Into The EU Tunnel

On Thursday 10 October 2019

the Prime Minister met the Irish Taoiseach at a wedding venue on the Wirral. No-one knows what happened, but it has resulted in what is referred to go as “going into the tunnel”.

This means that serious and detailed negotiations have started again with the EU, supposedly under a news blackout. These talks are expected to last for several days. Readers will have read all kinds of speculation in the mainstream media over the past 48 hours, but the truth is that no-one knows what caused the Irish Taoiseach suddenly to tell the EU that there might be the basis for a negotiated departure for the UK from the EU, on EU terms. There are rumours, but that’s all they are.

The only reasonable inference that can be drawn from this is that the PM has moved his position since making his offer to the EU on 02 October 2019. The other inference is that the leader of the EU’s 20th smallest nation (the Republic of Ireland) seems to have an effective veto over whether the EU will allow the UK to leave the EU on a sensible basis.

The Prime Minister’s promises three months ago

“Under no circumstances, whatever happens, will I allow the EU or anyone else to create any kind of division down the Irish Sea or attenuate our Union.
“That is why I resigned over Chequers. It is a terrible moral blackmail it puts on the UK Government. We can’t have that.
“The way to protect the Union is to come out the EU whole and entire. Solve the border issues where they belong in the FTA (free trade agreement) which we are going to do.”
– Boris Johnson, 02 Jul 2019

It is now a matter of fact that the PM’s offer to the EU on 02 October put a border in the Irish Sea. It is also a matter of fact that the PM’s offer keeps Northern Ireland in the Single Market under ECJ jurisdiction, thereby failing to protect the Union and “to come out the EU whole and entire”.

Already the Prime Minister has reneged on his promises three months ago. His offer to the EU 10 days ago most definitely did offer a “division down the Irish Sea” and equally definitely did “attenuate our Union”. On top of this, from the EU’s outright hostility earlier in the week to the start of ‘tunnel negotiations’ yesterday, something has changed in the PM’s offer. What it is, no-on can yet be sure.

Given that the PM’s proposals already broke his promises only three months ago, we fear the worst. Worst of all, of course, is that the PM has said virtually nothing about all the other disastrous aspects of Mrs May’s surrender treaty, known as “the Withdrawal and Agreement and Political Declaration”. The border question is only one small (but important) part of the whole.

“We are told by ERG MPs not to criticise or be pessimistic, but this is about Brexit, pure and simple. We maintain our stance that the only way the United Kingdom can exit the EU properly after 11pm on 31 October is without an agreed ‘deal’ with the EU. Anything else will be a fudge of epic proportions”.

Some more quick & simple facts about the Single Market

Since the EU Ref, the EU27 have sold over £¼ TRILLION more goods to the UK than we have sold to them
Over 160 countries trade with the EU – and so can the UK – without membership of the Single Market
After 25 years, it still doesn’t work – ‘unfinished and stalled’ [Major OECD report, 2016]
The Single Market comes with unlimited EU immigration and subjection to EU laws which MPs can’t vote on
It affects ALL UK businesses, but 92% don’t even sell to the EU
The UK is the EU’s second-highest net payer, but at the end of the queue when it comes to benefiting from that.
The Single Market – Great for jobs in other EU countries. But not in the UK.

Neighbourhood CIL

WLBC has published its annual CIL report


The Aughton Parish Council CIL Situation

The APC reports that “CIL Retained i. Total amount of CIL received in financial year 2017/2018 and retained (unspent) at the end of the reported year 2017/2018 £26,028.00 ii. Total amount of CIL received in previous years and retained (unspent) at the end of the reported year 2017/2018 £7,356.73. TOTAL CIL RECEIPTS RETAINED (UNSPENT) £33,384.73

The WLBC CIL report for 2017/2018 states for Aughton Parish Council “Meaningful Proportion” ie 15% of £40,086 CIL receipts in the parish area will be a further £6,013.

But the “WLBC CIL REPORT FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2018/19 June 2019 Table 3 of the WLBC CIL “monies by parish area, including that passed to parish councils” suggests “Aughton CIL receipts collected by parish area £358,818, Administration portion (5%) £17,941, Meaningful proportion (15%) passed to parish £53,040.

Aughton Parish Council will have £86,427.73 which will no doubt have its bean counters ecstatic! Parishioners should be knocking the parish door down to claim cash for necessary projects? Click below to view the Parishes and unparished CIL pie chart. Biggest parish beneficiary is Burscough with £178,060, Lathom South receives £62,088, Halsall receives £18,482. 


Rosie Cooper Brexit Latest

Rosie Cooper MP press statement on EU Leaders letter 10th October, 2019

West Lancashire MP Rosie is a co-signatory of a letter to EU leaders urging them to ‘work night and day, if required, to agree a deal’ ahead of the 31 October Brexit deadline. Rosie is one of 19 Labour MPs to put their name to the letter to Jean Claude Junker and Donald Tusk arguing for the EU Commission, the EU27, and the UK government to reach an agreement to avoid a No Deal Brexit happening.

Rosie said

“It is clear that most people here in West Lancashire and across the country are tired of the Brexit deadlock and want the situation resolved. I have consistently argued that an orderly Brexit is better than a No Deal Brexit. I sincerely hope all those round the negotiating table are listening and willing to finally reach an agreement given it is 1,200 days since the country took the decision to leave the EU.

“I am concerned that any further delays to the UK leaving the EU will only add to the deepening public divisions we see and the growing disenchantment with politics. Until a deal is agreed the country cannot heal these divisions”.

In the letter the 19 Labour MPs argue

“The EU Commission, the EU27 and the UK government have to find an accommodation. An orderly Brexit is better than a no deal Brexit. The public are tired of the deadlock and want Brexit resolved. That a deal will deliver an orderly Brexit, respect the 2016 referendum decision and protect the Good Friday Agreement. A deal can provide guarantees and rights that most voters, including Remain voters, value. That the parties to the negotiations should be willing to ‘work night and day, if required’ until an agreement is reached.
In 2016 West Lancashire voted in favour of leaving the EU, a decision Rosie Cooper MP committed to honouring during the Brexit process. A position which is consistent with the 2017 Labour Party manifesto which she was elected on”.

Read the letters on

Down At The Old Cock & Bull

Aughton Parish Council meeting, Monday 14th October 2019 at 7.30pm

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME – at a convenient time, normally shortly after the opening of the meeting, the Chairman will adjourn the meeting (this month for an extended period of time at his discretion) to welcome Mr Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner who usually wants his % increase,

and Chief Inspector Ian Jones to discuss the Policing of Aughton. The Chairman will allow any members of the public who are residents in Aughton (or such other persons in the Chairman’s absolute discretion) to address meeting. Some might mention Neighbourhood Watch, or spending parish funds on more CCTV? Then again, the bean counters don’t like to spend the parish precept to benefit the parish.

Minute 11167 from August meeting “CHAIRMAN,VICE-CHAIRMAN, PARISH CLERK’S AUGUST MEETING WITH THE LOCAL POLICE, a brief report was given on the informal meeting held 12 August 2019. There had been 14 reported crimes since the last meeting including 1 case of fraud & forgery (Long Lane), 1 case of Theft (Back Lane), 1 assault (Prescot Road), 2 burglary (Gaw Hill Lane, Standhouse Lane), 1 missing from home (returned), 1 theft of vehicle (Mickering Lane), 1 criminal damage excluding vehicles (Mickering Lane), 2 domestic cases, 1 robbery (Back Lane), 1 public order (Noel Gate), 1 harassment (Granville Park), 1 vehicle crime (Cherry Tree Lane). In Aughton, other than reported crimes, there had been 134 incidents and 8 cases of Nuisance/ASB. Discussion took place over the antisocial behaviour around the Parish including the park off Cherry Tree Lane. At the request of local residents overlooking the park, it was agreed to lower the hedges once again and request the assistance of the Chief Inspector (copying in the Police & Crime Commissioner)”.

2019/0896/FUL DEL 69 Town Green Lane. Change of use from current (retail) to a bar serving food (A1 to A3/A4 use class). Proposed alterations to rear courtyard to provide additional external seating and revised vehicular parking. This is believed to be the “Peaky Blinders” bar proposal rumoured locally. 

“The site is currently served by a side hard standing access. The proposed scheme seeks to revise the rear Courtyard provision and as such accommodate a new vehicular access point off Town Green Lane (leading to the Train Station). It is proposed to remove a section of the dwarf wall and timber panel fence to provide a suitable visibility splay (assumed 25m in each direction) and subject to further consultation with LCC Highways. There is no requirement to provide a drop kerb as there isn’t one in place currently. The existing front access is proposed to be altered to provide a DDA compliant ramped access in accordance.

In light of the above, Network Rail

is placing a holding objection on the proposal based on the points below: 1. We have retained rights within the attached conveyance that we would not want to be compromised or removed. 2. We do not believe that the land owner has any existing rights to create a new access on to Network Rail land (the station lease area). Network Rail and the TOC (Merseyrail) would not permit railway land (access to the station) being used for access which is part of the outside party proposal. That might indicate a “sod off” message?

The proposal has been called in by two local ward councillors. Talking of which, when will Aughton’s five ward councilors (three from Halsall) be reduced to two, and the WLBC 54 reduced to 36, as has been mooted? What with the upcoming senior officer redundancies, surely another 18 redundancies must be next? Bring it on!

Google Duncan Hames, Former LibDem MP

And you will see he was born 16 June 1977, is a Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, and is a former Liberal Democrat politician.

He was the Member of Parliament for the Chippenham constituency in Wiltshire from 2010 to 2015. Between 2012 and 2015, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Clegg when he was Deputy Prime Minister.

In July 2006, shortly after the creation of a new Chippenham county constituency, Hames was selected as his party’s first candidate for it, and his success at the 2010 general election gave Wiltshire its first Liberal member of parliament in 86 years.

Following his defeat at the 2015 general election, Hames chose not to stand for re-selection as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Chippenham constituency. He is Head of Policy at the UK chapter of Transparency International.

On 13 May 2011 Hames married fellow Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who became leader of the Liberal Democrat party in 2019. 

Transparency International

is an international non-governmental organization which is based in Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 1993. Its non-profit purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption. It publishes for example the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International has the legal status of a German registered voluntary association (Eingetragener Verein) and serves as an umbrella organization.

Its members have grown from a few individuals to more than 100 national chapters which engage in fighting corruption in their home countries. TI is a member of UNESCO Consultative Status, United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnerships For the Goals.

In January 2015 it was reported that Transparency International (TI) accepted $3 million from the German engineering multinational Siemens, which in 2008 paid one of the largest corporate corruption fines in history – $1.6 billion – for bribing government officials in numerous countries.

Transparency International applied for and received the money from Siemens, even though TI’s due diligence procedures prohibit the organization from accepting money from corporations that want to “greenwash” their reputations by making donations to TI. “If any corporate donor is accused of having been involved in corruption, the donor can expect no protection from TI” the procedures state.

Transparency International received the money from the Siemens Integrity Initiative about a year after the Initiative hired former TI staffer Jana Mittermaier, raising questions of a “revolving door” that has benefited both the organization and the company.

Several of TI’s national chapters also have accepted money from Siemens: $660,000 for TI USA, $600,000 for TI Italy, $450,000 for TI Bulgaria, and $230,000 for TI Mexico, each for a period of three years. “This really shows that Transparency International is not as pure as people think,” a TI insider told Corporate Crime Reporter.

Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt said “We did not file an application to Siemens, we applied to the Siemens Integrity Initiative. There’s a difference. We have not applied to Siemens.” However, according to Siemens, the money for these grants is “provided by Siemens.

Why is this of interest?

Because TI was given 3.5m euro by the European Union. Read the

for the full story. You will see that “Swinson voted for the LibCon Bedroom Tax that mired millions of the poorest in costs they could not afford. She voted for the LibCon Welfare reforms which attacked the finances of those least able to withstand the onslaught. She voted for the LibCon policy to treble the tuition fees of students least able to pay. Could it get worse for Jo Swinson? In a word, yes”.

“IT LOOKS LIKE JO SWINSON’S PASSION TO STOP BREXIT OR A NO-DEAL BREXIT “AT ANY COST” HAS TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLIED. Swinson’s point blank and quite illogical refusal to join the cross-party coalition to prevent a no-deal Brexit has a 3.5m euro explanation. And the irony of the whole context goes to show that the LibDems are as insincere and deceitful as they ever were”.

Nyebevannews asks “Has Jo Swinson declared this conflict of interest to the House of Commons? No. Is that a breach of House of Commons protocol? Yes. Is it a breach of the law? Yes”.

West Lancashire Labour Gets Nasty With Claire?

Now ex-Cllr Claire Cooper

writes on twitter as former Labour Councillor “Please accept apologies for not acknowledging mention and follows. I was deselected as a councillor at the weekend in a particularly nasty process and was officially made redundant on Monday as well”.

In March 2016 Labour West Lancashire wrote COMMUNITY CHAMPION CLAIRE COOPER CHOSEN FOR BIRCH GREEN. Local community activist Claire Cooper has been chosen by the residents of Birch Green to be their Labour candidate in the upcoming West Lancashire Borough Council elections.

Claire, who lives in the town, volunteers with many local groups including the Engine Rooms, Quarry Bank and at Skelmersdale Library. She is also a Governor at Woodlands Primary School, and helps out at Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative. Claire was also a founding member of the Digmoor Allotment Society.

Claire previously worked in the NHS at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and is also a qualified teacher. She now supports adults with additional needs and still undertakes supply work in schools, and has a keen interest in improving literacy rates.

Frank McKenna writes

“Hearing @CC4BirchGreen has resigned from #WLBC – a huge loss to Skem & Birch Green as she is the most hard working community councillor in the town. Hope @UKLabour is investigating why?”.

This on WLBC Website