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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Goodbye 2019

Few regrets will be shed at the passing of 2019 and turning the page to a new decade.

Quite apart from the demoralising antics of the House of Commons and retreading the Tory Party tyres with new and more robust management, the country at large is glad to see the back of this year. Of course many of the same faces with predictable soundbites will appear to grace our television and tablet screens from tomorrow - but at least there is a new storyline providing badly needed headlines. The tug of war over the outcome of the EU referendum has at last been settled through a popular vote (otherwise known as a General Election) - and parliamentary time can become far more usefully employed on national priorities sans Brussels.

Britain's standing in the world has taken a hit in 2019; and with it that of the Monarchy which now struggles to maintain its deferential role in the country at large. All three main political parties had had their own unique travails to deal with - all stories to be continued. The future of the planet is taking centre stage, not least among millenials and younger generations who will bear the brunt of what nature brings through this century. Australia's battle with record temperatures and sustained drought being just one marker among many warning signals that all is not well with our planet after two centuries of untrammelled human activity following the Industrial Revolution. No business as usual anymore. A green Tower perhaps or themed treeline promenade on the near horizon?

Happier Times in the Decade : Mr MacLeod painting (again) Brush Car 290

Two classic Blackpool trams saved by the efforts of FHLT - launched here in their new all over tangerine colour when the town's Football Club was on a roll.

Blackpool still struggles to remodel itself amid urgent calls for renewal and reinvestment. Its traditional offer of cheap(er) seaside leisure will continue to find takers despite the downtrodden appearance of its town centre and less than stellar leisure offer. It will always be thus so. Wiser minds are however bringing new approaches to bear, allied to professional and commercial forces taking a grip on Fylde coast affairs at long last. There may well be more pain to endure before Blackpool's image morphs into a location held in esteem nationally. A single 'Strictly Come Dancing' prime time exposure is insufficient to make any meaningful difference these days.

The Illuminations have become something of a wornout record quite evidently in need of major upgrade and revision. The format and content still bring crowds and thrill the very young, but the now intrusive commercial element and overworked displays combine to dim allure of what was once a great national treasure (at least up north).

Leaving the railway alone for once - local transport stands out as a distinctive offer away from the dead hand of corporate owners with their one size fits all styling. Municipal ownership ensures US community appeal and approach coupled with environmentally friendly assertiveness - electric trams and electric buses imminently on our horizon

A strengthened Fylde Coastal Authority could do much to translate green shoots of innovative technologies and investment within a single empowered local government structure, on par with the city regions now emerging in the north of England. Perhaps not quite the same demographic scale but tangible lessons from Manchester and Liverpool are there to be emulated if local realpolitik finally breaks through deadening parochial tendencies which still hold back forward thinking (young) generations from Warton to Knott End and communities inbetween Garstang and the sea.

So goodbye 2019 - and good riddance. A new year, new decade and great ideals to strive for throughout England's northern heartlands.

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