A Cammell Laird Christmas Carol – POSTPONED

Shortly after we published our Frank Field’s Casual Approach to Casualisation story  Wirral Globe inevitably and belatedly waded in with two stories providing the approved narrative that :  a) Cammell Laid CEO John Syvret is claiming that strike action is jeopardising future contracts and employment prospects and that b) Frank Field is working relentlessly behind the scenes to safeguard jobs. Unfortunately neither article addresses frigate in the dry dock and discuss what the strike action is actually all about.  Casualisation is obviously the new ‘C’ word !

Sadly for those wanting to show solidarity with striking Cammell Laird’s workers – especially those who received their redundancy notices this week –  and find out exactly why they are picketing the shipyard will be unable to do so as today’s planned gathering has been postponed. We’ll keep you posted about future developments:

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A Sheltered Life

In advance of a forthcoming Wirral Leaks special report on Wirral Council’s asset (mis) management we bring you the following case study provided by an increasingly frustrated source from the teaching profession:

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I write to you out of pure frustration and anger. This is because the teaching profession to which I and many others serve is being very badly let down. Firstly, by front line council officers whose job is to maintain school buildings to an acceptable standard. However hide behind there being no funds available to spend on the upkeep of our schools and allowing them to fall gravely into disrepair. This, in turn, affects staff and pupils alike for many obvious reasons that only reasonable people seem able to comprehend . Old electrics , leaking roofs ,doors falling from hinges , damp and leaking pipes etc etc.
This hiding behind lack of available funds convolutes their mismanagement of available critical funding and their inability to obtain best value for the money spent ,which is available but being wasted, ridiculously and needlessly .
We ,the education professionals, have given David Armstrong, Mike Woosey  and councillors numerous examples of this through a range of schools and indeed your web site has additionally highlighted peoples growing concerns and frustrations, but deaf ears and buried heads in a murky sand seems to be the order of the day.
Mr Armstrong at staff meetings stated that some contractors are not very good, but they are cheap.
THEY ARE NOT CHEAP !!! . Examples of heads procuring tenders away from the selected chosen few contractors on the council list have resulted in shockingly massive reductions in quotes. Hence we don’t trust them anymore if indeed we ever did. They turn up numerous times to do the same jobs and it’s never to an acceptable standard.
But what we have witnessed lately is utterly deplorable and highlights either gross incompetence of council officials or something more sinister. When staff, parents and even children can laugh and ridicule something so obviously wrong, yet politicians , council officers and contractors find excuses for what is indefensible and utterly incredulous  “ they are deluded, incompetent or kidding themselves , however nobody else is being kidded and they want to now be heard”
Whilst it would appear hilarious and gives visitors a huge laugh, it’s not funny. This salubrious local attraction hidden from view and out of the way ,behind Joseph Paxton building , hidden and  constructed  at great expense sums this council up. Inept from top to bottom or worse.
The school heads all meet up regularly at seminars etc and share horror stories , but this needs sharing wider. For the school and library services that house this work of art have been starved of vital funds for real critical issues for many years . But they are not alone,  all schools are suffering , we get it that fiscal problems exist and the need to tighten up, yet its waste waste waste we are complaining about. Whilst we penny pinch and fund raise , these people throw it away on what they want to, not what they need to.
The issue :
The library service in question complained that the area of the school building allocated to them could not cope with the number of books stored. The councils asset management made available a number of old metal containers outside to the rear the building to store the books in.
The service complained  that the wools would get damp outside  in a tin skip so they agreed and  incorporated some heaters in the metal containers which are powered 24/7 to keep the books warm. They can’t even do that for the homeless as documented lately in the press , they have kept money back assigned to these poor people whilst  also lending £50 million to another council at mates rates .  As for the environment , who cares, the cost , that comes out of running  costs. No thought, no care. No responsibility, no accountability. No problem. No one checking .
The next thing  highlighted is that the books when it rains get wet from the short walk from the building to the  storage skips.  A cover was asked for. The expected no funds argument came back from Mike Woosey  which was expected , however he stated he would speak to the head of asset management Jeff Sherlock to see if he could “ juggle things”
Never in the wildest dreams of fantasy island could we envisage what would be build.
A grand salubrious canopy made of the highest quality polycarbonate roofing, propped up by 12 inch expensive steal columns in royal blue, supported by deap pad foundations and steal welded cross beams  at an overall combined alleged cost of £15,000.
That commentary is the result to being married to a structural engineer who is staggered at the complete waste of public money . 1 As a Wirral rate payer. 2 as a parent who’s child attends a school with doors hanging off. 3 as a professional who states a simply supported 4X4 timber posts with wooden cross beams supporting a light weight plastic roofing material at a cost of a maximum of £2,000 is all that was needed to act as a temporary cover to shelter staff and books during a few metres walk from a building. He has shown the photographs to architects and real surveyors he works with. They are “gob  smacked”
Why not put books in a water proof plastic box and give staff a coat !!!! Is that a bit harsh ??? That was his initial response .
So much so they have positioned the photograph of the palatial skips in their meeting room stating , “ treat clients money as if it’s your own or you end up with this”
He stated that this type of structure is best suited for and used in shopping arcades , but never ever as a temporary measure in any circumstance due to the massive cost and structural foundations required.
“But under no circumstances  can it be justified to cover old glorified skips. It’s outrageous , I don’t know how they get away with it” he said.
The top and bottom of it is simply , they should have found the library service a school or building capable of the storage requirements needed.
But that requires thought and planning, not get on with it, let’s see what happens , make do and waste money putting a square peg in a round hole.
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Frank Field’s Casual Approach to Casualisation

Casualisation

The mainstream local press are keeping a very low profile on this week’s local ongoing strike action at Cammell Laird . More significantly the ‘Independent’ Labour MP in who’s constituency the shipyard has been a significant source of employment has been conspicuous by his silence.

As we reported in our  The ‘Casualisation’ of Cammell Laird  story which followed a leak from Wirral South Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting which was asked to support the now striking workers  “Turning the Tide on Casualisation ” campaign :

You’d think that the “Turning the tide on Casualisation” campaign would be right up neighbouring MP Frank Field’s street wouldn’t you?  And indeed as part of Field’s relentless media presence he has obviously made sure that Cammell Laird gets a mention. A recent press release can be found on his blog here

However whilst securing shipbuilding orders are indeed one way of securing jobs at Cammell Laird you will note that the main thrust of the Unions campaign is the possible use of non-Unionised(?), cheaper labour accessed via an agency thereby undermining local workers rights ,pay and conditions and the potential cause of future redundancies. Once again you would think this would be meat and potatoes for Field. We’d certainly expect him to be raising questions about who’s behind this mysterious agency  – we certainly have and the information we’ve has opened up some interesting lines of enquiry.

Perhaps it could be both impolitic and impolite for Field to mention such matters when Cammell Laird is a major contributor (along with Wirral Council taxpayers) to Frank Field’s pet project ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ ?

Subsequently  it was left to Dan Carden , MP for Liverpool Walton to raise the matter in the House of Commons

Meanwhile on the same day the MP for Birkenhead was raising this important matter :

Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many
applications he has received from local authorities for funding to
implement their Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan; and how
many of those applications were (a) successful and received the funding
in full and (b) unsuccessful.

No wonder Labour List reports :

The solidarity and support from local Labour Party members has been exemplary. It was particularly moving to watch the enormous support from local activists and Labour members as the workers walked out for the first time on Friday. Delegates to Labour’s North West Regional conference raised £250 towards the fighting fund, and Unite members at BAE donated £3,000. The latter sends a significant message of worker solidarity to the two employers, since it is BAE that has a teaming agreement to build the aforementioned Royal Navy ships with Cammell Laird.

The workers have received support from many Labour MPs, with Justin Madders and Dan Carden raising the issue in the chamber and visiting the picket line. As for the local MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field – he is nowhere to be seen. Long thought to have been in cahoots with Cammell Laird management in opposition to workers taking action at the site, Field has come under fire from local supporters for ‘regurgitating’ the company line.

 

 

Wirral Leaks Scoops the Mooney Scoop

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As we reported earlier this week in our Will the Red Mist descend at Misty Blues? story Cllr Bernie Mooney was under some pressure this week to preserve her nomination as Labour candidate for next May’s Wirral Council elections.
 
Here’s a reminder of Mooney’s rap list:
  • Multiple complaints about phone calls, done to promote herself – not permitted.
  • Using an email address “Wallasey Labour Party”, when the email was from her personally
  • The email had the Constituency Labour Party Office address on it and a photo which included people who had not been asked for permission, and were not in fact endorsing sitting councillor Mooney
  • Repeated canvassing of Branch members by phone using the Party database at a time when this is not allowed by the rules
  • Some of these phone calls also misrepresented the situation, implying that a candidate had already been chosen, and so discouraging members who favoured a full selection process from attending the meeting
  • Leafleting in support of a candidate inside the meeting venue, with other copies of the leaflets next to the signing in sheet, which is also not allowed
  • All of this conveyed the impression that the sitting councillor was the official or preferred candidate of the Labour Party
  • It was unfair to other potential candidates who might otherwise have been invited to address the meeting, and be given the chance to become the Council candidate in May 2019

So here’s subsequently what happened at ‘Misty Blues’ according to an eyewitness to the Liscard Labour Branch meeting held on Tuesday 20th November

 
All changed.  Very businesslike coming together with work to do.
A new and different motion:
“This branch notes the Branch Officers’ proposal that the Liscard shortlisting meeting should be re-run.  The branch however also notes the advice of the Labour Party that this is not appropriate and that instead, the issues
can be explored by a “change of circumstances” interview.  The Branch therefore calls on the Local Campaign Forum (LCF) to follow that advice.”
This motion was voted upon and overwhelmingly agreed.
The above “advice of the Labour party” was received from North West regional officer Anna Hutchinson, who had previously stated there had been “no material impact” and that the original Mooney winning vote had been above board, despite the clear evidence of multiple procedural breaches.
Mooney waited until the end to deliver a speech.  Nobody present applauded, not even her own entourage.
Mooney has to now go before the LCF for a change of circumstances interview in accordance with Labour’s democratic rulebook.  Basically to decide whether she can stay on the list of potential candidates for a re-run selection panel.
The LCF is populated by members who will decide whether the democratic rulebook is applied and may not be minded to grant much leeway should the sitting councillor’s repeated, multiple breaches of the Labour Party rulebook
be confirmed.
One outcome of the Change of Circumstances interview could be that Councillor Mooney is stripped of her potential candidacy and victory handed to the losing candidate.
These are the Democratic Labour Party rules, strictly applied to all, now and in the future and will be rigorously applied to put an end to the repeated laissez faire interpretation enjoyed by Wirral’s right wing councillors and their sympathetic NW regional rep.
However the reason we have delayed reporting these developments is because we have become aware that there has been an orchestrated campaign to circumvent party processes and an unknown “Labour party rep” has plied the ever compliant Liverpool Echo with the material for a potential story. So it would appear that some anonymous person appears to be feeling the heat.  Who could that possibly be boys and girls ?
This (militant) tendency of the local press to go for outlandish headlines and ‘trial by media’, rather than reporting on internal proceedings will no doubt be welcomed wholeheartedly by BBC-funded journalists. Luckily, once again, Wirral Leaks got there first.
It will be interesting to see if the Liverpool Echo still run the story after this latest Wirral Leaks  scoop – but if they do,regardless of political affiliations, at least we can all make up our minds about the objectivity of the local press from the following leaked email :

Hi guys,I’m from the Echo and we’ve received the following report from a Labour rep. Can you let me know if the Liscard Labour branch would like to comment on a potential story? Going to run it asap as the meeting was earlier this week.

Bernie Mooney confirmed as Labour candidate as Hard left Wirral take over fails

Hard left plans to seize control of Wirral Labour Party have been halted as Labour’s most senior officials in the region confirm Cllr Bernie Mooney is reselected as the candidate for Liscard in next May’s elections.

Cllr Mooney is the deputy labour leader in Wirral and was automatically re-selected in a ward-wide election that has infuriated hard left activists in the troubled Wallasey Labour Party.

A Labour source said:

“Earlier this year, the hard left made clear their intention to take over Wirral Labour Party and target seats including Liscard, Bidston, Pensby, Rock Ferry and New Brighton.

“But with the exception of Rock Ferry, rank and file members of Wirral Labour Party have stood up and rejected the hard left takeover and renominated sitting councillors Mooney, Kenny, Brightmore and Hackett.

“The hard left, many of whom have links to 1980’s Militant and the Socialist Workers Party, have now been roundly rejected by the majority of Labour members in seats across Wirral. The Labour Party’s membership has stood up for councillors who have served their communities well for years.

“In a desperate last attempt, local hard left activists tried to use the complex rules and structures of the Labour Party to replace Cllr Mooney with a hard left candidate of their choosing, but the national party’s officials have now drawn a line under their plotting and planning by confirming Cllr Mooney as the Labour candidate.

The source added:

“Many of these hard left activists have only just rejoined the Labour Party in the last year or two after having campaigned for Socialist Party or The Greens against Labour in previous elections.

Ultimately, who represents Liscard is a choice the electors of the ward will make in May, not a handful of left wing committee members scheming in the shadows.”

WIRRAL LEAKS turned 8 today!

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How thoughtful of our original website hosts Tumblr to remind us that is was 8 years ago that Wirral Leaks was thrust kicking and screaming upon an unsuspecting Wirral public.

In the intervening years there’s been laughter,there’s been tears but most of all there’s been leaks.

So here’s to all of you out there who believe in truth,justice and accountability and who keep us doing what we’re doing…for now anyway.

And our message for all you naysayers out there is simply this : The mere fact that we’ve stood proud and erect for 8 years is all the vindication we need.

Keep on leakin’

 

March for Trees – November 25th

We’ve covered stories about preserving (and preferably not pollarding) Wirral’s trees and several of our readers have let us know about a protest march taking place through Ashton Park, West Kirby THIS SUNDAY , NOVEMBER 25th

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ASHTON PARK……..

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should stop felling 19 mature trees

and removing branches from a further 24 trees, in Ashton Park, West Kirby.

Join a march through Ashton Park, to protest about the wholly unnecessary and wholly unjustified tree felling and damage to other trees, being undertaken by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council – at 11 a.m. on Sunday 25 November 2018. Meet under the Holm Oak tree alongside the Children’s Play Area, Ashton Park, West Kirby.

  1. A mature beech tree, has been felled over the last few days as has a mature oak tree. Other trees have also been felled, without any genuine environmental or health and safety justification.
  2.  There appears to have been no public participation prior to the decision to fell 19 trees and to remove branches from 24 other trees, all, apparently in the lower part of Ashton Park .
  3. More than 150 people have now signed a petition opposing the Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council plan to fell 19 trees and to remove branches from a further 24 trees.
  4. Many Councillors appear to be unaware of the benefits that trees can contribute to individuals and to communities.
  5. In the 16 October 1987 hurricane, 15 million trees were blown down, in the UK.
  6. Has Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council considered placing a skip in Ashton Park so that Tree ‘Surgeons’ can place their chain saws, as a part of an amnesty process, to save trees from further devastation?
  7. Tree surgeons often have very different opinions about the health of individual trees.
  8. Some tree surgeons appear to want to fell trees as a ‘first option’ rather than as a ‘last option’. The discovery of just one of hundreds of different fungi, living near or on the roots of trees or at the base of trees (like the fungi Meripilus Giganteum) appears to be enough for some tree surgeons to demand the felling of a mature tree. Yet, the evidence shows that mature beech trees can survive for many decades (and even hundreds of years) in a symbiotic relationship, with the fungi Meripilus Giganteum. Hollow trees are not at any greater risk of falling than are trees which are not hollow. Indeed, trees which are hollow should be treasured and protected with supporting spars.
  9. Trees with hollow spaces inside them can provide much needed roosting locations for bats, owls and woodpeckers.
  10. Tree surgeons are paid considerable sums of money to fell trees. Many tree surgeons, tree surveyors and tree management companies are paid by Biomass plants, where the chipped timber is burned.
  11. Very few people are injured by falling trees or branches. Most people tend to stay indoors during extreme weather conditions. There are far higher numbers of deaths and injuries caused by chainsaws being used to fell trees, and chippers being used to break them down, than there are by falling trees or branches. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated that the risk of death from naturally falling trees is ‘negligible’. Falling roof tiles pose a higher risk to people outdoors in storms, than is posed by trees.
  12. One mature tree produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
  13. Just 1 metre of hedgerow will filter the equivalent to the annual emissions of 30 cars. Removal of vegetation is damaging human health; 55,000 deaths from breathing-related diseases occur annually, in the UK.
  14. Tree canopy is the optimum habitat, ecologically, for woodlands. Mature trees are beneficial to urban areas. The canopy provides ecosystems above human interference, or from urban cats. The canopy provides bats and birdlife some safety from predation.
  15. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council spends approximately £220,000, annually, on tree felling and branch removal, yet appears not to have a budget for tree planting. The Council also spends £150,000 annually, on herbicide spraying (including the toxic glyphosate).
  16. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council has no Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) for trees on Council land.
  17. Very few trees are permitted to grow to full maturity. It is doubtful if there are any trees on the Wirral peninsula that are over 1,000 years old.
  18. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should commission highly experienced, reputable arboriculturists to survey trees, with priority given to protecting trees, NOT the felling of trees.
  19. One of Britain’s oldest trees is in Llangernyw, Conwy. It is thought to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. A rare, 1,000 year old tree can be seen in Calderstones Park, Liverpool. This tree is fenced off and its branches are supported.
  20. Some West Kirby residents have proposed linking arms around trees in order to save them from felling. They have noted that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council appears not to have provided mechanical support (in the form of wooden or metal spars) for any trees within the borough. This is wholly unacceptable and illustrates the ill-informed held by some key individuals in the relevant Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council departments.
  21. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should, as a matter of urgency, dramatically change its current environmental policies which are resulting in the felling of innumerable mature trees throughout the borough and the unnecessary cutting of branches on many more trees.
  22. Tree felling and the removal of branches should take place as a last resort and not as a first resort.
  23. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should have a detailed and effective plan to preserve trees within the borough, for the benefit of present and future generations.
  24. Join a march through Ashton Park, to protest about the wholly unnecessary and wholly unjustified tree felling and damage to other trees, being undertaken by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council – at 11 a.m. on Sunday 25 November 2018. Meet under the Holm Oak tree alongside the Children’s Play Area, Ashton Park, West Kirby.
                          Published by ‘For Trees’ – fortreeswirral@gmail.com

Golf Gaffe

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We’ve long held that the Hoylake Golf Resort proposal is not so much a golf course as a Trojan horse to a housing development on the Green Belt…and we’re not the only ones who think so. A message we received this week rightly questions the Wirral Council ruling administration’s boundless passion for a sport in decline and the gaffe they’ve made in a report which highlights this fact. But then we need to remember that golf is an enthusiasm pursued by some influential people within the Council and the local business community (we’ll let you join the dots) and which inspired this lament about a senior officer who has been “spending months organising a Wallasey golf day for managers to use up their flexi to play with contractor sponsors who generously donate to your day and prizes …”

Hi Wirralleaks,

Why are the Council proposing to spend £millions of public money on building a new Golf Resort (and luxury housing estate) on Green Belt Land in Hoylake when they are proposing to “offoad” municipal courses because golf is in decline??? You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Wirral Council are reviewing their future provision of Municipal Golf Courses.

In a Golf courses Cabinet report to be presented to Cabinet next Monday, Councillor Phillip Brightmore, (cabinet Member of Leisure and Recreation) is recommending the transfer of Arrowe Park and The Warren Municipal Golf Courses to an “alternative specialist golf provider”.

Interestingly the report states “…….with the national trend in golf usage being generally down, (not just for municipal golf courses but also for the majority of private golf clubs)” and “Participation in municipal golf in Wirral is in decline and follows a national trend in that people tend to have less disposable leisure time to spend on playing a five or six hour round of golf. Those people that would have traditionally played golf in the past have migrated to a more ‘time determined’ sport (such as cycling, running,fitness) to fulfil their leisure time demands. Some smaller private member golf clubs are suffering from the same problem and it is noticeable how some ‘community’ based golf clubs have responded to this problem by reducing membership/joining fees and offering ‘pay and play’ packages which compete favourably with our existing municipal fees and charges”.

So, at a time when even the Council acknowledge that golf courses are becoming less and less financially viable – is it really the right decision to invest £millions of public money in a new Golf resort in Hoylake – or will the resort, as many believe, become just a white elephant, ripe for further housing development once the new access road and luxury housing estate has been built?

Best wishes!

Will the Red Mist descend at Misty Blues?

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Red-faced Mooney blues

As we brought to your attention in our posts Raise the Red Flag  and Mooney News and New Ferry Blues  that born again Corbyn fan Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney scraped by in Wallasey CLP selection battle winning by 3 votes (21 against 18) . However as was suggested everything may have not have been strictly legit with this particular selection process.

Indeed we aware from a leaked email that the matter will be discussed at a Special Meeting of the Liscard Labour Group to be held tonight at ‘Misty Blues’ . The rap sheet of procedural breaches is listed below and has been brought to the attention of Anna Hutchinson at Labour North West, who must be heartily sick to death of hearing the word ‘Wirral’ , but then Anna is a case study in denial when it comes to the peninsula’s political irregularities.

So will there be a re-run of the selection process and if so will the notorious Mooney  red mist descend at misty blues? We’ll keep you posted…

Liscard Labour 

To Branch Members : 
 
Tuesday 13th November meeting Cancelled; 

Special Meeting called for Tuesday 20th November.
 
We recently had our shortlisting meeting to consider who to pick as our Council candidate next May. There were a series of complaints that the process had not been fair. 

The Wirral Labour Party “Local Campaign Forum” (LCF) met on 2nd November, discussed the complaints, and decided that the shortlisting meeting should be re-run.
 
So I organised a meeting to do that, as requested by the LCF..
 
The LCF asked me to avoid sharing the reasons with you, so as not to be unfair to any possible candidate. I am aware that others have not been so restrained. By 11am on the morning after the LCF met, a Tory Councillor was tweeting about it, and an Echo and Globe reporter picked that up.
 
I can now tell you that at their meeting the LCF concluded that a number of procedures had been breached:

·       An email was sent to all Branch members from the sitting Councillor, using an email address “Wallasey Labour Party”, when the email was in fact from her personally and not from the Labour Party;
·       The email had the Constituency Labour Party Office address on it, and a photo which included people who had not been asked for permission, and were not in fact endorsing the sitting Councillor;
·       There was canvassing of Branch members by phone using the Party database, at a time when this is not allowed by the Rules;
·       Some of those phone calls also misrepresented the situation, implying that a candidate had already been chosen, and so discouraging members who favoured a full selection process from attending the meeting;
·       There was leafleting in support of a candidate inside the meeting venue, with other copies of the leaflets next to the signing in sheet, which is also not allowed.
·       All of this conveyed the impression that the sitting councillor was the official or preferred candidate of the Labour Party;
·       This was unfair to other potential candidates who might otherwise have been invited to speak to us all, and given the chance to become our Council candidate in May 2019.
 
Two people were put forward at the meeting as possible candidates. The meeting voted by 21-18 not to have a further meeting where members could hear from both those candidates. The sitting Councillor was thus selected by that small margin. 
The LCF view is that the breaches of the procedures had a material impact on the outcome and it should be re-run.
 
However the LCF have informed me that the Regional Director of the Labour Party (a  full time official who works for the Party) does not agree that the breaches had a material impact, and that she thinks the shortlisting meeting should not be re-run.
Discussions between the LCF and the Regional Director are continuing.
 
The Branch Officers have met and decided to cancel the meeting on Tuesday 13th November, whilst the Party resolves the issue. But we think it is important that all members of the Branch have a chance to express a view.
 
We are therefore calling a special meeting of the Branch on Tuesday 20th November 7.30pm at Misty Blues, Manor Road / Grosvenor Street Liscard CH44 1AG, to consider this Motion:
 
“This Branch agrees that the Liscard shortlisting meeting should be re-run”.
 

A festive message from Defend Our NHS : one last effort before Christmas (then celebrate with us!)

Dear friends of the NHS

Here are some reminders of events which really need as much support as possible. Please attend and/or share this information.

Wednesday 21st November 7:00pm St Albans Parish Centre, Liscard. Public meeting to save our walk-in centres AND other public services. DONHS will be speaking.

Tuesday 27 November 4:00pm: Wallasey Town Hall. Wirral councillors meeting to decide how/whether to untangle the mess into which local decisions have put the NHS. In officialese it’s the ‘Section 75 call-in’ meeting. We are organising a mass lobby because Wirral Council really does need to throw into reverse its collaboration with government plans. Its scrutiny committee has rightly condemned the plans for our walk-in centres. But these are only a part of the overall strategy of STP (‘slash, trash and privatise’) and ‘[un]accountability’ and ‘[dis]integration’.

Thursday 6 December 6:30-8:30pm: Wallasey Town Hall. Wirral CCG (the local arm of NHS England) is holding its final public meeting of the year – the first since it said it would ignore the Council’s demand to halt the walk-in process. We’ll be there.

Saturday 8 December 11:00am: rally supported by local GPs (90% of whom oppose the CCG’s plans) at the Miriam Health Centre, Laird St, Birkenhead.  Following the rally we will march to Hamilton Square.

Tuesday 11 Dec 1:00-4:00pm: Birkenhead Town Hall. CCG Governing Body meeting. All campaign petitions will be handed in at this meeting. There should be lots of media interest and GPs and campaigners will be attending in large numbers.

Later that evening is the DONHS informal Christmas get-together. We’ve cancelled the event for which you’ve already received an invitation because of problems with the venue. Instead from around 7.00pm we’ll be in ‘The Shrew’ pub in Oxton, Birkenhead:

Best wishes and thanks for all your support

On behalf of Defend Our NHS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

DEFEND OUR NHS WIRRAL

#DefendOurNHS

Facebook and Twitter: Defend Our NHS

Email: defendournhswirral@gmail.com

Consultations and Cover Ups

We’ve been concentrating on a series of special reports but couldn’t let a few recent local news stories pass without comment.

Consultations

Tomorrow’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting will feature announcements about two upcoming consultations which have been heralded in the local press. First up we have a press release in Wirral Globe where Cllr Angela Davies tells us she’s excited. However the former short lived Change Grow Live employee is not excited that Christmas is coming. Oh no! she’s excited because there’s exciting plans and she has an artist’s impression to prove it. Generously she wants to share her excitement with us :

Wirral Growth Company's artists impression of what some of the Birkenhead town centre redevelopment could look like

Only by listening and engaging with local residents and deliver thousands of new jobs. We will be asking the question: ‘What sort of place do you want Birkenhead to be?’ and soliciting ideas about improving the public realm, establishing more residential opportunities in and around the town centre and expanding the leisure, retail and cultural offers available.After too many false dawns, Wirral residents are now looking forward to being asked to shape real plans and a concrete set of proposals to regenerate Birkenhead as the commercial and retail heart of Wirral.Wirral Growth Company is an ambitious partnership between Wirral Council and a private sector regeneration specialist, but it needs to be informed by the views of local residents and businesses across the town. This consultation will provide the qualitative and quantitative regeneration evidence base which has been missing.Wirral Growth Company has established some provisional ideas for what a rejuvenated Birkenhead could look like – a new market, improved retail and leisure offers and up to 300,000sq.ft of Grade A office space.The Council is excited by these initial ideas and feedback already received has been positive, but it’s now the turn of local residents to say what they aspire to see. Rebuilding work in Birkenhead could start as early as Spring 2019, so over the coming weeks and months I am proposing the Council and its partners conduct this wide ranging consultation, outreach and engagement to gather the views of local residents.

Full press release here : Birkenhead regeneration consultation

It’s not just the dawns that are false Angie. Are you really telling us that Wirral Growth Company was set up with NO qualitative/quantitative at evidence base ? This consultation is beginning to look like “The people who get paid huge amounts of public money to think up new ideas haven’t got any – so can you lot come up with some for us ?” So here’s one from us – how about turning Birkenhead into Dubai on the Mersey and build a skyscraper hanging from the sky as let’s face it all of these consultations and artist’s impressions are already pie in the sky anyway.

 

Next up on the consultation front is keen royalist Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson who is introducing  a consultation on how Wirral Council should  spend the few quid that Wirral Council have left in the coffers with her Budget saving plan . If the Cabinet meeting wasn’t so early we’d suggest organising a drinking game for every time Williamson uses the phrase ‘Tory cuts’. Perhaps she’ll regale us with tales from her time working for the Insolvency Service. Or perhaps not …

Cover Ups

The other story we couldn’t help commenting on was  ‘Embarrassing’ council slammed after failing in 90% of complaints – with some taking YEARS to complete where we find Conservative councillors Tony Cox ( ’embarrassing’) and Chris Blakeley  (absolutely appalling’) commenting on the abject failure of ALL councillors to properly police complaints against themselves but failing to acknowledge that it was Wirral Councillors who agreed to the utterly woeful ‘Standards’ regime that is currently in place. Even Wirral Council’s leading apologist/lawyer Philip McCourt concurred the Council had ‘failed’. Inevitably Labour councillor Chris Jones chipped in that she was ‘happy’ with a 90% failure rate.Which let’s face it is a 10% improvement on most aspects of the ruling administration’s achievements.

This all comes after the recent case brought against Cllr Paul Hayes by Professor Maggie Atkinson ,the touchy Chair of the Wirral Safeguarding Board which we reported here. If somebody had just explained to Atkinson that commenting on the public perception of a cover up is a legitimate course of action for a councillor and is not the same as being accused of being part of a cover up perhaps Wirral Council could have saved a lot of time and money on this particular (non)-case.

Just a shame no-one from the Tory group (or any councillor) has seen fit to make a public comment on a notorious long running cover up involving Wirral Council . We suppose it will be down to us ,once again ,to dissect this particular one in a future ‘Special Report’ :

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