Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Polish names on Southport

 On Sunday morning as we were all waiting in the Mayor's Parlour prior to assembling at the War memorial Pat Keith and I fell into conversation with Sefton's first Leader of the Councillor Tom Glover. Tom had two medals pinned to his coat. The one that interested me was the award he got from the Communist Polish Government. Tom explained that he had arranged for the names of Polish Servicemen to be added to the War Memorial.

At a time when there is so much bile and nonsense is spoken about Polish people it is important to remember their significant contribution to winning WW2. Their part tends to get played down in British War time movies but history does show us how crucial a part they played in -for example -the Battle of Britain. The war time play Flare Path -revived in London a couple of years ago to coincide with the centenary of  Terrance Rattigan birth-features a polish pilot and his wife (played by Sheridan Smith. Radio 3 also broadcast the play. Rattigan was part of a squadron and his play better reflects the part that polish people played .

Next time you walk along Lord Street pause to read the names on the memorial. As the poet said:
 “When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
 For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”

Thursday, 6 November 2014

foisting Mayors on reluctant Northern Cities is a disgrace

The ill considered foisting of a City regional mayor on a reluctant Manchester is not the way to reform the constitution. It is a London answer to the English question. Firstly it does not answer the Mid Lothian Question-why should MP's from constituencies with devolved administrations vote on English issues, it fact this botched proposal makes it worst- and secondly it blatantly ignores the wishes of Manchester people. We certainly DO NOT want this option foisted on us. Secondly the way to constitutional reform is from the bottom up. We, the people, will decide not the Whitehall and Westminster elite.

It is outrageous that the Tory Chancellor has ignored the wishes of the people. There was a referendum in Manchester and the voters said NO to a Mayor, then along comes a London based Conservative politician and foisted a Mayor on them. The powers offered are ones that should naturally rest with Local Government and do in almost every Western democracy. Imposing a Mayor shows a spectacular contempt for the wishes of the people. It is not health that all the power should be vested in one person.

We must not allow the same deception be visited on Southport. We do not want our services being run from Liverpool. Our key economic need is to improve communications to the North and the East. The road and rail links to Manchester and Preston are a disgrace. The action that needs to be taken to remedy those issues lies out side of the so called City Region.

John Pugh has a Bill before parliament at present that would allow local people to change the boundaries of local government districts. It is no secrets that Lib Dem have since the 1970’s argued that Sefton is not fit for purpose. Southport needs urgently to get back control over our own affairs. Rule from Bootle has seen our Libraries close and Lord Street go on to the ‘at risk’ register. Rule from Liverpool is not the local government change we need.


What has been announced is a tweeking of the powers of local government. The challenge of how the North should respond to the transfer of significant power from London to Scotland must be decided in the North. We do not want London politicians coming here telling us what to do. This grubby little deal transfers a minuscule amount of power and money-less than 2% of the money the government spends in the area. It is a London answer to the English question.

KGV: The Governors and the principal must not be allowed to sit out the storm

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
King George V 6th Form College has just had a truly shocking OFSTED report. They have fallen from Outstanding in 2010 to Inadequate this year. Sadly too few parents and students were that surprised. The evidence has been mounting for some time. It is no secret that John Pugh MP received some detailed complaints which he put to the Governors. They rejected the concerns and made it clear that they thought that they were doing well in the present climate.

They were wrong.

It appears that their staggering level of complacency has continued since the OFSTED report was published. This is some of the things the report said about the Governors and Principal:

  • the governing body does not hold senior managers to account with sufficient rigour
  • the Principal's appraisal lacks targets and objectives
  • Governors have not set challenging objectives for the senior leadership team
  • performance management across the College is not effective
and so it goes on, page after page. This institution was (prior to 2010) one of the very best VIth Form Colleges in the entire country. There is a real danger that students will not choose to go to the College. Other FE provision in the area have expanded as student recognise that their chances will be enhanced by going elsewhere. There is a genuine danger that the College will go the way of Ainsdale High.

The immediate action required is that the Chair of the Governors must go. I suspect his instinct is to sit it out in the bunker and wait for the storm to subside. Our town cannot afford for that to happen. We need to see rapid reform and those who complacently dismissed all criticism over the recent years are not the people to oversee that change.