STEPHEN LLOYD MP: Southern Rail fail, yet fantastic air show

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon SUS-170614-095516001

I am disappointed the RMT have called for another two day strike for early September on Southern Rail. I shared their frustration that after the Secretary of State for Transport had finally agreed to meet with them he then stepped back and it was, once again, GTR/Southern negotiating.

I believe the Dft should be properly involved in the talks as they are pulling many of the strings behind the scenes, so to revert to the same format as before does not show the necessary leadership this dispute needs, if it is to be resolved.

However, to look to re-starting the strikes so quickly is I think unwise.

So I will be writing to Chris Grayling to ask that he contact the union immediately and ask they come back to the table to continue negotiating, and meanwhile suspend the planned stoppages.

The gap between the two sides is really not that large and a little goodwill, even at this late stage, from both sides, will produce dividends.

I support the union in their opposition to Driver Only Trains and I think they’ve won this battle. Southern now say they are substantially increasing the number of on-board supervisors so I believe the time has come to run a trial, say for three months, to see if both sides can make it work.

If the company will now, as an act of good faith, also guarantee no job losses with the guards, we can get to the right place - which would mean a second trained member of staff on each train.

This is better for passengers from a safety perspective and also ensures we have a rail service which is undisturbed by a continued dispute.

Another tremendous Airbourne has come and gone. I think it’s been a really good event this year, on its 25th anniversary; displays stunning, weather mostly fine, and the huge crowds have been their usual friendly selves. I’ve been to many an event over the years and it always strikes me that Airbourne is such a friendly affair. Almost family-like really, which I believe is one of its strengths and also reflects well on our town.

I’d just like to flag that a huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes (and in front) to make Airbourne the success it is. The dozens and dozens of volunteers who man the buckets for your donations so we can keep Airbourne the largest free air show in the world. Thanks to them and to Sovereign Harbour Rotary for co-ordinating the whole process. To Radio Airbourne who do such a good and professional job keeping us entertained and informed through the whole four days.

To the council staff on the events team for ensuring this massive event goes off smoothly. To the police (and cadets) for keeping an eye out for all of us, to the brilliant rubbish disposal guys who do such a ton of work clearing up after tens of thousands of people hour after hour. Thank you; I and all of us are very grateful.

If you’re wondering what to do with the children locally over the last week or so before school returns, how about showing them a sample of what children’s TV used to offer?

From Thunderbirds to Sooty with much more in-between, there’s a new exhibition on view for the next couple of weeks @ DC1, 67 Seaside Road.

Put together by local man Paul Young, who started his collection soon after his daughter was born nine years ago.

His ambition is to build the collection to such a size he can open a children’s TV museum.

And I think he may well be onto something as we all remember, whatever our age, those shows we enjoyed watching when we were kids ourselves.

Check it out folks. I’m a fan of DC1 and the whole Devonshire Collective initiative, so well done for putting together such a fun and eclectic exhibition.

And finally, it was a real pleasure to be at Venus and Stuart Higgins house in Sovereign Ward last weekend late to support raising money for Breast Cancer Research.

Lovely people, a fine cause and great cake. Thank you Venus!

Have a good bank holiday weekend all.