Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Dillie Keane of Fascinating Aida sings her anti Brexit song at Lib Dem Glee Club

The undoubted highlight of the Glee Club was Dillie Keane sing Fascinating Aida's pro Remain song Thank You Scotland.

After the usual rendition of The Land the packed hall fell silent, frankly stunned by the quality of the performance, it didn't last as the video shows. Enjoy

Monday, 11 September 2017

Thank you for the help you gave me 20 years ago says women at Lib Dem surgery

Cllr Hands and I were at our monthly surgery in the Redbrick Chapel on Liverpool Rd -as we usually are on the first Saturday of the month -when we were greeted by a women keen for our help. She began: "20 years ago you helped me and now the problem has returned. Can you help me again? Thankfully she was looking at Cllr Hands when she spoke, because I freely admit I could not place her.

True to form Richard engaged with the women and after some reminiscing  the problem was identified and a plan of action agreed.

We've been holding regular surgeries in Birkdale since 1980 so there is scope for someone to come along and test our memories from further back-mind you there are some folk who have better long term memories, Now where did I put my car keys

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Norman Lamb done in acrylic and hanging in central London

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice  and in Liberal England's  'Six of the Best'

I was killing time between meeting on Monday so I popped into the National Portrait Gallery. I have to confess that one of the reasons I chose that above other central London venues was because it is one of the few places that will accept my Brompton bike into their left luggage complete with its Harris Tweed bag.

I went to see the BP Portrait Awards for 2017 Exhibition, after checking that Mary Wollstonecraft had made it safely back from her loan visit to Russia.

I have viewed the annual exhibition in previous years when I have been waiting for meetings. When I was Mayor one of the duties was to pick the pictures for the Mayor's Parlour in Southport from the collection held at The Atkinson and I chose a local Lancashire artist Peter Layzell. His self portrait was hung in the 2010 exhibition.

Back to 2017 and the time I spent waiting. The picture that caught my eye was that of the MP for North Norfolk Norman Lamb. I don't think I have seen him without his spectacles but the Norfolk artist Paul Smith obvious felt that their absence produced a better portrait. As I was looking at it a man joined me , he was wearing the identical scarf that Paul Smith the artist had put round Norman's neck. It was my companion explained created by the designer Paul Smith. Such things , when they have to be explained to you, are not as funny.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Do not sign up to a Ruritanian costume drama played out to esoteric rules- a look at my Mayoral year

I have been surprised by the number of people who have asked me to post the contribution I made at the Mayor Making. So here are my notes:

Congratulations to the new Mayor and his wife Wendy

I would particularly like to thank my wife and three daughters who have been a great support

Council staff- esp Mike Hassett. Kevin and Stephen (my immediate predecessors) I know share my view; Mike is conscientious to a fault, 100% reliable, determined to do his best and takes great pride in his work. Amongst all the chaos of the last year, he was the one fixed star, I'm sorry he is not here to hear me say so.

To my chaplain, Rod Garner who gave me support well above the call of duty. He planned an excellent Civic Service which was appreciated by the many people who turned up. Rod also provided the space for me to reflect on the role, sadly he is not here either to hear me say good things about him. 

When I became Mayoral year ago I had a little list of things I wanted to do. I had a vision that the Mayoralty could reach out and confer civic recognition and thanks to people in our community who have often been excluded. I am pleased that I have ticked almost all of them off. I suggest, Your Worship, you do the same, it will help you give some shape and direction to your year and stop you be dragged along on the tide of other peoples’ agendas

Some would like to recruit you into a Ruritanian costume drama played out to esoteric rules. Do not be captured by them. You have been elected not appointed, have some democratic self-respect. We serve the people not some moribund set of rules in a book of etiquette that can be used to intimidate rather than include people. 

Some of the most important things I have done without pomp and circumstance, no car, no driver, no civic regalia, indeed on my bike

Ernest Jones near death, waiting for Legion d’honeur in his bed in hosp bed. I got a phone call, at short notice that all was at last in place. At his bedside I read the citation that came with his medal:  'As we contemplated this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.'

South Sefton Adult Ed centre, pouring rain, I turned up on my bike -drivers day off- dripping wet, penetrated my allegedly waterproofs cloths.I was to present certificates to adult learners, many who had not flourished at school and to the world their lives may have look unsuccessful. But I met folk determined to turn around their lives. Often in difficult personal circumstances, they had achieved. Education was the golden key that unlocks a better future.

In your year, Your Worship, you will meet many folk who enrich our communities: volunteers, gardeners, youth groups, faith organisation, foodbanks the list goes on and on. You will discover the vibrant music scene in the borough including vol choirs who sing in nursing homes, Musical theatre, full-scale choral societies, and small-scale chamber choirs of amazing quality. All of them enrich our communities and make this a good place to live.

Like me, you will take part in solemn acts of remembrance for those who died in two world wars and conflicts since. During your year you will mark the 100th anniversary of Sandgrounder R G Masters gaining the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery. We owe an enormous debt to that generation.

Back to my little list: 

Mental Health 1st Civic Reception on World Mental Health day
1st Civic visit to the mosque
1st Civic reception for the LGBT+ community

Migrant workers World cake day celebration
Homeless- Christmas day lunch at the Shelter, Life for life and this week Emmaus

All on my little list

One item not achieved. One item on my little list I have not ticked off. I sometimes sit in the Mayor's Parlour and look at the list of those who have had the Freedom of the Borough conferred on them.

After 40 years there is not one women's name. I have politely pointed this out and made a firm suggestion to the powers that be. I got no response. I think now is the time that this should be rectified. 

Since the Sefton was established in 1974 only soldiers and sportsmen have been given the highest honour that the borough can bestow. Surely there are people from the Arts, Science, Industry, Academia and other walks of life who deserve this recognition. Above all else surely there ONE are women who deserve this honour.

Jean Alexander was an active citizen of the borough as well as being known to British television viewers as Hilda Ogden in the soap opera Coronation Street, a role she played from 1964 until 1987, and also as Auntie Wainwright in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summter Wine from 1988 to 2010. For her role in Coronation Street, she won the 1985 Royal Television Society Award for Best Performance, and received a 1988 BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actress.

During her acting career, she has received many accolades. It is surely time that her hometown honoured her.


To everything, there is a season, and my time as Mayor has come to an end. It is a privilege to serve. I have tried to do it to the best of my ability with the help and support of my family. It only remains for me to wish you, your worship, and Wendy, every success in your endeavours and when your course is done I am sure you will look back on the twelve months as a rewarding and fruitful time in public office

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Time there was a women with the Freedom of the Borough in Sefton , sign the petition


Please support this petition to make Jean Alexander the first individual women to be given the Freedom of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton. Follow this link to SeftonSays to sign the petition.
When I became Mayor of  Sefton a year ago I had a little list of things I wanted to do. I had a vision that the Mayoralty could reach out and confer civic recognition and thanks to people in our community who have often been excluded. I was delighted to be the first Mayor to visit the Mosque, to host the first civic reception for the LGBT+ people, visit projects for the people who are homeless and to hold a reception to mark World Mental Health Day.
One item on my little list I have not ticked off. I sometimes sit in the Mayor's Parlour and look at the list of those who have had the Freedom of the Borough conferred on them. After 40 years there is not one women's name. I have politely pointed this out and made a firm suggestion to the powers that be. I got no response. I think now is the time that this should be rectified. 



Since the Sefton was established in 1974 only soldiers and sportsmen have been given the highest honour that the borough can bestow. Surely there are people from the Arts, Science, Industry, Academia and other walks of life who deserve this recognition. Above all else surely there are women who deserve this honour.

Sign the petition here

Jean Alexander was an active citizen of the borough as well as being known to British television viewers as Hilda Ogden in the soap opera Coronation Street, a role she played from 1964 until 1987, and also as Auntie Wainwright in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine from 1988 to 2010. For her role in Coronation Street, she won the 1985 Royal Television Society Award for Best Performance, and received a 1988 BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actress.




When I responded to the vote of thanks moved at the Mayor Making for the new Mayor I once again drew attention to this omission. I informed the new Mayor that I would be moving a motion at the next meeting of the Council that no more men should be added to the list until there is an equal number of women. I went on to propose that the first women to be granted this honour should be the late Jean Alexander. Jean lived in the borough for many years and was well known in the area. Her fame came from her role as a TV actress, she was for 23 year Hilda Ogden in Granada Television's Coronation Street. During her acting career she has received many accolades. It is surely time that her home town honoured her.


Sign the petition here
1st LGBT+ reception
with the Imam and Rabbi
Christmas Day serving lunch at homeless shelter

engaging with employers on World Mental Health Day