Four go in search of big ideas – A new radical book

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/four-go-in-search-of-big-ideas.html

1983 General Election campaigning in Southport with a young Iain Brodie Browne and the Shirley Williams.

My good friend Iain a local Lib Dem Sefton Councillor is one of the names behind this great new book. I’ve just had my copy delivered to me* – looking forward to a good read. You can read all about this radical way forward on Iain Brodie Brown’s web site ‘Birkdale Focus using the link above.

Former BBC and Liverpool Daily Post reporter/political commentator/writer Nick Hancock debating with Iain Brodie-Browne.

* I ordered my copy directly from the Social Liberal Forum web site – see link below:-

socialliberalforum.nationbuilder.com/big_ideas_buy

Birkdale – It’s tramway into Southport – An historic photo

Whilst at the Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day on 9th July I came across and purchased this photo of a horse drawn tram in Birkdale:-

Is this shot taken on Cemetery Road, Southport? Can it be dated by anyone?

Click on the scanned photo to enlarge it

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Here are links to my previous postings about Southport’s long-gone trams:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/24/more-on-southports-trams-with-a-wallasey-twist/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/14/sefton-the-only-tramway-in-the-borough-southport-pier-tram/

Sadly since my May 2014 posting about Southport’s Pier Tram it has also ceased to run and been disposed of. I understand this was said to be the result of it being too heavy for the aging pier.

BTW – Are the 3 chaps in the photo my old friends and Birkdale Ward Councillors, Richard Hands, Simon Shaw and Iain Brodie Brown?:-)))

2016 – A year to forget? Well yes, but there was the odd glimmer of hope

BAD NATIONAL & GLOBAL EVENTS

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* Given the biggest self-destruct button the UK electorate has probably ever been tempted by i.e the EU referendum – they pressed it!

* Sociopath Trump wins in America, seemingly with help from Putin in the Cremlin!

* We manage to get rid of a centrist (for a Conservative that is), if hardly competent, Tory Prime Minister (Cameron) for him to be replaced by someone who looks utterly lost, is in a job probably well above her pay grade and who is riding us off into a inglorious right wing sunset!

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* Our NHS and elderly social care system has been systematically neglected and left to wither on the vine by our clueless government whilst we chuck goodness knows how much money on a replacement for the Trident nuclear missile programme that will never be used. There are guilty people in all political parties over this.

AND GOOD NATIONAL & GLOBAL THINGS?

* Well Lib Dem anti-Brexit candidate Sarah Olney winning the Richmond Park Parliamentary by-election comes to mind.

* The beating the right took in the Austrian Presidential election was a pleasant if somewhat surprising turn of events.

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* Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shining a light for tolerant, inclusive and progressive politics from over the pond in Canada. Is there anyone else in power on the global stage who can match his progressive approach to running a country?

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* The low and high of Notts and England batsman James Taylor being struck down by an almost fatal undiagnosed heart condition and then him coming through it. Yes we have lost on brilliant batsman but so glad he is still alive. And yes I am an Notts supporter.

AND LOCAL LOWS AND HIGHS?

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb' a few years ago

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb’ a few years ago

* LOW – We had the depressing news that Labour-run Maghull Town Council was finally killing-off the innovative Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall which local youngsters had started 20+ years ago. And hey what a surprise (NOT) anti-social behaviour is a problem in the area of Maghull where it once operated!

St Catherine's otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

St Catherine’s otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

* HIGH – The ‘Friends of the Abbey’ in Lydiate gaining a Lottery grant to start the process of trying to conserve and preserve the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel for future generations.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

* LOW – The running down of and then appalling vandalism to Maghull’s once award winning public toilets in Leighton Avenue.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

* HIGH – The continuing success of the Maghull in Bloom and Maghull Station Volunteers as they try to improve Maghull’s environment.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 - Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 – Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

* LOW – The rubber stamping of the Sefton Local Plan which will ruin Green Belt and kill off some of the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. A black cloud for for environmental campaigners indeed.

Canal Bicentenary

* HIGH – The Bicentenary celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

On a personal note the start of 2016 was grim as I attended 4 funerals of people I knew in the first 4 months – former Lib Dem Councillors Joan Blackburn, David Rimmer and Kath Jones together with Lib Dem activist Susan Ashton. It finished with a further death this time of a relative in December whose funeral I could not get to because of traffic jams on the M6. But of course there were personal highs as well –

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* Being invited to play Santa for a session to help Maghull & Aughton Rotary Club and Maghull in Bloom fund raise was great fun.

Me sat in my old choir stall  at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat - if memory serves at all of course - it was over 40 years ago!

Me sat in my old choir stall at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat – if memory serves at all of course – it was over 40 years ago!

* Being invited to rejoin the choir of St Helen’s Church in Sefton Village, where I had been a choirboy in 1970, despite being an atheist was lovely. Obviously I politely declined.

Carl Cashman for Mersey Metro Mayor Launch 08 16 - Credit Charlie Green

* Helping a great young man to be selected as Lib Dem candidate for the Liverpool City Region Mayoral election to be held in May 2017. Carl Cashman is that young man. I have known him for some years now and am delighted he will be on the ballot paper.

Iain Brodie Brown - Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

Iain Brodie Brown – Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

* My old chum Iain Brodie Browne becoming Mayor of Sefton. A Liberal down to his boots and one of the most radical, capable and compassionate politicians I have ever come across.

So sadly 2016 has been a year of some very significant lows indeed. Some of those lows we will be grappling with the consequences of for maybe 10 years or more. Fortunately the odd bit of good news did filter through but surely 2017 has to be better?

Realignment of the left

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/realighnment-of-left.html

It’s no surprise that Cllr. Iain Brodie Browne is making and commenting on the case for realignment of the left. British politics is in a terrible mess and we are facing Tory (UKIP Lite) rule for many years to come. That should be a prospect to worry any progressive.

Have a read of Iain’s thinking and indeed that of other progressives, including the late great Jo Grimond, via the link above to Iain’s Birkdale Focus blog site.

If Labour can address its tribalistic approach to British politics there may be a chance for progressives to win a fight with our selfish, privileged, divisive Tory rulers. If it can’t then it’s probably going to be Tory rule for a long, long time indeed.

Iain’s reference to Neil Kinnock is interesting as I recall that he started off as very much a left wing MP who was anti-Europe. But he seemed to travel ever towards the right of his party. He also ended up working for the EU. BTW what on earth is it which makes some left wingers anti-EU? Makes no sense to me as surely socialism is supposed to be international. Maybe it’s that strand of socialism which is narrow inward looking and nationalistic?

Maghull – Canalfest almost became a swimming fest!

The organisers did a great job in the build up to yesterday’s celebrations and all was nicely set up for a grand day. Trouble is you can’t order the great British weather to turn up shinning and it turned up bucketing!

From 3pm it was very heavy rain but even so everyone seemed to be making the best of it and having fun. We certainly got wet and Scrummies refreshment marquee was full to bursting.

Packed into Scrummies refreshment tent

Packed into Scrummies refreshment tent

It was great to see all the barges, narrow boats and canal cruisers lined up along the edge of Maghull Cricket and Football field.

Neatly lined up

The Mayor of Sefton was in attendance (Iain Brodie Brown) and I wondered whether we could hastily organise a charity fund raising stall offering a prize for the person who could wring the most water out of the Mayor’s best suit!

His Worship r

Why not visit Iain’s own Mayoral blog site for his thoughts on the day – see link below:-

themayoralblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/congratulations-to-maghull-canal-fest.html

Our Maghull in Bloom colleagues tell me that they had a highly successful day raising over £1,000 to put towards improving the Maghull environment.

The Maghull in Bloom stall during setting up.

The Maghull in Bloom stall during setting up.

All in all a great day. We Brits know how to enjoy the rain whilst celebrating the 200th anniversary of the complete opening of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.