Friday, 27 May 2016

Marco Pannella, the 'lion of liberty' Radical Party leader has died

Marco Pannella, politician, was born on May 2, 1930. He died on May 19, 2016, aged 86

I met Pannella sometime in the mid 70's at an EFLRY seminar.(for younger readers this was some time before LYMEC was formed). He talked about Gueseppe Mazzini and the unification of Italy, his successful campaign for divorce law reform and the upcoming campaign for abortion .
He had joined the Italian Liberal Party in his youth and was a student leader. In 1956 the broke with the party -then led by Giovanni  Malagodi a man prominent in Liberal International and often quoted by Jeremy Thorpe. Pannella along with others on the left helped to form the Radical Party. 

Renzi pays homage to the “Lion of Liberty”
Tributes for the leader came pouring in from his political colleagues, led by the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who said: “He was a great political leader, a radical who left his mark on the history of this country, fighting battles that were sometimes controversial but always bravely and without any hidden agendas. I pay tribute on behalf of myself and the government to this warrior and lion of liberty.”

A fully obituary has appeared in The Guardian, New York Times, The Times (£) and many other papers
As he Guardian says, he was 'good at annoying people' but had real achievements to his name, their obituary begins
For the past 40 years, the Italian radical politician and civil rights activist Marco Pannella, who has died aged 86, was at the forefront of Italian politics on issues such as divorce, abortion, prison conditions, world hunger, world peace, Europeanism, the decriminalisation of drugs (he was briefly arrested for smoking a joint in public) and sexual reform.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mental Health new Mayor's priority

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The beginning of my Mayoral year

Daughter Katie and grandchildren Sarah and Lily join me in the Mayor's parlour after the ceremony
Last night I was installed as Mayor of Sefton at a meeting of the council held in Southport town hall.

I am going to use a blog to record all my comings and goings as mayor which can be found at : and so the Birkdale FOCUS will not have any more postings from me for a while.

At a reception held afterwards in The Atkinson I had the chance to thank my predecessor Stephen Kermode (who passed on a very good joke), divest myself of the Ruritanian outfit  and to outline some of my plans for the year.

For 36 years I have worked alongside people with mental health issues on their journey to living a full and independent life. I hope to use the opportunity that the mayoralty gives me to continue to challenge the stigma and ignorance that so often blights their lives inhibiting them from playing their full part in our communities.  I intend to work alongside the 800 group of charities-so called because together they have given 800 years of service to our communities-to include those who are often excluded from the life of the borough.
later, without the Ruratanian robes....

Looking at the diary for the coming year it is dominated by the remembrance of war. We mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at events throughout the borough. I shall be at Southport where the war memorial has a special chapel dedicated to those young men who died there. I shall lay a paving stone dedicated to a Bootle man who received the Victoria Cross for his bravery on the centenary of his death. In June shall  the Royal Hotel to commemorate the battle of Waterloo in the district named after the battle. It is a blessing that Europe has found a peaceful way of resolving its disputes.

During the year I hope to have the opportunity, on behalf of the borough, to thank individuals, voluntary groups, faith communities and  businesses who make our borough such a diverse and successful place.

I have no doubt that along the way I shall encounter many challenges, not least of all from those who will regard me as an imposter as every self respecting Sandgrounder knows that there is only one Mayor of Southport and that is Maureen Fearn!

Friday, 6 May 2016

The brilliant results from Southport in detail, a clean sweep

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Below are the brilliant results from Southport. Never before throughout the whole history of the borough have we won every seat. That goes back to the granting of the borough's charter in 1858!

some of the victorious Lib Dem team after the count

Most magnificent was the stonking majority in Dukes ward never before achieved- very closely followed by the extra ordinary gain from the Tories in Ainsdale. In addition we held Cambridge - a seat we failed to take last year. Look too at the size of the majorities..........

These seven seats make up the Southport constituency

Ainsdale - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
Lynne ThompsonLiberal Democrats171342%Elected
Jamie HalsallConservative Party114928%Not elected
Mhairi McLeod Johnstone DoyleThe Labour Party72918%Not elected
Duncan BrowneUnited Kingdom Independence Party39410%Not elected
Barbara Ann DuttonThe Green Party1333%
Not elected

Birkdale - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
Richard Ronald HandsLiberal Democrats144346%Elected
Ged WrightThe Labour Party71723%Not elected
Linda Julia Ann Gunn-RussoUnited Kingdom Independence Party43914%Not elected
John Charles Lyon-TaylorConservative Party42814%Not elected
Bernhard FrankThe Green Party1073%Not elected

Cambridge - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
Pat KeithLiberal Democrats157547%Elected
Jordan Thomas ShandleyConservative Party72922%Not elected
Michael SkarrattsUnited Kingdom Independence Party50115%Not elected
Stephen James JowettThe Labour Party46514%Not elected
David William CollinsThe Green Party722%Not elected

Dukes - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
Tony DawsonLiberal Democrats149645%Elected
Jacky BlissConservative Party92728%Not elected
Frank HanleyThe Labour Party43813%Not elected
Matthew James HubbardUnited Kingdom Independence Party34911%Not elected
Bernie DraperThe Green Party1073%Not elected

Kew - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
David Gwyn PullinLiberal Democrats108539%Elected
Janet Catherine HarrisonThe Labour Party68025%Not elected
Terry John DurranceUnited Kingdom Independence Party55120%Not elected
Tina BlissConservative Party32912%Not elected
Richard James FurnessThe Green Party1024%Not elected

Meols - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
John DoddLiberal Democrats163551%Elected
Luke Anthony ThompsonConservative Party53517%Not elected
Debbie BannonThe Labour Party51016%Not elected
Katy BonneyUnited Kingdom Independence Party45814%Not elected
Sarah-Jayne McIntoshThe Green Party863%Not elected

Norwood - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
Bill WelshLiberal Democrats121043%Elected
Lesley DelvesThe Labour Party69825%Not elected
Peter Neol GregsonUnited Kingdom Independence Party41715%Not elected
Poppy Elise JonesConservative Party32612%Not elected
David McIntoshThe Green Party1465%Not elected