Friday, 23 April 2010

Manchester Lib Dems call for St George's Bank Holiday

Happy St George's Day to everyone in Chorlton!

Manchester Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Simon Ashley has today called for St George's Day to be made into a Bank Holiday.

Cllr Ashley said today,

"Scotland and Northern Ireland have more Bank Holidays than England and Wales, and have a Bank Holiday for their patron saints. Why can't England do the same? Only by celebrating our diversity and collective achievements can we reclaim nationalism from those on the far-right who seek to subvert it."

Cllr Ashley added,

"St. George's Day is a brilliant opportunity for our country to come together and show the pride we have in our culture, society and history. Many Manchester businesses fly the English flag with pride and I think a new Bank Holiday for St. George's Day would be a great way to celebrate our wonderful country."

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Fairness - The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Launch

Nick Clegg has launched the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto. The manifesto sets out four clear priorities of fair taxes, a fair chance for every child, a fair economy, and a fair deal by cleaning up politics.

At the launch, Nick Clegg said:

Every manifesto needs to have an idea at its heart. The basic idea that animates this manifesto is something I have always believed. I believe every single person is extraordinary.

The tragedy is that we have a society where too many people never get to fulfil that extraordinary potential.

My view - the liberal view - is that government's job is to help them to do it. Not to tell people how to live their lives. But to make their choices possible, to release their potential, no matter who they are.

The way to do that is to take power away from those who hoard it. To challenge vested interests. To break down privilege. To clear out the bottlenecks in our society that block opportunity and block progress. And so give everyone a chance to live the life they want.

There's a simple word for those ideas, and it's a word this manifesto is built on: fairness.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto outlines 4 steps to a fairer Britain:

Fair taxes that put money back in your pocket: The first £10,000 you earn tax-free: a tax cut of £700 for most people, 3.6 million low earners and pensioners freed from income tax completely, Paid for in full by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters

A fair future creating jobs by making Britain greener: Break up the banks and get them lending again to protect real businesses, Honesty about the tough choices needed to cut the deficit, Green growth and jobs that last by investing in infrastructure

A fair chance for every child: Ensure children get the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes, Made possible by investing £2.5 billion in schools targeted to help struggling pupils, Give schools the freedom to make the right choices for their pupils

A fair deal by cleaning up politics: Put trust back into politics by giving you the right to sack corrupt MPs, Restore and protect hard-won British civil liberties with a Freedom Bill, Overhaul Westminster completely: fair votes, an elected House of Lords, all politicians to pay full British taxes

You can download the Liberal Democrat manifesto at along with summary documents and videos for each of the key areas, order a paper copy and find audio and easy read text versions.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Chorlton History Discussion Group

I've had a really long but very positive day of campaigning around Chorlton. But the highlight of my day was going along to the Chorlton History Group this afternoon at the Horse and Jockey. I was invited by Ida Bradshaw who I often enjoy chatting with about local history.

I learnt lots of facts and stories about Chorlton that I had never heard before. I partiality enjoyed Bernard Leach's talk about a short lived community newspaper from the mid-1980s called "Chorlton Green". Although 1980s Chorlton is only very recent history it marked a significant shift locally with Chorlton transforming from a very conservative area (both with a big and small 'c') towards a more alternative scene - and the 'Chorlton Green' newspaper embodied this transformation.

The History Group also has lots of interesting events coming up:

On 29 May there will be a Peterloo Masacre Walk. Meet at 1pm outside the Central Reference Library in St Peter's Square.

On 30 May there will be a historical walk around Hawthorn Lane. Contact Dave Bishop ( for details.

The group's next meeting will be on Monday 7 June at 1.30pm at the Horse and Jockey. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in local history.

There will also be an historical walk along Beech Road to coincide with the festival on 4 July.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Beech Road Potholes

I was very pleased to see that these dangerous potholes I reported on the corner of Beech Road and Barlow Moor Road have finally been repaired. I initially reported them in December and have been chasing the Council for months to repair them. These potholes represent just one example of how the Labour run Council is failing to protect and invest in Chorlton's roads. I'm proud that Manchester Liberal Democrats are committed to spending an extra £420,000 on maintaining our crumbling roads and pavements; and I know that it would make a huge difference here in Chorlton.

I know that there are hundreds of potholes across Chorlton that need just the same attention as these ones on Beech Road and I will be continuing to push the Council to repair them. If you know of any potholes or poor roads near you, please let me know and I will get them repaired.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Handing in NO Mega TESCO petition

Yesterday I joined up with some other NO Mega TESCO campaigners to hand in a 500 strong petition to the Government Office of the North West. The petition against the proposed TESCO asked for the planning decision to be 'called in' by the Secretary of State. This would allow the Communities Secretary to hold a public inquiry to properly assess the impact of this proposed development on the surrounding communities and district centres such as Chorlton.

Because of the controvers and scle of the development the GONW has extended the deadline for submissions. As a result there is still time to write in to the Communities Secretary and GONW to ask for the decision to be called in. An excellent example letter with instructions and addresses is available to download from the No Mega-Tesco campaign’s website at: If you need any advice or help in writing your letter please get in touch with me.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Manchester Liberal Democrats' Manifesto

Today the Manchester Liberal Democrats released a manifesto of what a Lib Dem run Manchester City Council would do.

Manchester Liberal Democrats are making 5 key promises for the 2010 local elections:

1) Cut Council Tax by £51 for a Band D property.
2) Cut waste, including ending the Council Leader’s Chauffeur-driven car and claiming back £421,000 owed by other councils.
3) Lobby for the return of £82million GMP Funding, which would pay for over 500 more police on our streets.
4) Spend over £1million extra on gritting and improving our roads.
5) Reverse plans to close Ewing school; and cut truancy levels.

We want to change Manchester for the better, making it safer, greener, cleaner and more local. We will play our full part in the future of Manchester’s City Region. We’ll stand up for the people of Manchester, and give power back to the people.

I particularly liked the commitment to provide at least 5 new grit bins for each ward. During the recent Cold Spell this measure would have made a huge difference in Chorlton. The Manifesto also promises to spend an extra £420,000 improving the city’s drainage and roads. When Chorlton has the second worst drains in the City and numerous potholes and poor road surfaces - this investment would be hugely beneficial. I also really like the idea of increasing local community grants (CASH grants) to £66,000 per ward and devolving more decisions to communities.

The Manifesto shows how committed the Lib Dems are to green and environmental issues. Unlike Labour we would include Manchester Airport and aviation in the City's climate change plan. We would concentrate on improving recycling and reducing waste. Manchester's Lib Dems are committed to protecting our green open spaces from developers. I'm really pleased the Manifesto has encompassed one of the suggestions from the What Next? event to create a Smart Meter loan scheme from libraries.

The full Manifesto is available to view online at

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Message from the Digital Economy Bill Flashmob Protest

Is the government making fools out of us with the Digital Economy Bill?

Join us on Thursday evening in Manchester City Centre for a flashmob protest against this ill-conceived legislation!

Just bring yourself and some black tape to censor yourself with.

The exact location will be announced (at 5pm) just before we begin, sign up for a ticket and we'll let you know

What is the Digital Economy Bill?
The DEB is a new piece of legislation that's being forced through parliament without debate. The DEB's aim is to stop copyright infringement on the internet, but it does so at a horrific cost to our civil liberties. Under this legislation you will be assumed guilty and may be disconnect from the internet unless you pay to have an appeal in front of a tribunal - not a court.

Why are we protesting?
The DEB has been written at the behest of the media industry (some clauses were actually written by the BPI) with absolutely no regard for anybody else. Not only is this bill horrendously flawed, it is being rushed through parliament without debate using a process known as "wash up", which was intended for use on uncontroversial bills.