As a follow up to yesterday’s Peel group story and as promised we bring you news of a significant appointment at Wirral Council which has surprisingly gone unheralded.
So ladies and gentleman we proudly present to you , Brian Bailey , who from last month has been Wirral Council’s Corporate Director for Economic and Housing Growth
As you can see he has a very familiar profile to the unlamented former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess. Indeed they would have worked together at Blackburn with Darwen Council as Bailey was there between 2001-18 .
We can only surmise his former CEO and mentor at Blackburn with Darwen Council must have given him some sage advice. Something along the lines of : ” Fill yer boots. Just don’t get too big for’em or Frank’ll have you out in a flash”
So how was Bailey’s appointment greeted by long suffering staff at Wallasey Town Hall? This is typical of the correspondence received by Wirral Leaks but is particularly interesting in the light of recent press coverage as it reveals a significant connection to Peel Group:
Hello —See attached the Google search for Delyse Bailey, the wife of Wirral Council’s new regen and economic chief Brian Bailey. Weirdly (or not so weirdly) the LinkedIn profile in question has now been deleted. The council has deals with Peel — and the new guy in charge of the councils relationship will be liaising directly with his wife! It comes at a time when MPs in the borough are launching scathing attacks on Peel for land banking (see Angela Eagle article published on the Globe online). Councillors like Angie Davies have also waded in.Was Brian’s appointment a Conflict of Interest? Was due diligence even done for this £120k plus role? It stinks. We lower-ranking officers are sick of the incompetency at the top, it emanates from Eric Robinson.Question surely is what’s going on at an officer level in Wallasey Town Hall? Incompetency, incompetency, incompetency.This info needs to come out.Yours,Wallasey Town Hall insider
Wirral’s Local Plan
Wirral Council chief executive Robinson opened the event with a presentation outlining the upcoming opportunities in the borough as it looks to put in place its Local Plan.
- Wirral is one of three authorities in the country that does not have a Local Plan, but is now proposing a major review of green belt land, which will see the proportion of green belt in the borough drop from 46% to 32%
- The “big thing” for the plan was to transform Birkenhead, with a “fantastic opportunity” in place to reverse the decline that has impacted the area for nearly 50 years
- He said the area needed a “younger, more vibrant offer” particularly around Hamilton Square, with options around Birkenhead including a new civic centre, leisure centre, offices, and residential, as part of the Wirral Growth Company’s plans being delivered in partnership with Muse
- Reflecting on the area’s relationship with Liverpool, Robinson said: “Birkenhead should be Brooklyn, not another Manhattan”
- However, Robinson said the Local Plan would look to adopt a “brownfield-first” approach to development, and would look to benefit “the whole of Wirral”
- The chief executive, who has been in post since 2015, said the council had become “much more commercial and business-like in its approach” following changes at the top, and had taken steps to improve skills within the council including doubling its planning team
Full story here : Meet the Authorities: Public-Private Partnerships
Whilst it was bizarrely reassuring to find that Eric Feeble finally acknowledged that Birkenhead had been in decline for half a century we have a horrible vision of him, Bailey and growing horde of ‘transformers’ and ‘planners’ in t-shirts emblazoned with the message :
BIRKENHEAD SHOULD BE BROOKLYN, NOT ANOTHER MANHATTAN
Congratulations to Wirral Globe who’ve followed up the past two weeks’ bogus front page stories about the Green Belt to a bullshit story about brownfield sites.
This one is headlined ‘Even More New Homes Are Due’ and we are treated to a picture Cllr ‘Gorgeous ‘ George Davies. Joy was further unconfined to find that the lead letter in the Globe’s Mailbox was also credited to Wirral Council’s Cabinet member for housing. Although no doubt there will be a Wirral Council officer somewhere who actually penned the letter, proudly showing their partner (or more probably their mother) and saying : ” I wrote that!” Bullshit peddling – what a way to earn a living!
Anyway we know it can’t have been written by Davies as the letter is titled : ‘ Truth behind our Local Plan’ and as we all know this casual racist and smear campaign organiser isn’t even on nodding terms, let alone being acquainted with the ‘truth’.
In the letter Cllr Davies tries to take on ‘The Prof’ and refute the claims made in the latter’s correspondence (which we believe was the last to be printed in last week’s Globe and not given the prominence that Davies’ response gets) . We’d already previously published Professor Gregg’s letter here – Summer Shorts : The Heat is On 2 – Quo Bono?
Let’s face it it was never going to be a meeting of minds was it? Especially when ,unlike a supermarket trolley, Cllr Davies doesn’t even have a mind of his own.
Nevertheless,seemingly displaying some rare insight that challenging ‘The Prof’ on facts is a dangerous game to play Davies resorts to the time-honoured tactic of ‘ner,ner,ner,ner,ner’ and tells him (and Globe readers) :
What the seemingly well-informed Prof Gregg doesn’t know is that since the earlier exchange of letters, Wirral Water’s owners Peel Group have been in touch with the Government directly , and to Wirral Council’s surprise and frustration ,have informed the new secretary of state they only intend to build 2,700 new homes at Wirral Waters over 15-year lifetime of the Local Plan
Surely anyone who reads Wirral Leaks must know that the Peel Group have been taking the piss (and public money and public property) for years. The contempt with which they hold Wirral Council (and us) is there for all to see. The thing is the former deserve it – we don’t!
Surprisingly it was left to Wirral South MP Alison McGovern to criticise Peel Group for “insufficient progress” in the press. Whither Frank Field and Angela Eagle now ? – especially the former who has consistently wet his knickers talking about all the wonderful things that are just about to happen in his Birkenhead constituency “tomorrow…next week… a month later… maybe next year… we need a five year action plan… these things take time…perhaps another 37 years ? …….meanwhile I’ve just conned money out of Wirral Council to open another foodbank. Hurrah for me, me ME!”
However what you won’t read on the front page of Wirral Globe or Wirral View (can anyone tell the difference these days?) is news from a ‘Wallasey Town Hall insider’ detailing some interesting developments involving a recent Wirral Council appointment and their intimate connection to……Peel Group.
We’ll be un-Peeling that forbidden fruit tomorrow…
Community Transport on Wirral may be in last chance saloon.
Word reaches His Lordship from a supremely well-informed source that the writing is on the wall for community transport services here on Wirral. These are the trained drivers, escorts and specially kitted out vehicles that transport disabled and vulnerable service users to their day centres, care homes, Special Educational Needs schools, etc. day in, day out, all year round.
And we don’t bring you this news lightly. We know it’s genuine because we’ve had the information checked and double-checked. It impacts Wirral Council, goes right to the heart of central government, to the top of the EU, and it’s a thorny issue being discussed right now at the top transport committees in the UK.
Here is a link to the Community Transport parliamentary debate of 10th May this year:
A change in EU law, Directive EC 1071/2009 to be specific, was rolled out on the statute book in 2011 and appears to be done and dusted across Europe. But there is a frantic panic back in Blighty because the Tory government ignored it when it emerged seven years ago.
So it’s now finally caught up with them, and under the new directive, the largest council contracted charity and not for profit operators with hundreds of vehicles, right down to the smallest with half a dozen, will in future be regarded as running a ‘commercial operation’. This will entail these organisations applying for Operators’ Licences for the business, new licences for all drivers and 35 hours of training every five years for everybody who sets foot on a vehicle.
In other words, it involves big money ……….huge money. Money they probably ain’t got.
The impact of this change threatens to be utterly catastrophic to the many community transport services that make up the majority of the UK charity, not-for-profit market, and if the new rules are not modified, or their impact lessened, the sheer cost of meeting the requirements will force many of them to downsize massively or be forced out of business.
As is customary, the usual suspects at basket case Wirral Council seem to be busy making a bad situation even worse.
Transport Minister Chris Grayling wrote to all local authorities two weeks ago requesting that they bide their time, await his advice and do not remove any contracts from existing operators. What have Wirral Council been doing? Yep, removing contracts from existing operators. Not only this, they are forcing them to apply for Operators’ Licences (O Licences) and to set up trading arms in order to be ready to act commercially.
Wirral Leaks readers will know that Wirral Council happens to operate its own transport service, mainly to private care homes because they will recall the young disabled girl a few weeks back, who was forgotten and left locked inside a vehicle alone for two and half hours in the council depot. Read here : Transport Trauma
Where transport rules and regs are concerned, Wirral Council really should know better, because they have a former VOSA / DVSA expert on hand in the shape of Director of Transformation, Paul Satoor (and for good measure former Tory council leader Jeff Green).
But despite this inside source of knowledge, they appear to be immune to the rules. Rules which they enjoy applying to everyone but themselves, as they flex their muscles, throw their weight around and community transport charities under the bus !
They’re even accusing their own charity operators on Wirral of “acting illegally” whilst taking payments from private care homes in return for transporting their residents.
This conduct is potentially illegal under what are known as Section 19 permits. These were originally set up to allow the community transport charities to operate, but which clearly stipulate “for hire or reward but without a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity that is itself carried on with a view to profit”.
In fact, this is like Wirral View all over again as they’re the only council in the land prepared to defy the government on this. But this time it’s not just powderpuff guidance being swept aside. It’s knowingly done, whilst forcing charities (but not themselves) down the O Licence route, and whilst secretly taking money and enriching themselves, but falsely accusing others of doing the same. So the council could be in breach of statutory law.
Merseycare are the largest operator on Wirral, providing a transport service for 3,000 vulnerable and disabled service users, and are based on the old Squibbs site in Leasowe. They have 90 staff whose jobs are imminently threatened, many of whom are disabled themselves.
Before the May 2017 local elections, they invited former Leasowe Councillor Treena Johnson to come and have a chat about this subject and to have a look at what they do. She said as she worked with disabled children, she would be delighted. She asked if she could bring along a second Leasowe councillor, Anita Leech.
Interestingly, a professional body known as the Bus and Coach Organisation – whose members are made up of commercial operators – have been pressurising government for many years and quoting the above EU law in order to have them declare community transport contracts illegal and to have all such council business – the length and breadth of the UK – stripped from ‘law-breaking’ not for profit, charity operators.
Presumably, this is being done with the aim of stepping into the void to enable their Bus and Coach Organisation members to make a tidy profit out of the UK’s now stranded vulnerable and disabled service users.That third Leasowe Councillor by the way is Ron Abbey. He is a former bus driver for ‘the Corpy’. We wonder if he might still retain undeclared links to the Bus & Coach Organisation? What an interesting coincidence that would be… perhaps somebody out there knows…?
Nevertheless, as Merseycare Transport waited, Councillors Treena Johnson and Anita Leach suddenly fell silent ….the kettle was on and everything, but they never even turned up at the Merseycare offices. Johnson jacked it in as a councillor before the last local elections and presumably the other two were ordered to toe the party line.
We can safely assume from Wirral Council’s pioneering activities in being the only local authority to remove contracts from charity operators that they are keen to embrace a new future – where no doubt the lowest bidders with the least experience will be transporting vulnerable people – and they want to be at the forefront of creating it. And you only have to look at the railways to see how that works out!
We’re wondering…. where does Wirral Council’s statutory obligation to look out for the wellbeing of vulnerable and disabled people within their jurisdiction figure in all of this? Notice how time and again they pay lip service and mouth the mantra ‘ protecting vulnerable people’ – but the reality is something else altogether.
When approached, Angela Eagle, the Wallasey MP who covers Leasowe seemed like a possible way forward with this issue.
However Eagle, who did nothing publicly for her own disabled constituents when they had £736,756.97 removed unlawfully from their bank accounts over 9 years by Wirral Council, once again fell in behind the council position, preferring to ignore the looming threat to her disabled constituents, and to protect her party-political friends instead.
Whereas in Wirral West, Margaret Greenwood MP has many constituents who will be adversely affected and has taken the issue up. Watch this (disabled parking) space.
We’ve got stories backing up like a blocked up bog during the plague – and believe us they all stink to high heaven.
However let’s get on with this week’s Wirral snippets :
Rock the Boat
There has been an interesting development with regards to New Brighton Lifeboat story which we have reported on from time to time. Apparently Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has belatedly intervened to rock the boat and ask some pertinent questions as to what exactly is going on in this long running saga . The Royal National Lifeboat Institution ( RNLI) has rejected Eagle’s claim that a ‘restricted service’ at New Brighton Lifeboat station has had an impact on its life-saving work and patronisingly invited her over for a cup of tea and a chat. Read here : New Brighton Lifeboat
As ever there is much more to this than meets the eye and one of our long standing sources on the story has written to us to say :
Someone makes a fairly astute ‘comment’ after the end of the (Wirral Globe) article ….yes, why doesn’t Angela Eagle have a word with the Chairman of New Brighton Lifeboat, LABOUR Councillor Tony Jones. As we all know he is the bloke who fucked over the sacked crew in the first place. And while she is at it maybe she could get Phil Davies to take a bit of interest…..
We’ve long bemoaned that Wirral’s pre-eminent institutions are virtually indivisible in terms of their toxic cultures. Further confirmation arrived this week :
You may want to ask some questions of senior management at Wirral University Teaching Hospital where I understand that there is an systemic culture of bullying and arse covering at the expense of both patient and staff welfare.(This week) – management refused …..to classify a matter as a serious incident, preferring instead to downgrade the matter and protect their reputations………the coroner’s findings will be very interesting to all who of us who are obliged to use this failing establishment for their medical needs.Wirral Leaks asked : But is this a failing establishment or is it being deliberately run down? Your thoughts please.
My belief is that it’s a failing institution. I don’t believe there is any intention or ulterior motive – certainly not on a regional or national level, it is simply managed by an incompetent team of senior managers, deeply worried by their failings, and consequently under-reporting, buck-passing, and blaming others in a desperate attempt to protect their own positions.
Your old mate who I think last featured in your organ in 2012 has rocked up here in deepest darkest Wales as CEO of Cardiff and Vale UHB.He’s already embarked on a fact finding trip to Canterbury with a small team. (No not Chaucer’s Canterbury, the other one in New Zealand) on behalf of his cash-strapped employer.Thought you might like to be kept informed of how one of your old boys is progressing
WIRRAL ‘SET FOR £1BN INVESTMENT BOOST’
That was the headline in this PR job published this week on the Insider Media Ltd blog – which was no doubt set up by Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies right hand/left wing man Martin Liptrot. The plans were apparently detailed at Insider‘s ‘Invest in Wirral’ breakfast event held on Tuesday, 6 February 2018. No doubt this was followed by a ‘powerlunch’. Unfortunately the headline was far removed from the reality of the situation as what Pip actually said was :
“We are looking at £1bn development opportunities across five areas in Wirral from Birkenhead town centre right through to Bromborough. We’ve never done anything of this scale and it’s a new way of working.The attraction of this model is that we share in profits going forward. It’s important, not only for new jobs and investment, but in bringing in an ongoing revenue scheme for the council….” Full story here : £Billion Investment Boost
Meanwhile under yet another misleading headline:
Staffing issues force temporary closure of Wirral care home
We have the news that NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities at Thorn Heys in Oxton is to close temporarily because of difficulties over staffing levels. Yeah right – as Wirral Leaks readers will know this has been on the cards for some time.
The decision was made by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group so this is something more than just a ‘Wirral care home’. In fact it is another slap in the face to Wirral Council’s pledge to protect vulnerable people following on the closure of respite services at Girtrell Court.
As we reported in our Good Health In Bad Hands post from September 2017 :
However more concerning for us was an issue that received zero press coverage and caused considerably less outrage among councillors and that was the closure of Thorn Heys, an NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs. Somebody remind us what was that Wirral Plan ‘pledge’ about ‘protecting the most vulnerable’ again?
The genesis of all this rift was a bitter CLP meeting on 24th June 2016, when Cllr Bernie Mooney (now Joint Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Labour Group ) was voted out of her position as secretary of Wallasey CLP and replaced by lefty Kathy Miller. Paul Davies was voted in as co-vice Chair ( Cllr Paul Stuart was the other co-Vice Chair.)
The CLP voted to back Corbyn in his leadership bid. Eagle got wind of this and was presumably an ‘Angry Bird’! She hadn’t yet said she was going to run for leader… and didn’t until early July.
Meanwhile the CLP was suspended by the Labour NEC at their London HQ and remains suspended to this day. Indeed the CLP only realised they’d been suspended when they read it in the Liverpool Echo!
This suspension was done on the ‘strength’ of bogus allegations that were lodged with the press (not the police, where they should have gone – but that presumably would have risked counter charges of wasting police time) saying that some members at the above meeting had engaged in bullying of others, intimidation and ‘homophobic acts’ against Eagle, who was not even present.
Reputedly, it was Cllr Stuart who was the ringleader of 17 people alleging bullying, intimidation and homophobia. Angela Eagle christened them “whistleblowers”, sullying the name of genuine, good faith whistleblowers everywhere, and whatdyaknow? the likes of the Liverpool Echo and The Guardian were there, ever eager to fuel the fire.
Throughout all this nothing was heard from Cllr Adrian Jones, the huge “Corbyn fan”, as his hero was pilloried in order to push Eagle’s leadership chances. And whaddyaknow? Both Jones’s Mr and Mrs and Cllr Stuart can be seen in the photos attached to this tweet, supporting Eagle. This was in the run-up to the 2017 election, 9 months after the CLP suspension and #Brickgate.
Ultimately the allegations went nowhere, but the damage inflicted by the media coverage had been done. We understand one CLP member still has a charge hanging over them, whilst those making bogus allegations have been strangely passed over for any disciplinary action. Is it any wonder the rifts persist and that there are plenty of angry left wingers in Wallasey CLP who feel betrayed? After being expected to tramp the streets in support of Angela Eagle during the general election campaign , some are suspecting that deals will now be done behind their backs rather than the embedded enemy within faced head on and challenged.
To quote from the latter’s email…
Comrades, “Now is the time” to stop acting like a “Party within a party” – and even like a “Momentum within Momentum”.
It is time to grasp that the mainstream (often called the “Left”) has won back the heart and soul of the Labour Party. I do not know of a single member of the Seacombe Branch who has not fully supported my own declarations for Corbyn on the two websites or who does not support him now. So why introduce friction where there need be none? Let’s try now to be a single Labour Party in Seacombe Ward.
Some comrades will remember that we also, for a while, held “Songs of the Labour Movement” musical evenings in the Park View Social Club – an opportunity for comrades to perform – or just listen and rub shoulders informally. But, since then, we have had the difficulty of the Party being suspended so long that many of us don’t even know each other.
‘Defend the NHS – Wirral’ and ‘999 Call For The NHS’ have contacted us to share their concerns about ‘Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships’ (STP). Of course we’re suspicious of anything with ‘Transformation’ in the title. And certainly anything touched by the dead hand of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies.
Therefore we proudly present a crash course kindly provided by the above pressure groups as to why we all need to be concerned about STPs.
The STPs are the vehicle to ‘slash, trash and privatise’. You can find all the gory details here:http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/mad-as-hell/4593267514
The story of Wirral Council’s leader and his steps from willing participant to Damascene conversion to unconversion along the road to health and well-being (taken from published minutes inter alia).
Step 1: 9th March 2016 Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
“The Board discussion included a focus on: How the Wirral Plan and 20 Pledges related to the work of the Board; How the Plan related to the emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan; and How the Board could add value to help deliver more effective and efficient partnership working to achieve our priorities.
The Board agreed that a follow up discussion was required to understand and agree, within the Wirral Plan and emerging strategies:- Which strategies were top priorities for the Board; and Which strategies does the Board wish to; Lead; Influence; or be kept informed – included in Figure 1 of the report.
To help inform the follow up discussion, the report brought together some supporting information. This aimed to draw out the strategic linkages between the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Wirral Plan in order to help partners agree the future focus, priorities and strategic direction for the Board.
Councillor Phil Davies cautioned against duplicating work and suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole agenda.”
Step 2: 13th July Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
“Jon Develing, Chief Officer, Wirral CCG presented the report to brief members of the Health and Well Being Board on sustainability and transformation plans for Cheshire and Mersey and how this would be informed by a local delivery services plan for Wirral….…Members welcomed the report and agreed it would be a good framework and focus for the Health and Wellbeing Board with helpful ties to the Wirral 20:20 Plan.
Resolved – That the development of the Healthy Wirral Local Delivery System Plan and the mechanism by which this will feed into the wider development of the Cheshire and Mersey STP be noted and endorsed.”
Step 3: 16th November Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.
This is the day the STP was officially published. Board papers included the milestones and timetable for the Sustainability and Transformation Plans and associated operational plan. Apparently glitches on the CCG web site were disrupting further dissemination. Item 4 on the agenda was the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) and a verbal report from Graham Hodkinson, Director for Health & Care. Councillor Davies refused both to take the item and to allow any questions or comments from the audience. The exchange is available on video via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTvIQwwwUWw about two minutes in.
Step 4: Wirral Globe 21st November
Sit down before you read this…Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies says: “we are extremely unhappy that elected members and officers have not been involved in the process of producing STPs and we will not sign up to any of the proposals until we have had an opportunity to discuss the contents of the STP and effective arrangements put in place to engage our residents.” READERS FALL OVER IN AMAZEMENT…
Step 5: November: Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey (Wirral) statement:
”Yesterday I sat down with Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Borough Council, to discuss the Tory government’s plans for a billion pound in cuts to our local NHS. These cuts threaten the future of acute care across the whole of the Wirral. It became clear very quickly that the plans are yet another top-down set of cuts and reorganisations, imposed by the arrogant Tory government, on the Wirral, and that neither Phil nor I have had any say on the plans at all. It is wrong for the Government to act in complete defiance and without any consultation with local people, workers and their representatives. Sign our petition today at www.savewirralnhs.com to register your concerns.”
Step 6: 28th November Wirral People Overview Scrutiny Committee:
Rejected the Cheshire & Merseyside STP.
The plan was also rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Health and Wellbeing Board on 16th November, by Sefton Council on 17th November, and by the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board on 1st December. These have all been widely reported. Knowsley Council have joined the opposition.
Step 7: December 2016 full Council meeting:
“agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Health and call on the government to withdraw these Plans immediately with a view to holding urgent discussions with key partners, including local Councils, on how good quality health and social care services can be provided going forward [sic] based on continuing to provide a National Health Service which is properly funded and free at the point of need.”
There is no evidence that the letter was written or a reply received.
Step 8: July 2017 Phil Davies writes:
“I don’t see any sign that STPs are going away, although they have been re-badged as Five Year Forward View Delivery Plans. Locally, we have committed to integrated commissioning, and that naturally leads to the question of how the providers are going to respond. There have been a series of workshops, led by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), to explore what our view is about accountable care on Wirral. What has come out of that is that there are a number of options, ranging from a single ‘organisation’ through to an ‘alliance of providers’ and a couple of stops in between. The very strong view currently expressed by the providers (and that includes the GPs) is that they do not want a single Accountable Care Organisation, so we are talking about an Accountable Care System…”
The cuts have already started – Wirral CCG ran something called a ‘consultation exercise’ late in 2016. It’s part of the STP but they don’t say that too loudly. And it asked the public for their opinions on proposals to cut a whole list of medical services. [And they’ve already been ending contracts for valuable work.]
So, rather than simple clinical decisions, the public were invited to vote in some kind of treatment beauty contest. People in other parts of the country are being asked to vote on different lists. The local NHS is becoming a postcode lottery.
Meanwhile the cuts have been happening for years because we and the NHS are being ROBBED.
Last year US drug giant Pfizer increasing the price of 100mg packs of an anti-epilepsy drug from £2.83 to £67.50.
We are being robbed by the PFI (private finance initiative) – hospitals built and then leased back to the NHS at eye-watering rates of interest, often by firms which also blacklist trade unionists.
And it’s happening close to home. Not many Wirral residents know that 20 of their local GPs are in cahoots with Richard Branson. Yes, the tax ‘avoider’ Richard Branson runs Virgin Care – and they are in a surgery near you. It’s not a huge contract BUT Branson is biding his time until the NHS collapses and he and his collaborators are asked to pick up the pieces and run a service on the cheap ‘in the community’.
We’re being robbed by accountancy firms like Price Waterhouse Cooper, brought in and paid £300,000 by the Cheshire & Merseyside STP to identify where the STP can make cuts.
Most of all we’re being robbed by the madness of running something we never used to have – an NHS market. Thousands of managers, administrators, lawyers, accountants, inspectors, regulators employed simply to oil the wheels of awarding contracts to private firms. Privatisation does NOT save money. The cost of running the NHS commissioning ‘market’ takes about 15% of the total budget.
So hospital waiting lists get longer and you can’t get an appointment with your GP despite the fantastic efforts of NHS doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff whose wages have been frozen and whose conditions get worse. Medicines previously available on free prescription now have to be bought.
Why? Not because we need to ‘save’ money. The NHS is almost the cheapest health service in the developed world.
So why the problems?
Because there have already been billions and billions of pounds worth of cuts.
Because of the robberies listed.
Because staff aren’t been recruited and trained.
But most of all because this government WANTS to destroy the NHS and force us into some US-style insurance scheme.
That’s the emergency in brief.
We don’t know how you feel but this has seemed to be the longest 8 weeks of our lives. At last we can get back to moaning about the weather and Wirral Council.
Our interest in national politics only extends to how it affects the local political landscape. By which we mean Frank Field – obvs. For as we know Frankenfield is the de facto political leader on Wirral. Let’s face it – McGovern , Eagle and Greenwood are mere also-rans in Wirral’s political stakes.
With Merseyside totally in the red when it comes to local politics – from the Metro Mayor and his cabinet to all council leaders and constituency MPs and the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy there is an unprecedented concentration of power invested in one party. Whilst that is the democratic right of the people, it scares us to death, not only because it suggests there is no effective opposition but primarily that some of the people who wield power are just so bloody awful.
But it’s not all bad news – with a hung parliament and with fox-hunting enthusiast Theresa May now experiencing what it’s like to be hunted by the ruthless and privileged ( i.e her own party) it would appear that there could be another general election on the horizon (*sighs* all round at Leaky Towers).
This of course would mean another bumper pay day for Wirral Council’s Returning Officer Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson who as we know must be struggling on his £180K + salary which is supplemented by the bumper pay outs amounting to tens of thousands of pounds he receives for declaring the seemingly never ending round of elections.
Hey Eric – any more thoughts on donating your bonus to supporting local charities or foodbanks or the New Ferry explosion fundraising efforts like a former Wirral Council Chief Executive used to do?
No – thought not!
Call us the ‘Imp of the Perverse’ if you must but we were delighted that the Labour Party did much better than predicted in the General Election.
Of course this was mainly because that after Birkenhead MP Frank Field’s continual sniping and undermining of Labour leader Jezza Corbyn and Wallasey MP Angela Eagle’s failed leadership coup against him , both of them now look rather foolish, duplicitous and frankly out of touch with their own Labour Party members (no change there then!)
Of course we know that Corbyn was assisted by the calamitous campaign of the Conservatives and he’s getting a bit carried away with himself when he says ” It’s pretty clear who won the election” . Sorry to have to tell you Jezza it wasn’t you or the Labour Party in terms of votes cast ,seats won or percentage of the overall vote (44% – 41%) and let’s not forget the Conservatives – with the dubious assistance of the Democratic Unionist Party – are still in power.
Nevertheless it was a jolly good show – and after Brexit and Trump yet another two finger salute from the public to political pundits.
It must be galling for Frankenfield in particular, to have to say through gritted teeth and prissy pursed lips : “This is real success for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn”
After all,could it be that only on May 16 Frankenfield became the first Labour politician to call for the party to split after the election following what The S*n described as an ‘expected election thumping’. Described by this disgraced organ as “the respected Labour grandee” ,they reported that Frankenfield had called for MPs to form the “People’s Labour” bloc in the Commons if Jeremy Corbyn refused to quit in June.
We’ve got news for you Frankenfield, Jezza ain’t goin’ nowhere ( although we can’t say the same about Tory leader Theresa May!)
So tell us Frank – do they serve humble pie in those foodbanks of yours?………..
When it comes to the question of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ,our very own Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead ,Frank Field, have danced around each other with all the deftness , if not the grace, of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Firstly it should be remembered that Frankfield nominated Jezza for the Labour leadership to encourage ‘debate’ within the Labour Party , when Corbyn cruised to victory he immediately started backtracking and backstabbing Jezza – regularly briefing the press about Corbyn’s supposed shortcomings including agreeing with J.K.Rowling, the dreary and self righteous writer of tedious children’s tales, that Corbyn was an electoral liability. There appeared to be a slight rapprochement when last year Frankenfield invited Jezza to one of his ideologically dodgy ‘feed the poor’ projects just after the latter had seen off a leadership challenge . Frankenfield was even recently named in an article in the Daily Telegraph (aka Torygraph) as one of Corbyn’s staunchest supporters alongside John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. Huh? – we must have missed that!
Now in his latest media interview published this week Field acts the drama queen again – clutching his chest and saying that it’s a ‘tragedy’ that Corbyn can’t sell vote winning policies. We’re wondering whether Field is referring to same policies which he described last year as ‘serious claptrap’!
There is a particularly interesting revelation in the interview that ‘left-wingers’ (presumably Corbynistas within the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party) had been preparing an attempt to remove him as Labour candidate for the next General Election – just as Militant tried 30 years ago. Sadly, this latest threat to his personal fiefdom of Birkenhead vanished when Theresa May called a snap election and all sitting Labour MPs were automatically reselected. “I have been imposed by Jeremy,” he joked. “I have had this indignity of the leader imposing me on the party.”
Oh, Frank you’re such a wag!
Frankenfield, 74, also said the prospect of retirement filled him with dread: “I would collapse soon, it would be over. I hope to hit the wall running, that’s the aim.”
Talk about amateur dramatics! – makes us want to pass Frankenfield some metaphorical rollerskates so he can hit the wall much quicker and with greater force.
Talking of amateur , Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has proved herself to be a rank amateur when it comes to political guile , especially when compared to Frankenfield. We hear from a Labour insider that Wallasey Constituency Labour Party activists have flown the Eagle’s nest to assist Margaret Greenwood’s campaign in Wirral West.
Now we don’t know whether this is a result Ange’s attempted leadership coup against Jezza which might have upset the Corbynistas within Wallasey CLP or it was the Brickgate episode or the false allegations of homophobia made against party activists . Alternatively it could be Labour party activists have made a pragmatic decision to campaign in what will be the only closely contested election on Wirral.
As surely they must know that Tony Caldeira – a distant runner up in this week’s Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor election to Steve ‘The Brickie’ Rotheram- will find much richer pickings ( pun intended) in the West Wirral constituency.
Gillian Wood’s ascendency to councillor for Claughton, where she stand alongside Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies, elicited some comments about her involvement in the Wallasey CLP shenanigans
We can’t confirm any of these allegations , mainly as the people who made the allegations have never been identified . However we have been reliably informed that her partner, James Laing, stood for Labour in a safe Tory seat of Eddisbury in the last General Election. Her son Tom Laing is also active in Wirral Young Labour. So with Gilly’s electoral victory could we be looking at a rising political dynasty on Wirral?………….