LABOUR may have come through the elections in St Helens with their grip on the council still firm – but the result in Rainhill, where independent candidate James Tasker secured a resounding victory, sends the ruling party a powerful message.

It’s pretty simple one too: Listen to what the electorate says, keep politics clean and treat the community with respect.

Not doing so cost Labour in Rainhill and the new council leader (whose authority has been cemented by the latest leadership vote) should heed that message as he begins his first year in charge.

Labour has a huge majority in the council chamber but that doesn’t mean the public are necessarily happy with the direction of the town.

It’s time they listened to the public more, improved the way they communicate, showed a bit more compassion, and maybe even some more imagination.

St Helens Star: St Helens Junction station

St Helens Junction

WELL it’s about time. Commuters (and residents living nearby) using St Helens Junction train station have waited long enough for an expanded car park.

The lack of spaces meant the car park was often full by 8am and motorists would then have to leave their vehicles on nearby streets, creating headaches for residents and businesses. Quite often it was causing obstructions for other drivers too.

Good on the community campaigners for keeping the issue in the spotlight and ensuring the authorities had to listen.

- Finally, it's a huge game for Saints at Castleford on Saturday. The team, under Justin Holbrook, have been brilliant so far this season and have helped put a real sense of pride back in the followers of those supporting the men in the red vee.

But Saturday’s Challenge Cup contest is the most important to date. It’s a decade since Saints competed at Wembley – and efforts in the cup over the past few years have disappointed.

But, with the spirit and brand of rugby that Holbrook has created, Saints should head over the Pennines with the belief they can secure victory that will give them the platform to embark on a cup run.

Good luck lads.