Thursday, 30 April 2009
Personally I doubt if that was the last time.
'We have escalating defence commitments – in Afghanistan and in future for
Trident missiles, aircraft carriers and much else; big cutbacks are
unavoidable following a defence review. We cannot afford to send one in two
young people to university, especially when graduate jobs are drying up'
And what he says about public sector pay and pensions needs looking at. In addition his commitment to a fair tax system ie not one that favours the mega rich, must make most Labour leaning folk blush....
'Beyond that, the taxpayer cannot continue paying for the present army of
over-paid and over-pensioned civil servants, quangocrats, NHS managers and
Government ‘consultants’. Big cuts in numbers and top pay will be required. We
cannot afford public-sector pension commitments which are escalating out of
control. Reform is urgently needed...................
Because there are some enormous loopholes – like capital gains tax at 18
per cent for those who can convert income into stock – the tax won’t be paid.
The very rich will wriggle round it. I am very disappointed more effort
isn’t being made to lift the income tax burden on low and average earners and
'George Howarth, the Maghull MP, had tabled an amendment condemning the new rules as “morally wrong and offensive”. But he, Eddie O'Hara, Peter Kilfoyle, Ben Chapman and Frank Field, backed down when ministers hinted a further review would allow many more Gurkhas to stay'
Joe Benton (Bootle) and Rosie Cooper (West Lancs) nether of whom -it is rumoured-expect to be in the next parliament vote with the government.....................why?
So who was the ONLY local MP to vote for the motion? -well the photo is a clue.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
The groundwork for this victory has been laid over a long time. But today in parliament it was Prime Ministers questions which marked the beginning of the final phase. By all account Clegg played the issue brilliantly. Judge for yourself and look at this
A similar debate is going on in relation to child care issues in local authorities. In the aftermath of baby P and the arguments about whether the full 'serious incident report' should be published many of us became aware for the first time that the synopsis of those reports were public documents. The only problem was that they were hidden away on undiscovered bits of cyber space.
Now I'm not suggested they should be delivered to every household with a FOCUS but if we are to learn lessons we need to know the issues.
Birmingham City Council have decided to publish in full the reports and Lynne Featherstone has campaigned to have the 'Baby P' report released in full. The Tory spokesman Michael Gove has also backed that call.
This is a decision that every Council is now going to have to look at. There are lots of vested interests here. There will be lots of pressure not to let these thing be talked about. You can hear the excuses; not good for our reputation, undermine staff morale......
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
A volunteer from the RSPB tent asked a question of Mike Booth, who is also the Press Officer for the Southport RSPB Group. She was worried that the dismantling of the gasometer in Norwood ward would disturb a nesting pair of rare peregrine falcons. The pair have been resident at the gasometer for several years. Mike-a Kew Ward Councillor and Norwood ward councillor Dave Sumner, both questioned the owners of the gasometer.
Mike has now received an email informing him that the birds are safe. They were provided with an alternative home on the top of Emmanuel Church tower. However, the birds were choosy and preferred a home of their own on another church tower
I took our dog to have his coat trimmed this morning and there was a Water Spaniel in the queue. A long chat then took place as it was explained to me that the Americans trim their Water Spaniels differently to Europeans. The owners of the dog I met this morning were none to impressed with Obama's choice, as they now fear that instead of owning a fairly rare species Water Spaniel will cover the earth.
This mornings post brought responses about such issues. As a result of a residents concerns new road markings are being installed at the junction of Longford Rd and Lyndhurst Rd and the street sweeping of the narrow cul-de-sacs off Shaftesbury Rd have been inspected and the necessary action taken.
There were no great surprises this year and I will publish the list in full when our -re-elected- chief whip(Andrew Blackburn) send round the list.
Monday, 27 April 2009
The first in a series of police speed traps in the Birkdale area was in place this Saturday morning, 25th April, on Guildford Road.
A concerned local resident discussed worries about speeding vehicles on Guildford Road and other roads, with Birkdale Ward Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw and local Police Inspector McLoughlin at the recent Southport Area Committee meeting.
Inspector McLoughlin has agreed to operate regular speed traps so as to deter speeding in the area.
"I am very grateful that the police have been able to take effective action incommented Simon.
response to this request,"
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Friday, 24 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
'Yesterday's Budget brought home with brutal clarity the central dilemma in economic policy: rapidly rising unemployment in a deep recession calls for government intervention and investment.
But the scale of the Government's budget deficit means that there are severe constraints on what can be done.
I had hoped that at the very least we should have some honest numbers....................................
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
It is clear that this recession demands a radical overhaul of the British tax system. It remains scandalous that the richest in our country pay a lower share of their wealth in tax than the poorest. We are demanding that both sides of this distorted equation be changed.
We are renewing our call to close the loopholes exploit by big business and the powerful and wealthy. And today, after working with our colleagues in Parliament and across the Party, we are announcing that the Liberal Democrats will fight the next general election with a pledge to cut income tax bills by £700 for people on low and middle incomes.
We will promise to raise the income tax personal allowance to £10,000 by closing tax loopholes exploited by big businesses and the wealthy. This will mean 4 million of the lowest paid people not paying tax at all, including many earning just the minimum wage.
It is a radical and progressive package that will form a key part of the pre-manifesto document that will come to our party conference in Autumn. This policy marks us out as the only party in British politics dedicated to changing our tax system to make it fairer.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
A pleasingly large gathering at an Italian restaurant turned up for Southport Lib Dems fundraising meal to help fund the Euro election.
Jennifer Barton a long serving member who started out with the SDP received her award from the Regional Party. Southport MP John Pugh was on hand to do the honours.
Conversation turned to whether Den Dover (now disgraced) from Southport and elected as a Conservative MEP has paid back the £500 000 he owes to the EU after his expenses debacle.
Monday, 6 April 2009
Whilst sat in the Southport Reference Library on Saturday morning hastily trying to get a better copy of the cartoons that appear below my eye was caught by the following article. It appeared in the Southport Guardian on October 10th 1900(It seems that the Southport Guardian was no better at spelling than its namesake in Manchester according to them the 1oth was a 'Wednesdaay'.
They had been called together in order that the women of the neighbourhood should propose and second a resolution that Sir George was a fit and proper person to represent Southport.The Birkdale Liberal Ladies----------Support Sir George PilkingtonOn Monday a crowded meeting was held principally attended by
Liberal Ladies of the Birkdale district. Miss
Kate Riley presided.Miss Riley in opening the proceedings said that they were very
sorry that they were not all electors there that night; but that this was a women's meeting, and although women had not the power to vote for any candidate whatever they nethertheless could exercise great influence. They were called together at that meeting and it was hoped that they would give all
the help they could to return their old friend Sir George Pilkington to Parliament.
The women had to remember that while Sir George had been in Parliament he had been one of those in favour of increasing the abilities and freedoms of women.
He had been all they could desire, and so they hoped to send him again to St Stephen's....(There now follows a lengthy bit about temperance on the
slippery nature of Balfour.... she then turns to the War)It has been one of the most iniquitous wars and would cause an
increase of 4d on income tax and had caused an increase on duty upon almost every commodity since the war began; and that was nothing to the blood that had been lost. There was one man who had gained by the War and that was Mr Joseph
Chamberlain. It was a disgraceful thing that he had been concerned in Admiralty contracts(applause) and his son Mr Austen Chamberlain had benefited largely by the South African War that has been imposed upon the country and Mrs Joseph
Chamberlain had shares in the firms that supplied the lyddite and cordite and other ammunitions used in the war; and these reasons had made Mr Chamberlain anxious to carry on
the war. She thought that people of England should think before they entrusted the government of the country to a shopkeeper of this sort.
The Boer War has much in common with Vietnam, Suez and Iraq in so much as it was pursued in the teeth of widespread unease/hostility at home. After his victory was announced at the Election Lloyd George rounded on the Tories saying that 'they were drunk with blood'. Now I wonder how that would play out with the Tories today?
The Boer War was raging and so was jingoist sentiment. Lord Salisbury wrapped himself in the flag and ran for the polls whilst the fighting was still going on. There was none of this 'we can't talk about it until the war is over and our boys have come home' nonsense we get from the present government.
The Liberal Party was a tad divided. There were clearly some who quite favoured the enterprise, Campbell Bannerman gave reluctant and passive support as long as the war went on and then there was Lloyd George. In truth anti war sentiment was widespread in the National Liberal Federation and particularly so in the large provincial cities. For his anti war views Lloyd George got himself set upon by an angry mob in the Llyn peninsular and famously had to escape another angry mob at the Birmingham Town Hall by disguising himself as a policeman. (I make no comment on the behavior of theTory supporting mob)
Back in Southport Dr Pilkington the Liberal MP was angrily critical of the government and particularly the War Office remarking on their 'blunders' and demanding thorough reform. The local Liberal Association was more open in it's anti war sentiment and 'protested' against the governments handling of the situation asserting that the war was unnecessary and could and should be settled by peaceful means.
Winston Churchill gets a walk on part in this saga. Whilst still serving in South Africa Southport Conservatives tried to persuade him to stand as their candidate. It didn't take long for Churchill to snub them. The Southport Liberals were (and still are) formidable election fighters and had seen off Balfour in the 1899 by election caused by the death of the Liberal MP who had defeated Lord (later Earl) Skelmesdale in the 1898 General election.
The next three postings relate to the cartoons published by the Southport Guardian-not all are headlines .
The poster behind Brighouse titled the Political Pill outlines some of the things the electorate have had to swallow:
The caption reads:
Mr Bighouse. What! No bid gentlemen?
Well, if it aint wanted, back it goes to Town.
And so the Guardian anticipated that the Tory candidate would behave as Tories have before and since. I am struck by the robustness of the campaign. Reading the stories that surround the cartoon -to which I shall return- one can only imagine the response of today's Tories if they subjected to such an onslaught!
Friday, 3 April 2009
The soaring cost of getting rid of rubbish is shared between the five Merseyside councils according to the amount of garbage they produce.
Because Southort people are recycling more, instead of putting out so much rubbish, Sefton’s percentage share of the cost of waste disposal has dropped to the lowest in the region at just 4.3 per cent compared to as much as 18 per cent paid by others.
This was reported to councillors at Southport’s Area Committee on Wednesday 1 April.
Afterwards Councillor David Tattersall, Environmental cabinet member, said: “The reason that we consistently top the recycling table is because so many local people do their bit for the benefit of all council tax payers. Recycling is about saving hard cash as well as being green and re-using materials that would otherwise be wasted
“The wheelie bin system has led to a doubling of the recycling rate from around 20 per cent to 40 per cent and that’s cutting the cost of getting rid of rubbish. The landfill tax is now £40 for every tonne of rubbish that dumped in the ground and it’s going up by £8 every year.”
Thursday, 2 April 2009
No 5 in the list is Vince Cable has a book coming out from back in January. Numbers viewing this post have been added to recently as the book is now out and reviewed including on Newsnight Review
No 4 in the list is Birkdale Benches from early in March. No surprises there as the tale of Tory infighting continues
No 3 in the list is remember Sarah Tisdall from November 2008! This is a surprise. When the Tories were getting all self righteous over the police arresting their front bench spokesman during an enquiry into leaks on immigration the Birkdale Blog was amongst the first to recall the fate of a junior foreign office clerk under the Tories. I think we'll put that down to the age of the author.
No 2 in the list is I love Southport because.. from March 2009. I'm pleased about this as this was an initiative enthusiastically backed by Lib Dems in Southport and which has proved remarkably successful. There is a full report at the area committee last night and an update here.
No 1 in the list is 1979 the night the government fell
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
To read the Tabloid press you would be excused for thinking that the second home allowance scandal was a only a Labour problem. Watch this video to see Eric Pickles put the record straight!