Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 20, 2018

Cowardly Capitulation

Theresa May is facing a Brexit backlash from Tory MPs over her “abject betrayal” of Britain’s fishermen  with rebels planning a fishing boat protest on the Thames.Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of a 60-strong group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, and others are due to board a boat tomorrow in protest. Mr Rees-Mogg will board the boat and give a press conference before it casts off with other MPs to throw fish into the Thames in protest at the alleged “sellout” outside Parliament. Perhaps they should throw May into the Thames too?

UK fishermen asked that no element of the disastrous CFP should be replicated in UK law. The clean break under Article 50 of the TEU and Article 70 of the Vienna Convention should be taken. Replicating the CFP is environmentally, operationally and diplomatically ill advised. All the government had to do was cross its arms and say No! Instead we have surrendered to replicating current shares and access as part of a capitulation to EU demands to obey ALL EU law after we leave as part of a new transition deal and treaty.

This means our supine government and civil servants will technically “take back control as an independent coastal state” but will hand everything straight back to the EU on a plate where we are a satellite vassal state. It’s a pitiful, disgusting, abject betrayal. Even with the biggest democratic mandate in British history by 17.5 million people the europhilia in the conservative party and the effete, supine civil service means they will capitulate to the EU and throw coastal communities to the wolves.

The grave consequence is never escaping because the UK, in agreeing to re-obey the CFP in a new treaty, gives the EU grounds to claim continuity and continuation of rights under the Article 70 and Article 30 of the Vienna Convention of Treaties. The EU can take us to the cleaners by enforcing detrimental legislation to eradicate what’s left of the British fleet and then use international fisheries law (under UNCLOS Article 62.2) to claim the “surplus” resources we would have lost the fleet capacity to catch.

They can abolish the 12mile limit which protects our inshore and shell-fishermen, overturn relative stability shares. Most severely, being trapped in the transition means continuing with the disastrous quota system that forces fishermen to discard species they have no quota for as they try to search for what they are allowed to keep. Without addressing the cause of discards – quotas – the ill-founded discard ban means fishermen must stop fishing when they exhaust their smallest quota – a choke species – regardless of any other species they still have quota to catch.

Studies by public body Seafish have estimated this would mean approximately 60% of the UK’s resources would go uncaught due to this with a similar proportion of the fleet forced out and bankrupted. Brexit would have allowed the industry to dodge this bullet by allowing new bespoke British policy that would have moved to a new discard free management system where fishermen would be limited in time at sea in return for being able to keep all catches.

Now, whilst trapped in the transition, the EU can use the discard ban as a guise to bankrupt what’s left of the British industry and claim all our resources. This abject, limp betrayal of Britain’s hard working fishermen and coastal communities means we are staring down the barrel of a gun when a good clean Brexit would be a salvation, allowing repatriation of half our resources to create a £6-8bn industry to rejuvenate communities. The government knows full well and has been well briefed on the dire ramifications but have deliberately chosen to disregard all representations and public sentiment to supinely appease the EU.

The Prime Ministers Mansion House Speech said this transition sell out was close to being agreed. As early as February this decision to sacrifice fishing was confessed to by chief civil servants despite official protestations (most recently Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson) that fishing would be thrown away as part of a transition. All the histrionics of “leaving the CFP” and “taking back control” have been nothing but playing semantics as a smoke screen of rhetoric to beguile people whilst omitting that our control will be very limited whilst trapped in a transition.

Now we know why the government has continually reverted to a default answer rather than clearly stating in unequivocal terms not that we ‘leave the CFP’ but that there will be no continuation of it in any way shape or form post 2019. This cynicism has now been exposed as a PR exercise playing on words with the reality being that they are prepared to spit in the face of what folk voted for and toss many good MPs, who are genuinely behind the democratic decision and their coastal communities.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 20, 2018

Aughton Park Labour Candidate

Meet Bernie Green again , who has a chance to unseat the incumbent Cllr Stephenson in May. When local residents received the Stephenson election bumph they were astonished by the claim of her “caring for the community” after she “cared” for them by walking out of a Full Council meeting leaving them unrepresented. She said a priority will be “Restricting future housing developments to that appropriate for Aughton’s needs…” while ignoring the legal fight to stop the Parrs Lane development as a  site in the Local Plan she voted for!  It seems that she only cares for herself and the whipping from her party leader when it suits them. 

At the last election fought by these candidates Stephenson scraped home by 286 votes in a large turnout affected by the General Election in this ward where a dog wearing a blue rosette would normally be elected. But times change, people change, and with a normal local election drop in voting to around 37% of the electorate who knows if this is time for a huge change to Bernie Green? Get the vote out, win the seat

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 20, 2018

Halsall Public Meeting

The public meeting in Halsall tonight, instigated by WLBC Cllr John Hodson to discuss flooding on New Cut Lane & Close, is starting at 7pm, earlier than previously reported on the Official Notice.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 20, 2018

Independent In Aughton

Independent County Councillor Paul Greenall wrote “History made tonight on Long Lane in Aughton. For the 1st time in decades, a sitting County Councillor has leafleted the area outside of election times!” and here to prove it is his picture  taken outside the Dog & Gun. 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 19, 2018

Halsall Flood Meeting

Word reaches us that Halsall will hold a public meeting at the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm tomorrow, Tuesday 20th March, about the ongoing flooding issues in the New Cut Lane area. The residents are absolute in their determination to end the zero investment and maintenance and want expenditure to address and fix the problem .

As you can see WLR has historic photographs that prove the distress caused by the problem.  . You might be wondering why, in this day and age, United Utilities, the Environment Agency, LCC, WLBC and local councillors allow this so long as it isn’t at their own doors? . The people affected pay as much for their services as those who aren’t affected. Why is that?  If you can turn out to the meeting this is your chance to fight for flood protection.  If you don’t turn up they will think you don’t care.  The Memorial Hall, Halsall, Tuesday 20th March at 7.30pm, be there!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 19, 2018

Council Admits To Fake News

Despite the farce surrounding Beacon Park Golf Course and the massive landfill operation on much of its land, WLBC has ignored it and left development to The Leisure Trust, Serco Leisure Operating, and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd. But false claims have endured as part of WLBC policy, the “fake” 22 bay floodlit driving range” even enshrined in its “West Lancashire Green Infrastructure and Cycling Strategy” document. And now it has been admitted as being “incorrect” .

I asked “I refer to the West Lancashire Community Centre public website
published today, 23 February 2018 and ask for a Freedom of Information Act 2000 official statement from the West Lancashire Borough Council and/or West Lancashire Community Trust/Serco Leisure Operating Ltd that will once and for all clarify a) if there is a floodlit 22 bay driving range as stated, and if so where is it located b) what is the cadre of the team of leisure assistants referred to and c) what are the safety standards/qualifications/disclosure and barring records of any such leisure assistants in respect of “from four year old” clients of the services offered?

“The website states “About Us. Beacon Park Golf Centre is a well maintained golfing facility located right in the heart of West Lancashire. The whole family can tee off and enjoy a round of golf on our 18 Hole Par 72 course. The Driving Range at Beacon Park Golf Centre is the only under cover floodlit range in the local area. Why not come along and practice your swing in one of the 22 bays. Whether you are a budding pro or a beginner, we can cater for you, from four years old or ability. Our team of leisure assistants are on hand to ensure your visit is a safe one as well as an enjoyable one”.

The response is that “FOI request 2018/126 received 23rd February. Further to your request for information relating to the West Lancashire Community Leisure public website. I can confirm that the information contained on the website was incorrect and has been removed. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Deputy Director of Leisure & Wellbeing. West Lancashire Borough Council” .

Not the comprehensive and detailed reply that was required, but edging nearer to what the public require, the truth about why this gifting of the vast amount of landfill royalties to private companies has denied much needed capital for this Skelmersdale and Borough sports facility.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 19, 2018

Aughton Sinking?

What started as a pothole  now seems to have been a total collapse of a part of Brookfield Lane in Aughton, now closed , as the infrastructure is exposed  taking in the total width of the lane, and a depth of perhaps 8 feet exposing running water . Aughton sinking? Aughton sunk! Where next for our neglected infrastructure?

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 17, 2018

The Heath/May Culture Of Deceipt?

“Doing a Heath” was synonymous with being deceitful, as someone of my age can confirm. Edward Heath lied to give away the world’s richest fishing waters, our national resource worth tens of billions of pounds, as the price he was prepared to pay to fulfil his dream of taking Britain into the Common Market.

When Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway were about to apply for membership of the Common Market, and realising these four countries would control fishing waters containing more than 90 per cent of Europe’s fish, the six original members and the European Commission laid an ambush by agreeing in principle, just hours before the applications arrived, that all fish in western European waters should be regarded as “a common European resource”.

As the documents covering 1970 made clear, the Six knew that this was illegal. It was not authorised by the Treaty of Rome, but they gambled that, so long as the principle was agreed before the new countries applied for entry, the applicants would have to accept it as part of the acquis communautaire, the established body of Common Market law. The 1970 documents also revealed that the Heath government decided not to challenge the new “Common Fisheries Policy” for fear of prejudicing the negotiations.

Moving on to today, one issue that will devastate many Brexit voters is the news that the British Government is reportedly ready to accept that the UK share of fishing will remain unchanged during the transition period, further confirmation that Britain will re-imposing the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

This isn’t a case of being patient for another two years, it’s a potential life or death situation for many businesses. In 2019 it will become illegal for fishermen to throw anything back that they’ve caught. Since in the West of Scotland boats have no quotas for cod, the whole west coast of Scotland will be closed to any boat with the possibility of catching cod, potentially bankrupting the fleet.

This is despite the recent joint vow of Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson to “ensure that British fishermen’s interests are properly safeguarded” and reports that May has privately assured colleagues that she wouldn’t “do a Heath” by “selling out the fishing industry”. Well, she might well have done it already, leading to fishermen asking “Why are we forsaken?” as the letter below shows.

“My name is Steve Barratt and I live in Ramsgate Kent. I work in an industry that is not wanted by either the EU or the UK Government and everything that could have possibly been done to stop me from going to work has been done.

“I expect alarm bells are ringing as to what I actually do for a living, could I be a drug runner, a people trafficker, an internet hacker, a hit man or something similar? Well, you will be pleased to know that I am none of the above – I am in fact a commercial fisherman operating an inshore, under 10m boat out of Ramsgate Harbour.

“I work in a mixed fishery and catch quite a variety of fish such as cod, bass, plaice, skate, dogfish, dover sole and many more. It is impossible to avoid these fish when in a situation whereby I have no quota for a particular species. When I catch fish with no quota the EU ruling is that I must return it to the sea. In most cases these fish are dead or have little chance of survival. The EU are aware of this and despite receiving many protests and plea’s to change the quota system are not prepared to do so.

“They are hell bent on making everyone abide by the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy). This is an inept quota system where fish can only be landed if quota is available. If quotas not available, they have to be dumped dead into the sea.

“To make matters worse, the UK Government is hell bent on enforcing these rules and regulations. They have employed numerous people and organisations to police any fish landings that are made in the UK. The EU has decreed skates and rays are ‘endangered’ and have given virtually no quota for this species. Fishermen are seeing an explosion in skates and rays, they are everywhere, yet because quotas don’t reflect this we have to dump skate dead into the sea.

“We then have to keep catching and dumping skate as we try to catch other fish to make a living. This makes it impossible for a boat to be profitable and does nothing for conservation. Our Government needs to be held to account over this gross miscarriage of justice and the rules and regulations need to change to provide the industry with a better way of operating. Unfortunately, this cannot be done until we successfully leave the EU.

“Only then will we be able to take back control of our territorial waters, abolish the Common Fisheries Policy and implement a better and more sustainable method of management of the industry – the government can’t keep the status quo for the sake of the fishermen or the fish.

“Under no circumstances can this industry be involved in any so-called transition period where we’re stuck in the CFP. Out must be out on 29th March next year before what is left of the British fishing industry is consigned to museum and memory”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 16, 2018

United Utilities Strike

It is with some irony that West Lancashire residents hear about a UNISON North West Regional Organiser telling them “Our members are asking whether they are being made to pay the costs of the company’s failings out of their pensions. While executives and shareholders are doing nicely, attacks are being made on the staff who deliver an essential service to the public. It is wrong that a public utility is being run in this way”.

So staff at North West based water company United utilities are walking out on strike today because of a change to their pensions . And they will repeat the strike on Monday. A picket line has formed outside the water company’s headquarters at Langley Mere Business Park in Warrington.

So will they be missed? Perhaps there will be some wry smiles from members of the public in places like Burscough and Halsall, where raw sewage on streets and in homes is seemingly the Victorian standard of service from UU. That phrase “It is wrong that a public utility is being run in this way” has been on the lips and the pens of campaigners for a long time. And more to come, that’s for sure!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 15, 2018

Councillors “In Danger Of Disappearing Up Their Own Backsides”.

A political reporter at BBC Radio has described events about how the leader of Conservative-controlled South Ribble Council has survived a proposed vote of no confidence. The authority’s Labour opposition tried to oust Peter Mullineaux  and his cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday evening. South Ribble Conservative Association includes WLBC and Wyre Councillor Paul Moon, infamous for a dog poo throwing incident in Wyre, in its membership.

Labour described the Mullineaux leadership as “incompetent” and said he had “failed to carry out his obligations in a diligent and professional manner”. Mr Mullineaux said the motion was “unacceptable and unwarranted”.

In a statement read to the extraordinary meeting, he said he had been unable to attend the hearing as he was at his brother’s funeral. He said he and his administration had made “great strides” and people were satisfied with their work. South Ribble’s Labour Mayor Mick Titherington summed up last night’s meeting by saying councillors were “in danger of disappearing up their own backsides”.

The debate was punctuated by frequent laughter from the public gallery as both members and officers regularly seemed unaware as to what exactly was being debated and voted on. The mayor had opened the meeting by warning councillors to avoid “personal attacks”. But before long both the main groups were accusing each other of bullying, grandstanding and playing games.

The council has been in disarray for a few years now, mostly down the fact the Conservative administration’s majority is so slim and there seems to be a number of factions within the controlling group. Some senior Conservatives told after the meeting that despite surviving the vote they believe the current leader’s days are numbered.

Paul Foster, leader of the Labour group, said the motion was “not a power grab” but insisted the current administration was “incompetent”. He pointed to what he described as “disastrous” attempts to close leisure centres, and the authority “struggling” to get its budget through.

The Conservatives, who have a single seat majority on the council, opposed the motion which was defeated by 25 votes to 21. Two independent councillors voted against Labour.

Mr Mullineaux, who was elected leader in 2016, described the no confidence motion as “totally and completely unacceptable and unwarranted”. The Conservatives are to hold a leadership election in May. Only recently Councillor Paul Wharton’s proposal that South Ribble Council change its rules to ban boozing on official business was voted down at Leyland Civic Centre. He said the motion was triggered by two colleagues allegedly turning up “smelling of alcohol” before Christmas. But council leader Peter Mullineaux said they were “wild and false claims”.

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