Liverpool 2 – A busier port means yet more traffic on A5036 & a road through Rimrose Valley Country Park!

Seaforth Docks seen from the Mersey with work going on to construct the river berth for Post-Panamax ships in August 2015.

There is every danger that I’ll do this subject to death but the fact remains that building the new river berth at the Port of Liverpool well before the transport infrastructure to cope with the increased freight traffic was put in place was at best a very odd idea.

The Liverpool Echo has the story of the new river berth’s progress towards bringing in more and bigger ships to the port on its web site – see link below:-

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Highways England announced recently that it intends to construct a brand new road down the Rimrose Valley Country Park to address the increasing port traffic and the opposition to that new road plan is gathering pace via the Rimrose Valley Friends whose web site can be accessed via the link below:-

Liverpool’s refurbished/rebuilt Lime Street Station

Liverpool Lime Street Station at night.

After weeks on end of rail travel disruption the rebuilt Lime Street Station is almost complete. The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link below

A Virgin Pendolino train at Liverpool Lime Street Station.

COSTA – Does it suffer from inconsistent/variable standards?

The Liverpool Echo has a story on its web site which got me thinking – see link above

As a regular user of COSTA across many of its cafes around the UK I have to say that, in my opinion, the standards can be variable in terms of cleaning and customer service. I’ve put this down to the franchise-type operation of the cafes whereby groups of them are owned by differing companies who buy into the COSTA brand, although I have also noticed differences between standards of their cafes that seem to under the same ownership. Clearly the local manager has a big say and a big responsibility to meet what I presume are common standards?

I wonder if COSTA use mystery shoppers to check out standards without the staff of the cafes even knowing they have been? If they don’t they should do. Now and again I get e-mails from COSTA asking me about my experience of a particular cafe in their chain that I have been to. I always respond but wonder if anything ever becomes of the comments made by customers?

Maybe COSTA suffers from the circular doors of companies in the retail trade who can’t recruit and retain staff? Certainly it is far from unusual to walk into a COSTA to see a new member of staff learning the trade. An ever changing workforce can’t be good for consistent standards.

I don’t go into McDonalds very often but when I have done I have gained the impression that they do adhere to a common and usually high standard. I say this as I think the franchise-type business model may be similar.

My feeling is that COSTA needs to either start to employ mystery shoppers, or if they already do then employ more of them. But more importantly their reports have to matter and be acted upon even if that means taking franchises away from partner owners who don’t meet corporate standards that all COSTA cafes should be meeting.

Liverpool – Oops you can’t do this on a Listed Building without consent!

Ceiling of banqueting suite Cunard Building, Liverpool

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its Twitter page – see link above

You have to laugh as Liverpool City Council are (like all other local authorities) the people whose job it is to regulate what can and can’t be done on a Listed Building! The Cunard Building is Grade II* Listed. They need ‘Listed Building Consent’ from er, Liverpool City Council’s Planning Dept. but because they did not apply for it the banner has to come down.

You could not make this up………

Why do politicians talk utter nonsense? Because at times we are all capable of believing a dog-whistle.

The Liverpool Echo has one story about a politician seemingly falling foul of the facts – see link above – but this kind of presentation of ‘the facts’ by politicians and indeed newspapers is not new, however, it is widespread.

I’m not going to go into the issue of whether Ester McVey was right or wrong as the facts seem to speak for themselves – she was wrong. But the real question is why did she put her own spin on the Tax Credit issues? It was probably no more than playing to an audience who would like to hear her say such things. It’s the kind of messaging that the politically motivated tabloid press does each and virtually every day.

But what has led to many politicians saying things that may well be very far from the truth and indeed the facts in recent times? It’s likely to be the EU Referendum. How ever you voted the chances are that much of what you heard and read, particularly from the illegally overspending Leave campaign leaders, was wrong, misrepresented, alternative facts or damn right lying.

And since the EU vote that lying and misrepresentation has just bounded on as Leavers try to make their facts fit the real situation or mess that the UK finds itself in. Is it any surprise then that some politicians will misrepresent other issues too?

Often they are simply sending a message to their own supporters; a dog- whistle*. They don’t care whether the facts are correct, it’s all about their own supporters believing the message. The fact that opponents are enraged by the message is of no importance to those who send out the skewed messages.

But look at it another way, you are not just given misinformation or indeed told lies by the politicians and newspapers you don’t trust, you are also having it done to you by those you do trust! Just because a message meets with the agreement of your prejudices and beliefs does not mean that it is factually correct and that’s why I often say don’t trust anyone in power or with power – check out what they are saying and don’t just blindly repeat it as fact because it may be very far from being ‘a fact’.

* Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.