Saturday, 31 August 2013

David Morris: Putting the under into Sunderland Point

David feels that he has delivered on Sunderland Point which is a lovely village south of Morecambe on the River Lune which used to be a port before Lancaster took over. The only way of driving there is on a tidal road. The trouble is that erosion is taking hold and villagers are up in arms because coastal defences could be improved. David has taken up their cause. He tells us 'David asked to save Sunderland Point in Parliament. The minister agreed and said "we have to unblock a blockage within government at whatever level that is. DELIVERED".

What does this waffle mean? Let's presume that the blockage is metaphorical. Let's presume that the blockage refers to the Government's decision making process. Let's presume that the minister is looking for easy access to making a decision about Sunderland Point's coastal defence. Does David Morris really think that he has delivered anything? Much more likely, one cog in a Government wheel has turned which actually means nothing to the people who have to live with the prospect of losing their house.

Searching for more information, I found this by Sarah Hymas: "... The other side of the estuary, Sunderland Point, has not been so ... what? Lucky? Argumentative? Economically viable? Whichever - they do not have agreement or financial aid to protect their sea defences, despite the efforts of My Coastline. ...". Sarah links to a 'They Work for you' page which is an excerpt from Hansard 15 Nov 2010 where David Morris asks for something to be done, and the reply he gets does include the "We have to unblock a blockage within government" line but is very short on specific reassurances. Where it does get specific, it's all bad news for Sunderland Point, e.g. "there is not a sufficiently strong case for national funding of flood defences for Sunderland village because there are not the benefits to justify the costs". Fortunately that is not a key issue, as the community has raised the money required to put up a wall of aggregate. It won't cost the taxpayer anything.  The problem is in getting permission to build that wall.

In fact the 'blockage' reference relates to whether some coastal defences (e.g. for Sunderland Point) may cause damage to other areas of the coast. Have a read yourself. It really doesn't look like the Government want to spend anything on Sunderland Point, or to do anything, or to allow anything to be done; and judging by what Sarah writes in 2013, it does seem like any unblockage hasn't amounted to much.

David also feels that he has delivered the M6 Link Road. Well it is nice to have an MP who supports the link rather than our previous Labour MP whose support, at best, was half-hearted. However this process has been going on since 1948. Again David is playing one small role and he thinks he has 'delivered'.

David believes in fair prices for our farmers. Who doesn't? The booklet tells us that 'David was disappointed to learn from his farmer's forum that farmers are receiving such a small amount of money for milk'. Maybe there is only one farmer in his forum but where has David been! Why did he need a farmer's (or farmers') forum to learn that farmers only receive a small amount for their milk? I can also tell him that we don't pay much for eggs or chicken.

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