Today 30th June, John Pugh MP for Southport will stand up in the House of Commons and talk about the Human Rights Act. Following on from Southport Liberal Democrat's Action Day on the Human Rights Act on Saturday, 27th June, John will talk about why the Act is important to him and why the Liberal Democrats are right to value protecting it so highly.
I'm sure that we will be asked why we think the Human Rights Act is so important, in fact we were on Saturday. My answer is that the core values of the Human Rights Act overlap so clearly with our values as Liberal Democrats. I don't think that anything sums that up more than the preamble to our constitution which (with an apology to those who know it word-for-word) says this:
"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
As with every other time that John speaks on a topic, we can be sure that his comments will be thoughtful, well considered and absolutely clear in their message.
Please remember that if you wish to help out with any of our campaigns, show your support or get involved in any other way, you can contact Southport Lib Dems on 01704 533555.
Botanic Gardens in Churchtown in Southport is looking stunning for Summer after staff and volunteers completed the planting of flower beds through the historic attraction. New features have been introduced as well as hundreds of flowers in all sizes and colours as the park prepares for another busy Summer season. Now is the perfect time to head down and take a look at what many regard as 'the jewel in the crown' in Southport.
The Government wants to scrap our Human Rights Act.
The Human Rights Act was drafted by British lawyers in the aftermath of the Second World War, and gives us so many fundamental protections that we rely on in our day to day lives.
It has held the state to account for spying on us, safeguarded our soldiers and supported peaceful protest. It's helped rape victims, defended domestic violence victims, guarded against slavery, protected elderly couples in care and shielded press freedom.
Scrapping the Human Rights Act would weaken the rights of everyone, meaning less protection against powerful interests. It would also limit human rights to only those cases the Government considers "most serious".
On Saturday the 27th June, John Dodd met with fellow Liberal Democrats councillors to talk with people on Chapel Street to highlight aspects of the human rights act that many of us take for granted.
Meols Ward Lib Dem Councillors John Dodd, Nigel Ashton and Jo Barton are holding their next advice centre in Churchtown.
We will be at Cafe Moo Moo on Cambridge Road (by the junction with Preston New Road, next to Boots) from 10:30 to 11:30 am on Thursday 25th June.
We will be there to meet you and discuss any Council problems you may have. No appointment necessary. Just pop in.
We also hold a monthly advice centre in Crossens, at St John's School, Rufford Road, Crossens every month (except August) on the second Saturday of the month from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Sefton council is going ahead with controversial plans to start charging visitors to use Churchtown’s Botanic Gardens free car park at the Balmoral Drive entrance.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Churchtown and Crossens John Dodd said: "Introducing pay and display is just another unfair tax on families and less able people who enjoy the simple pleasure of a visit to the park. My ward colleagues and I are challenging the Labour council's decision all the way.
He added: " When the newspaper advertisement public notices go out for consultation shortly, I urge everyone to write to Sefton Council stating their objections. The Labour -run council also aim to stop people avoiding the new meters. They want to put no-parking yellow lines along stretches of nearby residential roads, which means that people would no longer be able to park their, or visitors, cars outside their homes without risk of a fine.
"Unbelievably, there is no forecast as to how much money they expect to get in return from creating this new pay and display car park. It's going to cost £27,000 alone to buy and install the meter machines, plus legal costs and painting yellow lines, making the total price £31,000. Also how much wasteful time and expense it would cost for traffic wardens to get from their normal rounds at the town centre miles away to snoop at Botanic Gardens.
"Various events for the public are staged regularly at Botanic Gardens, including brass band concerts and community activities. These attract tourism to Churchtown helping local shops, cafes and businesses. Pay and display and double yellow lines will affect this and put off visitors.
"If it were not for the volunteers in Botanic Gardens, there wouldn't be any floral displays at all, following Labour’s decision to cut the jobs of 3 more full-time employees. This car park nonsense is another inconvenience and slap in the face for locals who give their time freely."
It's proposed to operate pay and display between 10am and 5pm seven days a week charging 20p for 30 minutes, 90p for two hours and £1.70 up to 4 hours.
The car park is used by many people taking pupils to Churchtown Primary School and a special permit from the school will allow parents to use the car park free of charge between 3pm and 4pm. The morning drop off would not be affected as pay and display wouldn't start until 10am.
Meols Ward Lib Dem Councillors John Dodd, Nigel Ashton and Jo Barton are holding their next advice centre on Saturday 13th June, from 11 am to 12 noon at St John's Primary School, Rufford Road, Crossens.
We will be there to meet you and discuss any Council problems you may have. No appointment necessary. Just pop in.
We also hold a monthly advice centre in Churchtown, at Cafe Moo Moo on Cambridge Road (by the junction with Preston New Road, next to Boots) on the fourth Thursday of every month (except December) from 10:30 - 11:30 am.
Chief Operating Officer says Sefton Council cuts will
not affect respite care offered at Chase Heys, or its intermediate care service Sefton New Directions says Chase Heys Day Centre in Southport remains open for business. The Southport Visiter reporter last week how Sefton Council's cabinet had voted tend its day day provision at the centre, as the authority looks to cut £55million from its budget. But that will not affect other services provided at the facility. Sefton New Directions Chief Operating Officer Penelope Fell said: "Chase Heys Day Centre in Southport is open for business. "The decision by Sefton Council to reorganise adult social care at Chase Heys will only affect people whose day centre places are funded by the local authority. "Sefton Council’s announcement does not in any way affect the respite care offered at Chase Heys, or its intermediate care service for people who have just left hospital. "And New Directions wants to continue to offer a day care service at Chase Heys, as well as at all our other centres across Sefton, to those clients who pay for their own care. "We sympathise with those Sefton Council-funded clients who will no longer be able to use Chase Heys, but they can be sure that they will receive a warm welcome at our other centres. "The Chase Heys services unaffected by Sefton Council’s recent decision have a bright future at the site. "That is why New Directions is currently refurbishing the respite wings at the centre, and planning a VIP guest reopening of the upgraded facility later in the year."
There is nothing new about City Regions. We used to call them Metropolitan Counties until they were abolished by Mrs Thatcher. It was recognised back in the 70s that in large conurbations decisions on big strategic issues impacted across ordinary council boundaries. The Metropolitan Counties were abolished simply because Margaret Thatcher needed to show that the abolition of the Greater London Council(GLC) was not an act of deliberate spite against County Hall and Ken Livingstone. The strategic need for such bodies persisted. We now have the GLA back and we continued to have joint boards doing what the Met Counties did. They were stuffed with nominees of local authorities without direct elections but still substantial bodies dealing with police, fire and waste disposal. Worries persisted too that these residuary bodies might become “too political” and so police authorities which already had a cohort of magistrates attached had to acquire by mysterious means “independent members” to hold the balance. Current policy represents a reversal of the Thatcher trend. Combined authorities are Met Counties part 2 with greater powers and the creation of police commissioners and metro mayors will ensure the total politicisation of subregional strategic decision making. However, decision making is to be concentrated in the hands of one individual the metro mayor instead of shared amongst a democratically elected council or the nominees of directly elected councils. A highly centralised governance model is to be forced upon conurbations through a scarcely disguised system of bribes and penalties. Few of those who promote metro mayors have served in local government and many frankly have thinly disguised contempt for it. It is thus unlikely that even the feelings of city region electorates for or against metro mayors will count for much. The metro mayor model shadows the business concept of the CEO and the board and as the Manchester case shows the government gives more priority to getting one than electing one. The rationale for this is both crude and evidence blind the crudest kind of logical fallacy. “Some cities worldwide have all powerful mayors. Some cities are very successful. Therefore cities with all powerful mayors are successful.” That’s frankly as good as it gets with maybe the added thought that it helps to have a key figurehead. This inflexible approach is a prime, almost Stalinist case of never letting the evidence get in the way of a good dogma. In my debate this Tuesday I hope to rehearse some of the counterarguments to this Procrustean policy the dangers of corruption, cronyism, community marginalisation, the democratic deficit etc. Ministers will have to hear what I say but they have no intention of listening.
Proposals before Sefton Cabinet to close down Day Care places at Chase Heys, Churchtown, rather than at Brookdale, Ainsdale, seem to be just a different way of cutting down the service,says a Southport Councillor. Liberal Democrat Adult Health and Care spokesperson, Cllr Tony Dawson says: "As before, the total number of places available will be reduced but the Council claims that there will be increased provision because a massive increase in efficiency which they say will happen. "I have asked the Cabinet Member, Paul Cummins, for any documents which might show how this increase in efficiency is remotely possible. Are there other Local Authorities anywhere in Britain achieving these levels of throughput and, if so, what have they been doing that Sefton Council have not been doing? Why have we not been working in the same way?" "As with the Botanic Gardens, these service cutbacks are being made because the Bootle Labour Councillors refuse to cut back on their own allowances, on the number of Councillors and on the level of Payment of Special Responsibility Allowances to Councillors whose committees often only meet for four or five minutes at a time or get cancelled for lack of business. It is wrong to pretend that services are expanding when they are almost certainly going to be reduced." "I am still waiting for someone to explain to me the true reasoning behind the original decision to close down Brookdale which was only reversed because of the heroic level of public pressure. I have a feeling that we shall never be told.