October 2009 Archives

I've just spent a little while perusing the internet and happened upon a blog post about litter by liverpool09.com that caught my attention.

Liverpool09.com states:

Property regeneration is an obvious manifestation of that change with Liverpool One, The Arena, hotels, offices and apartments leading the way. But to me one of the most striking changes is the feeling of safety in a city that once upon a time did have a bit of a problem with car crime and petty theft...

But, and a very large but. The one thing that hasn't changed much in those twenty years is the state of streets in and around the city centre. Vomit, half eaten food, empty drinks bottles and cans, grease, chewing gum, litter, cigarette ends and other detritus still mark most pavements and roads outside the prime commercial core.

The picture above stands as a stark reminder that you are leaving the filth of Liverpool behind and entering the surreally clean world of Liverpool One. Cleaning appears haphazard and random - but I assume we all pay for it whether it happens or not. Until the city can get on top of its basic housekeeping the perception will remain that this is a city that simply doesn't care.

Merseytram continues to divide opinion since it was "virtually killed off" earlier this week.

I've found two very different blog posts that cast the debate about the future of the scheme following this LETTER in very different terms.

The first is from Liberal Democrat run Birkdale Focus, and the second is from Frank McKenna at Downtown Liverpool in Business.

For the sake of transparency I am reproducing each in full here, to visit their sites please click on the links above.

BNP on BBC Question Time reaction

By David Bartlett on Oct 23, 09 01:37 PM in

Thanks for all the messages. I'm starting to improve.

Anyway, I've now watched Question Time. I think it was a shame it concentrated almost exclusively on the BNP.

Nick Griffin did not come across well at all. He couldn't give a straight answer to save his life, and his remark about David Duke being a member of an "almost none violent" branch of the KKK was priceless.

Apologies for a lack of blog posts this week, I'm currently off work with flu (possibly swine flu).

Tonight of course is the much hyped BBC Question Time including the BNP for the first time.

I'll be tucked up in bed while it's on, and will watch it tomorrow on the iplayer.

But I thought it might be worthwhile creating an open thread for readers to debate the programme.

phillip_blond.jpg

The stock of Liverpudlian Phillip Blond has been rising in recent months.

The Sunday Times was the latest paper to write about the "Red Tory" and his role in trying to make the Conservatives "the party of the poor and mend broken Britain".

It's an interesting read, and if the Tories - as is widely expected - win the next election his ideas are likely to become more and more important. Click HERE to read it, this is a section from the piece:

Blond's work is seminal because it focuses on how social responsibility can be built from the bottom up, providing a real progressive alternative to centralised bureaucratic control," says Oliver Letwin, the Tory MP who is writing the election manifesto. "He is one of the most exciting thinkers around." An insider close to Cameron and George Osborne concurs: "Blond opens up the debate with a completely new, radical, iconoclastic way of thinking. We have a social crisis on our hands; you can't just tinker."

The Nothing British about the BNP campaign has come to the fore today, following the writing of a letter by former heads of the army hitting out at the way the party has hi-jacked British military history.

You can read the group's first research paper HERE.

The campaign states the following: "In an age when the liberal Establishment has sought to marginalise popular nationalism as the work of "fascist thugs", Nothing British is a campaign that seeks to understand the causes of anger and frustration, and opposes racism and extremism with appeals to British values and the mobilisation of traditional British institutions.

"In Nothing British's first research paper, the "Stolen Honour" details the BNP hi-jacking of Britain's military heritage and makes recommendations on how Britain's traditional institutions can use patriotism to fight back
against the racists and extremists."

Below is the letter from Transport Minister Sadiq Khan, which in the words of Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley "virtually kills off Merseytram once and for all".

HERE is today's story.

I've added in my analysis of what I think he is saying in bold. It is hard to disagree with Cllr Bradley's assessment of the situation.

Mr Khan may have been the person to give Liverpool is long needed electrified rail line to Manchester, but he now appears to kill of its tram.

The fact that he and Sefton Council leader Tony Robertson believe the Government is not for funding the project also now means that the scheme would struggle to meet one of the tests that Government has set: that it enjoy the full support of Merseyside district councils. A catch 22 situation.

There are many other issues with the scheme which is made clear in the letter:

Observers will remember a time in the last couple of years when barely a month seemed to go by without a councillor in Merseyside getting reported to the Standards Board for England.

Since then the rules have changed and local standards committees rule in the majority of cases.

Paul Waugh has blogged on the case where a local standards committee has thrown the book at Conservative Bertha Joseph of Brent Council over allegations about the way she handled donations from two local companies.

She has been suspended for six months and ordered to pay £900 to the Mayor's charity.

This is an excerpt from a statement from Brent Council:

Another day, another twist and turn in the Wirral libraries saga - this time Conservative group leader Jeff Green has written back to Wirral Council solicitor Bill Norman demanding to know why certain people were shown the confidential report by libraries inspector Sue Charteris.

The letter to Mr Norman is shown in full, below, but does raise some interesting points...
As well as challenging why certain people were allowed to see the report, Cllr Green asks whether "the Council has had any direct communication with the DCMS regarding the Council's response to the draft report and when an announcement (prior to the Cabinet's change of policy) was due or would be made?"

Clearly a "yes" to this would raise some interesting points about the timing of the council's decision to revoke the library closures, although council leader Steve Foulkes has insisted the timing was due to the long drawn out process the inquiry turned into, preventing them being able to pursue the investment in neighbourhood centres.

FINALLY a list of 13 people (plus presumably the borough solicitor himself) in Wirral Council who have seen the draft report by Government-appointed libraries inspector Sue Charteris.

The list was released to councillors by the borough solicitor Bill Norman on Tuesday evening, just after 6pm - and was in most newsrooms by about ten past...

For the uninitiated on the Wirral libraries saga you can see some background on this story: HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

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