Let's create hundreds - nay, thousands - of individual apartments, cottages or other self-contained housing units that can once again reverberate with the sounds of people working, children laughing and dogs waiting excitedly for their evening walk. Continue reading →

Posted by Simon Perks on Simon Perks | Mute

Ten years ago a Commonwealth-wide poll revealed that support for the political descendant of the British Empire was highest among the developing countries. Not surprising, they had the most to gain from aid and trade. Support from the developed Commonwealth countries was half of that of the developing world. Britain was at the bottom. That is changing. Brexiteers have conveniently rediscovered their imperial roots and are now pushing for a revival of the Commonwealth as a replacement for lost European markets. It is, after all, the home for a third of the world's population and a total GDP of $17 ...

Posted by Tom Arms on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

If you live in the Maghull area you will have seen the headlines in this week's Aintree & Maghull Champion about the contraction of the Town's library into a space only about one third the size of what it was when the new library was opened in 2010. The demise, reductions and contractions of public libraries is sad in any circumstance and it is a matter I have blogged about on many occasions. However, this particular posting is more about the consequences of the major changes at Meadows Leisure Centre and Library. In particular the remodeling of the Centre/Library is ...

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

With life expectancy increasing and people from the post-war "baby boom" reaching old age, the number of older people in South Gloucestershire is increasing. To help them plan for older people's housing needs, the council are carrying out a survey. You can find out more and complete the survey via the consultation web page. The survey will run until the 27th April.

Posted by Paul Hulbert on Focus on Sodbury, Yate and Dodington | Mute

I have spent three and a half decades dealing with the authorities, whether it is the local council, a health board, the Welsh Government, the UK Government or one of the many agencies that exist to deliver services to the public. And yet I have never seen anything like this. It is no wonder that MPs are to investigate an HM Revenue and Customs decision to turn down a French request for help with a criminal inquiry into a major Conservative party donor given the circumstances of the refusal. As the Guardian reports, the Treasury select committee and the public ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

This looks like an April 1st posting but its not. The photo below is real and was taken on Lydiate's Bells Lane on 4th April:- It looks like an innovative new method by Sefton Council to calm traffic speeds at first glance using hedging! In fact the sign has been spun around 90 degrees by the recent high winds making it side on to the road. Sefton Council were informed and it is now pointing the right way. Click on the photo to enlarge it The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:- https://www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute

There will almost certainly be several sore heads this morning as Alistair Carmichael held one of his celebrated whisky tasting events last night. Here's what's happening the rest of today. Morning Session Cervical Cancer Screening Police Reform Speech by Christine Jardine MP Emergency Motion Animal Welfare Lunchtime Fringe I am shamelessly abusing my position to put the meeting I'm chairing first – about addressing Scotland's housing crisis with Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP and speakers from Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and the Chartered Institute of Housing. There's also an NFU Scotland fringe meeting with Mike Rumbles discussing The ...

Posted by Caron Lindsay on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Continuing the usual lower tempo of council by-elections in April, this week brings us just three contests. All three are Conservative defences. Highland ward, Perth and Kinross Council by-elections in Scotland have the quirk of being run under the alternative vote (AV) although the usual all-up council elections are run by STV. That's a necessary variation (you can't have STV for a single vacancy). It also means that if the seat up for election isn't one won by the party that topped the first preferences in the previous STV contest, then there's a very high chance of the seat changing ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute

The next Friends of Balgay meeting will be at 2pm on Saturday 28th April at the Mills Observatory. Author and historian Murdo Fraser will give a talk on 'Montrose and Argyll' - his recent book - and all are very welcome to attend.

Throughout Shropshire, and across the country, minibuses and cars are ferrying people to GPs, hospitals, shops and to meet their friends. The benefits are huge. Community transport services in Shropshire make more than 100,000 passenger journeys a year, with passenger spending averaging £30 a trip. The of community transport benefits in reducing social isolation and promoting wellbeing are substantial. But a threat is looming. A new interpretation by civil servants of EU regulations may make many community transport schemes unviable. That will harm rural and vulnerable communities across Shropshire. From time to time, the government announces a "bonfire of red ...

Posted by andybodders on Andy Boddington | Mute

The furore of the bombing of Syria in response to Assad's alleged use of chemical w4epons has already faded from the media and they and we moved on to the cruel, unnecessary and probably illegal treatment of the Windrush children. However, there are two crucial points which should go on record before they fade from the memory. First, Mrs May, who makes much of being the daughter of a Christian vicar and her regular church attendances, brazenly tells us that it was not possible to recall and consult parliament about the bombing becasue "speed [was] essential." This is obvious nonsense: ...

Posted by Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal | Mute

David Lister (Liberal Democrats) wins Thatcham Town Council by-election @NewburyToday pic.twitter.com/xPPDGEmTdP — Phil Cannings (@philc_nwn) April 19, 2018 * Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

There were two by-elections in Thatcham West, Berkshire today.One was for West Berkshire Council, caused by the disqualification due to non-attendance of a Conservative councillor. The councillor in question also resigned from Thatcham Town Council causing a second by-election on the same day. Here's the turnout numbers from West Berkshire Council: In the Thatcham West by-election the turnout was 34.3% 1,702 votes) for the election of a district councillor and 34.2% (1,693 votes) for the election of a town councillor. In total, 4,957 people were eligible to vote. — West Berkshire (@WestBerkshire) April 19, 2018 00:10 By my calculations, David ...

Posted by Paul Walter on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

[IMG: Twenty years later I still recall being utterly shocked by the insouciance of the Stephen Lawrence killers] I was somewhere among the hundreds of people who turned up on this day in 1998 to lend support to the Lawrence family during the Macpherson Enquiry. Stephen Lawrence had been dead for 5 years by... The post Twenty years later I still recall being utterly shocked by the insouciance of the Stephen Lawrence killers appeared first on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas.

Posted by ambitiousmamas on FeministMama @ambitiousmamas | Mute

St Peter's, Church Langton, has problems. It has no parish priest - it's "in an interregnum" a notice in the church charmingly puts it - though regular services continue. And it has been hit by the widespread lead thefts from church roofs in the region. When I went inside there was a bundles up carpet that had obviously fallen victim to a leak. Intriguingly, the notice about raising money for repairs also mentions "an exciting project that explores the rich heritage of St Peter's". Outside, I made my regular pilgrimage to the Logan family graves and also visited Colonel Hignett ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

There was a cracking In Our Time on George Eliot's Middlemarch this morning. (An edited version will be broadcast this evening at 9.30, but I would listen to it via the BBC website.) I read Middlemarch before starting my Masters in Victorian Studies out of duty, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. When the BBC adaptation (filmed in Stamford) was screened in 1994 I had great kudos at work because I knew how things would turn out. I was interested to hear this morning that many of Eliot's contemporary readers, like my colleagues in 1994, hoped and expected that Dorothea would ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute

Forget Daventry Conservatives and their canal. Leicester Tories are promising a tram to Market Harborough. The Leicester Mercury quotes their chairman Jack Hickey: "I discussed our ambitious plan with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in Parliament recently, and he was enthusiastic about the benefits of light rail in Leicester and keen to listen to the business case for the project."Mind you, Mr Grayling doesn't look very enthusiastic in the accompanying photograph. And you can understand it. Hickey was the man who complained that activists coming to Leicester West to campaign for his Labour opponent in last year's general election were trying ...

Posted by Jonathan Calder on Liberal England | Mute
Thu 19th
19:59

In the Daily Star

It appears I am in the Daily Star today, quoted about the £5000 food bill for Labour Council Leader Martin Gannon. Martin successfully managed to turn Gateshead Council into a personal version of his very own food bank by claiming for lunches from 2014-17. It turns out that over those three years, over half the subsistence claims were made by Martin. He ate just over half the budget. The last

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Knowsley's Liberal Democrat leader Carl Cashman is voting Green this May as part of a local pact between the parties: Father Chrimbo present to @KAITAYLOR a vote in the local elections. This is the first year since I could vote that I won't be voting Lib Dem. strange feel but for a good reason. We have found common ground, put tribalism aside & worked together this time to stop a greater threat pic.twitter.com/XO4ncCJJTI — Carl Cashman (@CarlCashman) April 17, 2018 As the Liverpool Echo reports: Carl Cashman's vote for Kai Taylor, who's standing for the Greens in Prescot, will work ...

Posted by Mark Pack on Mark Pack | Mute
Thu 19th
19:15

The Value of PCCs

On Monday, 16th April, Suzy Lamplugh Trust launched a report looking at the police response to stalking in England and Wales. Stalking is a devastating crime, affecting 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men across their lifetime. Victims can develop anxiety, depression and agoraphobia; 50 per cent of victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Many victims feel so concerned or fearful about what is happening that they feel the need to change their behaviour to feel safer, including not going out in public, reducing social outings, and moving home. The report released on Monday is a repeat of research ...

Posted by Victoria Charleston on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

I've been blogging political book reviews this week, but don't worry, it will be back to the regular science fiction diet soon. Today and tomorrow I am reviewing two books by writers who I consider friends, both seriously concerned about the state of Europe and the EU, with different but compatible analyses. Second paragraph of conclusion (after two main chapters) of After Europe, by Ivan Krastev: For Europeans, the European Union was such a natural world. It is not anymore. The year 1917 was one that turned European history on its head. It started the great civil war in Europe ...

I must thank Ros for bringing this to my attention, and the noble Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope for bringing it to hers. Times are tough in local government, and Suffolk is no exception to that. In the absence of any agreement on forming unitary authorities for the county, the District Councils have paired off to combine services, Waveney with Suffolk Coastal, St Edmundsbury with Forest Heath, and Babergh with Mid Suffolk. Inevitably, I guess, that has led to proposals to form merged authorities, West Suffolk to cover St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath, East Suffolk to cover Waveney and Suffolk Coastal. ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has released a report today saying that the "most vulnerable tenants need greater legal protections from retaliatory evictions, rent increases and harassment so they are fully empowered to pursue complaints about repairs and maintenance in their homes." This report on the private rented sector found that many properties were sub-standard, calling on the Government to address the 'clear power imbalance', with tenants often unwilling to complain to landlords about conditions in their homes such as excess cold, mould or faulty wiring. I am appalled that this has gone on for so many years, ...

Posted by Kirsten Johnson on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

I had rather forgotten to report back on the rest of my trip to Moldova, so let's see if we can remedy that. If you haven't read the earlier posts on my trip to Transnistria, you can find them here, and here. Transnistria is not really oriented towards tourists - getting to it is not easy without an airport, or any trains from further west than Chisinau. The lack of knowledge that it even exists can't help much either. What it does have, other than the KVINT distillery, is the fortress at Bender/Tighina, on the west bank of the Dnieper. ...

Posted by Mark Valladares on Liberal Bureaucracy | Mute

Given the last two decades of failed interventions it is easy to understand why the majority of Britain is opposed to the recent intervention in Syria. As liberals we must do all we can, as internationalists, to maintain peace around the globe. But also as liberals we cannot allow such abhorrent crimes to continue to be committed by the Assad regime. The silence of our inaction would have been deafening; five years of ignoring the conflict has led us to where we are today. The scars of the Libyan intervention are still in the recent memories of the West, and ...

Posted by Ryan Priest on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

In a speech in London this morning entitled 'Taming the Tech Titans', Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable has called for stronger international and domestic regulation of big tech companies. You can watch the speech here. He has criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon, comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past, and suggests ways they can be broken up. The speech also focussed on how start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized tech firms can thrive in a more competitive market. The text released in advance of the speech ...

Posted by News Meerkat on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Celeste Taught Fans And Its Own Creator To Take Better Care Of Themselves Superman's 80th birthday: 8 real stories you might not have heard before No girls, no entry: Is it OK for bars to turn away groups of men? This is how Brexit could hurt you as an LGBTI person in the UK Theresa May's attack on Labour over the Windrush generation doesn't stand up Tell the BBFC that age verification will do more harm than good Here's some campaigning to join in on. I made a Twitter thread ... about what I've learned since taking up cocktail-making as ...

Thu 19th
11:54

Peter Angus RIP

I discovered on Saturday morning that Peter Angus, former Lib Dem Councillor in Castle Morpeth, had died. Peter was a friend of mine who provided me and David with our first home, 32 years ago. We lived in his house while we bought our first home in Swalwell. Sadly, Peter was an alcoholic and his illness eventually caught up with him. He passed away last month. The funeral is at 1.45pm on

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute

Labour Councillor in Dunston Hill and Whickham East, Allison Thompson, has announced in her election leaflet that her "goal is to give the people of our community a voice on Gateshead Council." After 14 years on Gateshead Council, I'm not yet sure she has managed to score that goal. I've only heard her speak twice at full council meetings, an average rate of once every seven years. In January

Posted by jonathanwallace on Jonathan Wallace | Mute
Thu 19th
11:00

My tweets

Wed, 12:56: Four roles, 41 songs and a few hours' notice - meet the hidden star of Hamilton https://t.co/pVdfD6wEc9 The underst... https://t.co/6YFmuEbxxj Wed, 16:05: The weird science behind our earliest memories https://t.co/KkvTSLQKsA Fascinating. Wed, 18:41: The Road to Somewhere, by David Goodhart https://t.co/qhAsDIz8Jd Thu, 09:51: RT @sundersays: It would be much harder to claim government policy and language has reflected those nuances, especially the Prime Minister/... Thu, 10:45: Windrush, Syria and the miserable state of British politics https://t.co/rxY2sJYCaP Excellent from @AlexMassie.

Two key amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill passed yesterday in the House of Lords. An amendment on the customs union supported by the Liberal Democrats, Crossbenchers, Labour, and Conservative peers passed by 348 votes to 225. The defeat forces the government to lay a report before Parliament outlining the steps taken to negotiate a customs union as part of the framework for a future UK-EU relationship, and prevents the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 until these steps have been taken. Commenting on the victory, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords, Lord Newby said: This is ...

Posted by The Voice on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

Claire Young at the traffic lights on the A46 The good news is that the council is planning to re-open the Bromley Heath Viaduct over the weekend of 27th April. The bad news is that this coming weekend they will be removing the temporary traffic lights on the A46 near Tormarton, at the junction with the B4465 Westerleigh Road, which were installed to manage traffic diverted by the viaduct works. To carry out the removal there will be four-way lights in operation from 8am on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday. Many local people believe these lights have made the junction ...

Posted by Paul Hulbert on Focus on Sodbury, Yate and Dodington | Mute

Having now finished reading Tim Shipman's excellent 612 page book on the Brexit referendum campaign and see what a shit-show that whole episode in UK history was, I am rather less surprised by this revelation in the Independent that the government's preferred Brexit scenario would leave the UK public finances £615m per week worse off than staying in the EU. The paper quotes a study for the think tank Global Future carried out by Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King's College, London, which looked at each of the three scenarios assessed by the government in its own leaked ...

Posted by Peter Black on Peter Black | Mute

Imagine you are charged with a criminal offence. It has the potential to result in loss of your freedom, reputation, job, family, custody of your children and so on. You will want a trained professional to help you. Someone to explain to you the law that applies to the offence, what the state needs to prove against you and what defences may be available. Someone to scrutinise the evidence against you objectively and assist you in presenting your defence. Someone to protect you from any abuses of power by the state's police or prosecutors. And if you are guilty, someone ...

Posted by Antony Hook on Liberal Democrat Voice | Mute

The Liverpool Echo has the interesting article on its web site – see link above Sadly the article does not cover the suburbs in Sefton Borough but none the less this is an interesting insight into community names.

Posted by Cllr. Tony Robertson on Sefton Focus | Mute