Readers, I know I've been MIA for a few days/weeks but it IS for a good cause, I promise you.

I've been on the campaign trail.

I've got a new job and i'm loving it. It's exciting, it's something I've become weirdly passionate about (I wasn't expecting that to happen, but as I used to work for Carnival I shouldn't have been so surprised) and it's something I want you all involved in. So i'm going to ram it down your throats, if that's okay with everyone?

I'm pretty sure you're all aware of what's going on or have already gotten involved as you're all keen Echo readers, but you're going to get the spiel from me anyway.

Take a deep breath, maybe get a cup of tea. You may be here a while.

Here goes.

“To allow the change of use would have an unfair and adverse effect on competition with other cruise ports.”

That was the verdict of the UK Government in 2009, after Liverpool asked for permission to operate turnaround cruises from its £20m new City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal (CLTC).

The terminal was funded entirely by grants from the European Union and the UK taxpayer. The money was given on the strict condition that it must not operate turnaround cruises, so the terminal couldn’t unfairly take business from private sector competitors.

Yet less than two years after it was opened Liverpool Council was applying to have the condition removed. Now, just 18 months after that application was resoundingly rejected, the council is back again with the same request.

This time they are offering to repay just £5m of the taxpayer grants and that over 15 years. What is not clear in their application is that, if successful, the authority has already ring-fenced a further £10m of public funds to pay towards a £23m baggage handling facility alongside the existing terminal. That would take the total public sector investment to £30m.

No one minds fair competition but The UK Cruise Port Alliance is adamant this is a total distortion of the marketplace.

Dockworkers and suppliers in Dover, Harwich, Tyne, Southampton and Portsmouth will see their taxes helping to take their jobs.

The UK Cruise Port Alliance is urging everyone connected with the UK cruise industry and anyone who just cares about fairness to sign-up and show the strength of feeling out there about Liverpool's plans.

I'm now part of the UK Cruise Port Alliance. Well, i'm working for them. I'm very happily working for them.

When i'm running around outside West Quay or up and down Bedford Place and all over the Marlands my spiel is significantly shorter than the one I've just given you. I have found that the public are very responsive to the words 'incorrect/unfair use of taxpayers money'.

A lot of people seem to think i'm just against Liverpool in general, which i'm happy for them to think if it gets them to sign the petition.

I really do feel like this is something to get behind, and i'm not just saying that because i'm from Southampton. The issue is what tax payers money should and should not to be spent on.

I think it is vastly unfair. I'm all for Liverpool growing and expanding as a City and as a port, but not like this. And definitely not going about it in such a sneaky way.

So, if you're wanting to get behind the campaign and are interested in signing please, please visit If you've got Facebook you can search for 'UK Cruise Port Alliance' and 'like' the page to be taken to the petition.

Or if you're in Southampton centre tomorrow you can come along to the Marlands to celebrate the centre's 20th birthday. I'll be there making the most of the celebrations with my clipboard in hand, looking for signatures. A lot of the shops have 20% off everything and there's some xfactor rejects turning up too, so i'm hoping it'll be packed with people willing to sign.

Or if you really want a laugh, my face is going to appear in the Echo very soon. I'll be standing in front of the Bargate , with a dog wearing that's wearing a t-shirt, holding up my pen and clipboard, squinting very hard into the sun. I'd watch out for it if i were you, i'm sure it's going to be a cracking photo.