Monday, 27 September 2010

Are the alleys getting swept?

At the Environment committee earlier this month I asked a series of questions around alley way sweeping. I wanted to know who was responsible for sweeping them after bin collection and how it is monitored.

Well, as I thought, it is in the contract for Enteprise Liverpool and when the wheelie bins etc are emptied from their spot in the alleyways behind houses, the alleys are then meant to be swept by the same crew. This makes a lot of sense.

However I am absolutely convinced that in the majority of cases this does not happen.

A second answer said there was a City Council monitoring system for this but I simply can't see how this can be working.

I know the alleyway behind my house is not swept and this seems to be a pretty common complaint.

I'd like to take this further if there is evidence. If you put your wheelie bin in the alley behind your house for collection and know that your alley isn't swept, can you let me know. I need the the house address and the day of the collection (although I am not planning to pass on individual household details unless you want me to) You can e mail me about this at

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Labour local members voting stats

For those interested in how local Labour members voted in the leadership election this webpage is fascinating.

You can see some areas with pretty poor turnouts and others which very clearly preferred one of the losers.

This is obviously first preferences only but it is still quite illuminating.

Social Housing changes in Liverpool and Merseyside?

The City Council has just kicked off a consultation about changing the way the social housing choice system works.

At the moment people can register on Property Pool and then apply for housing opportunities in different parts of Liverpool.

The idea now is to extend this so that people in Liverpool can apply for vacancies in Wirral, Knowsley etc and vice versa.

The Council is running a consultation on this. If you want to take part, a form and the documents are available here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Getting rid of Trident?

Could the story about a possible delay on the Trident replacement decision be the first step in the Government getting rid of it?

Three cheers if it is.

Personally I have moral objections to the UK having this weapon. But even without those a replacement would be hugely costly and there are plenty of senior military figures saying that it's not needed and that the money would be better spent in other ways.

It's probably fair to say that this is one of the policy areas causing the most disagreement between the Coalition partners. If some of those who have argued for the replacement are now becoming less sure, it's an excellent time for a bit more lobbying.

Why was no one there?

Back in July the City Council decided to have half an hour set aside at the start of each Full Council for Public Statements and questions etc. A version of this had in fact always existed but it was at the discretion of the Lord Mayor and not very formalised.

Having agreed to identify part of the agenda for this purpose however, the Council then managed to do absolutely nothing to publicise it, with the result that there were no applications to speak at last night's meeting.

Obviously something like this takes a while to get known (although people seemed aware of the previous opportunities)but we all need to do something to make sure that the message gets out.

If you want to know more about how this works, do please drop me an e mail and if I can't answer it myself I will forward it on to someone who can. My e mail is

Friday, 3 September 2010

Read this book....but not that one.

I love reading and I love political biographies/autobiographies. There's certainly a real rush of them at the moment.

Recently I have bought and read the Mandelson book - the Third Man and the Chris Mullin one - Decline and Fall.

And how very different they are. The Mandelson one was, frankly, rather dull and self serving. I actually got bored and didn't really finish it.

The Mullin on the other hand reads well, has lots of insights (some of them surprising) and is clearly by an author who is not trying to justify himself the whole time. Chris Mullin's earlier book - View from the Foothills - was equally good.

So if you are on the lookout for a good book, I thoroughly recommend the Chris Mullin one.

Do the licensing laws need a change?

I've only just come across this Home Office Consultation on changes to the Licensing Act.

There are only a few days left to respond but I am sure anyone who has felt frustrated by the current laws will want to have their say.

What this consultation is testing out are opinions on giving communities and the police more powers in terms of the decisions that are made on, for example, off license applications.

Anyone who has been through a hearing as an objector will know just how far the system seems weighted in favour of the applicant. One of the proposals is to allow "health" to be considered as a factor (something that might well have an effect in some areas)

Liverpool City Council has, as I imagine have licensing authorities all over the country, responded to the consultation. You can find the Council's Licensing Committee's response here.