Monthly Archives: May 2020

Yes Prime Minister 1986

While the Sunday papers, and the “Beeb” of course, get all self-righteous about a PM aide making a lockdown trip or two, we recall the days when Jim Hacker was in charge, or thought he was. 

Jim Hacker explains who reads the newspapers.  

Hacker: “Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?”

Bernard: “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits”.

They knew a thing or two in 1986!

The Absent Councillor On Living Locally

Published by Sam Currie’s Tweets. Sam Currie @Samuel_P_Currie. Conservative Cllr [Absent from Aughton & Downholland] 

“To say I’m pissed off today is an understatement My son lives 200 miles away just 2 mins from what would be classed as my “second home”. I have not seen him for 2 months The distinction between right and wrong was clear. They either apply to everybody or nobody”.
7:53 PM • May 23, 2020

The distinction between right and wrong comes naturally to decent people. It’s time the local Tory High Command took action to sort out second home Sam! Attendance record Period 30/11/2019 – 24/05/2020. Total expected attendances: 8. Present as expected: 1=12%. Apologies received: 2=29%. Absent (incl. apologies): 7=88%. 

Labour Group Calls For Cut In Councillor Numbers

While the saga of long term absences of some highest paid elected members trundles along, at ongoing unacceptable costs to council tax payers, including the £800 paid to a QC, we should remember the case made publicly by the Labour Group on 22 October 2018 for cuts in councillor numbers.

“At the 2018 meeting of West Lancashire Borough Council referred to, Cllr Adam Yates of Ormskirk’s Knowsley Ward moved a motion to reduce the number of elected members.[Cllr Yates is Portfolio Holder for Resources & Transformation and Chairs the Flooding & Drainage Cabinet Working Group]

“West Lancashire Borough Council has recently begun a full organisational review, in order to ensure that the council remains sustainable in the face of further austerity cuts to council funds by the Conservative Government. The motion to review councillor numbers, which was seconded by Cllr Yates’s fellow Knowsley Ward councillor, Cllr Gareth Dowling, is in response to this review, as the restructure could allow for a change in the role of a councillor and therefore the number of members needed.

“Cllr Yates, Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Resources

said “The council faces a very difficult future, due to the ongoing government cuts which will see our funding revenues continue to fall until at least 2020. Although the council is well run, and offers good value for money in its delivery of services, we have been left with no option but to look at a wholesale restructuring of the organisation if we wish to maintain the current levels of service in future years.

“The Sustainable Organisational Review Project (SORP) will help to deliver better customer service, as well as looking at ways to generate additional income for the council, through a potentially radical change in the organisational structure and services.

“It is therefore only appropriate that we also take this opportunity to look at the role of councillors, and the number required to provide sufficient support for residents. We hear repeated calls from opposition councillors to cut the basic councillor allowances, yet all this would achieve is to limit the type of people who could afford to take on what is often a very demanding civic responsibility.

“Cuts to allowances would mean that people who can bring different and valuable experience to the council would find themselves excluded because they simply can’t afford to be councillors (especially now that Universal Credit measures are taking effect). This Labour administration has a strong track record of looking to offer value to residents, having previously ended the free bar for councillors

which was enjoyed by the Conservatives under the Finance Portfolio of Cllr Adrian Owens, and having continuously frozen allowances since we took control, including for the next two years.

“It makes far more sense to look at the overall number of councillors we need, which is why I have called for the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to be contacted. We hope to get the ball rolling ahead of the SORP report, due to come to Council in July 2019, which will give us a much clearer idea of how the council can be restructured to provide the best value and quality of service to all residents”.

We had the “two councils two seats two allowances for Cllr Moon saga, and now we have the elected member absences saga.  The QC fee of £800 was to tell council that “the statute does not, at least in its terms, allow a retrospective dispensation to be granted, and the point I have noted in para 13 above, it would be advisable for any decision on dispensation to be taken on 15th April 2020, if at all possiblefor an absence weeks earlier.

What part of “Although the council is well run, and offers good value for money in its delivery of services” applies to non attendance and no delivery of the services by elected members of Ashurst and Aughton & Downholland?

 

“We Refuse To Treat Residents With Such Contempt”

Until it suits us?

Open Letter To Residents Of West Lancashire From Council Leader, Cllr Ian Moran March 12 2019 “At a meeting of the West Lancashire Borough Council Cabinet this evening, the Labour administration requested that the timescale for developing a new Local Plan be changed, in order to take into account the concerns raised by residents during the recent public consultation.

“We have said from the outset of this Local Plan process that we wanted this to be a meaningful consultation, in which the public could see that their concerns were being listened to.

“When the last Local Plan review took place, the Conservative administration, which included OWL Cllr Adrian Owens, completely ignored the concerns of residents across the borough over plans to build significant numbers of housing in the area, not least Burscough residents’ overwhelming referendum result. We refuse to treat residents with such contempt.

[The referendum Question was “Do you want the West Lancashire Borough Council to release green belt land at Yew Tree Farm and Red Cat Lane for developments disproportionate to the size of Burscough, without thoroughly investigating and exhausting all suitable alternatives and prioritizing non-green belt land first We refuse to treat residents with such contempt. Yes 55, no 1,438]

“The proposals put forward for a new Local Plan were intended to try and stop the problem of housing developments being built without any guarantee of infrastructure improvements, to roads, schools and GP surgeries.

However, we refuse to drive this through against residents’ wishes, and so we will review the responses and update the evidence used in formulating the plan, to ensure that a more effective set of proposals can be brought forward in future.

“This Conservative government has placed local authorities under huge pressure to deliver new housing, without giving them sufficient powers to tackle the problems of developers sitting on development land and trying to cherry pick the best sites, as happened last year with our successful defence of Parrs Lane in Aughton. If we don’t review our Local Plan regularly, the government will impose the housing on us without any regard for local infrastructure, so we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep control”.

Returning to the statement We refuse to treat residents with such contempt”, how else can current contemptuous treatment of the Burscough Flooding Group be described? How can an elected body blandly ignore the democratic right to be heard because paid officers advise otherwise? WLBC Labour 2020 isn’t fixing the Tory mess, it’s just adding to it?