Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 23, 2019

Happy St George’s Day

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 22, 2019

How Will Wally Vote?

Hullo, it’s me again.

I suppose you’ve heard that Theresa May is to face an unprecedented no-confidence challenge from the National Conservative Convention?

And I expect you are on tenterhooks wondering how I will vote as your local Conservative Association Chairman? Well, we chairmen do have to take these tough decisions, and I will have to give it some thought. After all, West Lancashire did vote to leave the EU.

The petition is clear enough. “We no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as prime minister to lead us forward in the [Brexit] negotiations. We therefore, with great reluctance, ask that she considers her position and resigns, to allow the Conservative Party to choose another leader, and the country to move forward and negotiate our exit from the EU”.

Of course, we local Tories shudder when Theresa goes on walking holidays.

She comes back thinking of elections. And what a cock-up she made after the last walking holiday. But this time it’s an election WE hold. I know it isn’t binding on Theresa to go if we vote against her. And let’s face it, she IS a remainer, remaining through vote after vote. Will we ever be rid of her?

I think I might do a “Farage” and stick £1,000 at three to one on her refusing to leave! Hmmm…good odds? Well, she is leading us to oblivion, which is something I seem to know a lot about too, here in West Lancashire!

Cheers, Wally.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 22, 2019

Eurosceptic Tory Party Members Are The Anti-EU Taliban

In July 2013 on Conhome a Conservative MEP Sajjid Karim

discussing eurosceptic members of his own party, writing on twitter during a debate on Europe, said ‘It seems the anti-EU taliban find it difficult to accept a different point of view!’ He added ‘The Anti-EU Taliban don’t want an informed British public or an informed debate. Bring it on!”

Remainers for EU 2019

Conservatives who would happily describe themselves as anti-EU would be surprised to hear one of the party’s elected representatives label them an intolerant “Taliban”. It certainly isn’t a productive contribution to the debate, or helpful in improving relations between the party and its members.

Karim, who attacked the prospect of Brexit in the run up to the referendum and has since vowed to push for a “soft” exit and Single Market membership, has apparently been selected as a lead candidate for the party.

A recycled Libdem

he joined that party in 1989. Karim was elected a member of Pendle Borough Council in 1994 and served until 2002 representing Brierfield ward. He was elected to represent North West England in 2004 as a Liberal Democrat MEP.

On 26 November 2007 he changed horses and joined the Conservative Party and was re-elected to the European Parliament in June 2009. In May 2014 he was re-elected to serve a third term.

Seen here in Ormskirk with “guess who”!

Karim has claimed that he will be the number one candidate on the Conservative list for the North West of England in the European Elections. He goes on to say “Whilst Brexit is still going ahead though, I will be fighting for a ‘soft’ departure until the end, in both the interests of Lancashire, the North West and of the country. We hold this permanent seat on the UN Security Council as a United Kingdom. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the likes of China and Russia (two other permanent seat holders) allow our seat to be maintained by England alone. The true cost of EU withdrawal then, will be a grave one”. Far from it, the true cost of our ongoing membership has been a grave one.

Karim is now questioning where funding for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is coming from. Sounds worried. Why are the Tories selecting such an anti-Brexit candidate to play a leading role in their EU Election campaign in the face of 17,410,742 leavers?

While Remainers might opt for anti-Brexit parties to voice their anger at Brexit, there will be some Conservatives standing in the European elections that oppose the UK leaving the European Union. Karim has campaigned for a People’s Vote to end the “madness”.

Karim previously claimed “The only way to stop this madness in its tracks is a parliamentary process leading to a People’s Vote. We want to be leading in our continent ideally through the European Union and projecting ourselves to the globe and winning, not falling down with a whimper”.

More of Karim’s bluster on Brexit in 2014 is classic hysterical Project Fear

He said “There are other major challenges that would arise from a British exit; some 2.2 million EU citizens who work in Britain, many in the City, and could be forced to leave. Given the significant contribution EU migrants make to the British economy, such an exodus would only exasperate the skills and labour shortage Britain already faces.

Just before the referendum in June 2016, he wrote: “If we end up with a vote for Brexit, the very existence of the United Kingdom as we know it is in peril. Who is to say that the Welsh and Northern Irish would not want to leave the UK also, particularly if their populations voted to Remain in the EU? Should Brexit lead to Scotland leaving and Welsh & Northern Irish discontent contributing to the same also, the UK’s permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council would undoubtedly be under threat”.

Perhaps some among us could care less about such an opinion? It might be the time to discuss English independence? Why not an English Parliament that carries out what England votes for?

So where does he stand? In April 2018 in an article on his website, Karim said “Regardless of how it happens Brexit is going to be bad for business, so limiting the extent of the damage is the best option we have right now and this means retaining our Single Market membership. Anything less would be senseless, damaging Lancashire and damaging the country”. Utter rubbish from someone who, after his “Taliban” sneer, brought forth some rational Conservatives taking the view that “It is one thing to disagree with people on your own side, and the Tory party is rightly a broad church, but it is quite another to go out of one’s way to insult them”.

Karim was evidently unrepentant, having put out a press release restating the slur “I have not used that term lightly, that’s exactly what they are. You are no longer allowed to hold a view unless it’s the same view as them.”

According to the release he particularly dislikes eurosceptics who “stifle debate by putting forward emotional and skewered arguments”. It seems bizarre to suggest emotion should play no part in politics, or that taking into account somehow closes down debate (though hopefully we can all agree no-one should be “skewered”).

It’s fair to say such a view will not be popular among members and activists, as much for its clumsy, insulting nature as for the pro-EU politics which lie behind it. Presumably that is why Karim has waited until just before the deadline for party members to rank his candidacy at next year’s elections before airing his view of them.

Quite why someone who so dislikes a sizeable chunk of the Conservative membership should seek to represent them is a mystery, but there should be a selection process which allows the members to make their views on such disdain clear, too. He said democracy is under attack and we must take responsibility for defending it [but not for defending the democratic 17,410,742!]. He is said to be a firm believer that decisions made by the EU should be taken as close as possible to the citizen.

It seems that Malik introduced a “Guide To Funding From The EU”. It detailed how to source funding from the EU. It might have been entitled a “Guide To Recovering Some Of The UK Funding We Donate To The EU”!

From the Telegraph

The year 2019 is already shaping up to be very strange indeed. A group of vegans has brought London to a shuddering halt. Politicians of all persuasions have ignored the largest democratic mandate in British history. Aston Villa has a serious chance of promotion. But perhaps the most astonishing development has been the sight of serial appointee Lord Adonis participating in the democratic process.

The Labour [unelected] peer, a former policy adviser to the Blair government, announced his attention to stand as an MEP in the South West, where he will face off against Annunziata Rees Mogg (expect fireworks). Hedging his bets, perhaps, Adonis has agreed to “suspend”, rather than “resign”, his bench-warmer seat [unelected! House of Lords].

Perhaps strangest of all is that the West Lancashire Tory party doesn’t mention Malik ever being a LibDem in its potted history published on its website. Probably ashamed of him?

In 2016 it was reported in the Telegraph Karim claimed £76,292 a year salary, plus £2,670 in pension contributions, and for the five years £159,858 in subsistence allowance, £189,420 in first class travel expenses, and £289,038 in UK office costs. Time to stop the EU gravy trains!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 20, 2019

Toxic Theresa?

Labour’s Denis Skinner MP

says “Some say May will go down in history as one of Britain’s worst PM’s. On the contrary if she achieves Brexit AND splits the Tory party down the middle she ought to go down as one of the best”.

Tory councillors are refusing to mention Theresa May’s name on doorsteps ahead of next month’s local elections because voters associate it with “betrayal”. Conservative Associations across the country are finding that Mrs May’s name is so toxic with voters that the mere mention of the Prime Minister gets in the way of campaigning.

It’s the same in the EU, where the betrayal of 17,410,742 leavers is likely to be punished. But not, it might seem, in West Lancashire, where devoted remainer Sajjad Karim MEP is nominated as “Northwest/Lancashire Lead Tory candidate”. West Lancashire votes are subsumed into the vast Northwest tribe!

Tory councillors fear that voter backlash against Mrs May’s handling of Brexit will cost them their seats, and are desperately trying to keep conversations focused on local issues to avoid being tainted by events in Westminster.

In one move, Theresa May betrayed the Conservatives and lost their biggest electoral asset. The fall-out from her overtures to Jeremy Corbyn gathered pace as the enormity of her actions finally sank in. The reaction among the grassroots Tory membership was one of horror and fury. How will they be able to campaign against Labour in the local elections next month when their own leader regards their principal opponents as part of the solution to the greatest policy conundrum facing the country?

With one statement from Downing Street, Mrs May wrecked her party’s obvious electoral pitch, that Corbyn and his neo-Marxist allies cannot be trusted with the governance of the nation. Grassroots Tories have said they will effectively go on strike during the European elections next month amid a mounting backlash against Theresa May.

Derbyshire Conservatives

led by Barry Lewis, above, have “overwhelmingly” backed a motion that means they will not support the Conservatives during the European elections next month. Councillor Barry Lewis, the leader of the group, has written to Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, voicing the group’s frustration at the fact Britain has not left the European Union.

His is the first of a significant number of Conservative Associations which are expected to withdraw their support for the party if the European elections take place on May 23. Imagine the anger residents and supporters will feel when and if the polling card for the European elections hit the doormat just before the local elections of 2nd May? How might you feel that the Brexit you voted for and was promised wasn’t delivered? To me it’s astonishing that our Prime Minister is barely cognisant of this fact. From a local government perspective the Government is paralysed by delays in decision-making and the consequent uncertainty that filters back to us means we cannot even adequately plan our budget much beyond 12 months. 

And a Medway Conservative councillor says support for the party is evaporating among activists with Theresa May’s decision to open talks with Jeremy Corbyn about Brexit the final straw. 

Cllr Rupert Turpin

who is standing for election in the Rochester South and Horsted ward, said party members in the Medway Towns were either staying at home or simply posting leaflets ahead of next month’s poll.

His intervention is embarrassing for the party but reflects the unease among rank-and-file members about Theresa May’s leadership and particularly her decision to hold talks with Jeremy Corbyn. “The mood among the Conservative grassroots is now grim. Fighting local elections in just one month’s time, many members in our constituency in Kent are staying at home or just delivering leaflets rather than knocking on doors”.

He said Mrs May had confirmed “the sell-out many are saying is the final straw”. Months and years of Jeremy Corbyn being the traitor, the Marxist, the anti-Semite and incidentally our default best electoral asset when things didn’t go so well have turned to this, Corbyn holding the key to a softer Brexit, and invited to turn it with Mrs May hand in hand,” he said.

Quoting the words of George Orwell, he wrote: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which”.

“Local members are flooding WhatsApp groups with their reactions, many of which are not pretty reading for the party leadership at a critical moment in the electoral cycle. Some members are resigning with immediate effect. I expect the emails are coming in all over the country”. The party had at a local level to distance itself from what he described as “the disastrous goings-ons at Westminster” and implore voters to consider local issues.

“Years of careful stewardship and steady progress for Conservative-run councils in difficult economic circumstances have been put at risk, perhaps not so much from Conservative voters switching to Labour but from Conservative voters who may well stay at home and not vote at all”.

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 19, 2019

Easter

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 19, 2019

Cllr O’Toole No Show In Halsall

The members of Halsall Parish Council (HPC)

and local residents who attended the Annual Meeting on Wednesday were disappointed not to be able to question LCC Cllr O’Toole about his meagre annual report. He was “not able to attend”.

He wrote “Report to Halsall Parish Council April 2019. Chairman, members of the Parish Council. Please accept my apologies for not being able to attend your annual meeting in person.

“I have pleasure in providing you with my annual report. The last twelve months have been extremely challenging at County Hall due in part to the tremendous deficit we inherited and the ever increasing demands on adult social care and children’s services. [Not to mention my own Tory Government’s austerity policy!]

“With regard to childrens services including looked after children and other children in care I am pleased to report that although this whole department faced being put into special measures we have seen a massive improvement in all sections and recently received a much improved ofsted report .

“Twelve months ago I was receiving up to 20 complaints a week regarding potholes. I have worked with my colleague County Councillor Iddon to both identify and repair hundreds of such road defects across my Division with the result that in the last three months I have only been told of two such problems both of which were dealt with very quickly. [We won’t mention the awful pavement at the Town Green Co-Op/Granville Park, also in my Division, reported in January, still not repaired]

“This in part is due to new work practices but largely due to the fact that we put several more millions into the highways budget, this action was acknowledged by the government who awarded us several more million earmarked for highway repairs.

“We have continued our pledge to reopen libraries closed by the previous administration with two more reopening this month alone thus making the total of 22 libraries previously closed now open once more. This action has been extremely well received by all affected communities.

“However it has not been possible in some cases as a number of the premises were sold off and the books destroyed, in such cases we are negotiating with local authorities and others to secure suitable premises unfortunately at a considerable and unnecessary cost.

“I would like to record my thanks to your diligent and hardworking clerk Dave Bond who regularly contacts me on behalf of the parish council”.

David O’Toole. County Councillor. West Lancashire West Division

Residents of Halsall

must be wondering what relevance this report has to Halsall? its roads are generally in a mess. Nothing in the report relates to Halsall, which has no library so no destroyed books. This report is what it is, a political statement by Halsall’s County Cllr probably trying to justify his existence and income from the council tax payers of LCC.

Cllr O’Toole received, from LCC 2017/18, £10,466 basic + £6,865 Special Responsibility Allowance +£150 ICT Allowance + £143 Subsistance + £2,535 Mileage, all = £20,159. For 2018/19 the basic has been increased to £10,675. Source LCC

Cllr O’Toole received, from Lancashire Combined Fire Authority for 2017/18, basic £2,612.93 + Special Responsibity £4,962.87 + Travel& Subsistence £304.65, Total = £7,880.84. For 2018/19, O’Toole basic £2,784.96 + Special Responsibility £5,289.60 + Travel & subsistence £785.25 Total = £8,859.81 He is “Majority Opposition Group Spokesperson”! Almost £1,000 increase year on year! Source LCFA. https://vault.ecloud.co.uk/lancsfire/2019/04/2018-2019_Member_Allowances_Paid_STMT.pdf

Cllr O’Toole received, from WLBC for which he claimed £4,842 + £107.96 Travel & Subsistence = £4,949. 96. Source WLBC.

Three official hats

=Total Income £33,968.77, a living example of why the number of elected members should be cut from whatever the authority council tax payers are increasingly funding, many from lower incomes. 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 18, 2019

Serco Managed Park Pool Cockroach Infestation

The WLBC owned Park Pool that’s Serco managed 

is infested with cockroaches.

The Champion reports it, although it doesn’t admit to it being Serco. It uses the alias West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust, its funding partner. But Serco it is that “vows urgent action to deal with repeated infestation of pests…which begs the question, why are there repeated infestations, because cockroaches carry and spread various diseases, pathogens, bacteria, and germs”.

Wherever they travel they leave a path of urine, faeces, and regurgitated saliva and digestive fluids that contain harmful agents that can be transmitted to humans. These agents can cause E. coli, salmonella, typhoid, urinary tract infections, digestive problems, and sepsis. For anyone in who is very young, very old, or already has a compromised immune system or serious illness, these diseases can be life threatening.

WLBC states “Our Health Promotion Service aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of West Lancashire. We do this through the provision of education, training and workshops, and by supporting both local and national campaigns for health improvement within the borough. The service delivers health promotion initiatives on a wide range of topics including accident prevention, food safety, healthy eating and infection disease control. Our Health Promotion Officer, and members of the Commercial Safety Team work, in partnership with a range of individuals from the community, public, private and voluntary sector to promote and improve health”.

So when did Serco inform the WLBC Health Promotion Officer about cockroaches around the viewing area, vending machines, changing rooms, and toilet areas? Can we believe WLBC knew of these infestations and are now embarrassed because pool users have complained to the press? 14 week spray cycles might now be obsolete, every two weeks should become the norm!

And, considering Serco claimed “UK Pool & Spa Awards 2018”, “Water Leisure Operator of the Year”, “Category winner Serco Leisure”, will they return the trophy? 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 18, 2019

Picture Gallery

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 18, 2019

Virgin Care’s Low Standards Slammed By Rosie Cooper

Rosie Cooper MP

has called on West Lancashire CCG To urgently improve Virgin Care standards.

She reacted angrily to the news that the Virgin Care operated Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Rosie said “This is very disappointing news that Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre run by Virgin Care was found to require improvement overall, as well as Requires Improvement in the areas of Safe, Effective and Well-led.

“Virgin Care wrote to me explaining that the CQC felt that clinical staff needed additional competency in the assessment and treatment of children, and asked Virgin to put additional appropriate clinical cover in place.

“I am astonished that the leadership and management at Virgin Care did not identify these failings in the two years they have been operating, nor could the CCG who commissioned Virgin notice these issues.

“Was it difficult for the Chair of West Lancashire CCG Dr John Caine and the CCG Board to truly hold Virgin Care to the highest standards given the similar situation at Parbold Surgery also recently found to require improvement in safety and leadership?

“With the Elms Surgery in Ormskirk and Burscough Family Practice also requiring improvement according to the CQC, West Lancashire CCG needs to urgently take action to raise the standards of its GP and walk-in provision across the borough”.

West Lancashire’s residents seem not to have the health services we need and expect. The staff of the Centres are amazing. As is so often the case, outsourced services are based on private company profits. It’s wrong! 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 17, 2019

A CBI Conversation

Richard Patient

was the London Chairman of Business for Britain, and he imagines two people, called John and Carolyn, who happen to run the CBI, having this conversation.

“Carolyn, when you tell the PM that she can’t go for No Deal, say that you fear that it will hit small businesses hardest. She will have to listen then”.

“But John, the CBI doesn’t have many small businesses as members, not any that I know about anyway, so how can we say that small businesses will be affected?”

“Carolyn, don’t let little details like that get in the way of a good bit of PR. I know all about small businesses after all, many of the suppliers at the supermarket I run in my other job are small. If we tell a small porky about the concerns of small businesses, it will deflect attention away from our real concerns, which is the need to protect our members’ interests, and they want us to stay in the EU to prevent the rise of those pesky disruptor competitors.”

“You mean we actually want EU regulation?

Isn’t that crony capitalism?”

“Yes, of course we like regulation, the more the better. Our members have the resources, the time, the money and the compliance officers, whereas any smaller competitor companies will be smothered by the mass of paperwork.”

“But we’re the voice of business, aren’t we? Surely that means all businesses.”

“Er, no. For starters, we dropped that slogan after those two whipper-snappers said we were the voice of Brussels. And we don’t actually represent that many businesses in the grand scheme of things.”

“Oh.”

“Actually, don’t worry, I’m seeing the PM later today, as part of my Brexit advisory role at No. 10.”

“How on earth did you get that job?

I thought you told me there was nothing good that could come from Brexit?!”

“I know, it’s hilarious. Still Mark has done a good job, hasn’t he? 10% rise in food prices! She can’t go for No Deal after that bit of scaremongering, oh…I mean that bit of excellent considered analysis.”

“10% rise? But didn’t the British Retail Consortium tell us privately that food bills would actually go down, with things like cheaper veg?”

“Luckily, the BRC are not saying that publicly yet. And who needs to look at the detail of the No Deal tariffs when it’s so much easier just to tell Mark to include a nice round number like 10% in his report. Meat prices will definitely be higher.”

“Yes, but only by a few pence.”

“The great thing is that there will be massive reductions on all that wine we import.

Hopefully the population will be too sozzled to notice the price cuts.”

“I’ll drink to that, John. And I think you’ve done a great job giving her the line that it’s Brexiteers that should be blamed for stopping Brexit, when we all know the choice we face now is between Mrs May and Brexit.”

“Thank you. The great thing is that the voters’ memories are so poor that they forget that nearly everyone voted for the two things that make Brexit legal, Article 50 and the Withdrawal Act. A bit of conjuring and the PM has been able to blame Brexiteers for everything, by not backing the indicative votes, when we all know the PM didn’t have to take a blind bit of notice of those votes. If we keep her in power for a bit longer, she’ll probably go the whole way and revoke Article 50. We can blame the Brexiteers for that as well. Mind you, our friend Corbyn has helped us.”

“Maybe we need to take a crate of that cheap booze to Corbyn?”

“Yes, let’s Carolyn. Unlike our united view on staying in the EU, our members are divided on Corbyn, with many being firm Corbyn fans.”

“John, I know. Our next trick will be to make the PM love Corbyn.”

“She’s ahead of you there. She already does!”

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