A tribute to ‘Pat from Lydiate’

For the last 5 years, one of my Borough councillors for Park Ward of Sefton Council has been Independent Pat O’Hanlon. She effectively took up as a Borough councillor as I bowed out of being one in 2016.

I got to know Pat as she was one of quite a few environmental campaigners who came together from across the political spectrum to oppose high-grade agricultural land being taken out of the Green Belt in Sefton Borough for development via the Sefton Local Plan; a fight I had long been involved with myself as regular readers of this blog site will be aware. Pat came from a Labour/socialist background but had left the Labour Party due to its stance on this hugely controversial issue. Indeed, she didn’t just leave Labour she stood against them and took a Sefton Council seat off them in Park Ward.

I liked working with Pat as she reminded me of another previous councillor for Park Ward – Lib Dem Robbie Fenton – who was tenacious and very determined to pursue any and every issue brought to her attention. Like Robbie, Pat did not seek the limelight as a councillor, she just got on with the job and she did it very well.

I was disappointed when it became apparent that Pat would not be contesting her Park Ward seat this May as politics needs the Pat’s and Robbie’s of this world who don’t give a damn who they take on.

Before Pat was elected she gained the nickname ‘Pat from Lydiate’ as a consequence, I think, of an interview on Radio Merseyside. She was also a very significant campaigner against asbestos pollution and I think it fair to say she gave both Sefton Council and the Health and Safety Executive a real run for their money over it.

Well done Pat, I’d be surprised if anyone who’d approached you during your term of office as a borough councillor had anything but good things to say about you. You more than did your bit for Lydiate, Maghull and the local environment; enjoy your retirement.

Lydiate – Resident’s meeting regarding Saville Road development site

Rear of the Liverpool Road shops on Saville Road.

Independent Sefton Borough Councillor for Park Ward (which takes in all of Lydiate), Pat O’Hanlon, has asked me to help her publicise a residents meeting on Thursday 20th February at 7.00pm to be held in Maghull Methodist Church.

The meeting is being held with regard to the controversial development site at the rear of the Coronation Road Shops.

My apologies as I can’t be at the meeting.

Ray Hughes moves out of Lydiate

Many Lydiate folk will know Ray from his many years as a Sefton Borough councillor for Park ward in the 1980’s and 1990’s and also from his time on Lydiate Parish Council.

I thought it apt to mark Ray and indeed his lovely wife Hazel (also a former Lydiate Parish Councillor) leaving Lydiate to live in West Lancashire.

I was talking the other day to my old chum Andrew Blackburn who also knew Ray well from his councillor days and he reminded me of the ‘Ray Hughes Point’. What he meant was that Ray was always finding things to point at for photos of casework items he was working on. They could be pot-holes, broken street signs and just about anything else a local councillor could be asked to help sort out. I recall that Ray would often get ribbed for his pointing in photos.

Seriously though Ray was a good local councillor who seemed to know a huge number of people. His phone would ring day in day out because he was such a well known local councillor. A true Pavement Politics councillor if I ever saw one…

Well all the best Ray and indeed Hazel, you certainly did your bit for the community in Lydiate and Maghull.

Lib Dems take Southport by Storm and some other election reflections

Last night was a bad night for Labour on Sefton Council they lost 1 seat to the Tories and 3 to Independent Green Belt campaigners. But the Tories also lost a seat to the Lib Dems in Southport where all 7 Council seats that were up for grabs in the Southport Parliamentary Constituency were won by Lib Dem candidates. The last time Liberals won all 7 seat in Southport was 1856!

Lib Dems take all 7 Council seats up for election in Southport

Southport's victorious Lib Dem Team - Photo credit Jamie Lopez

Southport’s victorious Lib Dem Team – Photo credit Jamie Lopez

Congratulations to Lynne Thompson the Lib Dem candidate and now councillor in Ainsdale ward, whom I delivered leaflets for on a number of occasions, who took a seat from the Tories. Lynne had stood on a number of occasions previously in this ward each time just losing out but this time she stormed to victory. Both my wife and I used to work with Lynne when she was a civil servant so we are delighted for her.

Labour’s loss in Ravenmeols ward also had a personal connection with me as the losing Labour councillor, Tim Hale, was the very same chap I defeated in Molyneux ward when I first won a seat on Sefton Council in 1999. Indeed, Tim is an old friend of mine from our days as trade union officers in the civil service so as with my victory over him in 1999 I felt a little uncomfortable on a personal level to see Tim lose again. Of course on a political level I am delighted that Labour lost the seat as the independent Green Belt campaigner Bob McCann who took it is likely to be a real thorn in Labour’s side.

Labour vote in Sefton fell by 44%!

In my own part of the Borough (Lydiate and Maghull) the independent candidates won both wards (Park & Sudell). I know Pat O’Hanlon well as she lives just up Southport Road in Lydiate from me and we have shared information about our joint environmental campaigning against Labour. I wish Pat well and it should be remembered that she left Labour because they said they would defend the Green Belt but then voted to build on it. I look forward to getting to know Matt Gannon and hope they both do Maghull & Lydiate proud as they fight for the environment that Labour has abandoned.

Labour also came unstuck in Sudell ward because they ‘imported’ a candidate from Formby to stand there. In fact they lost the ward she had been a councillor for (Harrington – to the Tories) as well as Sudell ward.

The connection between the Independent and Lib Dem winners is that they all fought Labour’s Green Belt building plans so I am delighted that the Independents won as well as my own Lib Dems.

So an interesting night in Sefton whilst much of the rest of England did not see many changes. But, on a Liverpool note what on earth possessed the electorate in Liverpool to re-elect Mayor Joe Anderson? In my view he has been a drag on Liverpool moving forward. But on a wonderful Knowsley note my young mate Carl Cashman, together with older mates Mike Wynn and Ian Smith took 3 seats off Labour for the Lib Dems – well done Carl, Mike, Ian and Prescot Lib Dems.

Sefton Central Labour given bloody nose over Green Belt

Has the worm turned in Sefton Central? For years Labour has trained it’s voters to vote on national issues and to pretty much ignore local matters and for years it has worked. But in May 2016 things changed and voters started to look at local issues which did Labour no favours at all.

Labour had a terrible secret and it has certainly been outed. Well it was no secret really but voters attention turned to it; just what Labour did not want them to do.

The issue – THE GREEN BELT – which Labour said they would defend but then voted to build on. They got away with this say one thing, do another stance for a long time and then the electorate said hold on a minute, what’s going on here?

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate - October 2013 - how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate – October 2013 – how much must Labour be regretting put these posters up because they voted on Sefton Council to build on the Green Belt!

The result was 3 Labour Sefton Council seats getting dumped by the electorate in favour of Independent candidates who had fought to save the Green Belt.

In Formby this trend had been established a while ago but now Maghull & Lydiate electors have joined the environmental lobby and they backed independent Green Belt campaigners and kicked Labour out.

The seed for this change was sown in a by-election in Maghull a few months ago when the Green Belt campaigners came within 3 votes of taking a Labour Council seat. And it was this web site that publicised that result as the media were strangely not for reporting Labour nearly losing. Indeed the result is still not posted on Sefton Council’s web site! –

So congratulations to the winning environmental campaigners in 3 Sefton Central wards – Sudell, Park (Maghull & Lydiate) and Ravenmeols (Formby).

Labour locally have found out to their cost what Nick Clegg found out over Tuition fees. Saying one thing and then doing another will eventually catch up with you.

Labour rattled by Independent candidate in Maghull & Lydiate’s Park Ward

Readers will recall that I let slip that Labour had almost lost a by-election in Maghull a few weeks ago to an independent Green Belt campaigner – they clung onto the seat by just 3 votes. This was the election that for some very odd reason the local press decided not to report the result of and that suited Labour down to the ground.

However, I knew they (Labour) would be rattled and therefore it was no surprise that when a Labour election leaflet popped through my door the other day that it was attacking the Green Belt campaigners that they are so frightened of.

Under the heading of ‘Vote Independent, get Conservative?’ Labour are clearly trying to suggest that the independent candidate (in Park Ward) may be a Tory sympathiser. BUT the lady standing as the independent candidate was a Labour supporter until Labour said they would defend the Green Belt but then voted on Sefton Council to build on it! She is fighting Labour because they said one thing and did the opposite.

Bizarre or what?