August 2011 Archives

The ever controversial topic of abortion was put back on the agenda this week, with plans afoot to reform rules on pre-termination counselling.

Proposals mean women seeking abortion should be offered counselling elsewhere, not just by the organisations which carry out the procedure.

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urination.jpgA youth urinating against a statue (yards from a portable toilet) near the tunnel stage of the Mathew Street Festival.

Now all the debris has been swept away, the beer cans removed and the vomit steam blasted from the pavements, it's time to begin the countdown to next year's Mathew Street Festival. Or is it?

Times are tight for the council, money-wise, and certain to get tighter. The outlay on the festival is one of the most costly single annual capital spends for the authority, costing the taxpayer £750,000 to stage. But, is it worth it?

From my point of view, no. For many people who live in the city centre - and many publicans, too - the approach of the last weekend in August is met with dread.

Today I've reported how Liverpool council did not follow a key part of legal advice from Cherie Booth QC designed to protect against the conflict of interest created when it appointed a temporary chief executive.

David McElhinney, boss of Liverpool Direct Limited - a joint venture between the council and BT which costs taxpayers £70m a year - was made interim chief executive of the council last year.

Ms Booth, wife of former PM Tony Blair, was asked to advise on the "lawfulness" of the appointment because Mr McElhinney is paid a bonus by BT which is dependent on the amount of money the council spends with the telecoms giant.

The self-published have grabbed literary headlines since the e-publishing phenomenon kicked off; American John Locke is the main name bandied about - the eighth author anywhere and first self-published to flog million 'copies' via Kindle.

Now we hear about Brit Louise Voss using social media to publicise her 96p e-book, getting it to the top of the Kindle chart.

It sounds so easy, doesn't it?

Pop a few posts on Facebook and you don't have to impress an agent, suffer the indignity of the slush pile, spend all that lolly on stamps.

4.jpgThe UK Green Investment Bank is worth £3 billion, is one of the major policies of the coalition government, and it is anticipated that it will begin operating in April 2012 and I see no reason why we, here, in the Liverpool City Region should not be telling Government that the Green Bank should be based in Liverpool.

Whilst I recognise that Liverpool might not be a major Banking City, it is still a Major Financial City with strong representation from the likes of Rathbones and Rensburg headquartered here, as well as having a strong business financial infrastructure.

The creation of the Green Bank here in the Liverpool City Region would be a massive boost for the area, providing job creation and kudos especially with the loss of the Royal Liver after its merger with the Royal London.

SINCE being in Westminster I have led the debate on careers advice and guidance in schools. It is an issue I feel strongly about.

Subjects and grades achieved are vital when it comes to getting a job, but so too are character types and personality traits.

Having run my own business and employed staff, as well as employing people for large corporate organisations, it is frequently these character types: focus, determination, persistence, as well as being a team player, that will ultimately determine if the applicant gets the job.

THERE is nothing new in one politician suing another. It happens regularly enough, certainly in local government circles.

Indeed, one local law firm has a special division set up to deal with such cases.

This week, we reported on the defamation action Merseytravel's Labour chairman Mark Dowd is taking against Liberal Democrat Andrew Makinson.

It seems that Cllr Dowd and Merseytravel did not like the wording in a press release about the chairman's authorised personal spending on the authority's credit card.

FrankHont85.jpgI was surprised to read Blue Labourite suggest that those young people off to the Leeds Festival will never vote Labour because train drivers are exercising their democratic right to fight for a better deal.

Personally I would credit them with a bit more sense.

Our anonymous blogger needs to decide whether it is better to be blue or Labour - sorry to say but its not possible to be both. Promoting the outdated view that unions are agitators making unrealistic demands suggests to me that our correspondent is a darker shade of blue.

It's time to start nudging

By Marc Schmid on Aug 25, 11 12:41 PM in

Given the financial pressures facing many Councils they could learn a lot from the approach to problem solving that has been working for years in the NHS - namely behaviour change or 'social marketing'. It's not rocket science simply a realisation that treating the cause rather than the problem itself will prove much more cost effective at a later date.

Let's take littering as a casing point. It never fails to irritate me when I hear people talk about the need to get more litter pickers or street cleaners on the streets. Even when people recognise the financial pressures facing local government (particularly in the north) the knee jerk reaction is always to demand expensive interventions to deal with the cost of the problem (the litter) rather than the problem iteself (the people dropping the litter). Litter doesn't get there by itself, someone has to make the decision to ignore the bins that are provided and simply chuck it on the floor. Why not look at why people drop litter and then when we have this insight find a solution that will nudge or encourage them to change?

Wantaway Liberal Democrat Laurence Sidorczuk, who attempted to defect to Labour has withdrawn his application.

Last week I reported on Dale Street how the ">Labour party was likely to block his application to join the party.

Mr Sidorczuk has just confirmed to me that he has withdrawn his application. He insists it has nothing to do with the likelihood of being rejected by the Labour party.

After announcing his defection he went away on holiday with his family and "questioned the motivations and reasons" behind the decision to defect and decided that joining the Labour party was not the right thing to do.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

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