Monthly Archives: November 2019

Rosie Cooper, “A Strong Independent Voice For West Lancashire”

In her latest general election Labour communication leaflet

Rosie Cooper three times stresses her independence, and doesn’t mention Brexit.

Perhaps she is adopting the “neutral position” of Mr Corbyn “in the event he became prime minister and would grant a second referendum to strengthen his hand in EU negotiations?” as one of his colleagues suggested. 

“A  Champion for West Lancashire, A Strong Independent Voice” is her bold claim,  while also declaring her passionate belief in our NHS…fighting any threat to the future of Ormskirk hospital, stopping further privatisation and bringing those contracts back into NHS hands.

If that meant cheerio to Virgin Care, we might all drink to that!

Could Nigel Farage Tee Off At Beacon Park Golf Course?

Nigel Farage seen driving golf balls

on a driving range, which he couldn’t do at the Beacon Park Golf Course other than in a cage!

Could there be any truth in the rumour, (which we are about to start), that Nigel Farage might play golf at the Beacon Park Golf Course next year? Could there be any truth in the rumour that ANYONE could play a round of golf at Beacon Park Golf Course next year? They can’t play a full round this year, thanks to the landfill royalty scandal involving WLBC, Serco Leisure Operating Limited, and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd.

Notwithstanding the facilities are leased to West Lancashire Community Leisure [Serco controlled] the land and buildings of Beacon Park Golf Course belong to the Borough Council. We council tax payers own the Beacon Park Golf Course. The lease to run it for private profit was sold for £1 annually to DCT Leisure Ltd, a company that didn’t pay its £60,000 VAT bill and went bust. Then came Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, which already receives its £1,000,000 annually for WLBC leisure services including episodes of cockroaches swimming in managed swimming pool facilities!

Serco took on the golf course after a trial period to ensure its profitability. But its beady eyes soon spotted the opportunity to turn some course drainage work into a huge landfill dump. Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd became OaklandNoGolfJust landfill.com and WLBC turned a blind eye to the whole shoddy Serco-led scandal made illegal by its admitted breach of planning conditions. This below is an example of golf course creation!

Hence “The proposed development comprises the remodelling of approximately 12 hectares of the existing Beacon Park Golf Course. It involves the remodelling of the 5th, 6th, 13th and 14th holes and construction of temporary greens and tees with the importation of 55,000cubic meters of inert soil; remodelling of the golf range to provide perimeter mounding and improved targets with 35,000cubic meters of inert soil; formation of 9-hole short course for junior golfers on 3.7ha land to be formed by importation of 65,000cubic metres of inert soil; remodelling of 1st and 2nd tee with 32,000cubic metres of inert soil”. Another example below of how players found the work of OaklandNoGolfJust landfill.com

“It is estimated that 187,000m3 of inert materials are to be transported to the site using HGVs carrying an average of 8m3 per delivery. 23,375 No of HGV Loads”.

We wrote “WLBC has a written policy”

“Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy that commits it to combating fraud, bribery, corruption or abuse of position for personal gain, whether the perpetrators are internal OR EXTERNAL to the Authority”. Which part of it does WLBC believe does NOT apply to the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill operation by the EXTERNAL Serco Leisure Operating Ltd and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd?

The Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy has been devised to “promote a culture of integrity and accountability in all employees, elected members, partners, CONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS OF GOODS AND SERVICES”. The Authority’s expectation, and indeed the public’s, regarding propriety and accountability, is that Members and Employees, at all levels, will lead by example in ensuring adherence to all Council regulations, codes of conduct, procedures and practices”.

Does WLBC believe that the public’s expectation of a culture of integrity and accountability does NOT apply to the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill operation?

What were the “lead by example” examples that allow no external audit to take place, because by no stretch of imagination can any be identified. Which of the three “The Anti-Fraud, Bribery, and Corruption Policies” apply to this scandal? Why was the “promotion” of them set aside by WLBC?

Of the three, did fraud, bribery, or corruption, or all three, contaminate the process by which Serco admits to receiving a mere £183,864, as Rupert Soames the Chief Executive at Serco Group Plc personally wrote the letter containing that landfill grab amount. Where, within the Serco Group/Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd duo, is the remainder banked, and who accounted to HMRC for the VAT that was payable?

We should be told. Meanwhile the latest course corrective work has been stalled for months to come, by the weather.

What a surprise. Meanwhile Mr Farage can rest on his golf driving laurels for now!

The Use Of Village Land

Reading once again about the intended plundering of top class agricultural land for house building

as is now also reported in the Champion, we might be forgiven for musing about land as seen by John Stuart Mill

who in his wisdom suggested that “Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working, risking, or economizing. The increase in the value of land, arising as it does, from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to the community, and not to the individual who might hold title”.

In Victorian Britain, Mill set up the “Land Tenure Reform Association”. Its programme fell short of the nationalisation of land demanded by the contemporary Land and Labour League, a group of radical trade unionists.  Mill adopted a policy of taxing the unearned increment on land value under pressure from the League.

Perhaps housing developers of our agricultural inheritance should face punitive taxes such as to prevent the now intended 500 homes on 17 hectares of Parrs Lane land, while the landowners should be up before the High Court once again in advance of WLBC considering the scoping request?

We repeat how appalling the effect of all this housing will be on Aughton and its already bursting to breaking point infrastructure and services, and its probable change from village to small town status merely for the John Stuart Mill effect of “landlords/owners growing rich in their sleep without working” to be ever more prevalent in modern Britain.

 

 

West Lancashire To Remain Labour?

The YouGov political team highlights some key findings from the new MRP results.

After much anticipation, YouGov’s official 2019 general election MRP model is here. The model, which called 93% of seats correctly in 2017, currently shows the Conservatives on course for a sizable majority.

The West Lancashire forecast? LIKELY LABOUR. The YouGov Election Centre MRP poll currently being touted shows Labour in a mid range of 47%, Conservative 37%, Brexit Party 7%, Libdem 6%, Green 3%. Rosie Cooper to retain her seat?

“Let’s Be Honest With Our Voters At Home. This Process Is A Sham.”

As was predicted early yesterday morning, the EU Parliament

has now rubber-stamped [stitched-up] the appointment of the new German-led EU Commission which, in just three days time, will take over from the previous administration led by Jean-Claude Juncker.

What we were not expecting was a bravura performance by Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox

who gave a short speech in which she slammed both the chaotic selection process and the democratic legitimacy of the new EU Commission.

“My fellow MEPs, let’s be honest with our voters at home. This process is a sham. Colleagues, we are being used as a stage army, marched out today to rubber stamp a thoroughly anti-democratic imposition of top-down power at Commission level. This parliament is no more than a faux democratic charade used to give a veneer of legitimacy to an illegitimate decision-making process.

“We may salve our consciences by rejecting a few bad eggs at bogus commission hearings, but the truth is all we can do is accept or reject from a bunch of pre-selected candidates with no real choice. This hypocrisy is summed up for me by their gigantic poster of Ursula von der Leyen outside the parliament in Brussels.

“It is frankly distasteful and Orwellian propaganda. It reads “In fair and free elections, the power of the people determines the people in power”. “That is true in national democracies but it is a flagrant lie, fake news, and disinformation in relation to the Commission.

“Mrs von der Leyen herself was not elevated to her position of power due to people power. The only power on display in her election was a behind the scenes cabal who pushed her forward as a last minute compromise candidate. And although she only scraped through, she now has the power to dictate the priorities of Europe. She has the power to impose her agenda on millions of European citizens whether they like it or not.

“From the Commission’s ambitions for a green new deal, for deeper monetary integration, or austerity, or the appointment of Josep Borrell [new de facto EU Foreign Secretary ] who endorses qualified majority voting on foreign policy that strips nation states of their own foreign policy.

“This federalism steals power from the people and is a naked power grab from the Demos to technocrats in the Commission, and we’re expected to nod it through. In the UK we’re mid general election. Voters will directly vote on who they loan their authority to.

“Yet that national popular sovereignty that treats workers and bosses as equals at the ballet box means voters are the masters and politicians are the public servants”.

How the EU Parliament voted? A total of 461 MEPs voted in favour of the new Commission out of a total of 747 MEPs eligible to vote. 157 MEPs voted against and 89 abstained. 40 MEPs clearly decided that there was little point even turning up.

Whilst the UK Parliament publishes the voting record of each MP within about an hour of each vote, we are still waiting for the EU Parliament to publish the list of MEPs voting for or against the Commission yesterday. Sadly this was a secret ballot, so we will never be able to tell readers how their British MEPs voted.

Ms Fox was allowed just two minutes to speak. Despite the Brexit Party being the largest single party in the entire EU Parliament, it is not allowed the six minutes allotted to the leaders of the political groupings of other countries. Ms Fox was therefore allocated the two minutes given to selected individual MEPs.

In the very short time available to her, Claire Fox delivered a powerful indictment of the sclerotic nature of the EU and its processes for appointing those who govern it. Her message was deeply unpopular with the majority of the overpaid MEPs in the hemisphere that is the EU Parliament, but we are very pleased that someone stood up and spoke truth to power.

“Biggest Threat To Our NHS Since 1948″?

Not what facts prove

“The reality is that the NHS is on the table for any trade deal with Trump after Brexit, putting US profits before UK patients” is Rosie Coopers’ sound-bite.

And now Jeremy Corbyn says 451 pages of leaked documents from Whitehall were evidence that Boris Johnson was putting the NHS “up for sale” in post-Brexit trade talks with the US.

But writing today after combing through the documents, Victoria Hewson

lawyer and head of regulatory affairs at the Institute of Economic Affairs, explains that they prove nothing of the sort.

She writes “At a procedural level, Boris Johnson had nothing to do with these talks, which took place in 2017 and 2018 when Theresa May was Prime Minister. Nor were these formal negotiations at all. They were part of the preliminary scoping dialogue permitted while the UK is still an EU member state.”

And regarding the fact that the documents show UK and US civil servants explaining their respective positions on complex matters like intellectual property rights (IPR), she observes

“Jeremy Corbyn is asking us to believe that the very fact that patents were discussed is evidence that the Conservatives are set on making changing to our laws that would strengthen patent protection afforded to pharmaceutical products and therefore keep the prices paid by the NHS for patented drugs higher for longer.

“Putting aside the question of why a British government would do such a thing (and the fact that trade agreements to which we are party through our EU membership include chapters on IPR, so discussing these matters is completely normal), in substance the UK team gave no indication at all that they would countenance adopting the US approach. Quite the reverse”.

“It was made clear that the UK will remain part of the European Patent Convention, and at that time was also seeking associate membership of the European Medicines Agency. Remember, these documents reflect conversations held in the era of the Chequers Plan, which would have seen the UK align to EU regulations on goods, and the UK would have had had little flexibility to move in many of these matters anyway.

“It is unfortunate that these documents, marked “Official-Sensitive (UK eyes only)”, have been leaked. No doubt the US negotiators have read the UK’s internal commentary on the talks with interest, and will have questions to ask about security. But they offer a fascinating insight into the discussions that, even at a time when the UK was seeking to align with the EU in a ‘common rule book’, show a breadth of ambition and considerable commitment to the realisation of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the US.

“For those of us interested in trade policy, Mr Corbyn has done a great service in revealing the confidential content of these discussions. In the interests of integrity in political debate, however, and trust between allies at a vital time for this country, perhaps not so much”.

Integrity in political debate? Now that would be news!

The NHS “A Brief History Of Time”

What they said to weaponise the NHS around election time

“There are 14 days to save the NHS” Tony Blair 17th April 1997

“We have only 24 hours to save the National Health Service” Tony Blair 30 April 1997

“I think the government has a little longer than 24 hours to save the NHS-but not much. Maybe six months?”. Christine Hancock General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing. 3 April 2000

“We have 48 hours to save our NHS”. Mirror 10 October 2011

“We have six weeks to save the NHS” John Lister Director of London Health Emergency 11 December 2011

“We have just three months to save the NHS” Ed Miliband 4 Feb 2012

“12 days to save the NHS; Docs set to derail Cameron’s health reform bill. Mirror 26 Feb 2012

“We have just 13 days to save the NHS” Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey at rally against the Health & Social Care Bill 7 March 2012

“Only 24 hours to save the NHS” Mirror 20 March 2012

“Six months to save our NHS” John Lister Director of London Health Emergency 10 September 2012

“You have five days to save the NHS” Lord Reid at Rally Against Scots Independence 14 September 2014

“Four months to save the NHS” Mirror 4 Jan 2015

“We only have 100 days to save the NHS as we know it” Ed Miliband 27 January 2015

“Just 52 hours to save our NHS” Mirror 5 May 2015

“Stop Brexit to save our NHS” LibDems 15 September 2019

“Biggest threat to our NHS since 1948” Rosie Cooper 26 November 2019

What will save our NHS? Not the Mirror! Not useless LibDem or any other politicians! Not some useless Clinical Commissioning Groups! Not illegal health tourists! Just the NHS Long Term Plan

that is drawn up by frontline staff, patients groups, and national experts to be ambitious but realistic. The NHS Assembly brings together a range of individuals from across the health and care sectors at regular intervals to advise the joint boards of NHS England and NHS Improvement on delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP).

The Assembly membership brings broad stakeholder insight and frontline experience to discussions, serving as a “guiding coalition” on implementation of the improvements outlined in the plan.

Looks good to me!

The EU Question, A Profound Choice

What They Said

“Going somewhere we don’t want to go” and “We’ll keep subsidising other EU countries and losing more control every year”. Today, the UK pays more in and receives less than any EU country. Luxembourg receives £34 for every £1 paid in. The UK receives 38p for every £1 paid in. Every Luxembourg MEP serves 100,334 citizens, every UK MEP serves 907,370 citizens! We actually subsidise the other 27 either by subsidy or by trade!

Telegraph Matthew d’Ancona 10 Sep 2000 “No true Thatcherite, of course, could hold Mr Heseltine’s (admirably candid) view, expressed in this week’s Spectator, that “Britain will soon be swallowed by a federal European superstate as Wessex and Mercia were by medieval England”.

“I look forward to the day when the Westminster Parliament is just a council chamber in Europe”. Ken Clarke MP

“The Constitution is the capstone of a European Federal State”. Guy Verhofstadt, then Belgian Prime Minister.

“The European Union is a state under construction”. Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

“Of course the European Commission will one day become a government, the EU council a second chamber and the European Parliament will have more powers”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressing MEPs, November 2012.

“We need a true political union…we need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government and two chambers, the European Parliament and a “Senate” of Member States…European Parliament elections are more important than national elections…This will be our best weapon against the Eurosceptics”. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, January 2014

“For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe”. Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister, May 2014

Conclusion – The honest Referendum choice

“Voting to Remain is not a simple “stay as you are option”. As Allister Heath stated in the Telegraph “Comfortable, middle-class voters who are considering sticking with the devil they believe they know need to think again. Voting to remain is a far greater leap into the unknown than voting to leave. It’s self-evidently normal to be independent and prosperous: just look at America, Australia, Canada or Singapore. But there are no known examples of a previously independent democracy being subsumed into a dysfunctional, economically troubled technocracy and doing well as a result. As mad gambles go, it is hard to think of anything worse”.

“We need to recognise the EU for what it is, a political project to create a single state, governed by bureaucracy/technocracy instead of by democracy (the consent of the people). The Referendum can be boiled down to one very simple choice. Should Britain be a self-governing nation, trading and co-operating with nations in Europe and around the world? Or should Britain be subsumed into an undemocratic United States of Europe?”

We, residents of the UK,  are in the single state last chance saloon. Remainers would lock the exit door. Vote for a remainer at your peril.

Parrs Lane Development “Permission In Principle” Query By ARG

Aughton Residents Group 2012 (ARG2012)

has found another Parrs Lane item of local land development interest in the form of Planning application 2019/1109/PIP (Permission in Principle).

It was received at WLBC on 25 October and validated on 12 November 2019. This application was submitted by Mr Phillip Rothwell of Round Thorn Cottage Parrs Lane [etched in red on the plan, below].

The intention is to demolish the old farmhouse and the fairly recently converted barn at the rear (2 dwellings in total) and replace them with the building of 4 new dwellings on the same site.

There are a number of interesting documents, including a report and plans which can be viewed, attached to this application including a response from Peter Richards, WLBC Strategic Planning, Regeneration & Implementation Manager.

He queries whether this is “an appropriate quantum of housing to grant PIP on this site so as not to be over development of the site and for it to be in keeping with the character of the area’. He delegates such a judgement to a planning officer.

Once again, at this stage, there doesn’t seem to be a requirement for neighbour consultation and or notification. What does it mean? More development, more cars, more use of scarce resources in the area, all coming to a village setting that suffers from extremely poor infrastructure.

But it’s a done deal. The WLBC response from one officer to another “In terms of the above PIP application, in terms of the Principle of the proposed development, I’m happy the application is in line with the Adopted Local Plan. While the site is part of a wider Safeguarded Land designation (Policy GN2), the application site itself is in an existing residential use and is within the Settlement Boundaries defined by Policy GN1 and the Policies Map, and so this application is really just for intensification of that use, and would not affect the capacity of the wider Safeguarded Land site to accommodate housing in the future (as required by Policy GN2).

“As such, the only question is whether 4 units (a net increase of 2 units) is an appropriate quantum of housing to grant PIP for on this site (so as to not be overdevelopment of the site and for it to be in keeping with the character of the area), and I will leave that to your judgement”.

 

EU Fishing Demands Confirm Fishermens’ Worst Fears

Brexit Betrayal Coming?

Brussels plans to hit Britain with a demand for access to UK fishing waters the day after Brexit, it has emerged. Sources said the plan was to make EU access to British waters a condition for any trade deal and to make the demand public on, or as close as possible, to February 1, if Boris Johnson wins a majority in the general election.

“That will be the day that reality hits home” one EU diplomat told The Telegraph. The European Commission began work on Monday on drawing up internal mandates for the trade negotiations that will begin once Britain leaves the EU on January 31, 2020.

British officials insist that Britain will be taking back control of its fishing waters. The ultimatum issued by Brussels on fishing yet again confirms the uncomfortable reality of the deal Britain is walking into with eyes wide shut. A reality which Fishing for Leave have been desperately pointing out but which is met with heads in a bucket of sand as it conflicts with the narrative being construed that a bad deal is somehow palatable and can deliver a simple Free Trade Deal.

The EU is determined to continue its ability to pillage UK waters for 60% of our resources, all whilst also enmeshing the UK in regulatory alignment with the CFP through “associate” membership. (Paragraphs 118 & 120 of the Political Declaration). The Conservative manifesto may pledge to take back full control of our water, but the reality is we re-obey the CFP for the Transition period and then the EU has painted the UK into a corner on fishing with the terms of the Political Declaration.

Terms which the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 184 would legally oblige the UK to ratify as the basis of the Future Relationship and Free Trade Agreement which will be enforced by the European Court of Justice. If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified then the UK may nominally be an “independent coastal state” but one obliged under the Political Declaration to have a fisheries agreement based on; “non-discrimination” the founding principle of equal access to a common resource. “level playing field” only achievable by binding the UK to regulatory alignment with CFP rules. To be bartered as “part of the overall economic partnership”.

This is what ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement means. We are obliged to swallow this and have fishing levered. The EU has now spelt this out crystal clear. Surrender fishing a second time or no Free Trade deal.

It is clear to the most optimistic that trying to ratify a Free Trade Deal with the EU by the summer is near impossible. It is clear to anyone who can read that the Political Declaration is constructed to ratchet the UK into concession after concession as another “cliff edge” approaches. The key is “what the hell is Boris Johnson and the Conservatives’ response to this? If it is silence that is deafening, then alarm bells will ring around coastal communities and constituencies”.

It will show that a Conservative government would have no intention of telling the EU to get stuffed but will capitulate to bully boy tactics of being asked to surrender our nation’s greatest natural resource for a trade deal. Something no other nation or government in the world will have ever done, little Iceland and Faroe… No! Norway, erm no! Yet all sell huge volumes of fish and other goods to the EU.

It shouldn’t and needn’t be like this, fishing is one of the Brexit poster children, being one of the biggest economic and political benefits of Brexit. We can automatically take back complete sovereignty over all waters and resources under Article 50 which causes all current CFP access and resource shares to “cease to apply” on exit.

Economically this repatriates a £6-8bn pound industry, injecting an adrenaline hit to maligned coastal communities which if husbanded can provide billions every year, year after year, for generations. Politically it exorcises the ghost of Edward Heath surrendering Britain’s fishing as “expendable” which still haunts the Conservative party decades later. It should be a huge totemic win for any government. Yet, the May Government, and the majority of the wider political establishment, have allowed the EU to paint us into a legal corner to the point that fishing is hanging by a thread of being surrendered a second time.

Many in the political establishment say fishing, and by association with it coastal communities, don’t really matter. Well then why is the EU pushing so hard for being able to continue to pillage our water? The answer, because catching 60% of our fish represents a third of their NE Atlantic catches. Coupled with their huge demand on our seafood exports means they have a critical dependency on UK seafood as a staple of their population’s diet.

It means the UK has a huge position of strength with a clean break on Brexit. We regain billions of resources. The EU recognises tariffs are no impediment to our supplying them and the UK will have a captive market with the EU’s huge dependency.

The response from Boris and the Conservatives is critical, are they men who will stand up for the national interest or mice who will be blackmailed to surrender something even though it will politically bury them? They MUST scrap the Political Declaration on fishing or be blackmailed into surrendering fishing for a trade deal, something Boris told the Commons in July in response to Owen Paterson “would be a reprehensible thing to do”.

Either that or we are back to No Deal which, given the Conservative Brexiteers’ correct assertion that the EU is a diminishing part of our trade which tariffs wouldn’t unduly afflict, should be embraced now! Rather than signing up to a Withdrawal Agreement where the EU is going to use our obligation to ratify a FTA based on the Political Declaration to squeeze the UK till we scream. The EU is testing them on a totemic issue, their response will be telling, particularly in coastal constituencies.