"Restore Lancashire links" say Lib Dems
Sefton's Tory Council Group have rejected a call by local Lib Dems for> strong and meaningful links to be built with both Lancashire County and West Lancashire District Councils. The vote came at last week's Seftonm Cabinet meeting in Bootle
Says Lib Dem Deputy Leader, Birkdale councillor Iain Brodie-Browne:
"As 'Liverpool City Region' becomes a reality which Government will not let us ignore-like twenty twenty cricket it is here whether we like it or not. We need to use the opportunity to really develop useful working agreements with the Lancashire authorities that will deliver real practical projects on the ground. This was the crucial part of our thinking over the Liverpool City Region issue."
"For example, we desperately want to find a way to improve the eastern and northern access into Southport, both by train and car, but the road bottleneck is in Ormskirk and the missing rail link is in Burscough. As both these towns are in Lancashire, we want Sefton to take the lead to work across council boundaries into West Lancs, just as we do to the south of the Borough with the other Merseyside Authorities."
"It is for these reasons that Lib Dems demanded that Sefton launched a campaign to built links with Lancashire and repair the damage caused by the Conservative's much-despised boundary changes in 1973 (which created Sefton and dumped Southport within it.)"
"I was completely taken aback by Tory opposition to us forming new formal links with Lancashire and demanded that their opposition was formally recorded!. Fortunately, our proposal won the day in the Cabinet vote, so we will build the new Lancashire links in the teeth of Tory opposition."
"Lib Dems are not prepared to have the Government push a 'Boris' City Region Mayor on us, which is the only alternative on offer, other than the six council leaders taking things forward as they have done for many> years."
" Oddly, current much Tory national thinking is also about City Mayors so any prospect of a Tory Government would likely mean we would be lumbered with a Liverpool-based 'Boris' ruling Southport with no useful local say."
It was all together a strange meeting. It is a continuing disappointment that the Tories make so little contributions of substance. I find myself being nostalgic for the days of Ron Watson and Les Byrom when they had articulate and coherent arguments to put up at least then you could on a rational basis deal with their opposition. This week was classic. We came to the debate on the City Region. Let us be clear local authorities need to co-operate with each other it is plain daft not to. We do so now on a sub regional basic over Fire, Police, Transport, Waste Disposal etc. Where they qualify the Tories take up their seats. Famously Les Byrom was taken off the Fire and rescue to be replaced by Cllr Barber. He was my 'shadow' for a while and he was also David Tattersal's at Environment(a topic we understood the Tories were interested in) David & I speak as we find and the problem was-as the record will show-we couldn't find him his attendance was abysmal.So the Tories have no problems about sub regional bodies but they have campaigned against the new city region-running scared from UKIP if you ask me. One Tory did make a contribution following the Lab Deputy Leader Ian Maher who was concerned that in taking the lead on Community Safety we were punching below our weight. A legitimate point for someone who want the arrangement to succeed. The answer is that these arrangements have been in place for a longtime and the lead responsibilities rotate. In the past we have been responsible for the Economy and it is envisaged that the posts will continue to rotate every three years. So what was the Tory contribution to a debate in which they would have us believe that they oppose the proposition entirely.
'Oh,er, er, that is a good point' . On that basis they voted against the motion and had their dissent registered!. No wonder one independent observer whispered to me that she was the Sarah Palin of Sefton politics -a policy free zone.