Death By A Thousand Cuts

This week Wirral Council agreed to £2.5 million worth of cuts (disguised as “budget savings) to local services. Despite the fact that the “refreshed” Corporate Plan gave “protecting the vulnerable ” top billing it’s clear from where the axe fell that this claim is nothing more than a miserable lie. It is clear that the vast majority of the cuts were aimed at vulnerable people – namely respite services for disabled adults and children and the scrapping of Council Tax discount to pensioners over 70.

The Council meeting where these cuts were discussed appears to be a rather tense affair judging by the footage on John Brace’s blog

Mayor Foulkes seemed particularly tetchy telling lone Green Councillor Pat “Green Not Mean” Cleary that he couldn’t address Council because he didn’t have a seconder (which is a bit difficult when you’re on your own) :  ” I’ve made the decision.Sit down….” he yelled before going on to tell another Green ,by name if not by nature,this being the Tory leader Jefferson, to : ” Sit down. I’m speaking…” .

Foulkesy then went on to relent ” as it was Christmas” and obviously regretted the decision as Cllr Cleary’s impassioned anti-austerity speech drew rapturous applause from the public gallery. ” I won’t be ambushed again” pouted the titty-lipped tinpot dictator.

It’s clear from the public’s reaction  the Green Party is cultivating a groundswell of support (geddit?) and long may it continue. Anything that disrupts the political hegemony which has blighted Wirral for far too long is alright by us at Leaky Towers.

There was another speech of note from  Cllr Janette ” Millie Tant” Williamson who railed against the coalition government and their policies which was very much in the Labour tradition of blaming the government for decisions made by Wirral Council. What is always missing from the ” it’s all central government’s fault”  default position is the fact that the coalition government did NOT dictate to  Wirral Council how to implement the Bedroom Tax or their increasingly reprehensible approach to Council Tax discounts and exemptions or their continual scapegoating of disabled people – talking of which will this inglorious history continue tonight when Cabinet finally decides the fate of Lyndale School?

What’s more is Cllr.Williamson aware of the national Labour Party’s stance on austerity?
It is clear from  policy statements made by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls that if Labour succeed in getting into power following the next General Election then Labour have promised yet more austerity measures.

Who will Wirral Council blame then?

Wirral Advent Calendar 12 – Cabinet of Curiosities

BOT The F**K Is Going ON!

The Wirral Council Cabinet meeting held earlier this week was the usual stage managed feigned outrage with Power Boy Pip Davies doing his Violet Elizabeth Bott impression blaming that nasty Mr Pickles from that there fancy House of Commons for the Council’s financial woes. We half expected him to finish his speech with the declaration “ It’s sooooo unfair. I’m going to thcream and thcream until I’m thick ….”.

There was also some limp flag waving and half hearted whistleblowing (with real whistles for a change) from union members who only seem to get animated when their jobs and working conditions are under threat.

We feel as though we’ve done this one to death but has it occurred to these people yet that their jobs are under threat partly because of years of financial mismanagement and incompetence by Councillors/Council Officers highlighted by real whistleblowers and yet it’s some of the same Councillors/Council Officers now making decisions about worker’s futures?….. and what’s more union stewards on the Town Hall payroll cannot and never will be 100% on the side of their members anyway!

Much more interesting was information sent to us at Leaky Towers where , as ever , the devil is very much in the detail. A couple of sources who clearly have a much more probing mind than you’ll find among the curiously incurious Cabinet members have forwarded the following:

We were sent a copy of next years Council budget by a curious person (not to be confused with a bi-curious person).  Our source enquired: “ I wait in anticipation to see if any of the councillors and Senior Officers challenge the budget”
They helpfully highlighted certain information and included the following comments specifically about the Department of Adult Social Services budget :
“Masque theatre the staff salary for 1 member is rather high £100,100 And the average full time equivalent salary for Moreton Staff is rather low, £6401.

Take a look at Best Bites figures, a service for people who can travel independently, do not need personal care assistance, who do not have challenging behaviours. Yet Heswall and Eastham Services that are under threat and do support people with extremely complex needs are at an acceptable level of cost.

The recharges budget are nonsensical, I would love to see a break down!

It is clear Best Bites has the potential to be a valued service, but at the cost would make any business person go into anaphylactic shock.

How can the Council be trusted when obvious and silly mistakes are made in important documentation?

A Senior DASS officer should be made accountable for the mistakes and the use of tax payers money.

It is common knowledge the parents and carers of Heswall Association have made a number of attempts to work with DASS senior officers to go down the route of developing a Social Enterprise that will have the projected savings needed for day services yet hurdles, barriers, break walls have been put up. It is clear Senior Officers in DASS do not understand the meaning of Co Design but that is another story which will be shared in the near future…….. ” .

Another source with their mind on the job,eye on the ball and a nose for trouble sends us this :

“Theres a real bad smell here.

Check out these FOIs Be ready for the fall out

So what work have these protected staff been doing for 3+ years? They lost a huge contract but did not cut jobs yet others are fighting to save their own frontline jobs

The plot thickens. Obviously its not what you know.

How will they dodge this one?

Seems they don’t care much anyway, and have provided false facts regarding the Community Safety Partnership set up . Another council officer lies about a FOI……..”

As we regularly say at Leaky Towers but clearly it’s never said at Cabinet meetings  : ” Curiouser and curiouser” ……………..



What better time than for Town Hall Tyrants to drive through changes in terms and conditions for Wirral Council employees than in the current climate of fear.

Taking advantage of the fact that they are the main local employer,we’re deep in recession and that apparently some parts of Wirral are now described as a “welfare ghetto” the threat of sacking staff and re-hiring them on changed terms and conditions seems to have worked the trick on a frightened workforce.

Unsurprisingly the signing of the draft collective agreement has been hailed as a triumph of negotiation by Power Boy Pip and Comrade Burgesski ( without seemingly realising that when wielding all that power over peoples lives that the cards are heavily stacked in their favour ).

Meanwhile we at Leaky Towers have acquired a transcript of the reaction to this development by local activist  “Brother” Joe Trotsky:

” As I stand united with you on this glorious day I say to you friends, Wirralians, comrades that together we can fight the ruthless oppression of the workers at Wirral Council…. and you say to me ” Comrade how can we do this?. Well first of all we can do the usual – capitulate – and in doing so we are showing the evil capitalist oppressors in Wallasey Town Hall that although we may be wage slaves who are just grateful for a job which enables us to forget our miserable existence and get slaughtered every weekend, we still have one thing that they can’t take away from us …..our pride in the continuation of the working class struggle!.

Friends,Wirralians ,comrades, the fight must go on – against the vicious Council cuts ( at this point Branch Secretary and radical feminist revolutionary Ms.Sandie Nista  whispers in Brother Joe’s ear…).

I would hereby like to thank my sister of the Struggle for reminding me that Comrade Burgesski has asked me to use the word “efficiencies” rather than cuts……..

So friends,Wirralians,comrades lets talk about those “efficiencies”. These “efficiencies” are a result of  deep and meaningful consultations, and you told them loud and clear  – you want the Council to protect the vulnerable.Did they listen ? let’s look at the “efficiencies” they propose  – closure of  Moreton day centre,stop transport for disabled children,stop meals on wheels, then there’s The Bin Tax! The Bedroom Tax!, Council Tax! …all taxes on the poor and vulnerable ! .

This evil Tory -run Wirral Council is a disgrace to humanity, an affront to decent people everywhere and an enemy of the working class ( Ms.Nista interrupts again).

…..Are you sure this is a Labour run administration Ms.Nista?……women eh?, I think you’re best sticking with “Hello” rather than the “Hegelian Dialectic”,love……

( Ms.Nista sighs heavily realising that the downfall of patriarchy presents a bigger challenge than she first thought and shows Brother Joe a picture of Power Boy Pip wearing a red rosette …..) 

Friends,Wirralians,comrades OK I acknowledge that this may now be a Labour run Council but there’s no getting away from the fact it is the Coalition Government who have forced the Labour Group on the Wirral to betray their working classes roots.

However I know that in their hearts – no Sandie I warn you now, just don’t go there – that the Labour Lads and Laddesses are standing in solidarity “wid der werkers” , for example there is no way any one of them would be involved in ,oh I don’t know, “dodgy offshore bank accounts” for example,because in these hard times that would be a bit of a kick in the teeth to us all, wouldn’t it friends, Wirralians and comrades?  

Friends,Wirralians,comrades I feel the time has come to end this rousing speech because I’m due on the first tee to negotiate further with the Town Hall officials who pay my wages for performing so well for the Council, OK yes,sorry about that Sandie ,yes I meant to say members……… ”