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Why Mayors need More Powers

By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

If you live in the north of England and you rely on the train to get from A to B, then the past few weeks have been an absolute nightmare.

Chaos does not begin to describe the organisation, or rather lack of it, from the regions train operator that has led to a record number of journey cancellations, and commuters becoming angrier and more frustrated by the day.

The two Northwest mayors, Andy Burnham, and Steve Rotheram have been in regular dialogue with transport Minister Chris Grayling, to try and get national government to put pressure on Northern Rail to improve its performance. However, wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle man?

Transport is an area where regional Mayors do have some powers, but nowhere near enough.

There needs to be a campaign, led by business, that provides genuine influence and responsibility to regional Mayors for our public transport networks across the country. Only by decentralising the funding, management and organisation of rail will we start to see the Powerhouse move in the forward trajectory it needs to if it is to meet the ambitions it has set itself.

Why ‘Remainers’ should be Critical of the EU

Austria, and its far-Right leader, assumes the Presidency of the EU in June. In outlining its priorities, the free movement of people is an issue that they wish to have reviewed. In a nutshell Austria, supported by other member states, wishes to see rules put in place that prevent workers, primarily from Eastern Europe, having the ability to emigrate and undercut the pay of local workers. It seems that this debate will, at the very least, be had now – and given the increasing political instability in Italy and Spain EU officials they would be wise to do so.

In Italy, the EU are playing a very dangerous game in encouraging the President to ‘appoint’ an unelected Prime Minister over those individuals who lead extreme Right and Left- wing parties; whilst in Spain, the EUs response to the Catalan crisis was underwhelming and undemocratic too.

To avoid an increasingly consistent charge that the EU only supports democracy when it gets the result it wants, this institution needs to reflect on what is happening in its member states – and ask why it is happening.

The UK withdrawal will be bad for Britain. But, given the other ‘domestic’ difficulties happening within the rest of the EU family at the moment, you can understand why some are arguing that equal damage will be done to Brussels.

What is emerging from across the European community, including large swathes of Germany now, is the people want urgent and real EU reform. That is what David Cameron was asking for pre-Referendum. It will be one of the greatest ironies if the EU introduce the concessions Dave was asking for post- Brexit.

Why Fans need to Remember Football is only A Game

Liverpool lost a football match at the weekend. It was an important match, the Champions League Final no less, and the manner of the defeat was not straightforward. In summary, the Reds Goalkeeper had a bit of a mare, and their star player was taken off injured.

That supporters were to be disappointed following the 3-1 reverse at the hands of Real Madrid is understandable. However, the reaction of some – and a good number at that – had me wondering weather there was something more riding on this match than I had appreciated.

Death threats and comments wishing cancer on the Liverpool ‘keeper were among the disgraceful posts that were dispatched on social media platforms. Meanwhile a petition, calling on the player embroiled in the incident that saw Mo Salah leave the field of play nursing a badly bruised shoulder, was launched, basically calling on Sergio Ramos to be castrated.

The petition has been signed by 400,000 plus people. What are they taking?

Bill Shankly once said, “Football isn’t a matter of life or death, it’s more important than that.” Heysel and Hillsborough proved that not to be the case. Let’s hope that, when they calm down, Liverpool fans will remember that football is only a game – and then sign a petition that actually could be the difference between life and death HERE.

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