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 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

“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!