There were many resonances for us at Leaky Towers when we heard about the frustration of families concerned about the further delay in publishing The Chilcot Inquiry report.
Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed in Iraq in 2005, said he was “disappointed” Sir John Chilcot has not revealed when he will publish the Iraq report, adding: “If he was in our shoes, he might well take a different view on what is going on. This process of Maxwellisation is just too much. It seems to go on and on and on. The fact he is still waiting for responses means there will be further delays.”
The process of frustration,delay and kowtowing to the powerful is oh so familiar to us when it comes to Wirral Council investigations , especially when it comes to senior council officials potentially being criticised. Therefore we were particularly interested to find out that “Maxwellisation” is a procedure in current British legal practice where individuals due to be criticised in an official report are sent details of the criticism in advance and permitted to respond prior to publication.
The process takes its name from the corrupt newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell. Maxwell was once criticised in a government report as “unfit to hold the stewardship of a public company”. Maxwell – a man so shameless and hardfaced he is clearly a role model for some of our local politicians – took the matter to court where the government was said by the judge to have “virtually committed the business murder” of poor pension-snatcher Maxwell.
Consequently official policy was altered to ensure prior notice would be given of critical findings in advance and relevant witnesses are shown the specific extracts of reports relating to them.Accordingly “Maxwellisation” will now enter the Leaky Towers lexicon to sit alongside “Machiavellian” when it comes to describing how Wirral Council conducts its business .
Maxwellisation can be said to be a feature of all the recent council investigations which seem to us to be part of the process of ensuring that no-one is ever held accountable for failings – no matter how serious or damning they may be.
Maxwellisation becomes a means of damage limitation where the process of delay allows issues to be dismissed as historic and the watering down of words lessens the impact of the findings.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the BIG/ISUS dodgy contract debacle – yes that’s still going on folks – as the whistleblowers valiantly attempt to get the full story of what went on into the public domain.
Maxwellisation can also be said to be a feature of a startling series of Freedom of Information requests detailed on the Wirral Council section on What Do They Know website.The FOI requests are eye-watering mainly because of the fact that it makes a grown man want to cry in frustration at Wirral Council’s increasingly long list of legal exemptions.
Reasons for rejecting requests run the gamut from compromising “full and frank discussion” to “vexatious” to “can’t be arsed” .
Once more we we want to get Wirral Council by the collective scruff of the neck and say “what the bloody hell is up with you people?” – but then that’s what should have happened in 2012 and the local government commissioners should have been sent in – but it seems to us that Frank whispered in Eric’s ear and that was the end of that !.
So much for the much lauded transformational change that Wirral Council leaders keep bleating on about.Seems to us that the only transformation that has gone on recently is that Deputy Leader of the Council George Davies has gone from a comb-over to a comb-forward.