Friday, 30 May 2008

Johnathon Fryer on Europe and US

In the midst of all our trials and tribualtions in Sefton it is important not to forget that the world continues and important matters are being discussed. I noticed this from Johnathon Fryer a Liberal of my generation and a candidate for the Euro parliament in London. Amongst many other things Johnathon is an active Quaker. I well recall the bewiderment of hearing his voice in my bedroom one morning. It took me a while to work out it came from the radio and he was doing 'Thought for the Day'. Anyway i thought this was worth reproducing today:



The Republican US presidential candidate John McCain has been promoting the idea of a new grouping of democratic nations of the world, which would include not only North America and most of Europe, but also India and Japan. His hope is that this grouping could take collective action in world affairs in the interest of common causes. Though superficially attractive, this idea strikes me as singularly dangerous. For one thing, the United Nations and multilateralism need to be strengthened, not weakened, at this particular juncture. Even more important, such a move would intensify the climate of ‘us and them’ which George W Bush has so disastrously engendered.
I find it especially disconcerting that some of Barack Obama’s advisers are tempted by McCain’s concept, though Obama himself has not committed himself to it. Instead, in a video link to a fundraising event at Elizabeth Murdoch’s home in London’s Notting Hill Gate last weekend, he talked of the need to ‘recalibrate’ US-British relations, to put them on a more equal footing. Again, at first glance, this might seem an attractive proposition, but actually it is nonsense. The United States is still the world’s leading power (though maybe for not all that much longer), whereas Britain is at best a middle-hitter. Certainly, it would be good to move away from the poodle-like relationship of Tony Blair vis-a-vis President Bush. But does anyone seriously believe that Washington would listen to London — whoever was in power in the White House – if US interests seemed to be at stake?
The missing element here is the European Union, of course. The US and the EU could certainly enjoy a partnership of equals. In fact, if only the EU would get its act together, with Britain at the centre, rather than sniping from the sidelines, the whole dynamics of global politics would change — usually for the better, I believe. So however attractive the ideas of McCain’s League of Democracies and Obama’s new partnership between the US and the UK might seem, what we should be striving for is a new relationship between a more united Europe and the US, as two big hitters on the world stage.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Credit crunch hits Southport

  • Action required after massive rise in housing repossessions revealed

    ‘The credit crunch has hit Southport’ claimed Iain Brodie Browne deputy leader of the Lib Dems on Sefton Council.
    County Courts report a big leap in Housing possession orders across the N.W.of England. In Southport we have seen a staggering 61% increase in possession claims-the first stage of threatened action by the banks and building societies against homeowners. Iain proposed a number of immediate actions that the government should take to stop the surge in repossessions

  • a statutory obligation on both parties to submit to an independent financial assessment by an agency like the CAB and for lenders to offer a range of payment alternatives so as to keep families in their homes – involving share ownership and rental arrangements – with an equitable sharing of losses.
  • social landlords (Housing Associations) to act as a buyer of last resort, to prevent a fire sale of repossessed property and to rebuild the depleted stock of social housing. Liberal Democrats in Southport have been campaigning for a long time for an increase in affordable housing in the Town.
  • we now must also look forward to how we ensure this never happens again. Regulatory measures governing bank reserve capital can and should be operated via a counter cyclical means to ensure we do not have credit binges in boom periods and credit droughts in down turns. Equally house prices must be included in the Bank of England's remit to control inflation, to prevent future housing bubbles.

Iain continued; ‘there is a public interest in averting a wave of repossessions which would lead to much misery and local and national taxpayers shouldering the cost of housing the homeless as well as a likely overcorrection in the market’.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Thank you

Richard Hands, who is just retiring as Mayor, easily won re-election to Sefton Council taking 50% of the vote. Birkdale was the worst result for the Tories in the town. Across Sefton Lib Dems did well taking a seat from the Tories in Manor Ward against the national swing. Locally there did not appear to be any sign of a Cameron effect. Maybe that confirms the finding of the recent ICM poll which showed that the electorate found him overly concerned with spin.
The full results can be found here:http://seftonmaps.sefton.gov.uk/Elections/Results2008/
Be patient they take a little while to load.