A Doctor Writes

Dear Mr Justice


Politics in Wirral, and joining the dots.

A fascinating subject, and not one for the faint-hearted.

The relationships between MPs, local politicians, senior council officers, and external local and regional ‘partners’, membership organisations, the media and the public, make for a far less tangled web than one may think.

I write this as a result of the outcome of the 2016 local council elections.

After extensive research, I now believe politics in Wirral makes an interesting case-study for ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. There appears to be no other explanation for it. The Borough of Wirral occupies 60 square miles of the northern part of the Wirral Peninsula, bounded by Ellesmere Port & Neston to the south. 

Peninsula means ‘almost an island’ and is a far kinder description than ‘almost a cul-de-sac’.

Definition – Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.

There has been so much lost to Wirral over the last 5 decades, that this time-scale reinforces the fear of continually losing more and more. This possibility is reinforced by the ‘dripping tap’ of occasional marginal improvements, just beyond reach ‘vision’ and unaccountable ‘pledges’. There is also a mythical ‘continuous organisational improvement’. This is a form of words which, in Wirral council’s upper echelons, disguises mediocrity as an aspiration. 

By desperately clinging to a belief that ‘the promised good times will return’ if the ‘political captors’ are placated, the ‘captor(s)’ becomes the friends and appear periodically with ‘gifts’ of various descriptions. 

By continually appeasing these ‘self-proclaimed visionaries’, through whom any change but theirs is portrayed as extremely threatening, then quiet acceptance becomes ‘the norm’. 

A ‘stability’ of sorts is achieved through which everyone waits in the hope they will survive and things may appear, occasionally, to ‘improve’. Many short-lived improvements will bring enhancements albeit for brief periods and of a tenuous nature. But still we wait…

Many independent reports have described Wirral as the ‘insular peninsula’, some commissioned by Wirral Council. Many of these have described Wirral Council as an organisation with a long-standing culture where ‘the abnormal is accepted as normal’.

Cul-de-sac means bottom of the bag, but, in my view, Wirral’s politics are actually at the bottom of the barrel.

Your sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith

14 thoughts on “A Doctor Writes

  1. G’day Leaky and Doc Smith

    I presume you are not a golfer Doc or a football hooligan that wants to kick the shit out of their golf course?

    Poor old “Phil the Very Very Deluded Dill” is I am sure still quite confident that Big Jack will come and build two or three golf courses with a hundred houses per hole.

    He will also be expecting the great man to plant a beanstalk in Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant Wirral Waters that will grow into a casino that bursts through the clouds and full of Stella’s cohort.



    Poor old Wirralgate supremo “Philie Mc Phil Face” get your prick mates together do the right thing and stand down.


    Lets have a referendum “Dill” golf courses on no golf courses?

    • Dear Mr Griffiths

      I am not a golfer, but I used to play football and rugby as a teenager. I was good at both individually, and also as a team player. I played as a goalkeeper and a wing three-quarter, so I mostly had the shit kicked out of me.

      I saved a lot of shots and scored a lot of points, so the effort was worth it. At the time it could have been described as brutal, but it would now be called ‘assault’ or ‘character-building’. It makes you what you are, and I am grateful for that.

      All of this taught me patience and perseverance.
      They are never too big, and it’s never too late.

  2. Well written Doc it should be called ‘Brighton Street Syndrome’ as it is possibly a new strain,strain on staff,resources and tax payers!
    Tell me doctor do you practice euthanasia,if so I have nearly 66 possible patients for you!?

    • Dear Mr Oates

      Thank you.

      Your observation is very interesting – maybe Wirral could twin with Reno; Midland Texas; Lorient & Gennevilliers France; and now Stockholm, Sweden?

      It could be another Wirral ‘first’ for Hostage Exchange instead of the usual ‘Cultural Exchange’. Maybe the Civic Leaders could take the ‘Brighton Street Syndrome’ as a very unwelcome gift?

      With regard to your final question. I am not medically qualified, and therefore I am unable to assist you on this occasion.

  3. These promises have been made since “Euro Wirral” yet despite millions of £s wasted, if you live in Birkenhead rather than Heswall you still die at least ten years younger than your better off counterpart.

    • Dear Ste

      There have been some very good officers and staff in Wirral Council, but as an organisation, Wirral Council does not learn, anything, ever. Large swathes of money – mostly capital not revenue, has been invested in Birkenhead between 1991 & 2008 (over £500,000,000). No ‘strategic’ thought has ever been given to the revenue implications for the future of facilities or ‘continuity/succession’. Now they can’t give buildings away (unless you are Wirral Chamber of Commerce of course).

      Result? Lots of built assets, but insufficient funds to run them (properly, or at all), and that’s from the early 90s. The council’s finances were in freefall well before ‘austerity’ measures since 2008. That just made a very bad situation a whole lot worse than it should have been.

      • Kevin Adderley was responsible for the “regeneration” decisions for the past ten years but unless it is the Chamber or Involve North West ( to please Phil Davies) you have been feeding on scraps!

      • Dear Ste

        Notwithstanding the financial aspects of Mr Adderley’s tenure and departure from Wirral Council, has anyone noticed he has gone? Even Wirral Chamber of Commerce has removed the ‘Meet the Team’ staff listing on its website.

        It would appear that Mr Adderley’s transit through Wirral Council has echoes of a Shaolin Monk walking across rice paper and leaving absolutely no trace of ever having been there.

      • Dear Mr Brace – election metaphor
        With regard to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ‘Crazed Boat Ride’.

        Most of the world surrounding the Chocolate Factory (the Council) are unaware of what is going on. ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it ‘- but in Wirral 65% didn’t vote. Those that did took the chance of using the ‘Golden Ticket’, ie their vote, to influence the outcome of the election.

        Willy Wonka leads his group of ‘interested-enough-to-participate people’, through a scenario of what the future may hold. In the case of the election, the ‘Crazed Boat Ride’ comprises door-stepping, marketing, consultation, the media and various communications, reflecting extremes of ‘possible nirvana’ or ‘definite doom & gloom’ contained within a framework of ‘communication’, ‘engagement’ and ‘public consultation’, much of which is meaningless as the outcome appears to be already known.

        I think that there are many permutations for the ‘Wirral cast list’ for your metaphor, and this depends whose agenda you wish to consider. In the video-clip Willy Wonka expounds almost incessantly with various mood swings, the tunnel environment changes, from personable and pleasant, through to tearful and terrifying. Is he single-minded, or are there various ‘voices’, (not only Willy Wonka’s) vying for position and influence? Age also makes a big difference in terms of reactions, given the ‘innocence of youth’ and ‘worldly experience’, but individuals differ.

        Do you need a helmsman in a straight tunnel? Who built the tunnel? Does Willy Wonka know the destination, or is he just following a ‘tunnel’ towards a pre-determined outcome of others’ making. Is he entirely single-minded with his own exclusive personal agenda? Does facing backwards indicate how little real influence, if any, he may have or need? Or, is it pre-determined and he is totally in control? Does he really care, or does he revel in exerting power over unsuspecting people and seeing their reactions? It was the people in the boat being collectively terrified sufficiently after a period of time who demanded that the journey ended immediately. Or was it? Would it have ended at that point anyway? Who would know, and what if it hadn’t as it speeded up?

        The Oompa-Loompas, in my view, in whichever permutation of ‘leading’ characters are considered (including options outside the Council), are always the ruling Cabinet majority of en-bloc voters and abstainers. If they are stopped the ‘Crazed Boat Ride’ stops.

        My summary assessment is that Wirral Council is in meltdown, without anyone at the helm, totally out of control, and gathering momentum. It is heading for the very last frame of your clip – a massive black hole. As things stand there is nothing & no-one to stop it.

  4. Well said Doc, people now accept sleaze and corruption as a normal everyday occurrence, particularly with Wirral Borough Council, it seems they can afford to pay themselves obscene amounts of money but can’t afford to put street lights on at night.

    • Dear Mr Henry

      Thank you. I do have very strong views on these ‘obscene payments’.

      It seems to me that the key consideration in recent years is protection of the top tiers of the Administration and Senior management of the Council organisation & bureaucracy. The incumbents have totally lost sight of why a local council exists, why they are ‘councillors’, and the primary function of providing local services to local people.

      But we are in a wave of a ‘celebrity’ culture which is not always associated with any talent whatsoever. If you surround yourself with spin doctors and people you pay a lot of money to tell you (and others) how wonderful you are, then you probably have the mentality to actually believe it yourself.

      But by then you will have spent the street lighting budget, and any number of other budgets, except possibly the Chief Executive’s and Monitoring Officer’s.

      The lights will all be out, but there will also be no one in…

  5. There’s no doubt that the fine words from the Leaks Doctor have had a huge impact upon all those who’ve read his thoughtful and measured offerings, but Robert is not medically qualified to deal with our many fascinating and complex ailments and so I say, lets stop trusting him with our healthcare.
    I mean, what’s he know about the dispossessed, the possessed, the demented gamblers who’ve become obsessed upon betting on uncertain outcomes and those of us who’ve become deranged, mentally unstable, bewildered and confused and who gather together huddled outside Ale Houses pondering why we’ve got the nits and our lives have been lived unblemished by any form of achievement.
    All I’m saying is let’s stop asking the Leaks Doctor to have a look at our personal photographs depicting our ravaged naked bodies and pressure him to deliver us a diagnosis via email without ever being given the opportunity to meet us, have a face to face consultation that at least gives him a stab of a chance of guessing what the bloody hells wrong with us.
    For my part, I bitterly regret assuming that the Leaks Doctor was a medical practitioner and much more, for involving his Lordship in the downloading of my nude image depicting me sat on a stool clutching a glass phial of my recently harvested semen begging the Doctor, ‘tell me why I can’t sleep’.

    • Dear Bobby47

      I have to say that I now feel riddled with guilt for not pursuing medicine, and being better placed to secure your trust in my medical advice regarding your healthcare. Alas, this is sadly the case, and one for which I am deeply sorry.

      However, health issues aside, I feel that you do me a slight disservice in your second paragraph.

      I have never achieved what you have achieved in your second paragraph (of two halves), with regard to brevity. You have so succinctly described Wirral Council and Councillors (first half), and the Wirral public they are supposed to serve (second half), even without need for extra-time or a penalty shoot-out! Premier League writing!

      I would politely argue that I do have some knowledge of such things, more inclined towards the bewildered and confused in my case. I do see a bit of a bright light at this point as I don’t think that one needs to be medically qualified to recommend treatment for nits, so I may be able to help with that problem.
      My internet provider appears to have filtered out most of the photographs that I have been sent, although people still seem quite comfortable with ‘You can tell me, I am a Doctor’; sometimes at great distance and absolutely no expense.

      With regard to your question, Doctor, ‘tell me why I can’t sleep’? If memory serves me correctly, you mentioned to his Lordship that it was (now ex-councillor) Crabtree’s visits to your window late at night that were keeping you awake. Well, I don’t suppose everybody can be blessed with a ‘Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights moment’ in their life. Maybe we just have to play the hand we are dealt?

      I’m not sure whether I mentioned my own ‘Heathcliff-by-email’ moment a few months ago, when (then Councillor) Jim Crabtree emailed me at 02.35 in the morning with a question…? Yes, another sleepless night for yours truly.

      With regard to ‘thoughtful and measured’ offerings, and his Lordship having to download your nude image. Can I suggest that we just correspond in future, and you find a different kind of ‘thoughtful and measured’ offering that doesn’t require a glass phial (or any other type of container)?

      Maybe we will all sleep better?

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