Bootle – back to those huge Civil Service job losses in the Borough of Sefton

I posted some time ago about what I dubbed ‘Exit Bootle’ as HMRC announced that a huge number of Civil Service jobs were to be taken out of Bootle/Netheron and for some of them then to be relocated within Liverpool. My original posting is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/11/25/hmrcs-exit-bootle/

The devastating effect of these job losses on the fragile Bootle economy has indeed been completely ignored and therefore not taken into account by the those planning the move, this has been admitted to. Government seems to have adopted the stance of ‘this has nothing to do with us, it’s a matter for HMRC to decide upon’ or words to that effect!

But it’s not just Bootle where HMRC is going to effect huge job losses on a local economy, it is happening across the UK and MP’s representing those communities, many of them deprived by many social and economic indicators, are naturally up in arms. So much so that a debate on the floor of the House of Commons was held on 28th April and Peter Dowd the MP for Bootle contributed to it. Here’s a link to the Hansard report on the debate:-

hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-04-28/debates/16042848000002/HMRCBuildingOurFuturePlan

My thanks to Peter for his contribution in my capacity as a serving Civil Servant, a trade unionist and as a former Leader of Sefton Council. Taking jobs out of Bootle in their thousands will harm the economy and, as I have said before, it reverses a well trodden path that has been successful in providing jobs in Sefton. Let’s not forget that HMRC also took jobs away from Southport when they closed Southport Tax Office a few years ago.

Even at this late stage Government needs to stop washing its hands of the matter. Of course Government is responsible for a Civil Service Department reorganising itself in a way that will be economically destructive to many deprived communities across the UK. There’s no one else to blame.

Bootle – Ash Street Baptist Church

Those who know me well will realise that I don’t have a religion so may be wondering why am I taking photo’s of the inside of a Baptist Church. The answer is that I like church architecture in its many forms and regular readers of this site will note that I have covered other churches in my posts.

My reason for going to Ash Street was hardly religious either; it was where my branch of PCS trade union held its AGM. Indeed, it has been having meetings in this church for many years but in my time as Branch Secretary I was always too busy at the meetings to really take notice of the features in the church. Now I am a lay union member with no responsibilities I allowed my eye to wander during the recent meeting.

You could say the architecture is simple but this is a Baptist church when all said and done. However, the organ with its wooden surround is interesting as is the construction of the roof with its huge wooden arches.

Here are a couple of photos I took after the meeting was over:-

Ash Street Baptist Church 1r

Ash Street Baptist Church 2r

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Frank Doran & St Monica’s RC Church Bootle

Despite not having a religion I have always found church architecture interesting and yesterday I got quiet a pleasant surprise when I attended the funeral of my old friend Frank Doran. I know that sounds odd but Frank would have laughed!

rsz_st_monicas_bootle

The ceremony was held in St Monica’s Church, Bootle which I had not seen before. Completed in 1936 it is art deco style and brick built. Interesting from the outside it is truly impressive on the inside. With massive vaulted brick arches running down each side you could be forgiven for thinking it is constructed like two railway viaducts with a roof between them. I was hugely impressed and it also felt a little tardis-like as on the inside it looks far bigger than the scale of it outside seems to be.

If you get the chance, have a look at it – especially the inside; it’s quite a treat.

The Parish web site is at

www.rc.net/uk/liverpool/stmonica/

Goodness knows how many people crammed into this very large church, which could easily pass for a small cathedral, but the turn out did Frank proud – at least 500. It was also great to see players from Bootle Football Club forming a guard of honour.

I met some old PCS friends such as Jackie McWilliams who is stood next to Frank in the photo below.

I find it hard to believe that Frank has gone.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank Doran Jr – A Bootle Buck RIP

rsz_frank_doran

I have known Frank for many years as a work colleague and as a fellow activist in the trade union movement. I have always counted Frank as a personal friend.

Sadly, Frank has died after a struggle against cancer. I will miss him terribly. I will miss his humour, his kindness and his company. Bootle Football Club have lost someone who has devoted many years to it.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank had a mind open to ideas from others and he was far from being a dogmatic trade unionist who always thought our trade union was in the right. Indeed, he often seemed to share my concerns about the direction of the trade union movement; a subject we would often debate.

A life used to help others less fortunate than himself, a life that we can celebrate. I am glad to have known Frank Doran Jr.

PCS and UNITE to merge?

As a PCS member and former Branch Secretary of some 22 years service, this question both concerns and interests me and it features in Private Eye edition 1344.

The Eye seems to think that the trade union barons in both of these huge unions will want to merge to create more political muscle and that this could well be outside of shovelling more money into the Labour Party.

PCS has helped sponsor trade union candidates for UK elections and did so at the recent Eastleigh Parliamentary by-election. Clearly, it was PCS (and other unions) waving two fingers at Labour; trouble is their candidate got so few votes (62 in fact which was 0.15% of the votes cast) the move was pointless and merely cost PCS members and others a few bob in a lost deposit and other election costs.

PCS and indeed its predecessor unions were all basically been non-politically aligned i.e. their members being mostly public servants have not paid a political levy to the Labour Party. Personally, I have always thought that stance correct as public servants have to serve the Government of the day no matter who they are and to do so whilst paying a party political levy would hardly make public servants look impartial.

But UNITE is presently Labour’s biggest financial supporter (and problem?) and its members are affiliated to Labour. So how can two unions merge that are fundamentally split on supporting Labour? UNITE backs Labour and PCS backs trade union candidates who stand against Labour!

PCS is certainly playing down the merger and simply talking about forms of co-operation with UNITE.

An odd situation all together but I think PCS would be well advised to stop wasting PCS member’s money in local or Parliamentary elections. But underneath this process the real problem is the inability of the trade union movement to effectively find a way forward during our present economic down-turn.