Saturday, 31 October 2009

Southport Conservatives 'financially unstable'

Checking back through the Electoral Commission on line accounts I see that one of the recently arrested treasurers has been involved as a 'registered' treasurer of the political arm of Southport Tories for some years. In 2006 he was deputy to one Phil King and in the accounts they warn that the Association was heading towards being financially unstable (hence the resigination of the President et al ?)

Anyway look for yourself

Interestingly looking at seats that the Tories have targeted I see that the central party (Ashcroft ?) has provided tens of thousands of pounds to them. As the Independent reports this morning:

In Gordon Prentice's marginal seat of Pendle in Lancashire, the accounts of the local Conservative association show that they spent nearly £82,000 in 2008. That is thought to be just a fraction of the money the Tories have actually sunk into Pendle, because much of the cost is borne by party headquarters. Tony Greaves, a Liberal Democrat peer who lives locally, reckons that the true figure is around £250,000.

There is a similar picture in almost any seat on the Tory target list because these days, it seems, Lord Ashcroft is everywhere – except of course on the electoral roll or anywhere that might make him liable to pay UK taxes.


Compare and contrast as the exam papers used to say, and ponder why?


I understand that Ashcroft demands a robust business plan before parting with any money.

Arrested Tory party Treasurer

For the purposes of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000:

Mrs Jackie Glover is Registered Treasurer
AND
Mr Andrew Logie is Deputy Registered Treasurer

More information here

Thanks to all those who have contacted me with information. I shall summarise what is printable later

Police arrests at Tory club, the HQ of Southport Conservatives

POLICE have launched a probe after tens of thousands of pounds went missing from one of the region’s most historic social clubs.

Southport Conservative Club treasurer Andrew Logie and deputy Paul Wilding were arrested and quizzed by officers after an audit of the Bath Street club’s finances revealed discrepancies ...............

The Southport Visiter has a full story. A front page headline: Melt Down at Tory HQ (which we covered in June 08) a little while ago reported the resignation of various officers of the Conservative Association including professional people. The party's accounts warned about the state of the party's finances. It is not clear how entangled the two stories are, rumours have circulated for some while about the cross over between the two separate bodies and the role of key Tories. I am checking to see if the two arrested Tories were involved in the local party's money matters.

Back in June 08 we predicted that there were more revelations to come. I am informed that is still the case..........................

Friday, 30 October 2009

Farewell and good luck

There was a good turn out at the Guest House tonight to wish Erin Harvey good luck and farewell. Erin came to work for our MP and has been a great hit. I covered her attendance at the Bournemouth Conference when she spoke twice very impressively.
Erin is off to work for London MP Susan Kramer. Susan has been a very impressive MP and I'm sure that Erin will prosper working with her.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Southport Liberals: the First 100 years

Not many constituencies are lucky enough to have a book recording their history over 100 years. Michael Braham's study first published in 1985 is now hard to find. By kind permission of the author Birkdale Liberal Democrats have now published it online. You can find the book on our website. Follow the link on the top left of this page to the website and then click on the button 'Southport Liberals: the first 100 years

Michael tells the story from the time of Gladstone, on to the battles for votes for women and temperance and to the triumph of 1906. He covers the Tory dirty tricks of 1910, the liberal victory of 1923, Cecil Ramage's barnstorming campaign of 1929 complete with campaign songs and photos. After WW2 the revival of the party in Southport-a second place in a 3 cornered fight in 1959, control of the council in the 6o's, second again in 1970 and on to victory in 1987......

Please feel free to download it but if you publish it in any way we ask that
  • you acknowledge Michael Braham as the author
  • you don't charge
  • you don't alter the text
  • you tell us about it -email via the website
  • you include a link to our website
  • you publish these conditions
Thanks

College Close trees


Success! well if you live in College Close you will be pleased. After our complaints about the state of the trees there action is to be take:


Three of the six trees have been highlighted for removal and the remaining three trees will be pruned.


This work is scheduled to take place in December.

Temporary Library

The Southport Visiter carries an important story this morning. I have never had a moments doubt about the need for the council to provide a temporary Library whilst the essential renovation of the Cultural Centre-the Art Gallery, Arts Centre and Library-takes place . I know there are some who think that we can make do with a caravan in a car park like some remote village in countryside. I have never thought that was acceptable. There were over 150,000 visits to the Southport Library last year and frankly anyone who thinks that can be replaced by a trailer somewhere or farmed out to Formby is not listening to townsfolk. Yes, in tough financial times there are going to be some hard questions to answer. Something else will have to give. It is a matter of priorities.

I went on the trip last Friday and at the end it was clear to me there was a stark choice. If we want a temporary Library then the Market site is the only realistic option. It does of course bring real benifits to the remaining market traders. Firstly it brings an immediate fix to the building -upgrading the structure, electrics etc and secondly it brings a massively increased footfall. I guess lots of folk going to the Library will use the cafe there to get refreshment whilst they browse their books.

For the wider Southport residents it gives us a town centre Library that can take all the key facilities and offer a proper service during the closure. This is not a short closure. It is meant to last 30 months. Given my experience with other major building works-especially old buildings like these -it would come as no surprise if the time scale was longer.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Health Service democracy

Congratulations to John Pugh who has used Parliament to challenge the quangos that run our Health Service. Here in Southport the Tory Government forced a botched hospital plan on us forcing and unsustainable marriage of Southport and Ormskirk. There is no local accountability for the quangos that run our Health Service.. A couple of Tory politicians have been involved but nobody else.

As the blog noted recently it is not more consultation we need it is more democracy:

Take the NHS. 1.4 million staff, eclipsed for size only by the Chinese Liberation Army and the Indian Railway. Only accountable to one politician-the Secretary of State. He attempts by the issuing of banal and ineffective targets to micro manage the entire operation even down to targets on how to clean the carpets. His writ is enforce by a vast army of bean counters and by place men and women who sit on his local administration boards. The employ 'link' people to talk to the community so they know what local people want. Well more precisely what some people think of a bright idea the government is keen on. 'You want to spend your money differently to prioritise a children's A&E service? Sorry we are not programmed to respond to that comment, please answer the question you were asked. Do you want round carrots or straight ones.


John's parliamentary Bill confronts the democratic deficit, read on.


Local NHS Democracy




"The local NHS is a huge taxpayer-funded service, affects everyone, is important to everyone, but is sadly totally remote from democratic decision making."



These formed part of my opening remarks when I introduced the The Local Health Services and Democratic Involvement Bill to Parliament last week under the ten-minute rule .



Please take a minute to offer your support. The Bill seeks to require, among other things, Primary Care Trusts to obtain prior approval for their spending plans, involving relevant locally elected authorities. Currently, decisions are made by enlightened, but unelected, quangos or trusts, and they are usually a combination of medical experts and appointees who may or may not bring relevant expertise with them. They decide what drugs are available, which hospitals or hospital departments stay open, where services are, how GPs and dentists shape up, and what after-hours care exists.



All those issues mean a lot to some people part of the time, and much to all people most of the time. We just need to remind ourselves about Children's A&E to appreciate that point.I propose that primary care trusts, as currently constituted, lay before the health scrutiny committees of existing councils, as currently constituted, their annual plans and their big decisions - not for scrutiny or consultation, but for approval, agreement and amendment. I propose a kind of democratic lock on the local NHS: a move beyond mere consultation. I propose a genuine redistribution of power from one existing institution to another existing, established institution. This is such a good idea that I believe that the model has already been embraced voluntarily in some areas.

The rest is on John's website

LOCAL YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE MAKES HISTORY IN COMMONS CHAMBER

It was Southport Area Committee yesterday -of which more, much more later. On a positive note it was good to see our UK Youth parliament rep Ian Goley in attendance. Ian has made a very significant contribution to the Area Committee and is listened to with respect from all sides. This week he is off to Westmister and has sent out the following press release:



LOCAL YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE MAKES HISTORY IN COMMONS CHAMBER

Ian Goley, 17, will join over 300 Members of the UK Youth Parliament in making history this week (Friday 30th October) when they take over the House of Commons chamber. It will be the first time in 300 years anyone other than MPs have debated in the Commons and sat on the green benches. The historic move will see elected 12-18 year-olds from across the country debate issues of concern to young people.

Ian Goley, Member of Youth Parliament for North Sefton, 17 years-old, commented,

“I’m looking forward to the House of Commons Debate. Not only does the decision of MPs allowing us to debate in the chamber show that MPs are prepared to listen, but it gives us the platform to establish what we are campaigning for, and what we represent. Friday will hopefully give us more publicity, and reach out to people who may not be aware that the UK Youth Parliament even exists. Young people do care about politics and the world around us, and Friday is the ideal opportunity for this to be displayed.”


The five issues being debated are -

University education being free
Youth crime and how to tackle it
Free transport for over 60s, but not for young people
Job opportunities for young people
Lowering the voting age to 16


ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The UK Youth Parliament debates in the House of Commons chamber take place on Friday 30th October from 11am until 3.30pm.
2. For photographs, comments or broadcast information contact Fiona McKinstrie, Press Officer, on 020 7553 9894/07507 603378 (fiona.mckinstrie@ukyouthparliament.org.uk).
3. Members of Youth Parliament will be available for prerecorded/advance interviews in Central London on Thursday 29th October.
4. For further information about the event and the debate topics please see here http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/252529.html
5. The UK Youth Parliament gives young people a voice on issues that matter to them.
6. 500,000 young people take part in the UK Youth Parliament elections each year.
7. Over 600 young people are elected as Members of the UK Youth Parliament. They work to ensure that the voices of young people are heard at a national, regional and local level http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/


Good luck Ian

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

General Election campaign hots up....

A delightful bit of memorabilia has been passed to me by the usual sources-more of which later. The Southport constituency polled in January 1906 and Mr Astbury was victorious. The Tory candidate E.M. Hall was a barrister with a very high opinion of himself and the purveyor of 'dirty tricks', he was brought low.
A couple of small points; firstly the Southport and Birkdale Liberals fought in red and secondly although Southport polled in January the 1906 election was not held on the same day all over the country.

The red colours persisted until well into the 1960s. I have no record of what John Prescot made of that when he was the Labour candidate in the Town. A a Young Liberal in Warwick and Leamington in the early 70 we fought in green. The standardisation of colours didn't really happen until television dictated in 1974. Even then some clung on to their local colours-I remember that Geriant Howells in Cardigan (as it was called then) fought in blue!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Fred Weavers Unicycle ride-not up Portland Street

Fred Weavers -my colleague from Kew Ward- was putting his unicycle skills to good use on Saturday. Fred -an ex-SBS man-was raising funds for the Help for Heroes charity which is working with armed forces people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mike Booth, David and Julie Pullen and others were out shaking the cans and raise a very encouraging sum. I shall return to this item with information about the sum raised and a link for you to donate on-line

One wag-a knight of the borough (by which description he is easily identified)- suggested he did it along Portland Street. Another time maybe.....


Friday, 23 October 2009

Top Liberal at Southport

'A reception at the Cambridge Hall at which 2000 guests are expected, the stage exquisitely embellished with flower, the 50 strong Southport Choral Union and a special programme rendered by the Corporation Band.....'*

Well that is what welcomed Asquith in 1909 when he visited Southport for the National Liberal Federation Annual meeting. I wonder how it will compare to welcome given to Chris Huhne when he comes in 2009?

*quoted in M.P. Braham's, Southport Liberal Association: the first hundren years page 18

Free Speech:Areopagitica

'And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter'

It is good to start the day with a bit of Milton. The Areopagitica-from which the quote above is taken -was the symbol of office for Presidents of the Liberal Party.

We had a full council last night and not surprisingly the Question Time broadcast came up. Sir Ron Watson ( Conservative Dukes Ward) asserted the right of free speech even when it meant fools and vagabonds were published. I paraphrase because of the noise and the distance from the Conservative benches (they are the smallest party and sit at the far end of the chamber) I didn't catch every word. Sir Ron went on to thank me on behalf of himself and David Pearson for continuing the tradition and recognising that it could be a 'nutters charter'

Let us leave on one side for today Sir Ron's politically incorrect use of 'nutters' . You cannot fail to grasp what he meant.

I have never believed that championing free speech means that you allow to go unchallenged vile and dishonest misrepresentations . The point about free speech is that debate reveals the truth. I look forward to Sir Ron helping bringing to book those who abuse free speech in the BNP and elsewhere.

All in all I thought Question Time was positive. I could have criticisms of the structure of the programme. I thought that Griffin did badly when he answered the question about the gay pop singer. He was certainly out of sympathy with the audience who -like British people generally- do not share his homophobia. It follows that more question away from race/immigration could have served to illustrate the vile nature politics.

Jack Straw was a bit of a windbag which was sad as he made some good points early. I was especially impressed by his recounting of the contribution made by soldiers from the Indian sub continent along lads from Lancashire at the battles of WW1.

Chris Huhne was combative as you would expect and very effective. For me the star of the show was Ms Greer whose gentle put downs were the highlight of the evening.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

THE VENOM AT THE HEART OF SOUTHPORT CONSERVATIVE PARTY - Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I referred to the venomous public attack on the part of one faction within Southport Conservatives on another. I have now been supplied with a verbatim extract from pages 138 to 141 of the offending book: "Dirty Politics", authored by Pat Regan (Published 2009 by Can Write Will Write, ISBN 978-0-9554889-7-9).



As you may recall, the writer is a leading light in Southport Conservative Party circles, as well as husband to one Tory Council candidate and a close associate of Brenda Porter, Tory parliamentary candidate for Southport.

The key chapter is entitled:



“Outdated Tory turncoats that threaten the good name of their own party”



Read the full text here

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ludovic Kennedy

I've nothing special to add to the many obituaries published about Ludovic Kennedy, the best I've read this morning is in the Independent.

The big thing I remember about was his campaigns against injustice. I recall the impact of the book 10 Rillington Place when my elder brother read it and the discussions in the family. His thirst for justice, to right wrong was never slated.

There was commission at a Liberal Assembly where he relentlessly argued that it was the adversarial nature of our legal system that made miscarriages of justice more likely. He argued in favour of the French inquisitorial system and cause some consternation when he seemed prepared to limit trial by jury if the french system was adopted.


Kennedy appears to have been attracted into the Liberal Party by Jo Grimond in the aftermath of Suez and Eden's disastrous leadership. His achievement at Rochdale by election is well documented. The Tories landed up in third place having held the seat. Kennedy defeated the 'squeeze' and was a serious challenge to the Labour candidate. That was one of a string of by elections in the 1950s where the party began to get its act together; Hereford, Rochdale Torrington-which Mark Bonham Carter won and the biggest triumph of the lot in 1962 when Eric Lubbock won Orpington.

Kennedy made a big impact on many folk because of his writings on a wide range issues. Sefton Council leader Tony Robertson recalled him in an email last night:


I loved his writing and his fight for justice for those wrongly convicted. He was a great Liberal whom I met by falling over his wheelchair a few years ago in the Southport Theatre during a Lib Dem Conference. His book on Scottish Independence 'In Bed with an elephant' is a good read as is his 'All in the mind - a farewell to God'. Another one of heroes gone...

Monday, 19 October 2009

£70m wasted by Lab/Tory transport chiefs?

Liverpool was never going to get a tram without a grant from central government. Today the Labour Government has made clear what has been obvious for a while-namely that they are not going to back the Tram. Let us be clear this is the Labour Government which has done this-to date the Lab and Tory coalition has spent what is estimated to be £70m on this project without the comfort of firm government backing for the project. I think the Tories rather hoped we wouldn't notice, or maybe plan B was to blame us but it is now clear the Labour Government has pulled the plug.

Why is it that the the transport exec -or whatever grandiose name it rejoices under now-couldn't hear what most other folks cottoned on to a while back?

Lets hope that they now turn their attention to solving some of other transport needs of residents. How about putting equal energy into coming to an agreement with our neighbours to the east of Southport so that we can have a decent rail service to Ormskirk and Preston. This project is n Norman Baker's plans for rail links and is achievable by upgrading the Burcough curves.

As John Pugh said in Parliament:

8 Jan 2008 : Column 205
In Lancashire, for example, the rail utilisation strategy revealed desperately poor connectivity between the Preston city region and Merseyside, yet lines from both conurbations arrive in the modest town of Burscough, which has separate stations, unlinked by rail, half a mile apart, severed by Beeching and simply missing a curve. Were this in London, such connectivity would have been delivered decades ago, but because it is in the north-west, it is a struggle to get it done.

Re-heat Briatin

It is good to see Ricky Ross-well that's how I remember him- promoting a good 'green' cause. As Devon Councillor David Cox reports over at LDV:


Liberal Democrat MP Richard Younger-Ross has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to support the Reheat Britain campaign for a boiler scrappage scheme. An unlikely coalition of plumbers and builders’ merchants have teamed up with environmentalists to form the Reheat Britain campaign – just about the most brilliant piece of joined up thinking this side of the last Liberal government.


Now wouldn't it been good if parliament had got round to allowing mere citizens to comment on/support EDMs online. Well until that happy day go to : http://reheatbritain.org.uk/ and sign the petition

Afghanistan rethink welcome

The Afghanistan War does not have public support. It is hard to know what you would say about why we are there if you met the bereaved family of a soldier killed in Helmand.

Nick Clegg has made his strongest statement yet on the topic. Talking on the Politics Show he said:

".....he wanted the mission to succeed but the present course was "almost certainly condemned to failure".
Mr Clegg also said his party's backing for the war was not "unconditional".


I am convinced that he is right to focus on this issue. History is littered with examples of failed Afghan adventures. Unless we have clearly defined objectives, a strategy to match and an exit strategy we will fail at terrible cost to our young soldiers.

Downing Street fob off

I signed a petition recently about the funding for KGV. The Prime Minister has now graciously replied see below


This is just a fob-off. Yet again a Labour Governement has concerntrated their funding into a marginal Labour seat. (Mind you the spectacular collapse of Labour in W Lancs it must suggest it is a lost cause. But Gordon never gives up even when the evidence is against him)

Ever since VIth Form education was nationalised and the funding administered by a government quango, disasters like this have become inevitable. Instead of seeking to control every decision from Whitehall central government has got to learn to accept that locally elected people dealing with local matters will make better decisions and be more effectively accountable to local people. They must stop trying to micro manage everything that moves and give local people the right to raise and spend the money to provide local services. At present less than a quarter of local expenditure is raised locally, the rest comes from Whitehall and he who pays the piper plays the tune.

If local government had made the spectacular cock-up that the LSC has made of funding building projects then there would have been hell and all to pay. The difference would be that it would be locally elected people making the decision and they would be accountable to local people who could get rid of them at the ballot box






“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to RELEASE the funding for King George V sixth form college refurbishment.”
Details of Petition:
“Southport’s flagship sixth form college is in turmoil after being told it cannot have the funding promised for a £40m facelift. KGV was originally told it was getting a £39.6m grant - and spent £2m getting preparatory work underway. The government, blaming the Learning and Skills council for over-committing, axed most of the rebuilding grants promised to colleges around England. This month (June)13 colleges were told that their funding had been finally been found. KGV was not in that first wave. Now, with students put up in portakabin accommodation,and parts of the grounds dug up, KGV has no idea when it can expect the cash … if at all. Sign this petition and demand a change of heart.”

Downing Street's fob off:


Thank you for your e-petition. On the 28 August 2009, following the conclusion of its prioritisation exercise, the Learning and Skills Council confirmed that twelve college projects would commence immediately with their new and improved building projects. More recently, the Learning and Skills Council announced approval of the two remaining projects for Manchester (Wythenshawe) College and Skelmersdale and Ormskirk College and work on all these projects should commence shortly.
Whilst we don’t anticipate being able to give final approval to any further projects in the immediate future, Government remains committed to the FE capital investment programme.
The Learning and Skills Council will in the meantime help colleges whose projects are not proceeding in the short term to draw up a revised estates strategy and to examine other possible sources of finance such as collective approaches to private financing and borrowing.
The Learning and Skills Council remains committed to pay all remaining contractual obligations as set out in the capital handbook and will ensure that no college gets into financial difficulty as a result of the capital programme.

Fire work seizure

I got the follow note from the police this morning. I explains what has been going on in Heathfield Rd:


19th October 2009

Dear Councillor
I write to keep you informed of an incident which occurred on the evening of Friday 16th October 2009.
As a result of information received Merseyside Police Firework Incident Research Team and Merseyside Fire and Rescue officers attended the premises in Heathfield Rd, Ainsdale.
The premises was a shop opened for the specific purpose of selling fireworks. Officers found that the premises and sale of fireworks were not properly licensed and three quarters of a ton of fireworks were seized as a result.
Further proactive work will be undertaken on the run up to the Bonfire Night period to ensure that illegally purchased/sold fireworks are removed from our streets.

Insp Jim McLoughlin
Formby/Birkdale and Ainsdale Neighbourhood.


On a minor point. Heathfield Rd is in Birkdale. It always has been. I know the boundary commission has moved it into the local government ward of Ainsdale but, thankfully, that here today and gone tomorrow decision of a quango does not change the fact that it is in Birkdale-as is the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, the Birkdale Cemetary and for that matter half of Birkdale village which doesn't fall into the present boundary of Birkdale ward.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

For those who missed this story

The spectacular victory in the Mayor of Bedford election is covered in full at Lib Dem Voice

First preferences:
Lib Dem 9428
Con 9105
Indy 7631
Indy 4316
Lab 3482
Green 1183


After second preferences:
Lib Dem 13352

Conservative 11543

Turnout: 30%

Many congratulations to Dave Hodgson and his team on a fantastic victory!
Update: Nick Clegg has issued his congratulations …

This is a sensational victory for Dave Hodgson and I congratulate him and the Bedford Liberal Democrats for an outstanding campaign. By electing Dave Hodgson as Mayor the people of Bedford have put their trust in the Liberal Democrats to work hard on their behalf.

“The fact that the Tories are losing in their South of England heartland is proof the General
Election is not the foregone conclusion they think it is.

All I would pick up on is
a) what an own goal the primary selection was for the Tories. Packing selections with those who have no long term interest in the success of the party has a long and dishonourable history.
b) the splits in the Labour vote show that the damage done to the activist base of the Labour party by Blair and Brown will do long term harm to them


Both the Times and the Telegraph ran a story this morning about our local Tory MEPs. Readers will recall that the Southport Tory Den Dover claimed over £700 000 in expenses and after a campaign by Chris Davis was ordered to pay back 500,000. To date we do not believe that he has.






We have already covered other rip offs by our local Tory MEPs. Now that most pompous an vainglorious of the lot (well that was he was described to me by one of his constituents who had recently met him) seems to be at it big time.








The story now appears to have been withdrawn from the Telegraph website. The Times story-link above- is marked 'under legal complaint' I wonder if he uses the same solicitors as Neil Hamilton or the Winteretons? Did he try a super injunction.
It is good to see that the Southport Visiter have not been intimidated and their online story written by Robert Alcock is still on their website. It shows that this issue was well know but the Tories sat on it hoping it would go away. Mind you, in this context, the unpleasant Mr Atkins would not have taken kindly to such questions.
And yet some were still keen to have their photos taken with him. I was always impressed by Ken Clarke. He refused all invitations to the crook Jeffrey Archers parties. He exercised judgement.


Atkins is on the right of the photo

Friday, 16 October 2009

It appears that the public have understood that Lib Dems are not as other politicians in parliament when it comes to fiddling their expenses. No flipping of homes, not tax avoidance like Osborne-I hope he pays back the £50k+.

In Southport our Lib Dem MP came 515th in the list of MPs expenses claims and he has a clean bill of health from the Legge audit.

Wilshire claim to fame?

About the only occasion that I have heard of David Wilshire is as the Tory who introduced section 28. Now we in Southport know about Tories like that-we have a councillor in Ainsdale who put out leaflets campaigning again the repeal of section 28. This was a nasty bit of legislation as this posting makes clear. At least some Tories had the decency to apologise. Maybe there are those who don't want their supporters to know that they have changed their mind?

More on Wilshire's template


Southport-born Den Dover, Conservative Euro-MP for the North West until last year, racked up over £780,000 using a family firm to siphon of cash which he used to pay for cars, family home etc. He was exposed by local Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies who ‘blew the whistle’ on an official report which many wanted to keep secret, which showed the massive extent of expenses fraud by some members of the European Parliament. At the head of the list were North West Conservatives Den Dover and David Sumberg, both of whom pocketed monstrous amounts of expenses while living away from the area and doing very little of any obvious use to the public of the North West region. David Wilshire, who lives a hundred miles away from his constituency has also copied this from the Conservatives’ Southport fiddle-meister. There is no public record of Den Dover yet paying back any of the £500,000 which he was ordered to do by the European Parliament.

These Top Tory rip off merchants from the European parliament have been much-relied upon by the Southport Conservatives as they have battled in vain to stop losing Sefton Council seats in the area year after year. Den Dover is pictured above with friends

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Southport's Tory MEP the template for Wiltshire rip off

Is Den Dover the Southport's Tory MEP- until earlier this year -the template for Wilshire activities? Dover paid hundreds of thousands of pounds of his parliamentary expenses into his company. You will recall £500k was asked back by the European Parliament. He hasn't paid it. It sounds like the same rouse as Wilshire? They've both agreed not to stand again -but will they pay the money back?

If you don't know about Den Dover listen to Chris Davis:

Viv Bingham

Like many people I was saddened to hear that Viv was not at Bournemouth because of ill health. I can't really remember a time when he wasn't at Assembly/conference. A a student one of the highlights of the week was him buying me dinner. Anyway I sent him a post card-not one of Lib Dem Voice's free ones declaring: Wish you were here, but a tasteful one of the Dorset coastline.

I got a reply today on a notelet with a picture of the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Viv tells me he is much improved and speaks highly of the care he has received from the NHS in London and Stockport. His daughter have clearly been very supportive and their plans; one to marry in 2010 and the other to make Viv a grandfather before Christmas, are clearly uppermost in his mind.

It was interesting to hear Viv's take on conference. Like most of the public he got his impression from the media and has been left with a feeling of confusion on key areas of policy-particularly the economy.
Clearly the media handling has not reached the level where policy discussion is seen as a strength rather than a weakness. We haven't got a lot of time to get this right. There will be an election by June and we cannot give the media the opportunity to write us up as divided and confused. That is still the lazy stereotype that journalists unwilling to contemplate the break up of the political system that suits their well rehearsed lines prefer.

Anyway it is good to hear Viv feels much better.

£1000 for a new lamp rather than do a repair?


I'm in danger of sounding a bit like the Daily Mail........but I am wondering if Health and Safety people have got out of hand. I've been trying to get to the bottom of the issue of the street light in Burlington Road. So far it looks like this.......


The problem with this lamp is that the electricity supply is damaged. This means that MANWEB would need to sort out the (LIVE) supply to the box 10 feet off the ground-it is the the box by my right ear in the picture. MANWEB decline to repair supplies which cannot be reached from the ground (on health and safety grounds), so if ever the supply is at fault to the old cast iron columns (which have the supply box near the top of the column) they have to be replaced.The cost of the whole job is the best part of £1000!

Now lots of folk like the red and cream lamps introduced by the old Southport County Borough, some prefer the new brighter lights because of the added street safety. Whatever view you take it does seem daft at this point in the economic cycle when we are skint to spend £1000 on a new lamp when we could do a repair if only MANWEB bought the kit to allow to do a repair

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Liberal England: David Wilshire MP in trouble over expense claims

Liberal England: David Wilshire MP in trouble over expense claims. Clearly it is not just the Wintertons who have failed to live up to the proper standards

£100,00 + payback for Wintertons


And it couldn't happen to a more deserving couple of rip off merchants. Let us just recall what they did. They bought a London flat, gifted it to their children via a Trust and then charged to parliamentary expenses a high rent. On top of which their level of expenses would make your eyes boggle.
So why am I so exercised about this rip off above others. It is simple . I spent a decade listening to the wretched couple moralise and parade their nasty form of politics all round Cheshire. I heard them telling their racist jokes and their attitude toward expenses was not exactly a state secret. I fought two General election against Mrs Winterton and cut her majority to its lowest level. Our chief problem was the local press who often treated the pair as above criticism and led the fawning and sycophantic reaction to them. To say the pair are right wing is to devalue language. Norman Tebbit is right wing. These two are in a class by themselves.
I met some Cheshire Tories earlier this year and they were slagging off the Wintertons. Given none of their behavior was new where was their judgement over the last two decades?
We hear a lot about how important the local media is for democracy and how they should be supported in this time of change and economic difficulty. Well all I can say is that the Congleton media did not cover themselves in glory and certainly failed to hold this wretched pair to account.

Community Art in Bedford Park


I went with Richard Hands this morning to see the new wall painting in Bedford Park. The youngsters involved in the international visit of 2008 came up with this and it shows all the countries that were involved. Sadly, Richard's head is obscuring Spain

Upper Aughton Road housing


I went off to see the Chief Exec of the Housing Association that has taken over the undeveloped site in Upper Aughton Rd today. We have a had a real problem getting this site built on. It has been vacant for years and given the number of unemployed building workers we have not to mention the waiting list of people in real housing need it does seem wrong. Anyway Richard hands and I went to the Leigh HQ of the people who have bought the site to find out what is going on.

We had a good meeting and as understand their intention it is to develop a scheme after consulting Sefton's housing strategy and submit a planning application. It is their intention that the application should be in by Christmas. they then need to apply to the Government quango for money and with reasonable luck that should allow them to begin building by May 2010.

Fingers crossed. We will check on progress..

photo IBB phoning the good news through to local residents

Uneven pavements in the Village




We have a long list of pavements where the tree roots have cuased havoc. Richard has been pushing for these repairs and it was good to see work going on today

I' not sure whether to believe this

A local resident contact us about a faulty lamp in Burlington Rd. I popped round to have a look. They have replaced the traditional lamp post painted in the old Southport County Borough colours which a brand new one.
I paused to wonder whether in these cashed strapped times it could not have been repair. I have since been informed that a minor repair was needed and that would have required ladders which present a H&S challenge. I'm checking it out. Sounds daft to me.

more wasted cash???

This sign has been moved all of one meter at a cost of £300. Allegedly this is because the engineers weren't clear whether the original posts would support the sign.....................


Danger tree in footpath


Every year I get the Borough legal department to write to residents who let their trees and hedges overgrow the foot path causing hassle to pedestrians. I think they need to write to themselves.............

Dogs and Tory parliamentary candidates

Having spent a decade fighting a most unpleasant breed of Tory in Cheshire this caught my eye

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Fair Trade Coffee Morning

At the beginning of One World Week there is going to be a Coffee Morning with the Fair Trade Store- a Birkdale based business. Please come along to St John's Church Hall between 10.00am and noon on Saturday 17th October. There will be lots to see and buy.

Your Sefton-Your Say-well not whilst we are Whitehall's poodle




An excellent event at Jospice to launch Sefton's new standard for consultation. Jayne Vincent (photo right) and all the team have worked really hard and brought together a wide range of people and interests to sign up to these new standard. Further information should be on the Council's website soon.






The great and the good were out in force; the police, the fire authority, voluntary sector, young people, PCT etc.The day began with Sefton CEO, Margaret Carney, and the PCT CEO, Lee Griffin, endorsing the new standards.






I have no hesitation in telling you that this is real progress in improving consultation and public engagement. We should do it better and I believe that these standard will promote good practice.






I had the job of wrapping up the event-before lunch. Public engagement and consultation come under by cabinet responsibilities. I am not keen to puncture the obvious enthusiasm that was generated by the event. Nevertheless it was true that as I wondered round I heard a lot of disillusionment with the whole process. Health colleagues were saying that very often the option on which they were consulting excluded the option that the public wanted. We have just endured a compulsory consultation on having an elected Mayor-which despite a flier being sent to every household -only 20 odd people responded. Now if we had asked whether they wanted to split up Sefton- a question they are interested in-we would have had thousands of replies. The last time the boundary commission asked the question they got in excess of 20,000 replies (I'm quoting that figure from memory). Sadly the people gave the wrong answer so the 'consultation' was ignored.






I have a real issue with the way this government uses 'consultation' to by pass democracy. There are too many quango who have no democratic accountability and who legitimize their action not via the ballot box but by 'consultation'. They seem to think that the techniques used by the supermarkets are superior to democracy. 'You said that you wanted round carrots'. 'We now stock round carrots' . 'You said not to rip-off third world farmers' We said piss off it impacts on the bottom line' etc.etc.






So when I spoke I recalled that a hunderd years ago three women hid over night in the roof space above the Winter Gardens in Southport in order to heckle Winston Churhill when he spoke the next day. They were suffragettes campaigning for the vote. They were roughly treated but they didn't give up and came back in 1910 to campaign for the right to vote. They were beaten up again.






A 125 years ago the Reform Act passed by Gladstone's Government pretty well completed the work of the long campaign for universal male suffrage as it brought the vote to the rural working men. Thus the key elements for the Chartist movement were achieved-universal male suffrage equal electoral districts and secret ballots. Payments of MPs came in 1911 and we have yet to get annual parliament but I am hopeful that abolition of the House of Lords will come soon-although frankly I don't trust the Tories on this matter.






Anyway I speculated how those two sets of campaigners would would feel if they visited Britain today. They did not get beaten up and harassed to achieve the right to be consulted.They wanted an active and accountable democracy. Take the NHS. 1.4 million staff, eclipsed for size only by the Chinese Liberation Army and the Indian Railway. Only accountable to one politician-the Secretary of State. He attempts by the issuing of banal and ineffective targets to micro manage the entire operation even down to targets on how to clean the carpets. His writ is enforce by a vast army of bean counters and by place men and women who sit on his local administration boards. The employ 'link' people to talk to the community so they know what local people want. Well more precisely what some people think of a bright idea the government is keen on. 'You want to spend your money differently to prioritise a children's A&E service? Sorry we are not programmed to respond to that comment, please answer the question you were asked. Do you want round carrots or straight ones.






When Mrs Merkel take power in Germany she will be responsible for less than 30% of the tax raised. In Britain Central Government raises 94.4% of the tax. He who plays the piper plays the tune. So we all dance round doing daft things because only central government has the money and they tightly control how it is spent.Sefton officers have been scurrying around for weeks afeared that the audit commission(overpaid central government quango) was going to give us a 'red flag' on some obscure target they've just inflicted on us. A man in Whitehall was thinking of deciding that we didn't know our local community. Just consider the absurdity of that idea. I would much rather they were working hard to satisfy the aspirations of local people. And no they are not the same thing.






The democratic deficit in a whole range of service is undermining the dreams of generation of people who fought for and believed in democracy. We need to assert the superiority of the ballot box over quangos appointed in London and their targets. They are the weird working out of some fool who believes -against all the evidence -that even though they are miles away and have never been elected by the people who are going to have to put up with their daft ideas central government knows best.






Locally elected people, responsive and accountable to local people who can remove them at the ballot box is the key to public sector reform. That will not come about until we dismantled the system that allows central government to control almost all the tax revenues. Locally raised taxation is the guarantee of locally designed services. Experiment and innovation will result and that will drive improvement.






Consultation is not the same as democracy. It is like the moon is to the sun. It reflect power, it is not the source of power. All of which does not mean that we shouldn't consult and engage folk to the best of our abilities, but rather until we fix the big problem the shape of the carrots is simply not an issue.

Local government to help foot the bill

I see local government assets are amongst the items Gordon Brown wants to put in his 'car boot' sale. Vince Cable was quick off the mark:


Selling off what is left of the family silver is not going to solve the long term problem of Britain’s structural deficit. Asset sales do have a role to play in Britain’s recovery but selling them off now when markets are depressed is not the most prudent way to go.

“With £16bn already pencilled into the budget, if this car boot sale fails to raise the necessary revenue there is a danger that the Government will open up yet another black hole in its finances.


“With the Government acknowledging just 12 months ago that market conditions were not right for the sale of the Tote, concerns must be raised that this dramatic turn around is due to political rather financial considerations.

“What is also worrying is that yet again this Government chose to make a vital policy announcement on television instead of in front of Parliament. With MPs returning to Westminster today, this is crass politicking at its worst. I have secured an urgent question to ensure that the Chancellor comes

Lib Dem voice has a fuller version of the story

The Prelate's plot


Having been impressed by Rowan Williams at the Iraq service held in St Paul's I note that he has now moved on the promoting allotments!



'The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for “unsustainable” air-freighted food to be replaced gradually by homegrown produce from thousands of new allotments.'


Well down on the plot this month I've planted some garlic and overwintering onions and thought about renewing my asparagus bed. The autumn clearing up has begun- which is far superior to visiting the gym.


It is not clear from the Times article whether Rowan Williams tends his own plot or whether, like the Queen, he has just caused one to be created to encourage the rest of us but the report does say:


'The Archbishop was playing his part, he said, by consuming vegetables from a plot in Lambeth Palace. His family also received regular deliveries of locally grown produce'.

There is one small challenge that needs to be confronted and that is to identify where these thousands of new plots are going to come from. In Sefton we have a new strategy document coming forward which I hope will make progress in that direction. Mind you when we discussing the plan for building land at cabinet-it is reckoned we need an extra 500 homes a year-the officer misunderstood Ronnie Fearn's question about allotment land thinking it may be an option for developers. We put him right.


One way to tackle the plot shortage is to link up all those with unwanted gardens with those who want a plot. Schemes like this have been tried often in the past and there have been success. I caught a bit of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage programme on Channel 4 where he is promoting such a scheme.


Landshare has just launched a web to allow growers to find landowners. Todate there are about 90 growers registered on Merseyside and over 200 in Lancashire. I think this is the sort of scheme that could well be successful in Southport. There are lots of big gardens which have defeated their now elderly owners and a big allotment waiting list. I don't fancy the idea of the council binding the project up with red tape but would encourage 'transitional Towns' and other similar bodies to promote landshare




Monday, 12 October 2009

Quote of the week

'Last night, the Lib Dems, who are confident that they avoided the worst excesses, stepped up pressure on the Conservatives by calling on George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, to pay an estimated £55,000 in capital gains tax which they claim he avoided.

Lord Oakeshott said: “George Osborne’s catchphrase at the Tory conference was ‘We’re all in this together’. Perhaps he should make that ‘except Conservative shadow chancellors and founder members of the Cameron club who flip their million-pound properties to dodge a £55,000 capital gains tax bill.’

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Clegg and Vince show-coming to a town near you?

I see that Chippenham was getting the full Vince and Nick treatment this week. It is a seat that the Liberals have always done well in -good times and bad. In that respect it is a bit like Southport. It is clear that the visit had a positive impact on the town and did a lot to enthuse the local activists.

Police helicopter 'attacked'

I've been approached by a couple of people asking about an incident at the Woodvale site. I have been unable to tell them much. But last night I got an email from the police which explains what went on:

10th October 2009

Dear Councillor

I write to keep you informed of an incident involving the force helicopter based at Woodvale..
Just before 10.30pm on the evening of 9th October 2009 officers on duty at RAF Woodvale prevented a number of offenders from causing serious damage to the force helicopter.
Other officers quickly arrived on the scene and the offenders left having caused slight damage to the helicopter.
The prompt action by police officers and the recently enhanced security measures prevented the offenders from causing anything other than minor damage to the aircraft.
As a precautionary measure Merseyside Fire and Rescue service attended the scene. No persons were injured during the incident.
The Mitsubishi Shogun vehicle, believed to have been used by the offenders was later found burnt out on Moors lane.
A short time later an Audi vehicle was seen traveling at speed along the Formby by-pass away from the scene. This vehicle was tracked and pursued from the Southport area to Liverpool City Centre.
The vehicle then entered the Birkenhead Tunnel. The vehicle exited the tunnel and returned to the Liverpool City Centre area where it eventually came to a halt after colliding with a police vehicle. The police vehicle caught fire as a result of the collision.
Three men aged 24, 25 and 26 from the vehicle were arrested at scene.
Following the incident the tunnel was closed to allow an extensive search by officers.
The three currently remain in custody whilst the investigation continues.

Anyone wishing to contact me or any of the Neighbourhood Team directly regarding this or any other incident, we can be contacted on 0151 777 4142

Insp Jim McLoughlin
Formby/Birkdale and Ainsdale Neighbourhood.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Afghanistan; the same yesterday, today...?


We've been to war in Afganistan before. Gladstone oppossed both major engagements which took place in his political lifetime and in the process produced one of his most memorable quotations:


'.... Remember that ... the sanctity of human life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own. Remember that ... mutual love is not limited by the shores of this island, is not limited by the boundaries of Christian civilisation, that it passes over the whole surface of the earth and embraces the meanest along with the greatest in its unmeasured scope.'


The other day I came across an article looking at Gladstone's reactions to the Afgan Wars. Gladstone had oppossed the War of the 1840 as he made clear to his constituents:


'Early in December 1879, Gladstone addressed his Greenwich constituents, at Woolwich, in a long speech which has been ignored by his biographers. He focused almost entirely on Afghanistan – a subject which, he observed, ‘is to an Englishman one of the most painful in the world’ because it had been the scene of ‘the greatest military disaster that had fallen upon England for generations’. This was a reference to the 1842 massacre, which he regarded as God’s retribution on Britain for embarking on an unjust war in Afghanistan. He feared that a similar outcome would now recur:
It is written in the eternal laws of the universe of God that sin shall be followed by suffering. An unjust war is a tremendous sin. The question which you have to consider is whether this war is just or unjust. So far as I am able to collect the evidence, it is unjust ... If so ... the day will come – come it soon or come it late – when the people of England will discover that national injustice is the surest road to national downfall.'


Now leaving the theology on one side for a moment (those interested can read an alternative interpretation here of 'sacrificial atonement' by the Dean of St Albans) The same issue confronts us today; is the war justified? Gladstone -the originator of 'moral foreign policy' took up the issue in his famous Midlothian Campaign. I do not think that the issue will dominate the 2010 election in the way that Gladstone's opposition to the Bulkan policy of Disreali did in former times, but I do get the firm impression that the public and turning away from this war. Why are we there, what is the purpose of our engagement and what is achievable? The Tories by taking on the pro war General have nailed their colours to the mast. We, I think, need to reflect more deeply. Clearly what the US do is influential. It is a test for Obama. Can he withstand the blatant attempt by the military to bounce him into major increase in troops. Are we to turn a blind eye to political corruption and the military and civilian losses. Has Gladstone's assertion about the morality of military any continuing significance? Interestingly as the History Today article quoted early concludes:


'In the House of Commons, in April 2001, Paddy Ashdown quoted the ‘rights of the savage’ passage and described it as a code of survival for our own time. The continued relevance of Gladstone’s remarks was dramatically enhanced, a few months later, when Afghanistan suddenly became the focus of the ‘war against terror’. The Taliban were soon overthrown, but for months afterwards American air attacks continued to cause the deaths of many innocent civilians. Thus Gladstone’s affirmation of ‘the sanctity of human life in the hill villages of Afghanistan’ still remains highly pertinent both to the particular circumstances of that country and to the general need for global humanitarianism. '



The Tory pension policy 'cock-up'

Southport is a town here lots of pensioners live. It always has been. So we are always interested in the impact on the retired of new policies.



I was particularly pleased to see Vince Cable's policy initiative which would take many of our pensioners out of tax entirely by raising the threshold to £10,000 pa. This will also directly help low paid workers -there are lots in Southport working in the tourism, care and agricultural sectors. I like Vince's emphasis on fair taxes and personally I have no problem with his mansion tax. Under Blair and Thatcher we have moved too far away from effective taxation on the 'super rich' whilst poorer folk have landed up with eye boggling level of marginal tax. You can read the Lib Dem plans for fairer tax by here



I have never been comfortable with Labour's complex tax credit scheme. Too many eligible elderly people have not claimed (as with council tax rebate) My first job -back in the early 70's- was with Age Concern and I spent a large part of my time helping people claim benefits. I remember tackling the Labour Leader of the council about how fiendishly complicated pensioners found the system. Their reply was the State was the pensioners friend. Look how much money they were prepared to spend on 'hand outs' to them. Ok you can take the view that you should tug your forelock and be grateful. I don't. Taking all the folk out of tax who earn less than £10k is a dramatically less bureaucratic policy and will have none of the problems of 'take up'.



It strikes me that another unintended cock-up that will hit those approaching retirement is contained in the Tory plans announced last week. At their conference the Tories missed the opportunity of making their taxation policy fairer. They could have scrapped the big tax rebate they have promised to many of the richest people in Britain. They did not. They have stuck with a pledge to give £3billion away to the richest 3000 people. On top of that their policy of making women retire at 66 will also hit many poorer people hard. Steve Webb has done the arithmetic:



''Bringing forward the rise in the pension age by a decade will hit hardest those who have no pension other than the state pension. It is typical of Tory policy to hit the poorest the hardest. Under the Tories top civil servants will go on being able to draw generous pensions at sixty whilst low-paid workers will have to wait until they are sixty six.

"There are big issues to address in pension policy but they need to be taken as a whole, not picking out one part in isolation to get a quick headline. Women's pension ages are already rising between 2010 and 2020 but the Tories don't seem to have thought through what their announcement will mean for women."






Steve Webb goes into further detail on his blog showing that the £13billion the Tories claim they will save is very suspect. Whichever way you cut it it does mean that low paid folk will suffer whilst the richest folk get a hand out of billions.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Green-free Cameron

Am I the only one struck by what was absent from the Cameron speech? Why was there no substantial mention of the environment-is saving the planet no longer a priority? And what about all the issues that caused David Davis to fight his by election? At the time many thought these were only clothes that Cameron tried on for an evening, a Primark buy, soon abandoned.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Kew Ward Fair



A good turn out on Saturday at the Kew ward Fair. The hard working councillors and their team of volunteers and supporters put on a successful event. Edna got a prize in the raffle but generously gave it away. I was a little late as we had a very well attended surgery at the Birkdale Library.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Labour throw in towel in Sefton central (Crosby)?


Responding to the news that Crosby Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas is standing down at the next election, the prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Sefton Central Richard Clein said:
“I’m not surprised by this announcement as it is clear that Ms Curtis-Thomas was heading for defeat. She has gone from being the most expensive MP to the most inactive and like a Gormley statue has been doing nothing, saying nothing and is unable to stem the incoming tide of rejection at the ballot box.


“The reality is she knows that, with no councillors in the new constituency, Labour cannot win.

“The choice now in Sefton Central is clear - between a conservative party which has proved by its recent announcements that it hasn’t changed and is only concerned with the more well off people in society or the Liberal Democrats who offer real change for everyone.”

Another interesting brown envelope

I read a novel once where the author recieved a brown envelope through the post containing the diary of protagonist in a long forgotten mystery. I have been getting more than my fair share of such post recently. First the book which must be the biggest Tory own goal of the generation in this town and now I have recieved a second package

I must admit that the second package was a pleasure to read. It contained 13 thin yellowing pages of quarto paper. The document was typed on an old fashioned typewriter and there are no corrections-not a drop of typex anywhere. Thos eof you old enough to recall the days before word processors will recognise what an achievement that is.

The document is dated December 1973and called 'Some Political Themes from Old Birkdale'. It is a review of a volume of press cutting from the Birkdale District Liberal Association 1891-1909. This covers a period before Birkdale U.D.C. was merged with Southport.

A number of key themes emerge; the struggle for the political rights of women, the need for better educational facilities of the 'underprivileged children' and the separate identities of Birkdale Park and Birkdale Common (I live on the Common)

These fit in with our planned commemoration of the 1910 election and I will return to these matter over the next few weeks. One thing that does emerge is the larger than life figures that were on the political stage. Chief amongst those was Kate Riley who was greatly involved in the campaign for female suffrage and education. She even stopped paying her local taxes as a protest against the failure to provide proper educational facilities for 'underprivileged' children'

undermining public confidence

It was always going to be difficult for the Tories to suggest to the world that they had seen the light and come over all socially liberal. When Pickles suggested that there you couldn't put a cigarette paper between Lib Dems and Tories on such issues Norman Tebbit spoke for most Tory activists by wondering out loud what exacting was in that cigarette paper-maybe drug reform will be the next Tory policy announcement.

Now news reaches us of how these obvious contradictions are being played out. It is hard to present yourself as socially liberal and take up with the nasty folk the Tories have befriended in Europe. Now Stephen Fry and friends have pointed up the lack of credibility facing both ways produces. Mind you in Southport we have leading Tories who put out leaflets defending Section 28 who are now trying to pass themselves off as -if not exactly socially liberal-certainly people who would never of dreamt of adopting such a position

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

BOOK EXPOSES THE VENOM AT THE HEART OF SOUTHPORT CONSERVATIVE PARTY

When a member of the Tory inner circle publishes a book slagging off the most respected and successful Conservative Councillors in the town we need to take note.

For starters the book asserts:

“the egocentric actions of this pious and overly slothful duo have worked against the best interests of not only of the main Conservative party.......'

For me it all began late last week when I was e-mailed by someone who managed to locate a copy of a most interesting book written by a leading light in Southport Conservative Party circles, as well as husband to Tory Council candidate and a close associate of Brenda Porter, Tory parliamentary candidate for Southport.

The book was published earlier this year and is called “Dirty Politics”. I am advised that one chapter in it is headed:

“Outdated Tory turncoats that threaten the good name of their own party”

It exposes the enormous split which now lies at the heart of the Southport Conservative Party. Most of the venom has been directed at neighbouring Tory councillors in Dukes Ward (covering shoreside Birkdale and the town centre). Such has been the unpleasantness directed at them by the current ruling Tory faction that one of the three Dukes Ward Tories (a respected former Group leader) defected to Labour after the way he had been treated. Another was “de-selected”; this was until the weight of public pressure forced a retreat on the part of the Conservative leadership.

The remaining two Dukes Ward Tory councillors – Councillor Sir Ron Watson and Councillor David Pearson – have now been subjected to the most amazing attack in this book.

I have been promised the loan of the book and I will happily reproduce the offending section as soon as I can, but here are some of the venomous phrases used by one leading Southport Conservative against two well-respected Tory councillors:

“they sponge off the system for private financial advancement and they do this so well that most people never even distinguish this blatant subterfuge!”

“the egocentric actions of this pious and overly slothful duo have worked against the best interests of not only of the main Conservative party that is opposing AWC, but also against the unfortunate Southport public.”

“They also frequently let their highly-paid duties in executive bodies take precedence over party duties and proper concern for requests from their own constituents.” (NB: Councillor Sir Ron Watson is Chair of the Southport and Formby Hospital NHS Trust)

The book calls them:

“imprudent old toffs”, and alleges that they do “little or nothing for their constituents but simply love to seize the limelight”

It also says this about them:

“They strongly rely on lofty titles, previous status and their Lib Dem comrades to protect them when inadvertently faced with potent, modern-thinking Conservative women from their own party.” (NB: ’potent, modern-thinking Conservative women’ is assumed to refer to his wife and to Cllr Mrs Porter)

One last quote:

“The magnitude of the infidelity of the minority of Tory traitors in question is astounding.”

I rather think that most of would think that it is the magnitude of the spite and venom directed by one Conservative, close to Southport’s Tory leader, towards two respected colleagues, which is astounding.It would be nice to think that Councillor Mrs Porter would condemn this disgraceful attack, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Monday, 5 October 2009

BOOK EXPOSES THE VENOM AT THE HEART OF SOUTHPORT CONSERVATIVE PARTY

When a member of the Tory inner circle publishes a book slagging off the most respected and successful Conservative Councillors in the town we need to take note. For starters the book asserts:

“the egocentric actions of this pious and overly slothful duo have worked against the best interests of not only of the main Conservative party.......'

For me it all began late last week when I was e-mailed by someone who managed to locate a copy of a most interesting book written by a leading light in Southport Conservative Party circles, as well as husband to Tory Council candidate and a close associate of Brenda Porter, Tory parliamentary candidate for Southport.

The book was published earlier this year and is called “Dirty Politics”. I am advised that one chapter in it is headed:

“Outdated Tory turncoats that threaten the good name of their own party”

It exposes the enormous split which now lies at the heart of the Southport Conservative Party. Most of the venom has been directed at neighbouring Tory councillors in Dukes Ward (covering shoreside Birkdale and the town centre). Such has been the unpleasantness directed at them by the current ruling Tory faction that one of the three Dukes Ward Tories (a respected former Group leader) defected to Labour after the way he had been treated.

Another was “de-selected”; this was until the weight of public pressure forced a retreat on the part of the Conservative leadership.

The remaining two Dukes Ward Tory councillors – Councillor Sir Ron Watson and Councillor David Pearson – have now been subjected to the most amazing attack in this book.

I have been promised the loan of the book and I will happily reproduce the offending section as soon as I can, but here are some of the venomous phrases used by one leading Southport Conservative against two well-respected Tory councillors:

“they sponge off the system for private financial advancement and they do this so well that most people never even distinguish this blatant subterfuge!”

the egocentric actions of this pious and overly slothful duo have worked against the best interests of not only of the main Conservative party that is opposing AWC, but also against the unfortunate Southport public.”

“They also frequently let their highly-paid duties in executive bodies take precedence over party duties and proper concern for requests from their own constituents.” (NB: Councillor Sir Ron Watson is Chair of the Southport and Formby Hospital NHS Trust)

The book calls them “imprudent old toffs”, and alleges that they do “little or nothing for their constituents but simply love to seize the limelight

It also says this about them: “They strongly rely on lofty titles, previous status and their Lib Dem comrades to protect them when inadvertently faced with potent, modern-thinking Conservative women from their own party.” (NB: ’potent, modern-thinking Conservative women’ is assumed to refer to his wife and to Cllr Mrs Porter)

One last quote: “The magnitude of the infidelity of the minority of Tory traitors in question is astounding.”

I rather think that most of would think that it is the magnitude of the spite and venom directed by one Conservative, close to Southport’s Tory leader, towards two respected colleagues, which is astounding.

It would be nice to think that Councillor Mrs Porter would condemn this disgraceful attack, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Free compost






From birkdalefocus
What happens to all that green waste that is collected from Birkdale all year for recycling? Well it is turned into excellent compost. There is a special offer on NOW where you can take a bag or two and fill up with free compost. Full details here. Richard Hands and I took up the free compost offer last year. Thanks to Roy Connell for the tip off.