Labour loves tennis – OK but why the obsession with this particular sport?

Readers will recall that in closing down the innovative and unique Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall Maghull Labour said it was to change the offer to local youth and that they were introducing tennis coaching as an alternative.

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar before Labour shut it

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar before Labour shut it

Well hard on the heels of that momentous (some would say ridiculous) decision neighbouring Lydiate Labour (who run Lydiate Parish Council) are trumpeting that they have refurbished the tennis courts (rebuilt the fencing) at Sandy Lane Park, a project that the Lib Dem opposition on Lydiate Parish Council supported I might add.

So Labour in Maghull & Lydiate are keen on tennis, that seems very clear. So keen in fact that they were willing to shut down an all year round youth facility in Maghull seemingly so that tennis coaching can be offered as an alternative by Labour-run Maghull Town Council. Maghull Council does not have any non-Labour members by the way.

Looks like Labour thinks they may have the tennis vote all sown up in Lydiate and Maghull. Trouble is they have successfully alienated many local young people in the process and may have made themselves about as unpopular with the younger generation (all except tennis players of course) as Nick Clegg did when he U turned on Tuition Fees! What’s more the surface of the Lydiate tennis courts leaves much to be desired but more on that in a further posting.

Maghull – So Labour closed the Youth Coffee Bar because tennis lessons are a better alternative facility? Now just run that logic past me again!

Readers of this blog site will know how angry I am about the closure of Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee at Maghull Town Hall, but I was certainly not prepared for the reasons Labour have given for the closure.

Maghull TH Youth Coffee Bar

To be honest I thought they would try to blame it on cuts to Council grants from Government etc. even though as a Parish Council Maghull Town Council does not get any such grants. Certainly that’s a line Labour have used before i.e. playing on the fact that Joe and Jane Public will not know what’s really going on. But hey, no such defence this time and they went for the utterly ludicrous ‘explanation’ instead!

When I read the Aintree & Maghull Champion last week my first thought was how did reporter Jim Sharpe keep his face straight when Labour told him they were replacing an all year round indoor youth facility with tennis coaching lessons? OK, this is not funny, but it is certainly very peculiar!

But what’s this about the numbers dropping at the Coffee Bar? Well they would because Labour has had a habit of randomly closing it in recent years. And then there’s some talk about anti-social behaviour but hang on a minute that is exactly what the facility was attempting to combat. The adults who used to help out at the Coffee Bar were all capable of helping youngsters who were troublesome due to poor family backgrounds etc. And yes there had been successes, I am told, in helping local youngsters with their problems. But this sort of thing needs dedication and working at. Where on earth are the youngsters needing such help in Maghull going to go now?

Sorry, in my view, this is abandoning young people who need help and offering tennis coaching and a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as an alternative. That’s not the way forward for a progressive community that looks after it youngsters, it’s tuning your back on them.

Having sat on Maghull Town Council for 30 years until I stood down in May 2015 (because I had moved to Lydiate) I must say that I never thought I would see a day like this. After all the years of dedicated input into local youth by people such as Nickie Smith, Nova Rimmer and many others who would have thought that this unique and successful project would be tossed on the scrapheap.