Welcome back David Sudworth

Just noticed that David Sudworth has started blogging on local political issues again here.

It will be interesting to see how his blog unfolds over the next twelve months or so. There are so few contributions to the blogosphere in West Lancs. Paul Cotterill’s excellent and increasingly well renowned Bickerstaffe Record takes the lead in local political matters – particularly since I dropped out of the council (not that I ever really took the lead in the first place).

When David worked as a local journalist, he wrote the blog “Off the record” (now sadly gone, but you get a flavour from the archive here). During that time, he had both Tory and local Labour activists keen to get his ear. Since then, he has firmly nailed his colours to the Labour party mast taking on the job of Rosie Cooper’s “media and campaigns officer”. It will be interesting to see if his online work will be compromised or enhanced by this role as Rosie’s Alastair Campbell (another spin-doctor who has recently returned to blogging).

It’s great to see David back and it will only add colour and interest to local politics – particularly in the run up to the next general election.

Update 28th Feb
David tried posting a comment to the entry which didn’t work (I’ve had other reports of comments not working, so will fix soon). Thought it best to include it as an update:

Steve, firstly many thanks for your kind comments, it’s great to be back in blogland. Since leaving journalism and thus finishing Off The Record I’ve maintained a keen interest in local politics.

I would, however, like to clear up one point in relation to your post. I did indeed work for the Office of Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire. However, I did not work for the Labour Party and am not a Labour Party member. I am, though, a fully paid up member of society and understand that sometimes administrations/parties have to have diffucult decisions or positions. Rarely does one party have a monopoly on good ideas. I know who I would plump for come election day but as a private citizen that is between me and the ballot box.

The reason I launched my blog at www.davidsudworth.wordpress.com (how is that for shameless self promotion?!) is because I want to provide some real analysis as to why some decisions or positions are taken by those in power. Sometimes I’ll take sides, sometime I’ll hold my hands up and say I just don’t know… maybe if politicians admitted this once in a while they would be held in higher esteem.

I’d welcome any feedback via my blog and I hope you enjoy my take on all things political.

Transmitter planning for Skelmersdale

I have a couple of google alerts which send an email when news items are published about Skelmersdale and Ormskirk. My inbox started to overflow this week with reports of last week’s planning meeting and the decision to visit the site of the proposed Skelmersdale digital TV transmitter before granting permission.

Obviously this has to be installed in good time before the digital switchover on the 4th November later this year.

A quick search on the Ofcom site showed that the planning for Skelmersdale was underway in February 2005, four years ago, with the timetable for the digital switchover being confirmed in September that year.

The application for the transmitter in Dalton was received in December 2008 – a delay of well over three years. That stretch of time can’t be explained by investigating the technical issues or alternative sites presented in the report to the Committee.

My experience from being on the planning committee in West Lancs was that it fiercely defended it’s independence, wouldn’t cow-tow to others trying to push it around and always strived to come to the right decision. If they believe they should visit the site, then that’s what they should do. A decision in March would still give over six months for the transmitter to be erected and tested.

The responsibility for getting the transmitter up in good time lies with Ofcom, not with the Council and that’s where any criticism should be directed.

Tories hammering Ormskirk with proposed cuts

Reported in the Advertiser this week – Tories proposing to:

  • Closing the Civic Centre – ending pantos, shows and other entertainment in the town
  • Removing funding for Police Community Support Officers
  • Increasing pest control charges by up to £5 per job
  • Removing the rangers’ service
  • Stopping the annual kite festival
  • Stopping Community Chest grants

Labour colleagues on the District Council saying that the Tories are trying to paint a worst case picture to lower expectations. But it certainly shows where their priorities (don’t) lie.