Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boas Festas

While the Brits are settling down to toast Brenda and see what special message she might have for us this year, we are sitting in a bar in the old town, having had a long walk on the beach and along the cliff tops. We lunched in a restaurant overlooking the beach, it must have been 70 degrees at 1pm although the sun went behind a cloud a bit later on. Santa found his way to us overnight, I think he came up on to the balcony and through the sliding doors, but I cannot be sure. He left a note though saying that he found it easier to leave most gifts at home to be opened when we return, so we shall have to speculate about the most of them. Last night we had a lovely Indian meal, most of the bars and restaurants were shut and most taxis were off the road as the Portugese celebrate mainly on Christmas Eve. It is odd to be somewhere so warm at Christmas, but I am loving it, and not a single call about wheely bins for three days! Will post some pics up to illustrate this post when we get home.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from Albufeira in the Algarve

If it has all gone a bit quiet that is because I am in Portugal.
It is sunny, Colin, Mike and I have just walked on the beach, I am in a sun top and we have stopped for a drink in a bar to get out of the sun.
Don´t you hate me?
This key board is a bit hard to work - none of the symbols are in the same place!
Anyway, we are having a great time and looking forward to Christmas Day in a restaurant in the old town overlooking the sea.
Will get back online if I can
Boas Festas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The nativity scene from Life of Brian

My favourite scene in my favourite film, it seems apt as Christmas approaches to relive it again. I have found the full script on this website

I think my favourite part is this

Mandy: What star sign is he?
WM2: Capricorn.
Mandy: Capricorn eh, what are they like?
WM2: He is the son of God, our Messiah.
WM1: King of the Jews.
Mandy: And that's Capricorn, is it?
WM3: No, no, that's just him
Mandy: Oh, I was going to say, otherwise there'd be a lot of them.

and the glorious

King: We are three wise men.
Mandy: Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me.

You can see a clip of the scene here - go to the theatrical trailers section

Anyway, you know what they say, enjoy, and don't worry too much about the myrrh next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reflections on Liverpool's Capital of Culture year 2008

We are being encouraged by the local media to reflect on the Liverpool European City of Culture 2008 experience so I thought I might add my thoughts to the debate.

Let me begin by saying that I am interested in art, music, drama, film, museums, history, photography etc, so my views come in no small part from my experience of some activities in those areas.

However, I am also a Labour councillor for a very deprived ward in Liverpool, Kensington and Fairfield, and so I have to have an eye for how the year has affected the ward too.

And finally, as a recentish incomer, I have lots of friends and family who live elsewhere and so another big part of my experience this year has been reflected through their eyes as they have visited me and visited the city.

The first thing I want to draw positive notice to is the poster and postcard campaign that began a few years ago to promote Liverpool 08. A series of photos with messages across the front, I recall particularly one which said that Liverpool has more art galleries and museums than anywhere outside of London. There were a series of posters running up the escalators at Euston Station underground for instance and I felt proud thinking I lived there. I dont have a link to the posters and would be grateful if anyone who does have could post it up here.

Without question my favourite thing about the year was the wonderful Superlambananas which I later contrasted with the Berlin bears. I loved them personally, because they were fantastic and colourful and energetic, but I also loved them because everyone else loved them too. I particularly remember going down to the plateau in front of the new Jury's Inn where three superlambananas were grazing, and getting in a queue for photos behind grandparents with their tiny grandchildren, a couple holding hands and two hooded teenagers, all really enjoying the experience. Everyone of every age loved the lambies.

I loved the Turner prize at the Tate - of course it came in 2007 but it came because of the City of culture label so I think it is okay to include that. I would say the same about the Liverpool Nativity too.

I enjoyed the Klimt exhibition but more for my step-father Roger who has loved Klimt for decades and had such obvious pleasure from seeing so many works in one place.

Lisa and I went to a wonderful event at the Anglican cathedral - One step forward, one step back, which will live in my mind for years to come. It was magnificent.

I also enjoyed the opening event at the Arena - the Liverpool Musical.

Another real hit for me was the boxes of treasure in the exhibition space at St George's Hall

I popped into the building on Old Hall Street that houses the Liverpool Echo to see Anthony Brown's 100 Heads exhibition earlier this year, it was fascinating, I expect it is still on somewhere in the city.

Another great favourite during the year was an event that the Culture Company refused to support - A Liver Bird Sang. I thought it was tremendous, a local performance, for and by local people.

Of course, given my declared support for them, I was thrilled to see two Liverool Mural Project murals take shape during the year. All power to Peter Morrison's elbow, I hope we shall have a mural in our ward next year too.

Who could not have been delighted by meeting
Irish President Mary Mcaleese at a special Irish reception at St George's Hall? I was nearly struck dumb I was so chuffed to shake her hand in the line-up.

I was impressed that Liverpool had won the hosting of many big events in 2008, things like the Tall Ships, the World Firefighter Games, the MTV awards, the Sports Personality of the Year awards, the National Holocaust Memorial event for example, but whether we shall get the same level of support next year is a whole new challenge for everyone, the Arena managers notwithstanding.

I should say I did not like the princess spider - I only saw it once, on the Saturday night, and it didn't do anything and I think it may have broken down for a while, although nobody admitted it. I know lots of other people loved it, but if they had only seen what I had only seen then they would have felt the same as I did, it was a let down.

I loved lots of the Liverpool Biennial art - the blue spider in Exchange Flags, the exhibitions in the Blue Coat Art Centre, Turning the place over (from 2 years ago) but must point out that they would have happened despite the 08 Capital of Culture, and indeed I would say the same about the
Mathew Street Festival

There are of course those who insist that the Labour Party has not supported the year but that is crap, we even had our own dinner with Phil Redmond as a speaker to celebrate the year.

My friends and familly have all enjoyed several visits to Liverpool and I have enjoyed showing the city off to them, but will they clamour to come again next year? I really don't know, will the city still be 3rd on the list of places to visit in 2009? Can we sustain the interest? That is a real question when we think about the legacy of the year, was Liverpool only flavour of the year for 2008 or can we keep it up?

Has the year positively impacted on Kensington and Fairfield? Not really, no.

We have had of course the controversial and much despised Edge Lane murals and a complete failure of the council to tackle the other boarded up houses on Prescot Road and Drive in Fairfield.

I guess for those residents who like art and exhibitions and live music and so on, there have been things in the city centre that they could enjoy, but there has been little impact on the appalling levels of poverty, health, unemployment, housing or other crises in the ward. It is true that our school children have had some cultural experiences and been involved in concerts and exhibitions but will their lives be clearly improved or enhanced as part of the millions spent this year? No I am afraid I don't think they will.

In fact we end the year in Kensington and Fairfield in a worse place than we began, with the housing crisis deepening, thousands on waiting lists for somewhere to live and no obvious progress in terms of worklessness for instance.

Speaking as a culture lover I have loved 2008 and have been so proud of much of the year's activities, but whether that has deeply touched the wider population as much is doubtful, and whether it will be all over on January 1st 2009 is something we may have to wait and see - but I fear that it will be and I hope I am wrong. It is the battle to sustain the city when we are out of the headlines that will be the real challenge for city leaders in years to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fascinating story about Nick Clegg

I picked up this intersting story by email, enjoy!

Plane Stupid!
Exclusive: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg slags off his own party colleagues on packed plane
By Adam Lee-Potter (who just happened to be in seat 7A in front of Mr Clegg)

GAFFE-PRONE Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has sensationally slated key members of his own cabinet as “useless” and “not equipped” for top jobs… while on a packed commuter jet. Mr Clegg also blurted out closely-guarded plans for a reshuffle during a 90-minute flight, oblivious that fellow passengers – including me – could hear his every word.

He revealed his dislike for Steve Webb, his Environment spokesman, and decided to demote Chris Huhne, his former leadership rival and currently Home Affairs spokesman, before adding he wasn’t “emotionally intelligent” enough for the environment job. And he dismissed Communities and Local Government spokeswoman Julia Goldsworthy for a particular post, saying she “gets patronised” in her current role.

He even revealed he would consider a coalition but, while he didn’t say which party he’d side with, he added he would only consider it if Tory David Cameron loses the next election. “I would think about it,” he admitted. “But only if the Tories lose. And I can’t imagine that.”

He finally decided on David Laws for Environment, but only because “he’s not enjoying Education”, Goldsworthy for Education and Webb for Justice – currently Chris Huhne’s job. Clegg, 41, drew up his plans as he flew to Inverness for a meeting this week.

He told of his loathing for Steve Webb, recently made spokesman for Climate Change and Energy and tipped by some as a future Lib Dem leader. “Webb must go,” he said. “He’s a problem. I can’t stand the man. We need a new spokesman. We have to move him. We need someone with good ideas. At the moment, they just don’t add up.” After deciding to give his job to David Laws, currently Education spokesman, he added: “Give David a day and he’ll come up with more good ideas than Webb has come up with in a year. As his key policy adviser Danny Alexander nodded, he added: “But we need to keep him in the cabinet. As a backbencher, he’d be a pain in the a***, a voice for the left. And we can’t move him before the spring.”

Clegg, in seat 8A on the 9.30am Flybe flight BE7321 from Gatwick to Inverness last Thursday, took notes as Alexander said: “You have to be firm.” But indecisive Clegg dithered over various options and, at one point, he talked of simply swapping Webb and Chris Huhne. “It’s the path of least resistance,” he said. His adviser then suggested: “How about Webb for Foreign?” Clegg snorted: “He’d be useless. And he wouldn’t do it.” He then slated rising star Julia Goldsworthy. “We have to move her too. She gets patronised. And we can’t give her Foreign. She’s just not equipped to do it.” Huhne also came in for a battering. Clegg dismissed him for the key Environment job by saying the shadow cabinet needed someone “more emotionally intelligent”. He then talked of demoting Huhne. His adviser told him: “If you tell him that, before an election, you need a big hitter, he might just wear it.”

Even close pal David Laws, Children, Schools and Families spokesman, came under scrutiny. Sheffield MP Clegg said: “Laws is not enjoying Education. The Tories have left him no space. But he’s got a forensic intelligence – he’s probably the best brain we have.” His adviser chipped in: “We want to get our best players in the most important jobs, that’s the truth of it.” Again, Clegg nodded.

The Lib Dem leader was so wrapped up in his reshuffle he had to be reminded about what he was due to do in Scotland. Just before landing, Inverness MP Alexander reminded him: “Right, you’re giving a talk to the Inverness Chamber of Commerce.” Clegg had no idea I was in the seat in front, intending to cover another Sunday Mirror story in Scotland. I couldn’t believe my ears – or that Clegg let himself be so easily bossed about.

After revealing I had been made privy to Clegg’s comments, his private spokeswoman said: “We don’t comment on reports of fragments of private conversations. Nick has said before and genuinely believes that he leads the strongest front bench in Westminster.”

The Mirror, 29th November 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deputy Lord Mayor guilty of breach of Councillors' Code of Conduct

According a story I heard on BBC Radio Merseyside this afternoon, Councillor Mike Storey has been found guilty by the Standards Board of England of a breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct.

The LibDem councillor for Wavertree ward (which is also represented by Councillor Steve Hurst who is currently appealing against a criminal conviction for breaching the Representation of the People Act and has resigned his seat on the council's cabinet pending that appeal) has been found guilty of telling a newspaper journalist confidential details about the health of a council officer.

Councillor Storey, the erstwhile leader of Liverpool City Council has been found guilty before of breaching the code and resigned his leadership as a consequence.

I see the Daily Post is reporting that he will face no further action.

We are asked to see tomorrow's paper for further information and reactions

I am curious to see whether those reactions include any discussion of the appropriateness of Councillor Storey becoming our Lord Mayor and first citizen of Liverpool in May 2009.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More Edge Lane let-downs

Anyone who has travelled by car into Liverpool from the North or the East has probably arrived by driving down Edge Lane from the M62.

Liverpool Land Development Company (now merged with Liverpool Vision) have done some great work, tidying up the flyover at the Rocket, which now looks very smart. They have tidied up Edge Lane Drive so that it also looks like something to be proud of, but once you hit the Old Swan junction it all goes pear-shaped.

We have acres of empty and derelict retail properties and after a mile or so they are followed by acres of empty and derelict houses. It is true that the road itself has been smartened up, with new trees, new lamposts with distinctive blue decorative touches, new kerbs and visual improvements. But if you look across the pavement then all is most definitely not well.

Today I read in the Echo that the council has been successfully taken to the High Court by the owners of retail properties to the south of Edge Lane who have lost business following the closing of access points across the central reservation.

Three roads, Douro Place, Henry Street and Binns Road are no longer accessible for east-bound traffic and apparently one business has already been forced to close because of the changes.

I believe the LibDem council has set its face against the owners of Edge Lane retail properties and has also failed in its efforts to persuade home-owners in Edge Lane (west) to sell up in favour of redevelopment.

And so we are left with the street of shame, or should I call it the Lane of Lament?

The letters page of the Echo regularly contains missives from people who are ashamed of this, our major entrance into the city.

So, to coin a phrase, Come on Liverpool LibDems, get it sorted!

Musical Melodies

After last night's councillors' surgery in the Fairfield Centre, I hotfooted it along the M62 and up the A1 and A19 to Eaglescliffe, Stockton to see my family. Burdened down with Santa gifts I got to Mum's at about 9pm and enjoyed a relaxing evening with her and Roger, gossiping and watching bits of TV.

This morning we went to a school in Middlesbrough which was hosting the Musical Melodies music school annual presentation for the young children they teach to play the recorder, percussion and key board as they progress through five classes.

My nephew Alex (9) graduated (complete with cap and gown would you believe!) today from class 5, proficient in recorder and keyboard. He goes forward now to learn to play the piano, euphonium and guitar, while his brother Joel (6) has been promoted to class 4 having mastered the recorder and glockenspiel. It was so lovely to see them performing with other boys and girls from across the county and I had to keep taking my tissue out to dab my tears.

The older children did a great song "Kids" with all the instruments and some singing, which explored how kids get a bad name, whilst making it quite clear that in this case, these kids are all disciplined musicians who have worked really hard to achieve their musical successes. I can almost feel a letter to the Echo (or the Evening Gazette) coming on.

The other wonderful thing that happened was that I recognised a man in the audience, Duncan, who back in 1991-1994 was one of my best friends. We worked together for the same firm and worked very closely on all of our work. It was fantastic to see him with his wife Jackie (I remember them meeting and here they were, a long established married couple with two kids!). It made a great day even better, I do hope we keep in touch - particularly as I contacted our boss Denise last week through Facebook after years of silence.

It was the icing on the cake of a great day

A big Christmas kiss for David Prentice from the Echo

- who predicted a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium today between the Boro and Arsenal.

Well done mate, please can you predict lots more points for my team over the rest of the season!

Happy Christmas! Dylan is better and at home

I went to see Dylan at home in York today and am delighted to report that not only has he finally been sent home from hospital but he was singing and eating cake and running to the window to see Farmer Christmas go past on his (Lions) sleigh!
I helped him decorate the Christmas tree too. It was terrific to see him for myself and check out just how well he really is.

My sister Maxine had the same infection when she was 18 (I checked it out with her today) and it has never come back, so fingers crossed Dylan will never have to go through anything this awful ever again either

Alice was looking her usual gorgeous self, that girl is so beautiful. I put her down on the carpet and she rolled this way and that, right across the rug, grabbing at toys and pushing herself up on her tummy, she will be crawling within the next couple of weeks I reckon. I was desperate for it to be today while I was watching but sadly she was only teasing me.

I am going to see them again in a few weeks time at New Year and I am hoping to see two lovely children full of beans and festive cheer - and crawling!

Gerard Woodhouse wins again

- the Christmas card competition that is.

On my birthday he sent me a great card via Moonpig, and now the postman has brought me a smashing Christmas card from him too. It is a formal card, with Victorian Flower Fairies and incorporates a photo of him and me at a Labour Party fundraising dinner as part of the design. I was thrilled, it really makes you feel special to have someone take such care for you.

Another Moonpig/Woodhouse success story.

I know Gerard reads the blog, so thanks mate!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Manchester says no to the congestion charge

Hot off the press - all 10 boroughs say NO to the congestion charge for Manchester for 2013

They also therefore have said no to £3billion public transport improvements and the Government have said there is no plan B so I am not sure where that leaves Manchester or the other cities said to be waiting for this result to decide whether to try the same things themselves.

Myself I am agnostic, I would like to see less car use but I know how reliant on cars we all have become over the last 100 years - since they were invented in fact. For many of us, we are going to need a bus stop outside our house and a bus stop outside our destination and one bus running between the two before we get on public transport very often. It is always easier to find an excuse for why we need to travel by car. And I count myself with the guilty there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good news - we have saved the spire!

I have been keeping this story under my hat until the ArchDeacon gave me the nod to let you know, but together, we in the church and in the community have saved the church of St John the Divine, Holly Road, Fairfield -and the spire that everyone was so keen to keep.

And it is all thanks to the local congregation who had to dig deep to find the £25k shortfall that would save the spire themselves after Kensington Regeneration turned them down for a grant and the council wouldn't help.

It has been a funny old week - some you win and some you lose - but I always had a good feeling about this particular fight.

A great way to end the year, and takes a tiny fraction of the pain of Prescot Road and Drive away....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jane Kennedy's new website

Jane Kennedy MP has a new website which she introduces here on YouTube. Have a look, see what you think!

Manchester Congestion Charge vote

The referendum closes on Thursday, here is a video from the Yes Campaign that I have been asked to share with anyone who lives in Greater Manchester or travels there fairly regularly.


Dylan in hospital but getting better

Little Dylan has been in hospital for a week now, and we were all really hoping he was coming home today, but sadly not. The poison has not all cleared up yet.

He has had an abscess on one of his lymph nodes in his neck - lymphadenitis - I have just read on Wikipedia that it might have been caused by a cat stratch. I would be interested to learn whether Jasper had scratched him! Otherwise it is caused by tonsilitis often in children, and he did have that a few weeks ago.

It has been a terrible time for his family, worrying about him, living at the hospital, looking after baby Alice, struggling through snow on a couple of occasions. And he is so little, only 3. They have been so strong. He had to have an operation with general anaesthetic to lance and clean the abscess, and it is taking a long time to clear up. He is much more lively and a lot less listless than he was though, thankfully

Anyway, send him positive thoughts that he will get well and come home soon, tomorrow would be good!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Total betrayal - it's all over for Prescot Road and Drive

Louise Baldock press release on Thursday 4th December 2008.

Dozens of houses on Prescot Road and Prescot Drive in Fairfield, the subject of controversy for years after Liverpool City Council mothballed them in 2000 with the intention of 'one day' coming up with a plan for them, will now face the wrecker's ball.

Today the worst possible outcome has been achieved as the council has recognised that mass demolition is the only answer left.

Back in 2000, some of these homes were empty and boarded up when residents drawing up the Blue Print plan for the renewal area identified them as key to renewal, saying they were blighting the area. Back then however many were still being lived in and the problems only related to a proportion of the properties.

In December 2005 a villa on Prescot Drive burnt down after a murderous arson attack.

A few months later, the Council leader, Firefighter Councillor Warren Bradley, promised local residents that he would give the issue of the empty homes his personal attention after visiting the site and seeing the fire damage. He set up a working group to tackle the problem.

In 2006, in election week, local Liberal Democrat Councillors who were in charge of these renewal plans (local Councillor Frank Doran was Assistant Executive Member for Housing and chair of this new working group) were talking of an imminent plan to tackle the blight.

A majority of houses by this time were empty and boarded up.

That same week, May 2006, Labour took the first seat from the Liberal Democrats in Kensington and Fairfield

In June 2006 the Friends of Newsham Park applied to the Secretary of State to force the council to sell particular of the houses it owned on Prescot Drive, rather than see them rot. The council managed to delay this until such time as the conditions became impossible to honour this order. In fact they remain in public ownership.

In 2007, after a second serious but thankfully not fatal house fire, this time on Prescot Road, Liberal Democrat Councillors repeated their intention to tackle this Liverpool disgrace.

In May 2007 Labour took the second seat from the Liberal Democrats

In October 2007 Liberal Democrat Councillors were talking about "a vital breakthrough to tackle the problems"

In May 2008 the final Liberal Democrat Councillor, Frank Doran, lost his seat to Labour.

Councillor Louise Baldock took over the chair of the working group in July this year with the firm intention of saving as many of the properties as possible, with the emphasis clearly on refurbishment rather than demolition.

However, in December 2008, nearly 9 years after concerns were first raised, a Liverpool City Council meeting (of the Newsham Park Steering Group) has very reluctantly agreed the necessity to demolish them all.

Labour Councillor Louise Baldock who said in August 2007 "If I could only sort one thing out as a councillor this year, this would be it!" has had to admit defeat after battling for nearly three years.

She told the Echo "These splendid Victorian villas on Prescot Drive overlooking the park, and the large family houses on Prescot Road could have been saved in 2000 when their condition was first raised. They could have been saved many times over since too, but the council has been absolutely delinquent in its failure to act. I have long since lost count of the times that they have promised us one wonderful scheme or another. And now here we are, a mountain of professional surveys and marketing exercises having made it absolutely clear that we cannot any longer save any of them.
The delays have lead to terrible deterioration and they will all have to be knocked down.

And this, believe it or not, is a conservation area!

It is nearly 3 years since Councillor Warren Bradley, the leader of Liverpool City Council promised us his personal commitment to preserve our heritage. What price that commitment now?

The council's total betrayal has left me breathless. I don’t mind admitting that I wept after the meeting. The people of Fairfield and the heritage lovers of Liverpool who have fought so hard to save these houses have been treated with utter contempt and disdain.

And to add insult to this injury, current financial conditions in the housing market are such that there will not be any money for a new scheme to be built on what will be the clearance area. We are essentially going to get a grassed over area, with a wish and a prayer that one day someone somewhere will find some money to build something suitable to replace our lost homes."

Entries from the internet which relate

December 2005 - a house is burnt down in an arson attack which costs the life of a resident - arsonists on charge of murder

April 2006 - my blog - before I was elected -

June 2006 - Friends of Newsham Park persuade Secretary of State to take some action

January 2007 - matter is discussed in Parliament

April 2007 - I call for action after serious house fires - and resident says "“Maybe they are hoping that if they wait long enough they will fall down on their own. The council doesn’t give a damn about us. They are using delaying tactic after delaying tactic.”

April 2007 - more about the latest fire

August 2007 - my blog - and still it drags on - good detail and five comments on the entry

October 2007 - promises from the LibDems of "a vital breakthrough to sort out the problem."

March 2008 - now the council is talking about selling those houses it has failed to repair

New Pavilion for Newsham Park

Councillor Louise Baldock has welcomed news of a permanent Pavilion for Newsham Park.

Liverpool City Council intend to provide two permanent football pitches on the south side of Newsham Park to help replace pitches elsewhere on land where a new school is We have also reminded the council that Newsham Park is a conservation area and any new pavillion must be in keeping with the park's 140 year-old be built.

When the plans were first introduced by the council, they included temporary changing rooms for Newsham Park which could then be picked up and moved to a new site when the school works were finished and replacement pitches could be provided in the West Derby area.

Louise Baldock told the Echo "Our residents were unhappy that we only merited temporary changing rooms which would be taken away from us just as we were making the most of them. We are all very keen to have new pitches, there is nowhere to play football in our area. But we were very unhappy that we would only have the changing rooms 'for now' and afterwards our footballers would have to change in their cars. Labour Councillors in Kensington and Fairfield have lobbied the council hard for a better deal and we are delighted that they have seen sense. Not only have we won the victory that the temporary changing rooms will now in fact be permanent, but the building will now be extended to include a much needed community room, a base for our park rangers and public toilets."

The debate has now moved on to a discussion about where in the park the pavillion should go and what it should look like.

Louise said "It needs to be reasonably close to the new pitches but far enough away from neighbouring residents so as not to disturb them. We have insisted on full consultation with residents when looking at the design and the location."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Councillor Steve Hurst has resigned as Executive Member for Corporate Performance

- in order to "fight to clear his name".

See more here and here

This comes 24 hours after a Liverpool Echo editorial called for his resignation

There is no news at present about who will be asked to take over, but my money is on one of the 26 - or maybe Colin Eldridge who has been missing the campaigning opportunities afforded to him by LCC by being an EM.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret Santa's little helpers required

I shall be buying a gift for a very fashionable and very trendy 21 year-old man I work with because I drew his name out in the Secret Santa draw. I was going to Next for Men, then someone suggested Top Man might be more fashionable. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I need to spend about £10 and was toying with the idea of cufflinks from Next as he wears them to work, but apparently another young man has been bought cufflinks in the draw already by someone a bit faster off the block than me, and I dont want them to have the same gift.


Liverpool Nat West Bank customer?

I just popped into Nat West bank on Castle Street to drop off a deposit for my boss and the place was full of film crews with all the accompanying chuck wagons etc.

They were looking for customers they could chat to and film about their accounts, particularly business customers.

If you are a business customer and you fancy being in the limelight, get yourself down there right now!

Councillor Steve Hurst - what the newspapers say

This report from the Liverpool Daily Post contains details of the damning comments from the Judge, and suggests the possibility of a byelection.

It also makes a couple of errors, by talking about councillors in the plural in the headline and by illustrating the story with a photo of Councillor Warren Bradley. Or perhaps they were referring to the fact that Councillor Bradley spoke up for Councillor Hurst at the hearing.

The Echo contains details of the supporting statements that fellow councillors gave in court on behalf of Councillor Hurst.

I will let you arrive at your own conclusions!

Christmas card posting dates

Please see below latest posting dates for Christmas post:

Friday 5 December South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Far East, Asia, New Zealand & Australia

Wednesday 10 December Japan, USA, Canada & Eastern Europe

Friday 12 December Western Europe

Thursday 18 December UK 2nd Class

Saturday 20 December UK 1st Class

Monday, December 01, 2008

Liberal-Democrat Councillor found guilty of Electoral Offence today

Councillor Steve Hurst who represents Wavertree ward on Liverpool City Council has today been found guilty of an election offence.

I believe the charge was of distributing a leaflet which did not bear an imprint. Councillor Steve Hurst was found putting this leaflet through letter boxes. It was not a LibDem leaflet, it was put out in the name of a minor socialist party in the Belle Vale ward but without their knowledge or input. It carried highly personal and critical attacks on a Labour councillor and her husband, a fireman. (Councillor Steve Hurst also works for the fire service and was critical of his actions during a strike.)

Councillor Steve Hurst, who was the LibDem Chief Whip at the time of the offence (April or May 2007) is now the Executive Member for Corporate Services on Liverpool City Council.

I understand that he was fined £500 with £750 costs.

Representatives of the Fire Service and of the Standards Board were present in court for the 3 day hearing. I would expect this story to be carried in the Liverpool Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo tomorrow.

Isn't it time to turn some of those yellow wards back to white?

I was just having a look at the Liverpool Libdem website and I noticed that they are still showing Kensington and Fairfield and Speke and Belle Vale wards in yellow and their note says "Liberal Democrats hold all of the wards coloured yellow on the map opposite."

Ooops! Not any more they don't

Of course they could always wait until 2010 and change the colours of the Yew Tree ward and the Warbreck ward at the same time as they become LibDem free zones too.

Kensington and Fairfield Police December Newsletter

Our boys and girls in blue have published a newsletter which I thought I would link to as it is quite informative.

Well done for this new initiative Linda in particular - and we look forward to working with you in particular on the prostitution problem which has raised its ugly head again. We are meeting in a few weeks to see how we can help fund a project - although it might want to be from a renamed "Not Working any more round here thank you Neighbourhood Fund"

One out and one in

Suzanne went home on Sunday afternoon after a lazy morning and a good old gossip, then Pat arrived in the afternoon, hot from a visit to the Le Corbusier exhibition in the crypt of the RC Cathedral.

We had a Sunday dinner in the Halfway on Woolton Road and then more lazy gossiping with a glass of wine ensued for the rest of the evening. I put her on a train back to Huddersfield this morning. Apparently their station is being improved outside, just as ours is here, so it will be interesting to make that journey in a year's time to spot the difference.

I am glad I got my leafletting done on Saturday morning as apart from a lot of dancing on Saturday night, I had a very restful weekend and hardly stirred.

Back to the grindstone today though!

Sheila Murphy's Surprise Party in Parr Street

Suzanne came over on Saturday and we had a lovely evening in Parr Street at a surprise party for Sheila Murphy, senior regional director, who has left the employ of the Labour Party after 10 years to spend more time with her grandson. Colleagues came from across the north and two in particular, Steve and Jude came from the South-West which I thought was a real tribute to her. Great food and lots of dancing, I had a wonderful time, seeing lots of old and new friends. Thankfully for us, Sheila is now going to concentrate on Liverpool as a lay member so we will be able to take full use of her skills and experience. Hurrah! Welcome home!