Carry On Cabby

Cabby

Just to follow up our NO MORAL AUTHORITY story earlier on this week there’s been some magnificent work undertaken by John Brace on his blog HERE

Here we find details of payments ( previously hidden from public view) for taxi rides exclusively for Labour councillors who are doing their bit in the name of austerity by seemingly hopping into a cab if it looks likely there’s going to be a spot of rain.

Top of the league table for the year 2013-14 was none other than the Comeback Queen herself – Matron McLaughlin with a whopping £755.30 taxi bill (runner -up in running up a bill is Cllr Pat “What a Packet” Hackett with a measly £700)……

In consideration of such a hefty private hire perk we’re left speculating here at Leaky Towers as to whether McLaughlinallthewaytothebank doesn’t drive (and if so – why is this Council tax payers problem ? ) or perhaps it means she, very sensibly, can safely have a tipple at functions or maybe she makes mercy dash deliveries to Wirral’s burgeoning foodbanks from the comfort of her own personal black cab or is it because of her big tips???

What we also want to know is whether a holier-than-thou councillor ( surprisingly not on Brace’s Taxi Rank ) has renounced his cab voucher handouts to his drinking buddies in the Brighton Hotel pub opposite the Town Hall.
How public-spirited some of our councillors can be!…………..

If its broke – don’t fix it!…

Can He Fix It ? Can He Fuck !

Can He Fix It ? Can He Fuck !

Awards -nominated Wirral Council finally get round to looking at their use of consultants and specifically at a case which we covered extensively last year

SEE HERE

And what do you know ,it would appear that a council report identifies that in the style of Sybil Fawlty’s Mastermind specialist subject ( i.e statin’ the bleedin’ obvious) council officers had broken rules and regulations when it comes to consultantcy contracts.

SEE HERE

Now we’ve long claimed that “The Curse of Consultants” is a plague that is affecting councils up and down the land – they are the locusts of local government – however Wirral Council seems to be a heaven sent haven for these cash-hungry hasbeens (as most of them seem to be retired/redundant council staff).

However what infuriates us here at Leaky Towers is the sheer sloppy incompetence and laissez -faire laziness of some council managers who clearly hold councillors in complete contempt – which for the most part is justified – and think that it’s OK for a £50K contract to spiral out of control into a quarter of a million pound cash prize bonanza.

“We don’t understand this complicated contract stuff …” the well-remunerated “managers” whimper ( this was also a feature of the Wirralbiz whistleblow case ) – conveniently forgetting they have a legal department to advise them on such matters – on second thoughts perhaps not – the legal department seems to be crying out to be a test case for euthanasia.

We note that in this instance Frankenfield hasn’t taken a break from pontificating about poverty to make headline grabbing calls for sackings and lynchings and the intervention of the Serious Fraud Office.

But then why would he when it was Labour acolyte Chris “Meany” Meaden who took her eye off the ball on this one and let council managers carry on their merry way and run up a massive bill without actually checking it was OK to do so ?……
Although apparently to ensure the mistakes are not repeated managers are to receive extra training and guidance…….on what ? – how to do their bloody jobs properly!

But really what does Wirral Council expect ? This is what happens when there are no consequences,no accountability, no sanctions and no sackings.

In the unlikely event of a council manager facing disciplinary action for any misdemeanour they would be perfectly entitled to turn round to councillors at an appeal hearing and say :

” You’re having a laugh aren’t you? after what you lot have been up to ? , and when Foulkesy is the mayor! you lot are in no position to take anyone to task.”

Consequently it seems that council managers are laughing in the faces of councillors and the public of Wirral and this is what happens when an organisation has completely lost all MORAL AUTHORITY.

Q & A

Power Boy Pip sitting next to super-sub CEO  proudly announces Wirral Council has been nominated for some awards or other at this weeks Cabinet meeting. We think the word "Bottom" displayed prominently on the case to the right of the screen is an apt commentary on proceedings as we think Pip is talking through his arse.

Power Boy Pip sitting next to super-sub CEO proudly announces Wirral Council has been nominated for some awards or other at this weeks Cabinet meeting.
We think the word “Bottom” displayed prominently on the case to the right of the screen is an apt commentary on proceedings as we think Pip is talking through his arse.

One of the attractions of this blog is that not only does it provide an outlet for people who’s grievances would not otherwise be aired but we also get enquiries from people trying to make sense of the three ring circus that is Wirral Council. So in our role as a Public Interest Service Broadcaster we’d like to impart the benefit of our observations through beady eyes and answer some questions that have been posed this week by some of our devoted readers : JG asks: “They really are a laugh a day. Their local propaganda rag. Local authority shortlisted for most improved council award…… who knows what is going on?”

SEE HERE

Well JG what is going on is what is known in the trade as “Reputation Management”.These are awards where councils nominate themselves…and of course Wirral Council being The Council With No Shame has nominated themselves in 4 categories ( Cover Up of the Year,, Staircase of the Year,Greatest Local Authority In The Entire History of The World – Ever! Award and Batshitcrazydeludedfools of the Year ).
Take no notice JG – the Local Government Chronicle is the trade paper of the Local Government Association (LGA).The LGA has had more money off the council than corrupt,incompetent council officers exiting out the back door after they’ve been found out. Consequently Wirral Council will be a shoe-in for an award and no doubt they’ll thank LGA for all the help they’ve had and the symbiotic ,parasitic, backslapping,money-making merry- go-round will continue ad nauseum

PG asks: Just wondering what you thought of temporary appointment, for no extra money, of D. Armstrong as acting Chief Exec?
We think David “Who?” Armstrong is nothing more than a corporate journeyman. He’s no doubt done a Howard Cooper. Remember him ? – Frankenfield wasn’t too keen which guaranteed him an OBE- .Cooper was the poor sap who inherited the basket case that was the council’s social services department in the fall out of various damning reports.He agreed to take it on as long as he could exit swiftly on favourable retirement terms and we suspect Armstrong will do something along the same lines. He’ll be around long enough to sign the hush money cheques to “The Group” whilst Frankenfield hovers over his shoulder.
Quid Pro Quo (with emphasis on the Quid bit.)

PG asks (again) : Also IT roll-out outsourced to SCC, which would lend to the idea that they would take over support for IT throughout the council ???

We’re not exactly au-fait with this interweb stuff but we are familiar with the phrase “outsourced” and we suspect that SCC (whoever they are) will soon be the ones advising council staff having IT problems : ” Have you tried switching it off and switching it back on again?” for BIG money.

PG asks (further) : Or the validity of social services personnel being given 2K to stay in Wirral with essential mileage perks ??
2K?? We know everyone has their price but talk about selling yourself cheap.But then Wirral social services is notoriously cheap and nasty…….

And finally…

PM :Whilst I cannot prove anything, news reached me today that X had to leave as he got caught with his trousers down with a woman called Y at HQ and she was already having an affair with someone else. ! I bet he was another leaving with a big pay out.Disgusting. Hope you can dig something up

We’re sure that such shenanigans would never go on in the cesspit that is Wallasey Town Hall and I’m afraid that Wirral Leaks would never indulge in such scurrilous enquiries…..mainly because we don’t have to – we’re sat sitting here in the sitting room just waiting for it to come to us!……

Drinking Wine With Cesare Borgia

Cesare-Borgia-(1)
We were perusing the local news sites on Monday evening and reading about the conduct of one Jack Terrence Nolan,who had just pleaded guilty to assault and affray at Birkenhead Magistrates Court. See HERE

Readers will remember that police were called to the Thornton Hall Hotel last October where Cllr Steve Foulkes and his consort fiancée Elaine Nolan were hosting a fundraising ball.

It was here that the Mayor’s future stepson tanked up on tequila,champagne and wine attacked hotel staff and uttered that immortal line:

” My mum’s the mayor, she will sort it out”.

Our first thoughts were concerned with the sickening irony of a seemingly dissolute Mayor’s Ball being held in a top hotel where tickets cost £40 a pop and yet one of the charities benefiting from the bash (no pun intended) were foodbanks ! These reflections were rudely interrupted by Her Ladyship calling us from the drawing room with the anguished cry of : ” Quick!,the ghoul and his poodle are on the gogglebox tut- tutting about anti-social behaviour”…..

And sure enough there was Frankenfield and Power Boy Pip all wrapped up in wool overcoats and scarves with a police escort cruising the badlands of Birkenhead between 7pm- 9pm last Friday night ( because as we all know unruly youths are normally tucked up in bed by the watershed).
Frank did his usual ” I blame the parents” routine whilst Pip just stood there looking gormless in Asda.  SEE HERE

We were then suddenly struck by the links between the story of the Mayor’s drunken future stepson and this particular TV appearance /PR stunt.
As we know Frankenfield is always calling for feckless parents and errant youths to start taking responsibility for their actions and being held accountable for their anti-social behaviour. However we feel this is something he needs to practice rather than preach. He needs by condemning the behaviour of some local Labour politicians rather than co-ordinating a cover up which means that it is unlikely that they will ever be held accountable for their serious misconduct. From circumventing Local Government Commissioners coming in to sort out Wirral Council out in 2012 to preventing the Wirralgate tapes ever getting an airing he’s been getting his mates out of trouble for years.

“My mate is Frank ,he will sort it out”

At least Young Mr.Nolan is being held accountable for his actions and will hopefully have learned a valuable lesson in life. It’s just a shame that his future stepfather isn’t a better role model as he still has to rely on others to get him out of trouble.

So before next time Frank starts badmouthing Birkenhead and some of his constituents he might want to consider the behaviour of some senior Wirral politicians and ask himself who’s more worthy of criticism – the mob or the yob?…….

* As an aside Verity has been undertaking some background research and brought to our attention the curious sadistic tone that runs through some of Frankenfield’s rhetoric.

From this in 1989 talking about the now newly retired lawyer Nick Warren in the House of Commons:
“I am unique in having a legal unit in my constituency which helps me with my constituents’ legal grievances. That in itself would be worth bringing to the attention of the House, but the fact that that unit is staffed by the most talented welfare rights lawyer makes it doubly so and, I am sure, a pleasurable pain in the flesh of the Government….”

….to this in 2014 talking about anti-social behaviour and that “new legislation is needed “that warmly shakes them by the throat….”

Freud would quite literally have a Field day

The Godfather

Godfrank

There was a collective scratching of heads and dropping of jaws at Leaky Towers when we read highly concerning local press reports about the appointment of a retired judge to undertake “an informal review ” of an infamous and seemingly neverending Wirral Council whistleblowing case.  We at Leaky Towers shall henceforth be calling this review “The Warren Commission” – a title which conspiracy theorists will no doubt appreciate.
We consider that Wirral Council’s press release and subsequent statements given to the media by local politicians about this review are highly dubious, open to serious question and much closer scrutiny.

Therefore it is left to Wirral Leaks to deconstruct these press statements in the name of openness,transparency and most importantly the PUBLIC INTEREST – all of which seem to be alien concepts to some of our most prominent so-called public servants……

Let’s start off with excerpts from the Wirral Globe : HERE
Firstly we are grateful that they have corrected the description of “Nicholas” Warren as a retired high court judge. How remiss of the Globe’s sources not to seek to immediately correct this description, especially when they’re not usually backward in coming forward when it comes to anything they believe to be misleading or inaccurate (or more usually embarrassing or incriminating).
No – this is Nick Warren – a Birkenhead solicitor who chaired benefit tribunals…..and has been personally appointed by Birkenhead MP Frank Field to box this little local difficulty off once and for all . To which all we can say is : in your dreams Frankenfield.

Now this particular Mr.Warren is very much part of Wirral Labour’s Inner Ring ( a phrase we’ve picked up from Morton’s Open Letter to Wirral Council sent to us just before Christmas and which is suddenly beginning to make more and more sense and which we will be following up at a later date. ) We understand Old Nick is very much an old friend of Frankenfield and they go back a very long way indeed. There are unconfirmed reports that Frankenfield is Godfather to one of his children.This may or may not be true but in every other sense Frankenfield seems to be THE Godfather round here. A source writes: “Apparently Warren used to work for Frank at the Child Poverty Action Group before either of them came to Birkenhead. Stinks to high heaven.”

Let’s just hope all the right declarations about conflict of interest have been made. For example what are Nick Warren’s links to the local Labour group?

The Globe helpfully clarifies that The Warren Commission is to lead an inquiry into the way a group of Wirral whistleblowers have been treated by the council – and decide whether they should receive compensation.

Wirral Leaks comments : This particular group of Wirral whistleblowers have been known by various names – HESPE/Colas whistleblowers and more recently in the Patricia Thynne report involving allegations of misconduct concerning Councillors George Davies and Steve Foulkes as “The Group” ( a term of reference that we have adopted at Wirral Leaks).
Wirral Globe :Nicholas Warren will carry out the review once the scope and terms of reference of the inquiry has been agreed by council leader Phil Davies.The move comes after Birkenhead MP Frank Field met with the authority’s now-retired chief executive Graham Burgess in November, demanding that a sum of £48,000 in compensation given to an unnamed senior council officer should also be paid to the whistleblowers.

Wirral Leaks: Now Wirral Leaks devotees will know that this alleged payment of £48,000 has always deeply troubled us. But what troubles us even more is that Frankenfield thinks he can stroll into a Wirral Council Chief Executive’s office and demand the same kind of compensation for The Group without due legal process.  Of course “now-retired” Graham Burgess has left Wirral Council so Frankenfield doesn’t have quite the same leverage he once had in negotiations as we understand that Burgess was very much compromised with regard to this £48,000 pay-off (in more ways than one).

Wirral Globe : Mr Field said the group are suffering severe hardship and are “on the point of bankruptcy” after raising their concerns over a multi-million pound outsourced highways contract. He claimed the payment to the anonymous officer, who it is understood had suffered at the hands of town hall bullies, was the least the council do in the circumstances.

Wirral Leaks : We do hope that Frankenfield and The Group are able to evidence that they are “suffering severe hardship” and “on the point of bankruptcy” especially when we understand that they may have all been continuously and gainfully employed and there may have already been compensation payments made (although not by Wirral Council). What we’d particularly like to know is how Frankenfield thinks there is any equivalence between these two cases. Did The Group “suffer at the hands of town hall bullies”? – reading The Thynne Report it makes it sound it was the other way round!  Could it be that the compensation payment of £48,000 was also made without any evidence that the recipient had suffered any financial loss as clearly they are still in post as Head of Neighbourhoods and Engagement?

Furthermore if Wirral Council taxpayers have had to stump up just under £50,000 (thereby evading any public scrutiny as we understand the Chief Executive has the authority to sign off anything under £50K – no questions asked) can we state that we make these claims in the PUBLIC INTEREST. We firmly believe that when public money is given to public servants because of the alleged malpractice of other public servants this should NOT be hidden from public scrutiny under the guise of confidentiality and privacy.

This then becomes a COVER-UP and Frankenfield seems curiously anxious not to challenge this precedent but to replicate it !….and we think we know why!

Wirral Globe: His (Frank Field) demands led to agreement that Mr Warren should carry out an informal review and that his findings will be binding to both parties. Mr Field told the Globe: “I am delighted that Nick Warren has agreed to take this review.He has one of the finest legal minds in the country and if anyone can get to the bottom of what has gone on – and decide whether the whistleblowers have been fairly treated or not – he can.

Wirral Leaks: Hang on – if this is an informal review with no legal standing how can findings be “binding on both parties” ? We presume that this statement heralds the potential return to the bad old days of pay-offs and Compromise Agreements to hide malpractice and misconduct. Frankenfield seems very selective about making “demands” doesn’t he ? and the making of such demands also suggests his baleful influence extends way beyond that of being the MP for Birkenhead. Furthermore we’re absolutely sure Frankenfield is “delighted” about The Warren Commission being undertaken by “one of the finest legal minds in the country”. You’d certainly think that someone who fitted such a description would have a much bigger public profile or perhaps Warren is just very modest and keeps his legal wisdom within the confines of Houlihan’s……

Wirral Globe :The added advantage of Mr Warren leading the inquiry is that he has no connection with the ongoing case and can approach it with a completely clear and unbiased view.

Wirral Leaks: Oh I think we know what the “added advantage” of the Warren Commission to Frankenfield is don’t we boys and girls?

To reassure the Wirral public that this review is unbiased we request that any prior connections and affiliations to any interested parties is openly and publicly declared or we’re heading for the same sort of outcry that accompanied the short-lived appointments of Judge Woolf and Baroness Butler-Sloss to head up a national Child Abuse Inquiry because of their prior connections and affiliations.

Actually – who are we kidding – there will be no such outcry. This is Wirral where political apathy rules and therefore the abuse of power will probably continue unchecked .

Wirral Globe : His review will get underway as soon as Phil Davies, who is extremely keen for a fair and equitable outcome, signs-off the terms of reference.

Wirral Leaks: Well this is an interesting (but entirely understandable) turn around. Didn’t Council Leader Phil Davies state that “The Group were trying to use the content of the phone conversation to pressurise him into settling their claim” . The phone conversation to which Davies refers is of course contained on the infamous Wirralgate tapes – which of course is what we think this little circus is really all about.

Are we to assume then that the Wirralgate tapes have been handed over and will be part of the investigation about how the whistleblowers were “treated by the Council”. It’s the only way to counter allegations that the tapes are the real means to a “fair and equitable” outcome. Otherwise it looks suspiciously like Quid Pro Quo ( a legal term which Mr.Warren will no doubt be familiar with) – we’ll sort you out if you bury the tapes (which is similar to the tapes themselves which were concerned with sorting The Group out if they provided incriminating document about a political opponent)

Wirral Globe : Mr Field has been battling to reach a settlement with the authority for several years after a group of former council employees – acting under whistleblowing law – voiced concerns of alleged “irregularities” in a £40m contract with highways maintenance company Colas.

Wirral Leaks: And of course a subsequent investigation conducted by Richard Penn concluded there was “no case to answer” with regard to alleged “irregularities” . We seem to remember there have been at least 5 investigations regarding The Group’s case and we are still are none the wiser about the extent any malpractice (or indeed if there was any) . This begs the question as to why Frankenfield has been battling to reach a settlement for The Group if there was no foundation to their claims. Now either he knows more than he’s letting on and that the Penn report was a stitch up or he has an ulterior motive in pursuing this settlement. Which is it?

Wirral Globe : In November, he (Frank Field) told the Globe: “Their whistleblowing resulted in an almost clean sweep of senior council officers.

Wirral Leaks : This is simply untrue. No disciplinary action of any senior council officer ever took place as a result of The Group’s “whistleblowing” and former Chief Executive Jim Wilkie went off sick ,never to return just after the publication of the damning AKA report in January 2012 – 10 months before Penn published his report .

Wirral Globe : ( Field ) – “The debt Wirral owes to those who blew the whistle is considerable. And yet they gained no compensation for the damage that has occurred to their careers.There were last year carried information (sic) that a senior officer of the council was paid a fraction under £50,000 after allegedly being bullied by an even more senior officer. Surely the case of the whistleblowers is more deserving than the case of this officer, who is still in post”.

Wirral Leaks : We note that Frankenfield provides absolutely no evidence to support his allegation that Wirral Council’s head of Engagement and Communities was bullied by an even more senior officer (can he, in the public interest , name the officer involved and identify whether he is aware of any disciplinary action that resulted from Wirral Council having to shell out nearly 50K because of such unacceptable conduct).

We do know that Graham Burgess claimed that the payment was a result of “corporate failure” to respond to an allegation of bullying. Corporate Failure we presume being a euphemism for the Leader of the Council – who at the time the allegation was made was…..Councillor Steve Foulkes!

It’s all beginning to fit into place isn’t it ?- unless Wirral Council would like to publicly deny any of these claims.

The Liverpool Echo also seems to have based it’s story on press release statements from the same sources. HERE

Liverpool Echo : The whistleblowers had highlighted concerns about the authority’s former multimillion pound highways contract.
Wirral Leaks: Which up until now appear to be unfounded. What has never been revealed is that the whistleblowers themselves had also bid for this particular contract …….

Liverpool Echo : But several have since lost their jobs while in July 2012 the then acting chief executive of the council, David Armstrong, was forced to issue an “unreserved apology” after a blunder allowed one of them to be stripped of his anonymity when his name was published on the authority’s website.

Wirral Leaks: As we have always been led to believe that The Group comprised 4 whistleblowers how can it be said that “several have since lost their jobs ” when we know that contracts of employment would probably have been transferred from Wirral Council to Colas to Bam Nuttall in accordance with employment law.

Once again this statement is inaccurate. What is true (and the only example of mistreatment of The Group that we actually know about) is that indeed the anonymity of one of the whistleblowers was compromised by Wirral Council.

But can anyone remember the name of the whistleblower involved ? – it’s on our blog somewhere but we simply can’t be bothered referencing it and anyway we can remember a time when the whistleblower involved was quite happy for his identity to be revealed or we simply would not have printed his name. Once again we’re wondering how this whistleblower is going to demonstrate how this cock-up has adversely affected their career.

Liverpool Echo: At a meeting with council chiefs last year Mr Field called on the council to act quickly to compensate the whistleblowers who he says have suffered since highlighting their concerns.

Can Frankenfield please describe the nature of their “suffering” exactly…. ?

Liverpool Echo : The MP said the debt Wirral owes the whistle-blowers “is considerable” and yet they gained no compensation for “the damage, or potential damage” that has occurred to their careers.

Wirral Leaks: After at least 4 previous investigations can the”influential” MP explain exactly what Wirral owes these whistleblowers?  Eldritch rather succinctly if crudely states that it is : “Fuck all….”

That’s not to say we don’t think The Group should not be compensated. We wholeheartedly do ….but simply not from dwindling council funds.

We think Wirral Labour need to be dipping into their fighting fund as it is they who have ruthlessly played cat and mouse with The Group and have engaged them in a dangerous double bind from which they seem to be trying to extricate themselves by means of a pay-out from the public purse.

Liverpool Echo: The group of whistleblowers were told by the council in 2012 to employ lawyers, Mr Field said, to obtain compensation but he said they have “nearly bankrupted themselves in the process with mounting legal fees and with no compensation package being offered”.

If The Group has been paying lawyers for over two years might we suggest no compensation package has been offered to The Group could it be because a) lawyers have been leading them up the garden path and/or b) they do not have a legitimate legal claim against Wirral Council …..they cannot take their case to an Employment Tribunal,they don’t seem to be able to bring a claim for bullying – so what is the basis of their claim ? (other than 1 person’s confidentiality has been breached ). All we know for sure is that they have a series of taped recordings which incriminate Wirral’s leading politicians in acts that could be interpreted as criminal.

Liverpool Echo : Mr Field said: “I met with the former chief executive Graham Burgess before Christmas with the whistleblowers to seek some way of settling in a fair and equitable manner their grievance. They said I could suggest a chair to review how the authority behaved. I suggested Nick Warren, who is just retired and lives in Birkenhead, but has no knowledge of the case.”

Wirral Leaks : Lady W spluttered out her sherry on reading this : “Where’s Old Nick been – living in a cave? Are we really expected that someone who should be so well informed about the local political scene would have no knowledge of the case?  Poppycock!”

Liverpool Echo : Mr Field said the retired judge would have access to the whistleblowers, council and documentation and said: “I’m hoping we might now get justice, a settlement that is fair and just to the whistleblowers.”

Wirral Leaks : And of course Warren will also get access to a bumper pay-cheque Who knows , if he plays his cards right , he can spin it out as long as Anna Klonowski. Unless of course he’s doing the work pro bono or donating the cheque to charites fighting poverty…….

Liverpool Echo: Council leader Phil Davies said: “We have agreed that the review will go ahead and we will await his report.I know Nick quite well and he is a very distinguished judge and I’m sure he will do a thorough job.”

Wirral Leaks : All of us at Wirral Leaks are in complete agreement with Pip ,especially when he knows him “quite well” and that indeed Warren will do a thorough job (wink,wink nudge nudge)

A council spokesman said: “Terms of reference have yet to be agreed regarding the proposed review so it is not possible to confirm timescales or exactly what form any subsequent report might take.”

Wirral Leaks: Ok we’ll do it on behalf of the highly paid council spokesperson – we anticipate the report won’t be completed until after the May elections and will then be exempt from any Freedom of Information requests on the grounds that the report contains legally privileged information.

Let (another) cover up commence !….

Wirral’s Growth Industry : Foodbanks

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The new year has started off with much sound and fury signifying nothing about record business growth on Wirral and the usual petty politicking about who should take the credit.

SEE HERE

Forgive us for being cynical here at Leaky Towers but where is this growth exactly ? – call centres? , former council services which have been outsourced ? consultancy firms – it’s got to be consultancy firms the amount of money Wirral Council spends on them!  Business growth is certainly not yet apparent on Wirral Waters and the much trumpeted golf resort non-starter has finally been declared unplayable and left in the rough. In our experience the only area of growth on Wirral that we can identify are foodbanks.

That’s hardly surprising as my goodness our Wirral politicians love those foodbanks don’t they ?- it’s a pity some of them have never been reliant on one.Let’s face it having to live off tins of spaghetti hoops and spam might make them focus their minds before they issue their next caring,sharing soundbite

In the blue corner we have Esther McVague extolling the virtues of foodbanks and how right it is that people should live within their means even if that means reliving the days of the soup kitchen. And in the red corner we have Foodbank Frank – who laughably was recently identified as a Hero of the Year for 2014 in the tabloid blog Huffington Post. What for ? – you may ask – for services to breathtaking cynicism and political manipulation? Why no – it was for his anti-poverty stance. Which I’m sure you agree is so,so brave because there are so many people are pro-poverty aren’t they? It seems to us that Frankenfield’s anti-poverty stance means as long as him and his chums don’t have to experience poverty the feckless, the wreckless and the less than well connected are on their own.

There have been more foodbank frolics with Foulkesy thanking Wirral council staff for donating generously to this year’s Foodbank appeal in his Mayor’s Diary in the Wirral “News” which made us think a) does he still use crayons to write his column and b) will Wirral Council staff who donated generously end up eating their own spaghetti hoops and spam found at the back of the cupboard when they too are made redundant?……….

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The Leakys 2014

LEAKEys-2014

Following last years inaugural awards we proudly present our 2nd annual Leaky Awards https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/the-leakys-wirral-leaks-awards-2013/

Hissyfit of the year

For the 2nd year running it’s Mayor Foulkesy ! – for his intemperate performance at full Council on December 15th 2014- exactly 17 months after his last award winning performance on July 15th 2013 .Where the two connected? Yes indeed! For now we know that whistleblower Morton’s Open Letter claiming Foulkesy was “unfit for public office” must have landed in his in-box just before the meeting.This may explain his snarling at the public gallery and angrily telling opposition Councillors Green and Cleary to sit down. We don’t know what Charm School Foulkesy failed to graduate from – but it’s not the sort of behaviour one would expect from Wirral’s first citizen or represents a suitable role model for his future stepson…..oh.

Venue of the Year –

The winner : Friday night rendezvous at Mere Brook House
Runner -up : The pop up B&B in Sandringham Avenue during the Open golf championships
Dishonourable mention: Floral Pavilion – New Brighton commandeered for the coronation of Wirral’s first citizen Foulkesy and the scene of the Power Boy Pip/Comrade Burgesski bust -up

Comeback of The Year –

After being responsible for an appalling lack of scrutiny and poor governance during her previous tenure as overseer of adult social services which resulted in eye-watering toxic debts ,financial abuse and appalling failures to safeguard vulnerable people which were identified in a series of damning reports Matron McLaughlin crawls her way back to become Chair of Families and Wellbeing Committee. And so having failed so catastrophically McLaughlin now has an even bigger and more unwieldy portfolio than before – incorporating as it does Children and Families and Public Health. What a reward for failure – way to go Wirral Council!

Quote of the Year –

Wirral Leaks followers will recall that the Quote of the Year in the 2013 Leaky Awards came from Power Boy Pip and was in reference to the Wirralgate tape – ” No evidence was made available to the investigation to substantiate a serious allegation regarding inappropriate language” (This investigation will be the unheralded Peter Mackay investigation from October 2013 – about which much more in our upcoming Wirralgate For Dummies guide) Then having thought he’d cleverly boxed off that little local difficulty Pip’s plans were dashed after someone tipped off Tory leader Jefferson Green about the Wirralgate tape just before last Christmas and by the new year it suddenly appeared that Power Boy Pip had recovered from a bout of amnesia and suddenly recalled being “played an excerpt of the recording” and that “an adverse comment (was) made by the senior member” of the Labour group” !!!.

Oops! the “adverse comment” must’ve slipped Pip’s tiny mind during the McKay investigation in October 2013. Funnily enough a witness to Foulkesy’s involvement in this tawdry saga got paid £48,000 during that same month.What a coincidence!

PHIL_yawot

So having been rumbled Pip was forced to concede that the Wirralgate tapes went from an “unsubstantiated rumour” to “inaudible” to him admitting that he was indeed “played an excerpt.”

Reading quotes containing phrases like “inappropriate language” and “adverse comment” suggests that minimisation – a common practice much loved by Wirral Council when there’s something to hide – is now turning into an art form….and believe us they sure have something to hide!

Quote of the Year Runner up :

” We wanted justice but you wouldn’t give it to us” – Whistleblower Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro speaking at Audit & Risk Management Committee in October whilst exposing Wirral Council’s inglorious record of thwarting whistleblowers by means of delay,obfuscation ,denial and minimisation (see above).

The Absent Friends Award –

Winner :To the privileged individual whose hysterical ( in a fit of pique sense , not in humour ) hair-ripping antics have led to much mutterings of “schadenfreude” in the newly-carpeted corridors of Brighton Street, and seen a conspicuously empty chair at senior officer meetings of late. We wonder why that is?

Runner Up : If everyone is asking where the hell is Stella “Show Us Your Marrows” Shui in the ongoing Wirral Waters debacle, why won’t anyone at Brighton Street just tell us?

Stella

They made such a song and dance about the er,stellar qualities of Stella, and professed to have carried out due diligence into her self-penned glittering business background… Except, clearly they didn’t – the Financial Times and Private Eye exposed that, but from the official mouthpiece for Wirral comes nothing. We imagine the legal, financial and strategic departments have a lot to answer for but don’t expect any hands to go up admitting liability – lie ability? – any time soon.And don’t forget, all this happened long after Wirral’s “Shanghai visit is hailed phenomenal success” – the headline on the council-penned press release revealing that the council’s junket to the East had been hailed a “phenomenal success” by, er, Wirral Council.

We’re left wondering whether Burgesski took the vainglorious picture of Stella by Moonlight Flit hanging in his ante-room as a memento when he gleefully left on New Years Eve?….. or are Wirral Council deluding themselves it’s still a case of out with the old and in with the Shiu?

GoofyB-_stairway

Special Wirral Council “Our Values In Action” Award:

The glorification of golf and the titivating of the town hall v The closure of Lyndale special school and bedroom tax/council tax measures affecting the elderly and the poor……..enough said.

GOLF-JOKERS

Photograph of the Year –

SLUMBER

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes……….