Southport – An open top bus tour

Well it was an open top bus tour and it was on a vintage Southport Corporation bus, but the tour was actually around St. Helens rather than Sunny Southport.

A visit to an open day at the North West Museum of Road Transport (see previous posting) in St. Helens on 6th May brought about my open top bus tour. It was great that they had got out a vintage Southport Corporation bus to do honours, not least because the sun was cracking the flags in St. Helens just as it was in Sunny Southport that day.

The colour scheme of the former Southport Corporation (red and cream) was just made to make their buses stand out. So sad that our local seaside Town has lost all its colourful buses.

City Regions and their Metro Mayors – Middle aged white men! Big diversity issues here but the concept of City Regions is flawed too

ciltuk.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Focus/Mayors.pdf?utm_source=http%3a%2f%2fciltemail.org.uk%2fcilt2011lz%2f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Focus+_+May+_+2018&utm_term=How+have+the+metro+mayors+changed+British+politics%3f+%7c+May%27s+Focus+is+out+now!&utm_content=22855&gator_td=iT217sLHzHCoAXs18511elTuBZj1y%2bUBNsQ2o7DKf48Ic4IydWBQNaS7%2fFOG2l2wyKQc4JXZU1IwHtb%2bpWgqMLq5FmgGg%2b0arS69lo9I6mhxB3EwtEt8pRb3rC8KyWS2Hs0%2bO4QDHRDiyF8uROrzpNskgsTlxZ1gq3d5tjGKKoeO55z6Y6P5Szll43dbyFFILza%2fFcHZo3LJ9DDTp8PbDQ%3d%3d

The article is on the web site of Logistic and Transport Focus and is available via the link above

So many white middle aged men, yet most of them will be representing very ethnically diverse regions of England – regions where around 50% of the population will also be women I might add. A diversity disaster is my first thought.

I have always opposed the concept of City Regions and elected Mayors for a number of reasons. I don’t support the idea of concentrating power in the hands of one person, whomever that person may be, as it is a poor form of representation which does not deliver good democracy. Secondly, the devolved powers (certainly as far as the Liverpool City Region/Merseyside are concerned) are 2nd or even 3rd rate. But probably more than anything else I see power and resources being pulled into the heart of a City Region often at the expense of its surrounding towns and communities.

I can’t comment of the other City Regions as I’m not well enough informed but looking at my own Liverpool City Region I see two obvious examples of a pull to the centre and a disregard of an important issue to an outlying town.

The pull to the centre is the removal of around 3,000 civil servants from a deprived area into Liverpool City Centre. The losing community here is Bootle where a mini-Whitehall had been established over many years starting in the 1960’s. Yes some civil servants will be left in Bootle but why on earth take 3,000 of them out to place them in a crowded city centre where property is more expensive and the parking charges faced by poorly paid civil servants are high. Surely a lose lose situation especially when you take away the spending power of 3,000 workers from the Bootle retail economy. What did the Liverpool City Regional do about this? Well whatever it was it was ineffective because decisions made in the real Whitehall could not be overturned? Or was it that despite the huffing the puffing by the powers that be locally it actually suited some to concentrate jobs in Liverpool City Centre?

My second example is of an outlying Liverpool City Region Town effectively being left all but unsupported, by any meaningful regional intervention, over an important transport link. The link is the railway line and service from Southport to Wigan, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport which is about to suffer from a poorer service due to decisions being made by Network Rail, Northern Rail and the railway industry generally. The problem has been known about for a long time so it has not been a quick decision that has been difficult to address in a short timescale. Yet the main campaigners against the move to downgrade Southport’s rail service to Manchester have been two voluntary organisations – OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Assn) and Southport Rail Transport Forum. Where exactly has the Liverpool City Region and its Transport Committee Merseytravel been during this process and what have they done to defend the loss of an important rail link to Manchester Airport and a much reduced service to Manchester Piccadilly? But looking back further to when the Liverpool City Region produced its first Long Term Rail Strategy the Southport – Wigan – Manchester Line did not even get a mention! That had to challenged and it was (successfully to some degree) but the 2nd iteration of this plan, published only last October, clearly makes the line little more than less than important to the City Region.

So my view remains that the concept of City Regions and City Region Mayors is badly flawed and that it can work to the disadvantage of towns surrounding a big city area. That neglect can manifest itself by things being drawn towards the centre or by issues in outlying towns being all but ignored. Look at it like this City Regions, as they are presently set up, are a bit like the overheated economy of the South East – a magnet for money to the City with crumbs from the city’s table finding its way to the outlying areas. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that as a rule of thumb any investment in an outlying City Region area will only happen if it is also to the advantage of the main hub.

Oh and just in case you’ve forgotten the other big issue – the City Region Mayors are all middle aged white men, just think on that.

Note – Both of the examples I have focused on above are within Sefton Borough

Southport’s crime and policing problems as seen by BBC Panorama

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/panorama-investigates-southport-burglaries-traders-14577470

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its web site – see link above

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Southport – New Tory MP in hot seat over leaflet

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseysides-only-tory-mp-accused-14561067

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

I saw a copy of the controversial leaflet last Sunday and what actually stood out to me about it was the fact that local head teachers were pictured in it. I know I would be having a word with any head teacher of a school I was a governor of if they appeared in a political publication – indeed I had to tackle a head teacher over this very type of thing a few years back. Of course they will all quite properly have their own political views but from my perspective head teachers need to be seen to be politically independent.

But yes a green (as in colour, not politics) leaflet from a true blue Tory is odd, maybe the Conservative brand is more than a little ‘damaged goods’ at present because of the May/Corbyn appalling Brexit and the equally appalling Windrush scandal.

And as another thought who paid for the leaflet, the Tory Party or Parliament? Odd that it has been delivered during the election period for Sefton Borough?

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Southport – Lakeside Miniature Railway

I could do with a bit of help here to nail down whether the miniature steam loco below, which I understand to have been named ‘George the Fifth’, is in fact one that originally came from the Lakeside Miniature Railway.

I photographed it at Steam Town Carnforth around 1983 and have recently been trying to track down what happened to it. In doing so I found a reference to it potentially being a former Lakeside Miniature Railway loco from Southport prior to it being at Carnforth.

If, and its a big if, I have this right the loco is now in the USA as part of a private collection.

Information, corrections and comments gratefully received.

The top photograph is amongst my Flickr shots at:

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

Southport – That fascinating round house

I took the photo above back in September 2014 and the round house can be seen on the left of the shot.

Recently the Southport Visiter newspaper ran a series of 3 excellent articles plotting the history of the house. The links below take you to those fascinating articles:-

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/history/southport-landmark-round-house-fascinating-14062108

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/history/gallery/southport-landmark-the-round-house-14062976

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/history/southports-round-house-concluding-chapter-14111082

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.