Thursday, 24 November 2011

AN Urgent debate is needed on Lobbyists like the TAX PAYERS ALLIANCE, is their influence fair and representative?

AN Urgent debate is needed on Lobbyists like the TAX PAYERS ALLIANCE, is their influence fair and representative?

Lobbyists are the vehicle for many diverse pressure groups influencing politicians and legislation to the gain of their sponsors.

They are professionals at influencing democracy disproportionately in the favour of very small groups and often to the benefit of private individuals and extremely wealthy multinational companies that have no legal or moral right to participate in our democracy.

The TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE lobbies very effectively, however the TPA is a British pressure group formed in 2004 to campaign for a tax cutting society. TPA claims to have 55,000 supporters, a minuscule amount of the 63 million people in the UK

Matthew Elliott CEO of The Tax Payers Alliance admitted that a director of the TPA Alexander Heath, does not pay British taxes, he’s resided in France since 1973.

The Taxpayers Alliance is a private company limited by guarantee in the UK - number 04873888. It is exempt from audit.

The TPA is ever more quoted by Government backbenchers, it is time parliament debated: is the role of lobbyists in parliament fair and representative of voters?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Brutal Preston Bus Station Vs Tithebarn Project

Having got into a purely incidental twitter debate thanks to following @blogpreston

Tweeted 11 Oct 2011
blogpreston Blog Preston 
Interesting debate between @prbusstation and @prestoncouncil on the future of the bus station on Twitter here:

Here I am writing a blog. I have done them before but for work related sites, I never imagined my first personal one would be about the “Brutal Preston Bus Station”.

To be clear I am neither Pro-Tithebarn nor Pro-saveprestonbustation, I am Pro-Preston, I have lived here all my life but have travelled extensively for over 10 years and I continue to do so across many major UK towns and cities. I have seen them develop, I have seen them stagnate and I have seen them transformed. Importantly in all this I have seen how both sides of the coin impact on the fortunes of people both positively and negatively. And all said and done, this where I come from on this issue because to me people matter, not profit, nor buildings.

So I’ll try and look at this from two perspectives, where we are now, what next? With the caveat, I don’t profess to have knowledge of all the facts albeit I feel more than entitled to care to comment.

Where we are now, Tithebarn is and remains a 13 yr old question of redevelopment. Not a question of having or not having the “brutal Preston bus station (BPBS)” in all its splendour. The fact is without proposed redevelopment the BPBS issue goes away.  Right now the whole debate has become polarised, divisive in and out of Preston and damaging to every last one of us. The paralysis on the matter, regardless of your interest has strangulated the town centre. Personally, like many people in Preston have little or no reason to use the city centre, outer retail or supermarket outlets and the internet fulfil all many shopping requirements, this has been further exasperated by the consolidating of charity shops in the Town centre. Preston city centre needs more than local trade to be sustainable. While all this continues alternatives are found by shoppers, business, residents etc. I conclude this assessment with some questions after 13 yrs of damage, how do we resolve the matter expediently? Drive Preston forwards? What initiative is going to provide jobs and undo some of the damage rapidly? Ultimately, what do people really want?

My personal thoughts, the adding of BPBS to the World Monument List is nice, possibly justified but essentially not going to change things. It has highlighted what an awesome structure the BPBS is. However Preston does not need the building in it current capacity/function. The inside is brutal in all the wrong ways; would it be nice to convert it? Yeah, probably. However, any investor understandably has their own vision for their money and does not want to inherit the unknown, where costs could easily spiral. If you reject this view then realistically say goodbye to any major investment. What matters to me are things like the market, for personal reasons and securing investment that will help move Preston on, we’ve fallen miles behind.

Point to consider, one of the major Tithebarn partners John Lewis is already considering how to squeeze into the already congested Deepdale retail area. This would bring more woes to the accommodation and exhausted network there in the area, with negative impact and definitely no building of any significance to hold things up. Killing off any other retail investment to Preston City Centre.

What next? Remember what is at stake, it seems to me, the debate has forgotten the Peoples of Preston’s needs and dogma has, is dominating all positions.  The big problem here is time is against us (people finding alternatives) and further indecision would be disastrous and irreparable in my view. What we need now is a final expedient timetable for progress one way or the other. No appeal, that’s it! All parties involved must take a leap of faith in a fair, defined, representative process over a very short period. This really can’t go on. This process should canvass and consider all views, even if we had to spend a few grand to do it because right now, the impact on people, jobs, lost revenues alone are making any cost negligible.