WIRRALGATE! – Double Echo

WIRRALGATETAPE

There weren’t many surprises for us in the Thynne 2 report. Except for one……

This was an astonishing revelation involving the person coyly known as Person C.

As John Brace has outed Person C on his blog as being Liverpool Echo journalist Liam Murphy it seems a bit pointless in us maintaining the masquerade, especially as his identity has been known to us for quite some time.

Although being a key witness to the sordid  Wirralgate scandal unfortunately Murphy declined to give a statement to Patricia Thynne during either of her investigations. The reason he gave was the need to keep the confidentiality of his sources. Which would be highly laudable if it wasn’t for the fact that Murphy has a rather curious notion of confidentiality!.

It would appear that Murphy was  quite happy to show Wirral Council’s then Head of Communications Emma Degg the letter that Foulkesy had filched , presumably in the hope that Murphy would run a story in the Liverpool Echo ” smearing” political rival  Cllr Jeff Green  . According to Degg  Murphy was “outraged” by Foulkesy’s  conduct . Although seemingly not outraged enough to actually make a complaint about it – it seems he’d much rather have a sly fag  and a quick bitch behind the back of Wallasey Town Hall.

Murphy was later to hear the infamous recorded conversation between Cllr George Davies and one of The Complainants and some months later then saw fit to tell Cllr Jeff Green all about it . Perhaps Murphy and Green compared notes on how “outraged” they were – especially when the latter seems to be in a permanent state of “outrage”.

However the most damning testimony that Murphy plays fast and loose with the confidentiality of his sources is the fact that at some time he made a (presumably) covert recording of the notorious Wirralgate tape. Not only that he played it back to Emma Degg – of all people. Remember she was Wirral Council’s Head of Communications at the time !.

We can only wonder if this revelation came as much as a surprise to The Complainants – the elusive holders of the original recording – as it did to us. Although we have to say it gives us a vicarious thrill to see the biters getting bit.

As a consequence we’re left speculating on Murphy’s motives behind his actions. Surely it can’t be currying favour to guarantee woeful exclusives like this :

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/a-sobering-story/

If we consider that Thynne mentioned in her 2nd report that if she had heard the recording and it confirmed what witnesses had told her then there could be criminal matters that would need investigating. So if Murphy has a recording that would indeed confirm the testimony of others when does the bogus claim of protecting the confidentiality of sources become perverting the course of justice?

Echo

 

Wirral Toady

 

Toad

Toad of Town Hall

When we consider the  nepotism, cronyism  and obsequious careerism that pervades Wirral Council (and indeed within other parts of the ‘Wirral Partnership’) we could be forgiven for thinking the Wirral Council newspaper publication should be called  Wirral Toady and not Wirral Today.

Yes folks – they’ve finally decided on a title for their tatty rag as this extract from this leaked Stressed Eric Exec View staff newsletter reveals –

Hello,

I finished my latest set of roadshow meetings with staff last week. Thanks to everyone who came along.

I felt that I, and you, got the most out of those sessions where lots of varied questions were put forward and we could have a proper, open conversation.

It’s always interesting and useful for me to hear about what’s important to different staff groups in different areas.

Devolution was a common topic, as was the budget and whether we’re likely to see any change in our financial situation under the new Prime Minister. Questions around the future direction of the council, how we are progressing with our 2020 pledges and whether there are any plans for major restructures of the authority in coming months also came up.

There were a number of questions about the new publication we’re planning to produce so I thought it might be helpful to reflect on some of the discussions.

(There’s a lot of background information to the publication which is included in the Cabinet report, so I won’t go over that again. The Cabinet report is here.)

Fundamentally, the aim is to increase how informed our local people are. Last year’s residents survey showed us that a lot of people want more information about services and their communities. This publication, Wirral Today, will provide this.

We’ve opted for a printed publication that will be delivered through the letterbox of every home and business and copies will be available in places like libraries and train stations.

It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first. However, there is a lot of research and evidence from other councils that shows residents who receive information from their council, directly to them at home, are more informed about local services and are in turn, happier and more satisfied with their area and their council.

An online-only approach won’t work in the same way, but we will have a website and social media that links to and supports the publication.

It’s important that staff, teams and managers from across the council submit ideas for stories and features. No-one has a monopoly on good ideas so it’s vital that everyone feels they can, and knows how to, contribute.

There is a dedicated email address where you can submit ideas for stories or features and it’s WTNews@wirral.gov.uk Soon you will also be able to make suggestions and submissions through the intranet too. Our Communications and Marketing team are working on the publication and they plan to visit teams to talk about how you can be a part of the process. If you’d like them to visit you, email WTNews@wirral.gov.uk 

It’s really important that this publication includes information from our partners and community groups so we’re working on how we pull all that content together now.

Once again, thank you to everyone who came along to a staff roadshow. I’ll be doing another set in the early new year sometime, as it’s important for us to carry on the conversation.
 
If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions for me in the meantime, you can email ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk

Now we have to say Stressed Eric has gone up in our estimation as he seems to be demonstrating a new found flair for comedy.

‘It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first’ he says whilst failing to add  …..‘ but then Martin Liptrot told me to get back in my corner’.

He then goes on to say – without the slightest hint of irony :’No-one has a monopoly on good ideas so it’s vital that everyone feels they can, and knows how to, contribute.’  

But surely this is what this publication is all about – managing  the message and controlling the public. To the power abusers of Wallasey Town Hall Wirral is a giant Monopoly board or as someone much cleverer than us once said  – “a monopoly on the means of communication may define a ruling  elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of monopoly in the means of production” .

Having said all that we’re still looking forward to the first edition of  Wirral Toady , sorry Wirral Today  and the endless possibilities for satire it is sure to provide.

We predict the front cover of the first edition will be about how well Wirral Council is doing  supporting disabled people or children or combatting hunger. Any other suggestions send to : Wirralleaks@gmail.com

Meanwhile here’s Wirral Council’s fortnightly appearance on Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs page and their take on Wirral Today. 

Bad News 2 011

 

WIRRALGATE! – A Portrait in Green and Yellow

Jeff Green

Another Wirral councillor who features heavily in the Thynne 2 report is Tory leader Jeff Green – the target of a supposed ‘smear campaign’ by Labour councillors Foulkesy and George Davies. This has resulted in Foulkesy having to write a personal apology to the alleged ‘victim’ Green which we suspect went something like this :

Hey Jeff

Soz. But we’re still bezzies ,right?.

Ta La, Foulkesy

What we’d like to do here is to borrow a phrase that Jeff Green was alleged to have used and blow all of the above out of the water and state loud and clear :

  • There was no smear campaign
  • Cllr Green is not the complainant
  • Green is certainly not a victim
  • There should have been no apology to Green

Firstly the ‘smear campaign’ . This hapless yet minor episode of the  Wirralgate saga proves that Foulksey/Georgie couldn’t organise a piss up in Houlihan’s and yet they have been/are the Leader and Deputy Leader of Wirral Council respectively – go figure!.

And as for Thynne’s conclusion that George Davies didn’t know what was in the letter -this is yet another example of her lack of investigative rigour  when it comes to the allegations against him. Does she really expect us to believe that Davies just asked for a random document about which he had no knowledge whatsoever?. We’ve got news for you Patricia – we understand the letter was sent to him by the people you call The Group and we call The Complainants!. So this becomes another of Davies’ lies to add to the growing tally.

Looking at the unsigned/undated letter sent by The Group/The Complainants in the appendices to the Thynne 2 report we can only assume that the ‘smear’ about Green was that he ‘courted and feted’ whistleblowers for political ends.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50035834/PT5%20-%20PUBLIC%20PACK.pdf

There is certainly evidence to suggest that this is exactly what Green was doing – having reaped the rewards  of the penalty kick that was the Martin Morton whistleblowing case it now appears that Green had  dealings with The Group/The Complainants. We’d be interested to know why he backed out from supporting them – did he realise this particular ‘whistleblowing’ case  was going to prove to be more problematic?. We certainly think so and all of which means you can’t smear someone who takes political advantage of whistleblowers if it’s true!. However we don’t think this is the reason that the Liverpool Echo didn’t run a story trying to smear Green (but we’ll save that for a later post).

Callow Green , not wanting to upset his political counterparts, is at pains to explain in both Thynne reports that he did NOT make a Code of Conduct complaint.  However what better way for senior councillors and officers to ignore this and to use this deeply flawed process to protect the powerful. It increasingly seems to us that Green much prefers to be in impotent opposition and in a perpetual state of  feigned “outrage” chasing headlines rather than changing  the culture – he truly is “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”.

Witness his comments in the Wirral Globe :

I urge every resident of Wirral to take the opportunity to read the investigation report now available on the council’s website . I am sure that like me they will be angry and shocked at the antics of senior Labour councillors throughout this whole saga

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14659374.New_scandal_at_Wirral_Council_after_probe_reveals__smear_attempt__on_Tory_leader/

Nobody but nobody is going to read a 55 page report ( + appendices) with references to Person A, B and C and where the key witnesses are a no-show. They’d be better off reading Wirral Leaks – and he knows it!.

However the biggest mystery of this whole saga is actually why does Green get an apology when he had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE COMMISSIONING OF THYNNE 2 ?.

Green seems to have relied on others (and two surprising people in particular) to get the political football rolling in the hope of – yet again – gaining some political capital out of the sordid situation.

As we shall  discover later the impetus for Thynne 2 came from an email sent to all councillors by serial whistleblower Martin Morton who raised serious concerns about the first Thynne report (among other allegations). Needless to say this was kicked into the long grass until an even more unexpected source belatedly piped up (again to be explored in a later post). An increasingly exasperated Morton has now sent us a copy of an email exchange between him and Green where the latter shows somewhat less than ruthless determination to get to the bottom of the Wirralgate scandal when he writes:

‘You do realise that I am no longer Leader of the Council don’t you? I can ask questions of Officers, make suggestions etc. but ultimately we all know who is running the show.

Throughout the preceding 4 months I have regularly asked for an update over the status of your email and have received a stock answer of ‘we are looking into it to see if there is any new information contained within the email.’

No wonder the power abusers of Wirral Council who are ‘running the show’ can do exactly what they want if this is what passes for robust challenge!.

But at the end of the day what did we expect ? , reading Thynne 2 Green and Foulkesy him seem to tread ‘similar paths’ and are indeed ‘kindred’.

And that is about the most damning assessment that we could ever make of Cllr Jeff Green.

Kindred 008

Private Ambition and Political Alliances

 

Private and Public

Before we return to dissecting the Wirralgate saga we couldn’t help commenting on a couple of developments on Planet Wirral.

Firstly we were delighted to hear that ‘Mayor’ Joe Anderson was ‘heartbroken’ (snigger) not to get the Labour nomination for the Metro Mayor election . The nomination went to Walton MP Steve Rotheram . Of course we were backing Luciana Berger – but it would appear that when it comes to Metro Mayors – the progressive Labour Party prefers all their candidates across the country to have a penis and just like the Liverpool City Region leaders it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit limp.

Northern Outhouse

We were especially delighted that Mayor Joe’s ambitions come unstuck as we suspect that there were others on this side of the River Mersey who were anticipating riding on the coat tails of his mayoral robes.

Gleeful sources are commenting to us that Martin Liptrot’s masterplan to be the power behind the throne and Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies exit strategy to be Mayor Joe’s Deputy Mayor have sunk in the River Mersey. Once again we note how “The Curse of Pip” comes into play  – a ringing endorsement from him – as Pip did for Joe’s Metro Mayor nomination – is invariably the kiss of death.

Oh well never mind Liptrotsky ( the self proclaimed”cross river power broker”) will have to be content with being the de facto Chief Executive of Wirral Council as further demonstrated by the fact that supposed  CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson is left to front the justification for yet another appointment to Liptrotsky’s growing public relations empire . The new appointment of a ‘Public Affairs Manager’ (it has been reliably estimated that there are currently 14 – yes 14 Wirral Council  officers already involved in aspects of this work) is justified by Stressed Eric thus:

“The  Public Affairs Manager will support the delivery of the Wirral Plan through leading the development and delivery of a public affairs and outreach strategy for the organisation. In addition they will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective connections with policymakers and key influencers regionally, nationally and internationally to help shape policies, decisions and legislation for the benefit of Wirral.”

This appointment will leave Liptrotsky more time to run Wirral Council and tells you everything you need to know about Wirral Council’s priorities – less public services, more public relations.

We asked our faithful factotum Verity Snoop whether she was going to apply , she told us she was suffering from severe personal integrity and therefore didn’t meet the essential criteria of being a complete and utter professional arselicker.

 

Wirral Council’s Got A Brand New Organ

LGC 1

We take a break from the Wirralgate saga today to bring you the work of Dr. Robert  B.Smith who has undertaken some excellent research trying to discover how the currently unnamed Wirral Council newspaper stacks up. Firstly he considers the ideological /strategic/operational impetus behind the newspaper and secondly the financial and practical implications.

Meanwhile we consider the pictures – taken from the Management Journal – serve as a warning as to the shape of things to come when the newspaper is published. As you can see  “Stressed” Eric Robinson describes Wirral Council as going “from the brink of intervention to the pinnacle of local government” as he tries to lure  2 overpaid policy wonks to Wirral. Unfortunately we fear we are going to get much more of where that came from!…….

The burning question on everyone’s lips must be…”Why a newspaper?” When newspapers are folding (pardon the pun) and as technology and social media advances…”Why a newspaper”?. When the Council has what passes for a website with a ‘faceless’ homepage with ‘uber-cool tile icons’, but with inbuilt navigation problems, what does that say to visitors? Hardly welcoming when the world’s window on Wirral Council is obscured. It is like trying to see through thick fog, or into a room that has the blinds closed. But is that intentional?

Has anyone else noticed how much previous ‘archive’ stuff has not been moved on to the new, improved website, and, is it my imagination, or is it deliberately slow as well as being difficult to navigate? All subtle hurdles to frustrate the outside world seeking information.

Now Twitter…fantastic in the right hands…but you need to know your market, and how to use it, and Wirral Council has no idea.. Now, to Facebook…who doesn’t use Facebook nowadays? Not many people, but if you can squeeze the life out of a FB page, then Wirral Council is a success story. However, when Recycling is regularly recycling its own recycling information, that is the essence of recycling, captured on Facebook and when, by example, recycling comes into its own.

Wirral Council’s communication has always been poor, but maybe it suits Wirral Council for it to be poor? Not only might it suit for communication to be poor, but making what is available difficult to locate, or even understand, may that be part of a broader strategy?

But, back to the ‘newspaper’. The proposition made absolutely no sense to me on any level. Council services are being decimated, asset disposal underway, privatisation is a priority, and operational staff levels are being severely reduced. Girtrell Court has been closed, Lyndale School has been closed, both against massive public opposition or ‘the will of the people’. Consultants and chief officers are paid exorbitant salaries, and the council is failing as an organisation. However, council tax has increased, but budgets are reducing, and the best use of some of this increasingly scarce funding is…a monthly council NEWSPAPER!

If incompetence is going to be shrouded by smoke and mirrors, what better way to conceal incompetence than to be the sole source of information about your own organisation?. And here is the problem – for mandatory public notices, road closures, planning, etc., and other supporting council business editorial/copy, 4 quarterly editions will not be sufficient to influence public opinion, accommodate scheduling and deadlines for responses/objections, etc.

The ‘newspaper’ issue (pardon the pun) also brings a number of other questionable episodes of Wirral Council’s conduct into focus. Why does Wirral Council act in ways that indicate it thinks that it can flout its own policies, procedures, and codes of conduct, make many questionable decisions regarding legislative compliance, and actively ignore government guidelines, and not report a Minister’s critical letter in a report to Cabinet…or reveal the new staff posts?

The range of options for this ongoing ‘corporate behaviour’, given the range of dubious ‘episodes’, must start with stupidity at one end of the spectrum to knowledge of absolute impunity at the other. The question then being at which point in the spectrum is the reality?

And this is where the ‘bloody-minded pursuit’ of this ‘newspaper’ is such an important consideration.

Government guidelines regarding the issuing of a council newsletter/newspaper are very clear. Nobody needs to spend £1,400 of public money for legal advice regarding the number of issues that can be produced. You just need to be able to read (and understand). But why put the Council in a position of direct conflict with government regarding 12 monthly issues of this ‘newspaper’? In my opinion, it is the need for total control of council information from a council in crisis.

The Ipsos Mori ‘resident survey’ result which led to this ‘rude awakening’ for the Council and ‘a critical response from the public’ is totally at odds with many other ‘critical concerns of the public’ which have been passed over, or systematically bulldozed out of the way.

I have undertaken my own research into the costs of producing this Council ‘organ’ and requested some additional information from Mr MacManus, who was very helpful during the Ipsos Mori survey. It made a refreshing change from FOI requests, and that is how things should be, for an accountable Council. Not everything contains commercially sensitive information, an impression created continually in certain quarters of WBC.

Your readers may wish to examine Wirral Council’s latest organ specification, and make their own estimates. The environmental impact assessment I have undertaken is rather scary as well. Maybe the Council hasn’t done one…?

The financial and environmental costs will be significant, and far in excess of the estimates. More service reductions then…except in Legal, the Press Office, and Recycling maybe…didn’t someone mention ‘jobs for life’ somewhere along the way?

WIRRAL COUNCIL proposed ‘NEWSPAPER’ – all estimated budget figures from Wirral Council Cabinet report, or directly from Wirral Council.

Year           Full Cost

                  Re-directed
current
advertising spend                    Income         Net Cost

2016-17*  £118,980                                            £39,000            £79,980

2017-18     £237,960                                           £85,800            £152,160

2018-19    £237,960                                            £94,380            £143,580

2019-20   £237,960                                            £103,818           £134,142
* 6 editions are planned and budgeted for in 2016-17.

“The publication will be delivered to all 147,000 Wirral households, all 7,500 Wirral businesses and see an additional 15,000 copies distributed to high-footfall locations such as supermarkets, hospitals and train/bus stations. We will additionally develop a new website to carry similar information as well as make better use of social media and other digital channels”.
Facts
…council expenditure and income estimates; print run; distribution; pagination range
…total no of copies per edition 169,500
…total number of editions 12
…first full financial year – 2017- 2018 base estimates used
Assumptions
… to estimate the overall cost an average of 32 pages per edition is the datum
…finished to A5 is not an option as a newspaper/newsletter carrying paid-for advertising promoting a council
…advertising rates are pro rata from full page advertising cost – and advertising may be distributed throughout the edition
…to estimate the quantity of stock (paper) required, the reference sizes are finished A4, and finished A3
…to estimate the total weight of paper required, an average of 80g/sq.m is used.
Assessment
12 monthly issues – total 2,034,000 units printed in 2017 – 2018
2017-18 Full year cost £237,960
Income £85,800
Net cost £152,160
Unit cost 7.5p including promoting and securing advertising, setting, printing, collating, finishing, delivery and distribution, plus presumably, additional ‘lifecycle/environmental costs’ of disposal/collection and recycling.

2017-18 – Advertising income total for full year £85,800 (£7,150 per edition)
2 pages of adverts 16 eighth page @ £446.88 per eighth page
8 quarter page @ £893.75 per quarter page
4 half page @ £1787 per half page
2 full page @ £3,575 per full page
…or the above in combination, and distributed throughout

4 pages of adverts 32 eighth page @ £223.44 per eighth page
16 quarter page @ £446.87 per quarter page
8 half page @ £893.75 per half page
4 full page @ £1,787.50 per full page
…or the above in combination, and distributed throughout

12 editions create 65,088,000 pages whatever size format is used @32 pages per copy
A4 finished size is A3 folded; 4 A4 pages per sheet of A3; 8 sheets of A3 provide 32 x A4 pages.
A4 finished ‘newspaper’ @ 80gm/sqm – total unit weight = 80g
A3 finished size is A2 folded; 4 A3 pages per sheet of A2; 8 sheets of A2 provide 32 pages.
A3 finished ‘newspaper’ @ 80gm/sqm – total unit weight = 160g

Annual weight of ‘news’paper to be produced, delivered, set, printed, finished, distributed and discarded/collected and recycled is:-
A4 finished size – 162,720 Kg (358,736 Imperial lbs, or just over 160 Imperial tons of paper)
A3 finished size – 325,440 Kg (717,472 Imperial pounds, or just over 320 Imperial tons of paper)
Considerations
Given the estimated unit cost it will not be Royal Mail, or an equivalent, delivering to every household, business, or ‘pick up a copy’ distribution ‘hub’.
It will not be sent out in the Wirral Globe or equivalent, as it has been stated they do not deliver to a significant number of areas.
If household and business delivery factors in a ‘minimum’ wage, or ‘living wage’ element for individual distribution of copies, what will be the average delivery time in rural Wirral v urban Wirral for complete distribution?
Further to my independent ‘review’ of the proposal, this ‘newspaper’ cannot possibly be produced, printed and distributed to in excess of 154,500 individual addresses, (and disposed of?) for 7.5p per copy.

For info – stock paper sizes and area (apologies to all who know this already!).
A0 has an area of one square metre.
Divide it in 2 you get 2 A1,
divide again you get 4 A2,
once more 8 A3,
and again 16 A4,
and finally 32 A5

IMG_20160808_130501

WIRRALGATE! -George Davies Dodges The Bullet

GD-WIRRAL-GATE

As you can see we’ve compared  Cllr George Davies to former US President George Clinton before. As once gain we have -an admittedly minor league politician – making succession of denials which eventually will be proved to be a series of lies. The only difference here is the evidence is to be found in a taped conversation instead of on a blue dress.

Unfortunately for reasons best known to herself  Patricia Thynne did not take a statement from Cllr George Davies this time round – meaning that Foulkesy took the flak and Davies dodged the bullet.

However it is  perplexing that Thynne has corroborated evidence of what was heard on the Wirralgate tape from three different sources but the only reason she backed off is that is that she hasn’t heard it herself (despite pleas to the ‘The Group’ aka ‘The Complainants’ to do the right thing and hand it over).

As we know this is not the first time that Davies has been treated with kid gloves.There is the Peter McKay investigation ( which not surprisingly has never been published) about the racial slur used by Cllr Davies to describe Head of Law Surjit Tour.  This resulted in Council manager Joe Blott   deciding that  Davies and Tour come to a gentleman’s agreement behind closed doors and the public weren’t allowed to know anything about it. Astonishingly  this wasn’t a Code of Conduct complaint – which again is deeply perplexing as Council “leader”  Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies admits to hearing what George Davies said on the tape so shouldn’t he have referred the matter as a Code of Conduct complaint or even more appropriately have suspended his namesake. But of course he couldn’t do that could he ?- Frank Field couldn’t have his political agent subject to a Code of Conduct investigation or a suspension – who knows what might have been uncovered?.

Whilst we’re not dismissing the racial slur as a serious matter  (allegedly Davies claimed he called a Tour “a bloody useless gimp”!. Believe us he didn’t !) but the most important aspect of the case against George Davies and indeed of the ENTIRE Thynne 2 report can be found here :

Thynne - davies 008

Note the use of the term “criminal law” to describe a potential serious breach by Cllr George Davies.The serious breach being the offer of resolving a non-existent legal claim without due legal process if an alleged incriminating document was handed over. Which all of course means that the only thing keeping Davies & Co out of the custody suite is the fact that the taped conversation has never been handed over and means that the holders of the recording hold Wirral Council (or rather the corrupt bunch that control the purse strings ) a hostage to fortune.

Remember it was Council “leader” Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies who said in Thynne 1 :

Davies - Thynne 1 008

The  publication of Thynne 2 now must mean that the stakes are even higher and The Group/The Complainants must now surely be in a position to name their price. As everyone must know by now if those recordings were to ever come to light the house of cards would all come tumbling down .

Could the Wirralgate saga be any more sordid?. Based on further information we have received – yes it can ! – as we will detail in forthcoming posts.

 

WIRRALGATE! – ‘Foulkesy the Fibber’

JAIL

First of all can we say that is unfair on Cllr Steve Foulkes or ‘Foulkesy’ (as he shall now be forever known) that he is the only one to come in for a mild rebuke on the publication of Thynne 2 report .We consider that there are others far more worthy of censure.

Furthermore we question the ridiculous emphasis placed in the report on a so-called “smear campaign”  – there was no smear campaign against Cllr Jeff Green (but more of that on another post) . The “smear campaign” is a smokescreen for misconduct worthy of much more than a belated and begrudged apology.

Where Foulkesy’s culpability does lie is in his reckless stupidity and his sense of privileged invincibility . This was demonstrated by his actions at a Wirral Council meeting held on 15 July 2013-and particularly during the adjournments –  where Foulkesy unleashed the scandal still untold that is Wirralgate. Consequently the other 3 members of Wirral’s Gang of Four – Cllr George Davies , Cllr Phil Davies and Birkenhead MP Frank Field have had to spend considerable time and YOUR money on getting this chancer out of jail.

The most telling paragraph about Foulkesy in the Thynne 2 report  can be found here:

6.5.5 010

Is it only us at Leaky Towers who find the  term ‘economical with the truth’ much more offensive than ‘liar’. What should we do call Foulkesy a ‘fibber’ ? – sorry we’re in no mood for polite and dare we say evasive euphemisms –  Foulkesy is a LIAR – and a well practised if not very accomplished one at that . Even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence he persists with the lies. If only he’d told the truth the first time round Wirral Council could have saved itself £17,000 commissioning a second report from Patricia Thynne. Although we have to say Thynne could have saved us a lot of bother by actually checking the minutes of the Wirral Council meeting held on  15 July 2013 where she would have seen recorded the two adjournments which Foulkesy denied actually did take place.

Under the circumstances we should at least be grateful we didn’t pick up the tab for Foulkesy’s solicitor Frances Randle. Ms Randle is the Labour Party’s local government solicitor and her fees are funded by a levy from the Association of Labour Councillors. It’s nice to see the Labour Party spending their members subs on such worthy causes isn’t it?.

Finally we note the Decision Notice of the Standards Panel which considered the findings of Thynne 2 includes the following line :

The panel welcomes Councillor Foulkes’ offer to contribute to the improvement of the culture of the Council

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50035824/20160628_Standards%20Panel%20Decision%20Notice.pdf

On behalf of the good people of Wirral can we respectfully reject this offer and suggest that Foulkesy had a chance to contribute to the improvement of the culture of Wirral Council after a series of damning reports criticising the Council regime under his leadership. However it seems he contributed nothing but more scheming  and lies.

Therefore we think the time has finally come for him to ‘Foulkes Off’  for once and for all!………………..

 

WIRRALGATE! – Secrets and Lies

Private Eye Aug 2016 008

As we ponder the fallout from the Thynne 2 report we note that Private Eye magazine have this week written a less than flattering account of Wirral Council. The article focuses on the inglorious record of the Local Government Chronicle giving awards to local authorities “heading for (if not already up) shit creek” and as an example  goes on to question the secrecy surrounding the Standards Panel  where Thynne 2 was discussed.

For an eye witness account of the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Standards Panel meeting look no further than the latest post on John Brace’s blog .

However as we promised we’ve given Thynne 2 the once over and as ever with such reports it provides us with more questions than answers. Nevertheless we thought we’d unpick what we could in a systematic way and deal with the leading players and outstanding  issues from the report in the following separate blog posts :

Foulkesy the Fibber  – the man and the motivation behind the lies

George Davies Dodges the Bullets – but for how long?

Green and Yellow – does Cllr Jeff Green deserve an apology?. In a word : No.

Double Echo – the tale behind a recording of a recording

Code of Silence – how councillors abuse their power to protect each other

The Notorious Two – the surprise witnesses who brought about Thynne 2

The Prefab Four – the anonymous men who hold Wirral’s leading politicians a hostage to fortune

It’ll End in Tears – who’ll be crying all the way to the bank and who’ll be in despair about the death of accountability? Wirral Leaks predicts some further twists and turns in this sordid saga despite the best intentions of Wirral Council to ‘move forward’ as fast as they can write a few cheques out!.

 

WIRRALGATE ! – Half the Story

 

SweatyFouker

 

Shamefully nearly 3 years after Wirral Leaks first broke the story here it is at last the 2nd Patricia Thynne  investigation report into misconduct by Wirral councillors -or more accurately and for some strange reason just one in particular.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/exclusive-wirralgate/

Verity is currently combing through the report and we will be bringing you our full detailed analysis over the next few days. But from what we’ve read it’s only half the story (if that) .

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=751&MId=5769&Ver=4

We have the advantage of having been  gifted  a very revealing archive which we hope tells a much more compelling and accurate version of events surrounding Wirralgate and which we think leaves an indelible stain on Wirral Council.

However for starters here are the findings against  Councillor Steve Foulkes

Thynne 2 015

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50035824/20160628_Standards%20Panel%20Decision%20Notice.pdf

We’ll leave our readers to consider in the light of the findings whether an apology is an appropriate sanction for such astonishing dishonesty and whether someone who conducts themselves in such a manner should be making decisions about your life and representing Wirral Council on lucrative outside bodies.

News Briefs

News Briefs

News Item 1

Our thanks go to the wag who sent us details of the News and Content Officer post being recruited to by Wirral Council and for asking us whether our very own Verity was applying!. Verity told that she is always true to her name so will be giving it a swerve !.

https://ww3.wirral.gov.uk/jobs/jobdetail.asp?VacancyID=7374&Other

However we’d like to wish the person responsible for “having  real enthusiasm for communicating what a fantastic place Wirral is to live and work”  the very best of luck. Let’s make a deal – you do the turdpolishing , we’ll do the dirty laundry!.We’re particularly looking forward to reading about Wirral Council Employee of the Month – from the stories we’ve covered that’ll be someone who hasn’t stolen the petty cash , handed over money to scam merchants , failed to follow procurement procedures or been involved in sexual shenanigans and senior management fisticuffs.

Talking of which …….

News Item 2

How delighted we were to see Kevin “Addled” Adderley at last weeks Birkenhead Constituency Committee meeting – pockets bulging with Council taxpayers cash and telling the gathered throng about the wonderful things he was now doing in retirement with the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

It wasn’t all good news though as we hear that Frank Field has stepped down from his role as Chair of the Committee. Frankenfield was always good for a petulant quote or two – who can forget his sly dig at this very blog?.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/frankie-says-wirral-leaks/

Frankenfield is still keeping his hand in (so to speak) as the new Chair is his political agent Cllr  George ” We Shall Overcomb”  Davies . We had questioned Frankenfield’s suitability to chair this Committee from the outset – should the local MP be making decisions on how the Council spends its money ?. But then he’s been used to spending Council money on his pet projects for years as Tony Kinsella and Nick Warren can testify (and we can only hope that one day they may have to !).

Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies helpfully explained that the selfless Birkenhead MP was spending  more time on “parliamentary duties” . By which we think he means having  a bitchfight with BHS bad boy “Sir” Philip Green.

Field has received a letter from Green’s lawyers asking him to apologise for comments he made comparing him unfavourably to pension plunderer Robert Maxwell.

Field told Sky News: “I don’t know how that will run, but it adds to the gaiety of life doesn’t it?”

Doesn’t it just sweetie!.

Frankenfield has gone on to call Green “evil” – which suggests to us that he has a particularly delicate sensibility or he needs to get out more and meet some of his constituents who contribute to his description of Birkenhead being “like Beirut”.

News Item 3

…and finally we read that Cllr Adrian “Janus-faced” Jones is the only Wirral Councillor to publicly support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by signing a pro-Corbyn letter (although we do know that fellow Labour councillors Treena Johnson and Louise Reecejones are also Jezza fans)

http://labourlist.org/2016/06/hundreds-of-councillors-sign-pro-corbyn-letter/

 

Father Christmas and eagle

Awks