A Clash of Pinks and Reds

Pink Eagle

What if they gave a press launch and nobody came?.

Angela ” I am a woman” Eagle displays fine comic timing as she has a tumbleweed moment launching her Labour leadership campaign.

https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/752468677950337024

Of course the real political interest in Westminster Village was Andrea “Same Old” Leadsom’s withdrawal from the Tory party leadership campaign.

Locally the real political interest was that Our Ange could face a vote of no confidence by the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14611044.Angela_Eagle_could_face__no_confidence__vote_as_leadership_challenge_gets_underway/

Consequently Our Ange’s campaign launch was sidelined as a bit of a sideshow. A case of blushes all round to match her jacket. And before anyone says “you wouldn’t say that if she was a man” we would reply “Oh yes we would!”. The cynical branding of “Angela” as though she’s a bloody daytime TV host is just screaming to be satirised.

We don’t know who’s handling Eagle’s campaign but we think it’ll take more than a “softer image” makeover with lashings of pink to win over the local so called reds under the bed . Anyway in the local vernacular she comes across soft enough as it is…..

 

 

Newspaper Fun

Newspaper Fun

News reaches us about Wirral Council’s newspaper ,sorry ‘informative publication’ known as The Liptrotsky Chronic(le), sorry, Pond Life , oops! -no ,  Wirral Life .

So determined are they to implement communications tsar Martin Liptrotsky’s vanity project and ensure that no bad news stories are ever allowed the sully the impressionable minds of the good people of Wirral that the Council have just spent £1,065 (exclusive of VAT) on counsel’s opinion, that’s legal advice from a highly paid lawyer, on whether their proposed Pravda -style  newspaper could be produced.

So it would appear that public money has been spent trying to find a way round the rules about local government sponsored publications. And what are the odds that the legal advice was :”This is a non-starter”. Very slim we suspect – especially when external lawyers can sniff a lucrative killing to be made from legal wrangling.

Of course -although YOU paid for this legal advice the Council has declined to publish it .Well when we say the Council we mean “That Man Tour” as the obligingly malleable Head of Law is using the time worn ruse of claiming that the advice is subject to legal privilege. Which means he’s legally qualified and unjustifiably privileged and you’re just there to pay his wages and his legal bills – so suck it up!.

As we already know the poor sap fronting the The Liptrotsky Chronicle is someone with a long and very important sounding job title by the name of Kevin McCallum  who once was lost but now is found and has found his voice and not lost for words as he tells the Wirral Globe :

“Residents told us they wanted to be better informed; they told us they wanted more information about the services which are in place to support them. We have a duty to respond to this feedback, and make sure every resident – regardless of where they live – has access to up to date, current and helpful information about the public services which are available to them.”

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14606910.Hold_the_front_page___Labour_forced_to_reconsider_controversial_plan_for_Wirral_Council_newspaper/

Duty  Kev ???  – among many other things the Council have a legal duty to protect vulnerable people, to empty the bins and maintain the roads. There is NO duty to produce a rival newspaper intending to obliterate any justified criticism with a facsimile of the embarrassingly obsequious and unquestioning Wirral News . Talking of which did anyone read that complete non-story in this week’s edition about Wirral Evolutions ‘Managing Director’ Chris Beyga finding some tacky daubs on the walls of their new offices at The Grange in Wallasey?. We have seen the future of  Council sponsored newspapers on Wirral and we can already feel our brain cells oozing out of our ears……..

I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.

 

 

Send In The Clowns

Foulkes Clown 2

So much money, so much time , so much energy  defending this clown. Can somebody please explain?

Ladies and gentleman we present you with the Wirral Council Circus. Witness amazing feats of escapology performed before your very eyes!.

Recorded for posterity by the indomitable John Brace – who seems to have recovered from being barred from last week’s Standards Panel meeting to bring us the thrills and spills from this week’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee.

 

Watch  as chief town hall juggler  Surjit  Tour squirms as he walks the tightrope of truth and demonstrates a complete inability to give a straight answer by using the word ‘rationale’ as many times as he can as though he’s being sponsored for Comic Relief!

Watch Cllr Matron McLaughlin  change the subject  when awkward questions are being asked about the conduct of councillors by using the magic words  “Working Party”. We’d like to ask an awkward question using the word “Anna” and whether a declaration of interest should have been required at the Standards Panel.

Watch ineffectual and callow opposition councillors  (minus one honourable exception) “play nice”

Watch human potato Cllr Paul Stuart make the unfortunate mistake of asking about “recording devices” ( the new councillor obviously didn’t get the memo from Labour HQ!)

Watch as Surjit puts his head down to conceal his wry smirk as Cllr Stuart  mentions “recording devices” – for as we know no one as benefited as much from this technological device than he has!. The Complainants must be so proud!- their pursuit of  £48,000 each has gifted Tour a job for life ( Frank Field’s words)

Watch as an old dog learns new tricks – kudos to Cllr Gerry Ellis as he asks the obvious questions about what’s the point of protocols,policies and procedures if nobody on the Committee is allowed to know what complaints about councillors are about and what the outcome of the complaint is?. There is no point Gerry , none at all. Accept that councillors are beyond accountability and move on.

Watch as words like “due process” and concerns about length of time it takes to deal with complaints are raised and laugh out loud that those assembled can somehow manage keep a straight face whilst asking the question

Watch as Councillor Denise Roberts drags a quickfire meeting out as long as she can despite the fact that Committee members can’t seem to wait to get the hell out of there. As Her Ladyship  cried : “Somebody pass the cattle prod”

Watch as  it is revealed that the people you voted for have relinquished their responsibility for making decisions about Code of Conduct complaints to Tour and an “independent person”. This might explain why Joe Blott and his posse whisked so called “independent person” Brian Cummings off after last week’s Standards Panel to tell him what  decision he should make. It doesn’t explain why Tour deftly tries to pretend that the Committee are the ones making decisions – as once again the ringmaster has the whip hand and helps facilitate the placement of political and personal interests above the public interest! .

 

Closure and Non-Disclosure

                               ClosureDisclosure

We think a Facebook post by Save Girtrell Court posted a couple of days ago needs highlighting as it further demonstrates the way things work with Wirral Council.

We’ve commented before on their relentless and ruthless  privatisation of public services .We will be returning to  the matter in time for the grand opening of new respite facilities in Tollemache Road now that we know the battle to save Girtrell Court has been lost and Wirral Council will now surely be planning to make a nice capital receipt out of the land to add to the real estate bonanza that will follow the sale of the Lyndale School site.

We note how Eric “Feeble” Robinson has finally fitted in nicely having been well tutored in the use of spin as carers/campaigners claim that he has misrepresented them in statements to the press. We also note the continuing tactic of browbeating people into keeping quiet by shrieking “confidentiality!” and thereby not so much manage the message but control disclosure.

Therefore can we advise the named carer representatives not to hold their breath waiting for an apology or a retraction from Stressed Eric or a Wirral Council media spokesperson.

Once again – read it and weep.

To all Supporters of Girtrell Court

Various officers of Wirral Borough Council have tried in recent correspondence to claim that the closure decision was made “in partnership” and with the support of carers. This is simply untrue and a fine example of “spin”.

It is true that I and other carers contacted through the Wirral Carers Association have sought repeatedly to convince council officers that their policy on Girtrell is wrong and unnecessary but you are all aware of council intransigence – they simply will not listen to logic or social justice arguments.

When all of our pleading fell on closed ears, the only option was to salvage the best solution for all of our loved ones from this train wreck. To this end, we have assessed the options being pursued by the council and have rejected the most unsuitable ones. The only potentially credible offering was Tollemache Road (over which there are still unanswered service questions) and so we have, with great reluctance, made the best out of the proverbial bad job.

I am sorry if you disagree with our actions but we were unable to “go public” due to council commercial confidentiality requirements.

Equally, if you feel that I and others have let you down then I am content to accept your censure but I assure you that I could not have tried harder for the result we all wanted SAVE GIRTRELL COURT.

The text of the email to Chief Executive Eric Robinson follows to set the record straight :-

Dear Mr. Robinson,

You have recently replied to Councillor Blakely regarding the future of Girtrell Court and its possible replacement service.

Your response is a clear misrepresentation of the position and of the involvement of parent / carers since it clearly indicates that users of the current service are content and have willingly collaborated with the council and its officers in agreeing the privatisation and closure of Girtrell.

This interpretation of events would be considered too far-fetched even for an episode of Yes Minister. It is best likened to an executioner claiming that the deceased committed suicide when he opted for execution by lethal injection instead of the alternatives of being burnt at the stake or fed live to a pack of ravenous wolves.

• Not one of the current users of Girtrell Court wish to see the current service closed and privatised;

• Parents and carers have not consented to, colluded with or supported the council voluntarily but continue to oppose the closure of Girtrell Court;

• It is only the complete and unremitting obduracy of Wirral Borough Council in railroading through the closure of a vital and valued facility against the wishes of its users, their hard pressed carers and the general public which has forced carers with great reluctance to assess the credibility of a number of proposed replacement options;

• Our motives in making these assessments have not been to assist in, collude with, sanction or otherwise underwrite this unwanted and mean spirited closure.

Rather our motivation has been and remains solely to ensure that our loved ones on whom this change is being forced by an uncaring council end up with the least worst of the proposed replacements. Never has the term “making the best of a bad job” been more appropriate;

• We were clear in advising Council Officers that potentially suitable accommodation was only one aspect of a complete respite solution and that we would not and could not underwrite any replacement respite service until we had clarity on the complete package on offer. The package remains incomplete – there is no information regarding :-

o the term of the proposed contract,;
o the staffing ratios which will apply;
o the nature and extent of activities available to service users;
o the arrangements for safety of occupants of the first and second stories in the event of fire (when the proposed lift will be out of action);
o confirmation that service users will receive the same time allocation:

all of which are legitimate concerns for parents / carers when being asked to entrust their loved ones to a third party. Merely identifying a possible building does not address these qualitative issues and your officers responses to these issues are awaited.

You cannot justify your council’s wilful refusal to listen to carers, to respect our concerns and to deliver a service in which we have confidence by claiming us as your political cover.

That you should now represent our act of desperation as proactive support for the closure of Girtrell Court and the redundancy of its magnificent staff is truly unworthy of you and adds to a catalogue of shameful behaviour of the council in this matter. Your statement that you “can therefore confirm that the decision to close Girtrell Court has been taken in partnership with carers that use the service” is a blatant misrepresentation and has caused us significant reputational damage within the Girtrell Court carer community.

We hereby go on public record as totally rejecting these statements and inferences contained in your response to Councillor Blakeley and require both a retraction and your apology for the distress caused.

Signed by the following as volunteer carer representatives:-

Meriel Balshaw
Bernard Halley
Angela Harrison and
Peter Linnane

 

Dodo in the Doo-doo ?

Father Christmas and eagle.jpg

Father Christmas/Cllr Jones : What would you like for Christmas annwyl Ms.Eagle : A united and electable Labour Party  Cllr Jones : Wouldn’t you like a pony instead?

It’s strange and disturbing how Wirral, more accurately Wallasey, has been the focus of local and national media attention for a whole week. There are swarms of unknown, meddling metropolitan journalists walking up and down the promenade, microphone in hand … yet not so much as a murmur has arisen from the televisual backdrop of Wallasey Town Hall, slap bang in the middle of it all.

So in the absence of a press release or some sort of official statement on Wirral.gov.uk’s so-called ‘news’ page, we’re left wondering … who do members support?

Are they backing Jezza Corbyn ?  Or do they favour Our Ange?  And if it’s the latter – because word on the street is at least three quarters of Labour members do back Ange? then what’s keeping them? .  You’d think they’d be proud to sing their support from the rooftops for a local lass made mediocre – recently and memorably described as “the lesser of two Eagles” – or failing that to go negative and further undermine the democratically-elected Labour leader.

After all, 600+ Labour councillors from up and down the country have already done that, going onto the record to say Corbyn needs to go:

http://labourlist.org/2016/06/over-500-councillors-tell-corbyn-time-to-step-down/

…and as they don’t state in their letter who should replace Jezza, they must be desperate for anybody, so we’ll assume the Wallasey MP fits the bill as ‘anybody’, despite, or maybe because of her consistent right wing voting record.

The only Wirral councillors brave or stupid enough to add their names to this list are:

  • Matron Moira McLaughlin, Rock Ferry’s answer to Nurse Ratched
  • Denise Roberts (See Wirral Leaks passim for her dubious manoeuverings)
  • Phillip “Brightboy” Brightmore

Labour party members in Wallasey however are overwhelmingly supporting Corbyn, and nominated him for leader and Angela Eagle for deputy last summer.  That position stands to this day.  Awkward.  So perhaps most Labour councillors will be clocking Angela Eagle’s movements and thinking, hmmm, how will all this affect me if and when she stands, and should I wait ‘til then to decide whether to jump off the fence?

We understand that on June 30 ‘somebody’ (not announcing who they were) was ringing around Labour party members in Wallasey asking who they’ll be supporting.  And while this was underway, Angela Eagle announced she’d be delaying her decision to stand for the leadership.

Fascinating from our perspective  but we wonder who could have been behind these anonymous, underhand soundings?  If it was Eagle’s office, Jezza’s approval rating means it certainly wouldn’t have gone as planned! .

As we know to our cost, Wirral is not your average grey and tedious borough, there simply to collect your bins and switch off your street lights.  It’s colourful bordering on the mindbendingly psychedelic.  There’s a long history of back-stabbing, or even in yer face front-stabbing that’s gone on ever since London-born Frank Field landed in Birkenhead way back in the late 70s.  Even before he’d packed away his parachute, he was busy sharpening his knife and hitting the ground running.  There was competition for candidacy at the next election, but voting rules were mangled left, right and centre to suit Frank.  A legal challenge was forming, but the local Constituency Labour Party found itself suspended, with a ‘militant’ label firmly attached to the popular people’s candidate at the time.  All done to facilitate a Frankenfield victory.  37 years later, Birkenhead (or Beirut, as Frank likes to call it) is still licking its wounds.

Our Ange was a more recent arrival in 1992, but similar antics unfolded when it came to choosing a suitable election candidate.  There were more individual suspensions, another CLP suspension and when her successful candidacy was announced, a shroud of secrecy quickly descended over the internal workings of how such an unpredictable result had been arrived at in what was supposed to be a ‘democratic election’.  Once again, the ‘Wirral Way’ had come to the fore, Ange’s career was set into motion, and here she is now, on the very brink of the leadership. However it remains to be seen whether she will she be flying as high as an eagle or will she be as dead as a dodo ?.

We at Leaky Towers think the people of Wirral deserve a public statement NOW from Town Hall ditherers or they awaiting instructions from their very own chosen ‘leader’ as Frankenfield does his usual act of setting off the hares , sitting back and watching the hounds tear his chosen quarry to shreds?.