August 2009 Archives

I've just finished reading David Simon's true crime book Homicide - a year on the killing streets.

"The scene is Baltimore. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death," states the back cover.

That was back in 1988 when Simon spent a year with Baltimore Police's homicide unit, a year when 234 people died violent deaths in the American city.

Fast forward to 2009 and suddenly shadow minister for Merseyside Chris Grayling is comparing Liverpool to the Baltimore depicted in cult TV show The Wire, also written by Simon and partly inspired by Homicide.

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I've just been having a look through Network Rail's summary for the case behind high speed rail to Liverpool, Warrington and Scotland.

It makes very interesting reading, so I've picked out some of the best bits:

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The stock of Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman continues to rise with the announement on the latest on high speed rail.

Network Rail today said it wants to replace the West Coast Main Line with a new high-speed link from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The superfast locos will call at both Liverpool and Warrington en route to Scotland, if the £34bn plans go ahead.

It will take just 1hr 23mins to reach London from Liverpool, and 1hr 06mins leaving from Warrington.

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Liverpool Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Storey is today leading the tributes to Senator Edward Kennedy who has died aged 77.

Democrat Mr Kennedy - known as Ted - was elected to the Senate in 1962.

Cllr Storey said: "I think he was the heart and soul of American politics really.

"It doesn't matter which wing of politics you belong to Ted Kennedy is one of those politicians that you come across that was larger than life character that everybody admired.

larry_neild.jpgLarry Neild, formerly of this parish wades in to the row about Tesco on Hope Street in his Liverpool Confidential column.

The usually insightful Neild (conflict of interest declaration, I use to work closely with the man and hold him in high regard) makes some very good points.

He concludes with:

There may be some sympathy for those who say a Tesco is unsuited to Hope Street, but under planning rules it would seem they are on a loser. The council has no power to prevent Tesco opening on Hope Street. The issue is signage, and it would seem a compromise will have to be reached.

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Labour are this afternoon in full rebuttal mode after Chris Grayling's speech about parts of Britain, including Liverpool, being like the Baltimore in TV show The Wire.

Part of an email states "does Chris Grayling make up policy while watching television?"

And then goes on to cite the following:

"We have a growing 'Jeremy Kyle' generation of young men, alienated and drifting without a purpose in life."
Chris Grayling, The Guardian, 11 February 2008

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Merseyside's Chief Fire Office Tony McGuirk has committed one of those email blunders that happens to us all at some point.

Today we report how he ended up forwarding, what was supposed to be a private response to a councillor, to a former member of staff making a complaint about the way the sacking of an officer had been dealt with.

Mally Swann - who retired five years ago after a 30-year career - emailed a Fire Authority member saying he thought the service overreacted by sacking Mr Hughes.

The councillor apparently forwarded Mr Swann's email to CFO McGuirk asking for advice about how to reply.

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Liberal Democrat Berni Turner, the city's environment leader and historic environment champion is mixing it up with Tesco again.

After her comments about the supermarket's plans for Hope Street a row seems to have erupted with Tesco.

The Facebook group now has 500 members.

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The controversy over Tesco's plans to open a store in Hope Street continues with the news that a Facebook campaign has been launched.

When I wrote this piece in the office last night there were only 140 members, overnight it has grown and now there are more than 230.

Liberal Democrat Berni Turner, the city's environment leader and historic environment champion, is the latest to have come out against the plans.

"We do not need another tacky red and blue outpost of Sir Terry's evil empire," she wrote on the website.

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Former Liverpool Council chief executive Sir David Henshaw is today making headlines once more - more than three years after he left.

The Mail on Sunday reveals how he enjoyed a taste of the high life on the Liverpool taxpayer.

Apparently Sir David spent £644 for three nights at London's Dorchester hotel to attend a human resources award ceremony.

"Liverpool was in the finals of the HR awards, and Sir David was invited to attend by the organisers," his spokesman tells the Mail.

Oh, and he also claimed a £2 Mersey Tunnel toll on expenses.

Carole Hudson, chief executive of St Helens Council, is also mentioned in the article for claiming £56.40 to hire a car in London when she and the mayor drove to Twickenham to watch Saints in the Challenge Cup Final.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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