Frank Field’s Forty Glorious Years

You may have noticed that lately we’ve been prone to a bit of introspection which has often led us to question ourselves and ask – “Is it us?”

Are we too caustic? too mischievous? (© Wirral Globetoo poisonous? too insulting?(© Cllr Steve Foulkes) . As that Fred guy said : Have we been gazing into the abyss for too long?… 

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… And then you lovely people send us stuff and we realise “Nah, it’s not just us, its all gone to shit out there and we are compelled to record the end of times and wonder how did it all get so messed up with the only things we have at our disposal – words and pictures…

Which brings us to this particular item. Which we’ll leave here for you to ponder on for a few moments :

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There’s not much more we need to say other than no wonder our source titled their email to us :

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The email read : Feeding Birkenhead no expense spared lol

Further information that was sent made us question as to whether our source was winding us up.

Wilfred Owen Choir are serenading and receiving goodie bags . Bet you the Cammell Laird bosses were there.

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Along with the ‘Sold Out’ banner this was now getting simply beyond parody – but we’ll give it a go anyway :

Hello , everyone. My name is Si Coffant and I’ll be your host tonight at this glittering occasion. Firstly, I’d like to welcome all you ladies and gentleman and particularly the ‘Right Honourable Gentleman’ himself and star of the show, Mr Frank Field (applause). Tonight at ‘The Lauries’ we’re keeping it classy. After all , ‘Frank is in da house ‘ so it’ll be more House of Commons than House of Commoners . So, sorry they’ll be no ‘Agadoo’, bingo and throwing up behind the bins tonight (laughter). Instead ,ladies and gentlemen ,we’ve got the Wilfred Owen choir who are going to serenade you with some of ‘Our Wilf’s’ greatest hits – ‘Futility ‘, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, and that catchy little number ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ (applause). So as you tuck into a nice bit of scran please feel free to join in with the choir as they sing about slaughter on the battlefields of Europe . Yes, it’s a bit like Brexit set to music! (laughter) . But seriously ladies and gentlemen – let’s not forget the real reason we’re here tonight. Yes,that’s right – tonight is about all of us who have personally benefitted from ‘Frank Field’s Forty Glorious Years’ as the MP for Birkenhead…Oh and charidee, let’s not forget to mention it’s all about charidee for the starving mites. So raise your glasses and be grateful for the fact that if you didn’t have Frank’s patronage you too could be destitute and cast aside on the mean streets of Birkenhead. Make mine a treble !!!

Our source put it more succinctly but no less sarcastically :

The Lauries is celebrating 40 years of the great Frank Field  lol

His legacy – a starving community

For those with the stomach for it you can read more on the Frank Field’s Birkenhead Community News Facebook page which is promoted and published by Anna McLaughlin, who as we all know is the daughter of dedicated Frank Field fan Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin. Needless to say Matron was there along with fellow ‘Independent’ Cllr Chris Meaden.

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As the poor loves don’t seem get out as much as they used to we wonder if the Wirral council taxpayers are still picking up Matron’s taxi fares or whether they were both chauffeur driven to Feeding Birkenhead’s Fundraising Dinner? After all it was in the name of  charity and they did raise a mighty 3 grand… 

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Matron takes her place at the top table. She’s to the left of Field. But then again who isn’t?

Champagne

It’s always best experiencing poverty vicariously. Preferably viewed  through the window sipping a bit of fizz…

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Three – Go Yellow

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We’d like to thank the Rail,Maritime & Transport (RMT) Union for the little stick of rock that found itself in this year’s Christmas stocking. How thoughtful of them to match the colour of the confectionary to not only the livery of Merseytravel but in solidarity with les gilets jaunes and the current colour of rebellion.

Now we haven’t always seen eye to eye with unions (and Unison in particular) but we’re quite happy to support righteous and concerted causes such as the Cammell Laird ‘Turning the Tide on Casualisation’ action organised by GMB and Unite  and the RMT campaign to maintain guards on the trains.

What we’re not so happy to report is former Wirral Council spin doctor Emma Degg gegging in on the latter situation and squarely blaming the disruption to Northern train services on ‘strike action’  :

Emma Degg, Chief Executive of the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT): “We welcome this proactive initiative on the part of Northern to seek to resolve the ongoing strike action that has caused so much damage to our region’s economy. We hope both sides can work together to deliver the much-needed improvements that are planned to our railways in 2019.”

Full story : Employers and passenger groups back independent inquiry to resolve RMT dispute at Northern

We’re not usually concerned with what comes out of Degg’s mouth but we have to say we    doff our cap to this consummate player with the great connections – making her a mover and a shaker in the North West, commenting on matters of regional significance and from what we hear, still harbouring political ambitions. But then you know what they say  – you can’t keep a good woman down (insert own joke here).

Unfortunately, from our perspective , the people running the show are the appeasers who are given a platform to appeal for reasonableness and wanting everything to be as nice and pleasant and comfortable as their own existence without acknowledging that some people’s lives are brutal and tough and their livelihoods are at the whim of so-called ‘leaders’ .

Dare we a suggest that those who lack the political and personal guile to ‘succeed’ as ‘leaders’ need to be a bit more Gallic in their outlook and and be more like les gilets jaunes – a little less civil, a little less servile , a little less obedient…

 

 

 

 

Christmas Cheer for Cammell Laird Workers

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Pic : Ross Quinn, Unite

 

Very welcome news that the 291 planned redundancies for Cammell Laird workers have been rescinded just before Christmas.

However the fact that a ‘task force’ has been set up by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to save shipyard jobs raises yet more questions about the role of Birkenhead MP Frank Field and his failure to publicly support the recent strike action. It is interesting to note that also on the ‘task force’ is Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. We understand Pip even made an appearance on the picket line although  it was in the aftermath of high profile political and public support for strikers.

We have to say as an observer of local politics and local media that recent events have been a PR disaster for Cammell Laird’s current management and particularly CEO John Syvret who had to publicly apologise for claiming that strikers were  “pandering to negative stereotypes of Merseyside” . But then Syvret was given the platform to make such claims in the local media without initially any discussion of why strike action was considered to be necessary by unions. This was not just about redundancies but about the ongoing spectre of ‘casualisation’ which is something that the local media seems to have  belatedly acknowledged in the wake of widespread public and political support.

There may have been a Christmas truce declared in this particular battle but the war against employment practices which undermine workers rights continues…

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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Frank Field’s Casual Approach to Casualisation

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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.

 

 

The Cupboard is Bare – The truth behind ‘Feeding Birkenhead’

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Concerned Wirral Leaks readers have been in touch asking us whether we know anything about how Birkenhead MP Frank Field ended up with a cast on his arm.As you can see from the above publicity shot taken at a community cafe and citizen’s supermarket in the Pyramids shopping centre. This picture which has been seen all over the shop including what we understand to be Frankenfield’s first of soon to be many appearances in the glossy and vacuous Wirral Life magazine. One of the queries we received from someone who saw the picture asked : “What happened to Onan the Librarian?”

Last month the Tory’s ex- Brexit Czar David Davis presciently poked fun at Frankenfield’s arm prior to a crucial Brexit vote and quipped   ‘Hope it wasn’t the whips’

Which after this week’s Exclusive : Will Frank Field have the Labour Whip withdrawn?  story may not be so far from the truth. This exclusive has since gone national after being picked up by the Huffington Post in their Labour Members Move To Suspend Brexiteer MP Frank Field For Backing Tories post.

Now thanks to correspondence (see below) from another Tory MP, Esther McVey, we can reveal that Frankenfield has broken his arm. We will make no comment on other people’s misfortune. We just wish that the Birkenhead MP would do the same. As you can read he continues to make emotive references to particularly sad cases in his letter – which let’s face it will be totally wasted on McVey ,who as you can also read, is as policy driven as Field is publicity driven. Although ,as we’ve reported before, McVey is herself no stranger to exploiting others plight for political gain. But then again why should we expect political animals to fight their nature?

However back to our picture at the top which shows Frankenfield  and a.n.other. The woman on the left next to the man on the right (!)  is not even credited in the Wirral Life story as this is strictly The Frank Field Show. But is everything as it seems  ? A source writes to tell us that :

Feeding Birkenhead Social Supermarket that is due to open in Birkenhead has been donated £100 thousand pounds from Cammell Laird and also Labour too – complete with the re fit. No argument from me that more Social Supermarkets are opening BUT it is not open to all…  only 100 people who have been “picked” from Magenta housing will be able to shop there for 6 months…

What’s more (and we’re going to bang on about this  ’til we’re red in the face) is Feeding Birkenhead and this enterprise in particular is funded by WIRRAL COUNCIL or should I say WIRRAL COUNCIL TAX PAYERS and Magenta Living to the tune of £80,000.  The minutes of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee from January 2016 read :

Once established, the Task and Finish Group was also requested to consider a request from the Chair for £80,000 of Your Wirral funding to be used as a block grant towards a new Community Shop in the Pyramids Shopping Centre and should this request be agreed to, a formal request from the Committee be made to Magenta Living.At this point Councillor S Foulkes declared a Personal Interest by virtue of his being a Board Member of Magenta Living. Full minutes here:  Your Wirral

I’m sure you can all see how this works and we don’t need to repeat our concerns about the Magenta Living connections. But it all perpetuates the myth that ‘Feeding Birkenhead’  is a Frank Field and the local Labour Party production. Whilst the Birkenhead MP has been the driving force behind the initiative it would not have happened without public money. ‘Your Wirral’describes itself thus :

Your Wirral is a fund administered by Wirral Council and Wirral Partnership Homes (now Magenta Living)  which offers grants of up to £2,500 for community or voluntary groups right across Wirral to fund one-off projects or events.

Which leads us to wonder where the £80,000 for the Feeding Birkenhead  Social Supermarket came from? Is it any wonder that the Wirral Council website reads :

Your Wirral was a community grants programme and a joint initiative between Magenta Living and the council. Your Wirral has now ended in Wirral West, Wirral South and Wallasey constituencies. The Wirral-wide programme, for projects that affected two or more constituencies has also ended.

The Birkenhead Your Wirral fund is currently closed for applications.

Your Wirral funding programme

So it would appear to be the case that for any other community or voluntary groups seeking grants on Wirral that unless you’re part of ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ the cupboard is bare – and much like the ‘citizen’s supermarket ‘ public money is for the few and not the many!

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Come To Sunny Birkenhead

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We understand that it was a typical Bank Holiday Monday back in Blighty. Bleak,wet and miserable. Indeed we’ve been sent the above picture which not only seemed to reflect the general  mood but also served as an antidote to all the idealised artist’s impressions of Birkenhead we’ve been seeing all over the press lately.

Apparently the picture was taken at the bottom of Holt Hill , Birkenhead – ironically the scene for  one of the most famous pictures ever taken on Wirral when Cammell Laird was an industrial powerhouse and the town’s main employer.

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Although it ain’t Bansky we think the graffiti speaks volumes about post-industrial nihilism and the challenge that faces those who optimistically seek to transform Birkenhead . Meanwhile what a dispiriting and depressing experience this must be for those who have to pass this vulgar ugliness every day.

The obscene scene also reminded us of the Philip Larkin poem ‘Sunny Prestatyn’  which presents a bleak picture of the harsh realities juxtaposed with the false promises of glossy advertising. Just don’t expect to see this picture reproduced in Wirral View or in a wraparound advertising feature paid for by Wirral Council.

Come To Sunny Prestatyn
Laughed the girl on the poster,
Kneeling up on the sand   
In tautened white satin.   
Behind her, a hunk of coast, a
Hotel with palms
Seemed to expand from her thighs and   
Spread breast-lifting arms.
She was slapped up one day in March.   
A couple of weeks, and her face
Was snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed;   
Huge tits and a fissured crotch
Were scored well in, and the space   
Between her legs held scrawls
That set her fairly astride
A tuberous cock and balls
Autographed Titch Thomas, while   
Someone had used a knife
Or something to stab right through   
The moustached lips of her smile.   
She was too good for this life.   
Very soon, a great transverse tear   
Left only a hand and some blue.   
Now Fight Cancer is there.
Philip Larkin, “Sunny Prestatyn ” from Whitsun Weddings. Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin.