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.

North West Museum of Road Transport – St. Helens

8 buses and a milk float

No I had not heard of it either until quite recently but when an advert popped up on social media for an open day Lydiate photographer Keith Page and I decided to go and have a look.

A visiting Austin 8

It’s quite a big museum and on the day we went there was also a one-off display of visiting vintage cars and a large model railway too. But the regular collection of vintage buses, fire engines, trucks, cycles, cars etc. is quite extensive in its self.

Why are all fire engines called Dennis?

There’s restoration work being undertaken on some items, just look at the beautiful coachwork of this bus:-

The Museum is well worth visiting – here;’s a link to their web site:-

Note:- I’m doing a separate blog posting about an open top bus tour the Museum organised on the day we visited using a Southport Corporation vintage bus

The lead photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Will Joe or his Labour challengers just suck the life out of Liverpool’s surrounding borough’s?

The Liverpool Echo has a story about Labour’s potential candidates for Lord of Merseyside – see link above

Readers of this blog site will know that I am in no way a fan of Merseyside having a Metro Mayor to lord it over us all, indeed I think the whole carry on will potentially be the death of Liverpool’s surrounding council areas.

But whether we want a Metro Mayor or not this wretched Tory Government, whose bed Merseyside Labour has all to firmly jumped into, is making us have one.

So who will the Metro Mayor be? Just look at the potential Labour candidates – see link above! They are all from the Liverpool City part of Merseyside, a real worry here.

My concern all along has been that the City of Liverpool may well prosper by pulling everything towards it but that could well be at the expense of Sefton, St. Helens, Knowsley, Halton and Wirral council areas. Indeed, it has started to happen already as poor old Bootle is being stripped of over 3,000 civil service jobs three quarters of which are to be resettled again in Liverpool City Centre!

If we have to have a Metro Mayor (at least until hopefully a new government abolishes them) then surely we need one who clearly has loyalties outside of Liverpool City? Could this be a way of ensuring that the City does not suck the life, economic or otherwise, from the surrounding areas?

Southport – Planning for a positive future

Above is a link to the blog site of my good friend Cllr. Iain Brodie Brown, please take a moment to click the link and read his posting. It is pure community politics to my mind.

Southport viewed from the end of its pier

Southport viewed from the end of its pier

Click on the photo to enlarge it

There can be little doubt that the towns/boroughs surrounding Liverpool have not benefited from being a part of the Liverpool City Region. Indeed, my own view is that centralising power in Liverpool as both Tories and Labour are planning for, with a Metro Mayor, could well be the road to ruin for places like Southport St. Helens, Birkenhead, Maghull, Formby, Prescot etc.

Whilst Iain’s posting is all about what needs to be done to give Southport a bright future his fundamental concerns could well be about any of Liverpool’s satellite communities that sit outside of the Liverpool City Council boundary.

Centralising power and influence in Liverpool will just not work, except for Liverpool itself. Unlike the Greater Manchester communities, which mostly seem look towards Manchester, the same can’t be said of Merseyside. Southport has always seen its connections with Preston and Lancashire as being of great importance but it was wrenched away from such historical links by local government reorganisation in 1974. Much of Wirral Borough has historic connections with Chester and Cheshire but it too was forced into Merseyside.

Merseyside because of its odd geographic shape was never likely to be a runner as a viable unit of local government and the years that have passed since 1974 have only proved that theory correct. Sefton, itself a strange collection of diverse communities, realised this some years ago and it began a process of decentralisation. Bizarrely though Labour then slammed this process into reverse when its Bootle based party took control of the Council. What was their motivation to say ‘the Borough will work well as a one size fits all because we say it will’ not least because this approach had failed miserably when first tried?

Presently we are seeing the start of a process to take 1000’s of civil service jobs out of Netherton, St Helens and Bootle for them all to be centralised in Liverpool. Liverpool’s gain will be big losses for Sefton and St Helens Boroughs.

Make no mistake the Tories are wedded to cities being made more powerful at the expense of their surrounding towns and boroughs. What’s more Labour are pretty much behind this process, why else did the 6 Labour Council Leaders on Merseyside sign up to a 3rd rate devolution deal?

Towns surrounding big cities need investment, public and private, not dependency on the nearest City because that is the road to ruin except for the big cities of course.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Bootle – What sense does it make to take 2,500 Civil Service jobs out of it?

Firstly, yes I have an interest in this matter as I am a civil servant working in Bootle.

A bit of history to start things off – Civil Service jobs were brought to what became known as Bootle’s ‘Mini-Whitehall’ for two reasons in the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s i.e. the area needed investment and jobs and government found it too expensive to keep such jobs in the south east of England. I think the moves were entitled ‘Exit London’.

The last big move to Bootle was by the Health and Safety Executive if I recall correctly.

But now the process has seemingly been slammed into reverse as plans have recently been announced to remove around 2,500 HMRC civil service employees out of Bootle (and Netherton) and into a central Liverpool location in around 4 years time.

The obvious questions people in Bootle are asking are? Aren’t building costs much, much higher in central Liverpool? Won’t car parking be far more difficult and expensive in Liverpool for the hardly well paid staff and most importantly of all what will be the extent of the negative impact on the Bootle (Sefton Borough) economy? How would any town cope with 2,500 jobs being taken away from it never mind one like Bootle that always falls within the poorest ranked communities in England?

I suspect this will be a long-running issue but opposition Lib Dem members on Labour-run Sefton Council have already raised concerns by asking a question about the matter at the Full Sefton Council meeting held last night. The answer was that Sefton’s Chief Exec’ (Margaret Carney) has written to Lin Homer Chief Exec’ of HMRC and that this Department of Government is willing to meet the Council.

Yes indeed what is Sefton Council going to do to try to retain 2,500 jobs in the Borough? And I do hope they make a serious attempt to address this situation. I say this despite power and influence on Merseyside continually moving in Liverpool’s direction which is more and more of a concern in Sefton and indeed in the other Borough’s that surround the city.

It is no use Liverpool prospering by sucking jobs out of Sefton, Knowsley, St. Helens (this Borough is also down to lose civil service jobs as well), Halton and Wirral.

Will Sefton make all the right noises though about job losses in the Borough whilst at the same time also having to toe Liverpool’s line as it seemingly rebuilds its prosperity at the expense of the other Merseyside Boroughs?