effectively been delivering versions of the same thing!

What the video does not address though is that moving forward our capitalist system is going to have to change fundamentally to combat climate change and the our climate crisis. Investing in oil and coal for example will have to stop in favour of renewable energy and it will require governmental action to make this happen. Just look at Australia, a country literally on fire but which mines massive amounts of coal on which its economy is very much reliant and which is the direct cause of its present and indeed future environmental crisis!

In my view the economic/social model which works well is that used in differing ways across the Scandinavian countries.

Liberalism and socialism go their separate ways in two specific areas I might add. Liberals believe in individual freedom (with responsibilities of course) whilst socialists believe in the collective/authoritarian model with policy being decided centrally and handed down to people. We also promote very different economic models as Liberals will back individual freedom to invest and innovate whereas socialists will want to centralise economic policy controlling most if not all aspects of investment and innovation. What we seem to have under our present economic model is actually too much freedom to invest irresponsibly and against our wider environmental and social interests with too little governmental guidance and direction especially when it comes to the environment and the distribution of wealth.

If you are comfortably off you may well be spluttering into your coffee having got to the end of this posting!

My thanks to Stephen Hesketh for the lead to this posting.

Access to the Port of Liverpool – 15 years on from Strategic Access Study – Time to reassess due to Climate Crisis

I was recently asked to assist a campaigner who is a part of the fight against Highways England’s plan to build a new road right through Rimrose Valley Country Park. The ask was for me to help with obtaining a copy of a 2004 report on the options for transport access to the Port of Liverpool.

Rimrose Valley Country Park on a lovely Sunday morning. A Lone cyclist can be seen in the distance.

Firstly, I had to obtain a copy of the report and with a little help that was achieved.

The report is titled ‘PORT OF LIVERPOOL STRATEGIC TRANSPORT ACCESS STUDY Phase 3 Final Report’. It looked at 3 options for providing improved access to the Port of Liverpool and it comes down on the side of putting a new road through the Rimrose Valley. This is of course the option now being pursued by Highways England and which is causing so much controversy and objections.

I think it fair to say that I’m a big supporter of Rimrose Valley Country Park and love cycling through it, so it could be said that my opinions are somewhat biased in favour of the campaign group Rimrose Valley Friends who are leading the fight against the new road. In other words I’m not claiming that this piece is of an independent nature.

The report summarises the work undertaken by a team of consultants, lead by FaberMaunsell, for the study’s steering group comprising: • Sefton Borough Council; • Liverpool City Council; • Highways Agency (now Highways England); • Strategic Rail Authority; • Merseytravel; and • Atlantic Gateway.

Three strategies emerged from this work:

• Strategy 1 (Modal Transfer, Mitigation And Management) – to maximise the benefits and improvements where major highway investment is considered either unacceptable or undeliverable. This strategy combines rail and public passenger transport initiatives with traffic management, environmental mitigation and policy and enforcement but no significant investment in highway infrastructure which would generate additional capacity.

• Strategy 2 (Highway – A5036(T) On Line Improvements) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with link and junction improvements principally on the A5036 (T) to improve capacity within the corridor and therefore reduce delay and congestion.

• Strategy 3 (Major Highway – Rimrose Valley) – taking the best elements of Strategy 1 and combining them with the construction of a new road through the Rimrose Valley from Switch Island to the Princess Way/Bridge Road roundabout to relieve the existing key routes of a significant proportion of the port-bound traffic.

Clearly, there’s a danger of reading a 15 year old report and thinking that all it looked at then (agree with its conclusions or not) is just as relevant now. The big issue is of course the climate change/crisis we are facing and the need to restrict/cease use of petrol and diesel engined vehicles. This is now a matter of public policy, as opposed it being an issue within scientific and environmental community as it was back in the early 2000’s. For me this very real green issue is, without considering any other matter, a clear reason to re-examine what the options should be to improve access to the Port of Liverpool. And of course the recent delay in constructing the new road, caused by the legal action taken to stop it, has created a time frame which could be used to conduct a reassessment, so there really is no excuse for pursuing a project that in effect predates our climate crisis.

All walking and cycling destinations from the main cycle path in the Country Park.

I don’t think I learned a great deal more than I knew already from re-reading the report (with 15 years between reads) but all the same it was useful to reacquaint myself with the detail. I hope the report is of use to the Rimrose Valley Friends in their campaign work.

I had another lovely cycle ride through Rimrose Valley on the 4th August.

A cyclist’s life can be a trying one!

Cycling is now pretty much mainstream activity for commuting, leisure, fitness etc. and with us staring down the barrel of environmental disaster called climate change it is set to become an activity that the vast majority of us are going to have to engage with because it’s carbon neutral.

But unlike places like Holland our cycle networks are at best poor or absolutely bloody inadequate would probably be a better description. Of course I’ve highlighted such problems on this blog site previously and I’ve also commented on the tussle between vehicle drivers and cyclists too. On this latter subject just try to get your head around this:-

twitter.com/buejcoll/status/1125118323048505345

Frankly the ‘accident’ looks more like premeditated attempted murder to me and how the cyclist survived is close to miraculous. One can only hope the car driver is permanently off the road.

Bad drivers make bad cyclists in my experience, if they jump red lights when driving they are highly likely to do the same when riding. I know some drivers get upset with cyclists because they slow them down, some will even overtake cyclists far too closely and dangerously in frustration. They curse the cyclist when often they are actually the problem but as I say a poor cyclist is probably a poor driver too.

And returning to safe cycle routes, there’s one on Gorsey Lane in Netherton and here’s a photo of it together with a misleading sign:-

I’m actually stood with my bike at what seems to be the end of the Bus/Taxi/cycle lane but in reality the cycle lane continues as part of a widened shared pavement space with pedestrians, so why does the sign say end of cycle route Sefton Council?

Thanks to CJ for the lead to this posting.

Stop Press:- Only 30 minutes after posting this I was out on my bike (8.50am) and at the junction of Liverpool Road North and Granville Ave in Maghull a white van all but knocked me off the road! The driver overtook me on the junction and then pulled in half on the pavement right in front of me. How I managed to stop I don’t know. When I questioned him his response was to tell me to ‘get off the road’. I realised things could get out of hand so left it to return to the row of shops he seemed to be delivering to later. Sadly, having called at all the shops in the row (10am) I’ve not been able to identify his company. If only I’d got his registration number, this was clearly a dangerous driving Police matter in my opinion but he’s got away with it.

Climate Change is actually a far BIGGER challenge then Brexit

Whilst our mainly 2nd division political leaders grapple with Brexit a far bigger issue is being kicked further down the road because climate change will destroy the lives of millions if it is not addressed very firmly and very soon.

There is every danger that because our weak Parliamentary politicos talk of nothing but Brexit (other than Jez Corbyn who avoids all hard subjects) that it becomes the biggest political challenge – It’s NOT!

I was dragged out of watching the sad Little Englander world of Brexit by my old friend Phil Holden who sent me a link to a very interesting piece on the economics of climate change or more precisely how we will pay for trying to beat it before it kills us. Here’s that link to a blog posting by Paul De Grauwe:-

escoriallaan.blogspot.com/2018/12/who-should-pay-for-cost-of-climate.html

OK, the thrust of the blog posting was more about how we pay for saving the earth than about the desperate need to save it. And maybe we won’t save it all as we will continue to argue about who should pay……………..!

It’s not big and it’s certainly not clever to deny climate change facts

www.independent.co.uk/environment/nigel-lawson-climate-change-sceptics-global-temperatures-fall-false-claim-warming-gwpf-bbc-radio-4-a7894686.html

The Independent has the story on it’s web site – see link above

Well would you credit it more fake news but at least the peddler of it has fessed up.

‘Another £350 million a week for the health service moment!’ says Roy Connell

With thanks to Roy for the lead to this posting

Al Gore – Global Warming and how the rich are subverting our democracy

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/30/al-gore-interview-our-crumbling-planet-the-rich-have-subverted-all-reason-al-gore

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

Quote from the article ‘With the sequel to his blockbuster documentary An Inconvenient Truth about to be released, Al Gore tells Carole Cadwalladr how his role at the forefront of the fight against climate change consumes his life.’

I have long held the view that global warming is the greatest threat to the human race but it is often one that takes a political back seat in favour of less important but allegedly more immediate concerns. Just think how much you heard about it in the recent General Election – very little I would guess.

Yet ignoring it and denying it condemns future generations to a potentially hellish existence. That great mind Professor Steven Hawking predicted only recently that we will in effect destroy our home world and will have to find another one to ransack.

Anyone who is a climate change denier, in my view, is a threat to our future – end of.

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this story