Monday, 27 April 2009


Having been badgered by several people about using Twitter, I have signed up. This might be a fun way of staying in touch, or it might be another thing I simply forget to do. Time will tell I guess.

Citizenship Ceremony

Yesterday I was the speaker at another of the Liverpool Citizenship Ceremonies. These ceremonies are run by the Registrars bit of the City Council. They are done on behalf of the Home Office but have their own flavour and have been developed really well by the registrars team. Each ceremony has a "dignitary" which yesterday was me. The role is to do a short speech and hand out the certificates and gifts (in our case a Liverpool medal). It's a great thing to do but brings its frustrations too. Yesterday there were people who had been born in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan and I had to restrain myself from launching into a long discussion about each. Having worked for the Refugee Council and for Save the Children in the past, I still turn to the foreign pages and check the news on countries I have written about years ago. Of course to start off on those subjects has the potential to turn a happy occasion into a rather depressing one. But it did occur to me that it would have been great to hear more from some of the new citizens about their particular journey so far (not just in geographical terms).

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Ducklings are here

My office at Edge Hill looks out over the campus lake. We have some (very) tame ducks here who seem to have no fear of vehicles or people.

Anyway, yesterday we had the first sightings of a brood (is that the right word) of duckings with their proud mum. Ahhhhhh!

Jack Jones

Former union leader and pensioners' activist Jack Jones has died, aged 96.

He was actually from Garston under the bridge and was featured in the local history book - "Over the top from Under the Bridge".

Annoyingly I lent my copy to someone and now can't remember who. I am not sure if this is still in print. The publisher is Countyvise and here is a link to a page on Amazon.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Garston Hospital - planning committee

I have had a few e mails or posts asking about the decision about Garston hospital. I have just discovered that the relevant planning committee is next Tuesday (21st April).

The agenda for the whole meeting, including material re the hospital, is at in the Councillors, government and decision making section.

I have had a few problems with links lately but hopefully this one will take you to the relevant section

Saturday, 11 April 2009

When is it too early??

Popped along yesterday morning to look at an environmental issue a constituent had raised. I was about to then knock on his door and tell him I had been to have a look when I realised that before nine on a holiday morning probably wasn't the best time to go disturbing him! I put a note through his letter box instead. When he called later he was rather glad I hadn't woken him up.

Liverpool Commission update

Later this month its the final meeting (well final before the recommendations report is written) of the Liverpool Commission. The Commission is an independent body set up by Liverpool City Council to discuss and make recommendations around a number of things including recruitment of potential councillors, training for elected members, systems of scrutiny, involvement of marginalised groups etc. There are two councillors on this body - one is me - but the majority of members are independent of the Council. Liverpool is one of nine Councils running something like this although I understand some others are likely to follow.

I have blogged about this before but the reason I raise this now is to remind people that the next meeting is 23rd April in the evening. The meetings are held in public so people are welcome to attend. Also though there is still time for people to send in thoughts.

Information about the Commission (mainly minutes and agendas from previous meetings plus details of time date and venue) is on the City Council website - You can also e mail me with questions though - either post them here or e mail me at

Monday, 6 April 2009

I can thoroughly recommend...

... a few days away.

Just spent five days in a cottage in a Yorkshire village (sort of betweel Halifax and Hebden bridge). Loads of fresh air. Loads of walking. And mobile free (as I soon discovered my phone wouldnt work in the cottage).