As we near the General Election on December 12, all of us intending to vote need to step back just a little from the incessant blitz of social media hustle now going on to tablets, phones and laptops - intending to influence our thinking in favour of X Y or Z Party. Perhaps more so in this election than ever before because of pervasive intrusiveness through information technology media.
What confounds the professional pundits and 'experts' is the individual nature of local issues and personalities in every constituency complete with the overhanging dominance of Brexit ever present in voters minds. In turn this has fractured the traditional composition of British politics and dominance of two Parties still lingering on in the postwar era.
Brexit leaning communities thwarted by three years of political and parliamentary obfuscation, and in some cases outright rejection of the 2016 Referendum result need to find the optimum strategy for ousting remain inclined Members - or alternatively reinforcing Leave candidates. A divided England north-south is ever more in evidence further emphasised this week by authoritative studies pointing to the capital investment in railway and public transport being skewed in favour of London and the south east. Where the north west is concerned we are poor cousins on a scale of 3 to 1 - with London and the Home Counties benefitting decade after decade - and it shows.
London dominant budgetting by the Department for Transport showed up in an internal fight which secured preservation of the single platform canopy structure at Blackpool North's track and electrification upgrade - only after a sustained struggle by Blackpool representation with Network Rail's contractors all ready to remove it completely. The station itself being left more or less in its 1930's as built structural condition - despite Blackpool Council's originating scheme for a transport interchange involving trams, buses and trains within a modernised setting. Even today the political football which is the Poulton to Fleetwood railway infrastructure and reactivating a rail service out of Fleetwood - is out of the hands or influence of Fleetwood and north Fylde coast residents (read Voters) and kept closely held by forces in thrall to London.
Once upon a time - trains from Preston via Kirkham ran into Blackpool's central station with its myriads of lines and umpteen platforms. Plenty of seats on every train, even if the smell of burning coal and hot oil was something to get used to ! Image : John Woodman Archive
The south Fylde railway - a rump single track running from Wesham all the way to its depressing terminus at Waterloo Road, Blackpool - reflects the disdain shown by the current setup at the Department of Transport and its ever changing political overseers for what are deemed non essential needs of northern communities.
Both main Parties are vying for votes with railways, the north south divide and the abysmal travel to work conditions for hundreds of thousands week in week out - being a determining factor for many intending to vote this month. For Fleetwood - just having a railway service is in and of itself a plus. The status quo and desire to deny any meaningful change being evident in the sentiments and shallow thinking of a Local Authority more ready at the drop of a hat to approve yet further housing development on green land. The consequent impact on the Fylde's road network frozen in time from the past century is self evident for anyone caring to embark on journeys in peak hours. Go ahead be my guest - take a newspaper.
With so many competing promises this time round its hard to define who to believe will actually deliver on any of them. There is at least a glimmer of hope that the pendelum will swing towards a reenergised northern England whatever the Election outcome. The same old excuses are not going to work whichever Party(s) find themselves grasping the levers of power on December 13th. Vote carefully for change, vote tactically.