Tourist Trap

Demolition 014

It seems as though that the demolition of this infamous Borough Rd eyesore in Birkenhead has taken as long as the construction of the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona.

You may remember an excellent report which we published earlier this year which questioned Wirral tourist figures which were being bandied about.

Tourism Awards : Wirral-style

Our knowledgeable contributor has undertaken further analysis and apparently according to the figures Wirral has the same lure for tourists as Barcelona (hence our picture and comments above).

Therefore the moral of this story is , as we’ve often said :  question everything !

Wirral Tourist Figures – Fake News?

As a rule I hate banging on about things, but, in this case I’m going to make an exception and bang on about the Wirral Tourism figures!

I apologise for the length of this item but I am truly dumbfounded that the people who are supposed to be running this Borough believe the figures.

Power Boy Pip and our very own tourism champ Tony ‘The Hoff’ Jones have both quoted the figures.

Wirral Chamber of Horrors, Wirral View, the Liverpool Echo, VisitWirral.com and various other outlets have fallen foul of the scourge of the internet age, copy and paste (ad infinitum). Nobody questions the figures because they are on the internet, therefore they must be true! Everybody believes them.

Well after contacting Lord Leaky a few months ago I got to thinking about the figures and did some deeper digging. I have come to the conclusion they are a load of spin. Should I be surprised? Probably not.

Were they used to ‘woo the Shiu’? Or are they to reinforce the case for a golf complex? Maybe they are just to say what a wonderful job the council and our esteemed Chamber of Horrors are doing in promoting this green and pleasant peninsula? Whatever the reason, they’re rubbish!

Its difficult to present the full picture succinctly so I shall use round figures and as few as possible.

Links to the documents are scattered around if you really want to read them???

The figures quoted for Wirral are:

8 Million visitors

£385m income

Over 5000 jobs

That equates to 22,000 visitors per day each spending £48 each! Do you believe that?

Lets put this into perspective. Barcelona is introducing legislation to limit tourism as they are overwhelmed. They had 8.3m tourists in 2015. (About the same as Wirral. Ha Ha Ha Ha)

Now at this point dear reader you are probably thinking ‘I’ve read this before’ but please bear with me. (You don’t need to read all the figures below, just look at the total.)

Figures from North West Research, Tourism Data Summary published July 2016.

Top Events Attendance 2015

Top Free Events

Three Queens – 1.2m

Mersey River Festival – 220,000

Transatlantic 175 – 200,000

International Music Festival – 161,000

Africa Oye – 80,000

Top Paid Events

Grand National – 142,500

Southport Air Show – 80,000

Creamfields – 70,000

Southport Flower Show – 54,000

Musical Fireworks – 35,000

Top Free Attractions

Museum of Liverpool – 747,000

Merseyside Maritime Museum – 662,000

World Museum – 658,000

Tate Liverpool – 626,000

International Slavery Museum – 460,000

Top Paid Attractions

Mersey Ferries – 607,500

Pleasure land Southport – 500,000

Beatles Story – 250,000

Haydock Racecourse – 203,000

Aintree Racecourse – 173,500

Total attendance for all these events held in the Liverpool City region 5,395,500!!!

That means more people visited Wirral than went to all of the above attractions and events (and some). Yeh!

Are you starting to see where I’m coming from with this?

The World Tourism Organization defines tourism as people “travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”

(Acronym alert!!!!)

The figures are compiled using the STEAM model, (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) by http://www.globaltourismsolutions.co.uk on behalf of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

Well, I don’t know how they do things in Scarborough but it don’t work in this neck of the woods!

Their beautifully illustrated pdf is available here

And this document gives the game away. https://www.liverpoollep.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/wpid-digest-of-tourism-statistics-12-2013.pdf

Section 1.5 tells us that:

A key component of the way in which STEAM works is its definition of ‘day visitors’; this is

defined as a person travelling to a district other than that in which they live, for a non-

routine purpose, with a stay of over 3 hours. Thus, someone making a trip to Southport Pier from Liverpool could be classed as a day visitor, but not someone making a

similar trip who lived in Formby.

Now I understand. These aren’t visitors to the Wirral, they are visits within the Wirral by people who live here. Hardly tourism or even visitor numbers.

Do you now see how useless these figures are?

So there you have it. Fake news!!

http://wirralview.com/news/wirral-enjoys-fresh-boost-visitor-economy-0

And yes, I did lose my bet on The Wro winning bar of the year 2017. They weren’t even nominated so I suspect they were asked to withdraw this year to give someone else a chance!

Demolition 012

Sagrada Familia it ain’t – but at least it’s a start.

His Lordship Makes An Announcement

Citizen-Leaks

Live from Leaky Towers we proudly present an important  press statement from His Lordship :

‘After serious consideration and stumping up the £500 election deposit by selling some of the family silver I have resolved to stand as the Leaky Party candidate at the next General Election.

Of course this will mean I will have to relinquish my title and forego the afternoon snoozes in the House of Lords – not to mention the expenses.

Newly appointed Wirral Leaks Press Officer Ms. McCalamity whispers in ear : ‘ I thought we agreed it would be best if you didn’t actually mention your expenses at all ! Remember that little problem you had explaining the gold-plated trouser press and the appointment of your own personal nobbler, sorry ,cobbler claiming you were only trying to emulate the incumbent MP for Birkenhead ?’ – https://order-order.com/2009/10/19/is-frank-field-really-so-saintly/

However from now I will be a commoner and appropriately enough I will be standing in the Birkenhead Constituency. For the duration of my campaign I will be known simply as Julian ( McCalamity whispers in ear) . Oh yes , we’ve agreed on a bit of rebranding and that to maximise the youth vote I will be going by name ‘Joolz’ and my election tagline will be ‘Joolz 4 Birko’ .

Her Ladyship is already busily preparing to become Birkenhead’s First Lady – as opposed to Wirral Chamber of Commerce CEO Paula Basnett who is Birkenhead First’s Lady . Because as everyone knows behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes and running the show!

The Leaky Party will be standing on a platform of  investing and supporting public services , promoting openness,transparency and accountability, refusing to reward failure with public money, preventing the appointment of overpaid consultants, promoting meritocracy and rejecting cronyism , barring BS and spurning spin. Oh and whilst we’re at it stopping ‘Returning Officer’ payments at elections – if ever there is case of the undeserving rich it is Eric ‘ Feeble’ Robinson pocketing another 15 grand just before the summer hols. C’mon Eric – do as one of your predecessors once did and donate this unwarranted perk to charity . Might we suggest adding this election windfall to fundraising efforts for victims of the New Ferry  gas explosion. Put OUR money where the need is!

So in conclusion as I launch our campaign I say to the people of Wirral ( and particularly Birkenhead)  – let’s all rise up together and be something more than pitiers of the poor and do something more than promote ourselves,our friends and our own personal agendas.

Let the political games begin……’

 

SPECIAL REPORT : Where Your Money Goes

where-your-money-goes

It must be this time of year, as we’ve been musing on money matters (or rather lack thereof). Clearly Wirral Council have been doing the same as they gear up to set their forthcoming budget and pursue a number of punitive charging regimes to offset central government funding cuts.

Yeah,yeah, yeah – we get it when they drone on about how badly they’ve been done to by central government and they have to make tough choices and priorities. But that’s what we take issue with Wirral Council here at Leaky Towers – it’s the choices that they make which indicate to us that their priorities are all wrong. Consequently they lose all moral authority when they start bleating about lack of finances.

So let’s take a quick look at where that money comes from and where it goes :

As we all know Wirral Council’s income stream is increasingly going to be us via Council Tax and any supplementary fund raising scams they can come up with.We look forward to their budget proposals now that they’ve been given the go ahead by central government to put up Council Tax by 3% to pay for the rising costs of social care. Rather frighteningly they also have the the opportunity to raise even more money via this route.Surrey County Council are looking at a total Council Tax rise of 15% but to do so they would have to put it to the local vote. We suggest that this is not something that the ruling group at Wirral Council wouldn’t risk but nothing ,nothing would surprise us about this shower of chancers.

David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announces proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%

So , down to business –  we’ve previously discussed the charming operatives from Kingdom Secrurity and their cash for trash extortion agency for the Council. As anyone who has seen a Kingdom Security in action – they go after vulnerable people who don’t have the means to  retaliate . Much like the people they get their contract off.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/cash-for-trash/

It’s not  about caring for the environment. Neither are other money-making scams devised by an increasingly desperate council. Similarly their car park charging proposals have absolutely nothing to do with maintaining the roads or traffic measures. It’s all about the moolah. Your moolah! – so cash cows out there prepare your teats for action as they’re going to be bled dry.

Park and Get Taken For A Ride

We’ve already reported the squandering of £80,000 on the appointment of an Investor Development Manager – rumoured to be a shoo-in for current leading Wirral Council puppet master Martin Liptrot.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/the-power-abusers/

Which again begs the question as to why there isn’t someone on a humongous salary with the requisite skills at Wirral Council – because well ,apparently there just isn’t ! Let’s not even mention what the likes of David Armstrong, Clare Fish and Joe Blott  get paid  – if you throw in Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson that’s half a million big ones per annum between them.

Never mind the recent ridiculous ‘Are Wirral’s 66 councillors Value For Money?’ exercise conducted by themselves and to which the unsurprising answer was a resounding YES! – how about we have a VFM consultation on the above gang of four/flaw? – especially when we consider the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services.

This has necessitated the appointment of troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil and former Children’s Commissioner for England Professor Maggie Atkinson as the new ‘independent’ chairwoman of Wirral Safeguarding Children’s Board. The appointment of such big hitters suggests us to that Children’s Services is in an even bigger mess than the Ofsted report indicated. Not that we’ll ever know because the Children’s Services Improvement Board meets behind closed doors. Lessons have obviously been learned from the last Improvement Board – no openness, no transparency, no public accountability suits the powers that be. We’re just asked to stump up the bill.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15032232.Government_troubleshooter_who_dealt_with_aftermath_of_Baby_P_scandal_to_lead_rescue_of_Wirral_children_s_services/

These consultants seem to be mainly tasked with finding out why Wirral Council can’t recruit and retain staff in Children’s Services. We can tell them free of charge : because it’s rammed with poor calibre middle managers who bully their staff on the instructions of passive/aggressive senior managers who earn a nice wedge spouting platitudes and duping councillors.Plus the fact that who in their right mind would want to do Child Protection work in Birkenhead. Think about that for a moment  – beyond grim.

Another drain on resources that we never to get to hear about are the court cases that Wirral Council get ensnared in because they simply don’t know the difference between right and wrong….but they’ve got plenty of well paid people particularly in the HR and Law Departments who are prepared to blur the lines between the two in return for a big fat salary. We understand that there’s a court case coming up at the end of this month that could prove to be the defining moment of how Wirral Council chooses to ‘move forward’.

We’ll keep you posted.

Drinking Wine With Cesare Borgia

Cesare-Borgia-(1)
We were perusing the local news sites on Monday evening and reading about the conduct of one Jack Terrence Nolan,who had just pleaded guilty to assault and affray at Birkenhead Magistrates Court. See HERE

Readers will remember that police were called to the Thornton Hall Hotel last October where Cllr Steve Foulkes and his consort fiancée Elaine Nolan were hosting a fundraising ball.

It was here that the Mayor’s future stepson tanked up on tequila,champagne and wine attacked hotel staff and uttered that immortal line:

” My mum’s the mayor, she will sort it out”.

Our first thoughts were concerned with the sickening irony of a seemingly dissolute Mayor’s Ball being held in a top hotel where tickets cost £40 a pop and yet one of the charities benefiting from the bash (no pun intended) were foodbanks ! These reflections were rudely interrupted by Her Ladyship calling us from the drawing room with the anguished cry of : ” Quick!,the ghoul and his poodle are on the gogglebox tut- tutting about anti-social behaviour”…..

And sure enough there was Frankenfield and Power Boy Pip all wrapped up in wool overcoats and scarves with a police escort cruising the badlands of Birkenhead between 7pm- 9pm last Friday night ( because as we all know unruly youths are normally tucked up in bed by the watershed).
Frank did his usual ” I blame the parents” routine whilst Pip just stood there looking gormless in Asda.  SEE HERE

We were then suddenly struck by the links between the story of the Mayor’s drunken future stepson and this particular TV appearance /PR stunt.
As we know Frankenfield is always calling for feckless parents and errant youths to start taking responsibility for their actions and being held accountable for their anti-social behaviour. However we feel this is something he needs to practice rather than preach. He needs by condemning the behaviour of some local Labour politicians rather than co-ordinating a cover up which means that it is unlikely that they will ever be held accountable for their serious misconduct. From circumventing Local Government Commissioners coming in to sort out Wirral Council out in 2012 to preventing the Wirralgate tapes ever getting an airing he’s been getting his mates out of trouble for years.

“My mate is Frank ,he will sort it out”

At least Young Mr.Nolan is being held accountable for his actions and will hopefully have learned a valuable lesson in life. It’s just a shame that his future stepfather isn’t a better role model as he still has to rely on others to get him out of trouble.

So before next time Frank starts badmouthing Birkenhead and some of his constituents he might want to consider the behaviour of some senior Wirral politicians and ask himself who’s more worthy of criticism – the mob or the yob?…….

* As an aside Verity has been undertaking some background research and brought to our attention the curious sadistic tone that runs through some of Frankenfield’s rhetoric.

From this in 1989 talking about the now newly retired lawyer Nick Warren in the House of Commons:
“I am unique in having a legal unit in my constituency which helps me with my constituents’ legal grievances. That in itself would be worth bringing to the attention of the House, but the fact that that unit is staffed by the most talented welfare rights lawyer makes it doubly so and, I am sure, a pleasurable pain in the flesh of the Government….”

….to this in 2014 talking about anti-social behaviour and that “new legislation is needed “that warmly shakes them by the throat….”

Freud would quite literally have a Field day

Pie In The Sky

pie-in-the-sky-4

Miraculously Private Eye magazine recently covered a story about Wirral Council that did not feature in Rotten Boroughs!

This story was instead in “Nooks and Corners” which records the magazine’s concerns about Britain’s architectural heritage.The case in point here being a pair of  semi-detached Victorian mansions ,54-56 Park Road South,Birkenhead.

Private Eye reports :

” This had been used as the ESWA Sports & Social Club …until it closed in 2012. The following year the houses were bought by a developer .Soon after they were burgled,and 24 hours later they went on fire,the fire services suspecting arson. The shell of the two houses now stands open to the sky and surrounded by hoardings. The plan,apparently is to convert the structure into apartments,but so often in the Wirral a fire is followed by demolition….In London, the house would be graced with a blue plaque and cherished. But poor Birkenhead is different”

Poor Birkenhead is indeed different – not only is the continuing drive to turn the surrounding area into “Flatland”  with a high density of apartments housing a transient population (see also planning applications in the close vicinity for more apartments on the plot of the now closed Cole Street School and part conversion of the Queens Hotel) but the dereliction and decay elsewhere in Birkenhead continues unabated.

Following our “Talking Crap” story

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/talking-crap/

a concerned Birkenhead resident has been in touch with more crap for Birkenhead Constituency Committee to consider. The resident has long had concerns about the continuing deterioration of wasteland at the corner of Oxton Road and the appropriately named Balls Road (East) and have sent us the following pictures (although they advise that the pictures do not do justice to the swarms of flies and bluebottles):

wasteland%20008 wasteland%20010 wasteland%20012 wasteland%20014 wasteland%20020

Our source asks us how do we think the Birkenhead Constituency Committee and Wirral Council would respond to this appalling site/sight?

Unfortunately we suspect it would go something like this:

“We are proud to announce an exciting new development with our partners Steal Holdups International and mysterious foreign investor Pho Ni. We have carried out extensive consultation with the local population – ignored their concerns and decided that what’s best for them is to convert the site to 21st century state of the art “community hub” including all the up-to-date amenities that the local populace needs – a nail bar/tanning salon, a bookies, bingo, a chippy and a needle exchange.

We welcome that the futuristic artist’s impression have drawn interest from the local community and in the modern tradition of giving such iconic buildings a nickname such as “The Shard” or  “The Gherkin”  we understand the scheme has been named  by local people as ” Pie In The Sky”

We spoke to local resident who told us : ” It was quite handy for dumping stuff and taking the dog for a quick dump.Yeah you could say it was a dumping ground.But lets face it love , it’s all me arse isn’it?….there’s about as much chance of this happening as Wirral Council being an open,transparent ,fully functioning ,ethical and efficient organisation”

I Can See Cleary Now The Labour Reign Is Gone

_everythings_gone_green
The most heartwarming news of the local elections was the astonishing result of the Green Party ‘s Pat Cleary taking the Birkenhead & Tranmere seat.

And so we say “Bye Bye Bri” and farewell then to Labour cabinet member Brian Kenny who was very much part of Labour group power elite.

Meanwhile a less than gracious Power Boy Pip dismissed the momentous event as a “protest vote”   Displaying his usual lack of political acumen he failed to elaborate on what this was actually a protest against and at the same time displayed his contempt for the voters of Birkenhead and Tranmere. Could it be they were voting for someone who actually bothers to be active in the community and can cogently explain the Green Party’s ideology?

Meanwhile the usually mute Alison McGovern ,who apparently is a Wirral MP ( who knew?),popped up out of hibernation and offered the unique insight that only a MP can bring to the party  by saying  “you can get funny results at elections”.
Thanks for that Ali Bongo – you can get back in your (ballot) box now.

No reaction so far from Birkenhead MP Frank Field in whose constituency this remarkable result took place in – but then this is a man so much in denial he’ll say that the outcome of the election in fact endorses the wonderful work that he and his team are doing in the area.  No, Frank dearie it’s not,it’s really,really not.

Also on the way out is pesky (former ) Councillor Ian Lewis. We can only hope that his peskiness proves to be more of a potent force outside the Town Hall than inside because we need as many people as possible who are willing to shake up the political scene on Wirral.

Finally might we suggest that the result in Birkenhead/Tranmere will do more than any damning report to rattle the ruling Labour group out of their political complacency.
Whilst it wouldn’t surprise us if the resounding result is dismissed by these golf-obsessives as the “rub of the green” (geddit) we must remember that power is what these people crave and when one of their own is taken down these people must finally sit up and take note that they can no longer rely on a docile and compliant electorate – which can only be a good thing for democracy and the people of Wirral.

The Devil Reads Pravda

LEAKYPRAVDA
Now Wirral Leaks and Eric Pickles are not natural bedfellows but we have a degree of sympathy for his directive about the prevention of the publication of what he calls “Town Hall Pravdas” – that is Councils printing nothing more than propaganda sheets funded with public money.

Now if this wasn’t Wirral Council we’d say “well what’s wrong with telling local people what’s going on ?” – but this IS Wirral Council and we believe openness and transparency will never be the motivation behind such a publication. This is the place where secrecy is the modus operandi and which has been further demonstrated this week with the forced publication of yet another secret report,

SEE HERE

The recently constituted Birkenhead Constituency Committee is proposing such a publication under the guise of “improving communication” and was included in last night’s meeting (27th March).

SEE HERE

Based on a highly dubious ” consultation ” it was claimed the publication will be the perfect vehicle for delivering the “unbiased political reporting” which apparently is so desired by the people of Birkenhead – well according to their “survey” of 250 people out of a population of 60,000 anyway! After all we can’t have those award winning pesky local newspapers and ‘disgraceful’ blogs exposing WBC’s darkest secrets. We need balance, we need happy clappy POSTIVE news. And as a good spin doctor will tell you everyday is a good day to bury bad news . Distract the bovine herd with rainbows, lollipops and the sort of inspirational stories that make Upworthy’s news model read like “The Bell Jar”. But never, EVER let them get at the truth.

SEE HERE

But don’t worry the proposed publication complies with their famous ABCD principles:
“The long term development of a community led news hub would involve community connectors to ensure the publication remains community developed and focused”.
WTF?..I don’t know about foreign language translators but we do wish Wirral Council would provide translators for bollocks such as this.

Meanwhile we at Wirral Leaks, being a much valued vehicle for disseminating Council business, have received an exclusive press release announcing the arrival of this exciting new development in the publishing world:

PRESS RELEASE :

“Birkenhead is Super-Fab” publication

Editor: The Ministry of Spin

Coming soon ! – A new super-fab magazine were we discuss how SUPER-FAB Birkenhead is….and how it’s super-fabness is all down to Frank ,Pip and the gang.
Why read those those poisonous and insulting blogs when we have the real super-fabness that’s going on in YOUR AREA ? – Our crack team of arselickers ( geddit?) will be reporting on dog crap and potholes and the environmental threat of empty crisp packets .We bring you the stuff that WE SAY matters to YOU!!!

There’ll be absolutely super-fabulous fashion spreads featuring what TOP Council executives have in their wardrobes – so you can expect plenty of pictures of customised football shirts, mayoral bling and of course Australian fashion boots typically made of twin-faced sheepskin with fleece on the inside, a tanned outer surface and a synthetic sole. 

There will also be exclusive pictures of our future first citizen and his consort opening foodbanks with FUN captions like : ” Leave those dented tins from the back of the cupboard Foulksey they’re for the poor folks NOT poor Foulkes – you cheeky scamp !!!”

There will be pictures from that golf tournament thingy with Foulksey being Wirral’s ambassador of FUN! Imagine perhaps Mr Blobby on Ketamine -with his delightful informal cheeky chappy persona he will not be making a holy show of us AT ALL!!

But there’ll be no pictures of Foulksey’s “high jinks” at Tranmere Rovers hospitality suite. NO that’s just NOT super-fab. Not super-fab AT ALL!  Because we’re all about super-fabness here as we believe that “Birkenhead is Super -Fab” ….and soon YOU WILL TOO! We don’t want bad news bears with sore heads in our petting zoo !!! – No! We want kittens and puppies and butterflies and meerkats – Super-fab FUN animals that don’t rip your fucking head off or disembowel you or other such unpleasantness.

WE believe in the words of Improvement Board member and Local Government Association official “Visionizer” Haysi Fantayzee and his SUPER-FAB affirmation : “SHINY,SHINY bad times behind me….” – so get your copy of “Birkenhead is Super Fab” NOW!

Only £48,000 from your nearest gutter !

Here is the planned presentation from the postponed Committee meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall.