Wirral Leaks Scoops the Mooney Scoop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Labour source said:

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

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

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

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

The source added:

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

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

Will the Red Mist descend at Misty Blues?

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Red-faced Mooney blues

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

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

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

Liscard Labour 

To Branch Members : 
 
Tuesday 13th November meeting Cancelled; 

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

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

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

Mooney News and New Ferry Blues

Inevitably news filters through to us that born again Corbyn fan Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney scraped by in last week’s Wallasey CLP selection battle winning by 3 votes (21 against 18).

We’d previously reported in our  Raise the Red Flag story that Mooney may have jumped the gun  by extolling her own virtues in correspondence sent to party  members telling them ,among other things, that :

One of my proudest achievements as a councillor has been to secure £500,000 from the City Region in high street funding for Liscard.

Mooney had said she wanted to remove the Liscard one-way system and re-install the roundabout with this £500k! There were also concerns that a political ally was contacting potential voters and deploying some ‘friendly persuasion’ for them to vote  for Mooney. As it was such a close contest and as apparently such ‘canvassing’ is against party rules there are some Wallasey Constituency  Labour Party  (CLP) members who are less than happy with the result. A  message from a Wallasey CLP  insider reads :

If it’s found out that somebody was telephoning people the result could be void… here’s to a new road system, new houses built where now stands a perfectly solid building (Dominick House) and lots of business for Liscard… all with £500,000 or £200,000 if you take away the consultant’s fee 😣

Meanwhile someone  in New Ferry  has contacted us with some very valid points about the £500K dished out by the City Region :

Earlier this year I noticed workmen carrying out re-paving work in New Ferry from the area near Griffiths Butchers upto around Underley Terrace. The standard of work was pathetic, and Council staff have marked some of the shoddy work with the white paint treatment. For some reason they have not marked all the shoddy work, perhaps that would bring the fiasco to peoples attention. I do not know if the workers were from the council or private contractors, but if this is how Wirral Borough Council wastes money, no wonder the Government is reluctant to give the council money.

I’ve been to New Ferry today and took a few photos.I am only doing this as your site showed a councillor bragging about Liscard getting £500,000  from some Regional Fund to regenerate the area. Shame New Ferry is still waiting. Obviously an area blown to bits is not as high priority as Liscard…

Looking at the pictures and knowing what we know about the New Ferry disaster  and the need to regenerate the shopping area it does make you wonder whether the decision to hand the money to Liscard rather than New Ferry was more about politics than priorities.

newferry plus PI 141

 

newferry plus PI 144

newferry plus PI 145

 

 

 

 

 

SEND for Help

Sendhelp
You know we are always happy to oblige with enquiries such as this:
Could you get any information on Wirral Councils new SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) manager John K Wood
From Huddersfield has he been drafted in on big wages to plug the holes on the sinking ship for the special education needs department as Margaret Morris and Paul Arista have recently departed with a SEND Ofsted inspection on the horizon
The answer to which is  – well, other than we know this particularly expensive consultant named above got the gig in July we haven’t got a lot to go on …which usually means Wirral Council are keen to keep something under wraps .
And sure enough and also happy to oblige are Liverpool Echo – who came up with a recent article with the snappy headline  Wirral becoming safer for vulnerable children as borough takes first steps to addressing chronic failings that left too many at risk of abuse
Yeah – if you say so. Or more accurately if Children’s Services Director  Paul ‘ Boycey’ Boyce and Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney say so – ‘Council chiefs believe vulnerable Wirral children are safer ‘ Well that’s alright then ! All we’ll say is that seeing is believing – and whilst it may be true that vulnerable children are safer let’s face it, in the words of the pop philosopher Yazz, ‘The Only Way Is Up’!
For balance the Echo report curiously references the infamous historical episode of financial abuse of disabled people and asks whether the claims of improvement are yet another ‘false dawn’  –  but it should be mentioned that it wasn’t £440,000 that was stolen by Wirral Council – it was about £300,000 more than that but hey, why bother with facts when the article is predominately about allowing ‘Boycey’ and ‘The Bruiser’ to go on at great length about the bad old days and the dawning of a new golden age for the vulnerable children of Wirral :
The department Mr Boyce walked into was “quite scattergun” and “largely non-compliant” with local authority regulations, he said, describing it as “a service that was disorganised, fragmented, that was unclear in terms of what it was trying to do and the sequence in which things needed to be done to improve things.”
Which is all a bit of a bitch-slap for Boycey’s predecessor Julia Hassall isn’t it? The Echo goes on to tell us that Mr Boyce has ‘wrought the changes’.

Efforts to turn the department around have been dramatic – and boosted by £20m of funding.

There have been suspensions and improvement processes launched, the removal of one whole tier of management from the structure and a massive drive to increase the number of permanent staff within the department.

New management appointments have been made to tackle concerns about a lack of direction from senior figures, while more than 400 workers have been moved under one roof to the Cheshire Lines building in Birkenhead.

So in the interests of balance we thought we’d particularly highlight public perception about how some of £20m has helped with SEND . Firstly from the source who raised the question above who goes on to say :
Is Phil Davies going to leave the council on a high of most improved council 2018 ? It’s an absolute sham with social care improvement – it’s worse now than it’s ever been …
Also providing a counter-balance to the relentless positivity is ‘SEND mum’ who can be found on Twitter @mum_send
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Therefore might we suggest that even with a rucksack full of public money and regular upbeat travelogue news about the Children’s Services that there is still a long way to go on that ‘Improvement Journey’ before Wirral Council and their partners reach the long -promised land of adequacy…

Raise the Red Flag

Red Flag

Raise the red flag, they’re under starter’s orders and they’re off…

As you can see from this leaked ‘ Wirral Momentum’ email to local Labour Party members below ,  it is an important day for the future of Wirral and more particularly Wirral Council as shortlisting and selection meetings for Labour councillors start today.

Important meetings for you to attend

The time has come for you to play a part in shaping the future of Wirral Borough Council.

Shortlisting and selection meetings start on Tuesday, 16th October, and will run deep into November across the peninsula. These meetings allow branches to choose which candidate will carry the Labour flag for them, and you, in the May 2019 Council elections.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. In the conversations we have all had in the past three years, and longer for some, you have expressed that you want to see democratically elected representatives who share your ideas, take them forward, and make Wirral a better, more socialist place to live.

If you have been a member of the Labour Party since 15th May 2018, you should be invited to these important meetings.

Wirral Labour left / Momentum urges all of its supporters to attend the shortlisting and selection meetings for their local branch, and take part in the democratic process that we all signed up to be a part of.

The situation will be different in different branches. If you need any more information about your branch or the selection process, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Reply to this email with a phone number, in case we don’t have that, and we will urgently put you in touch with Labour Party left wingers in your area.

Quick off the starting blocks and perhaps jumping the gun is current Labour Councillor Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney who sent out this message to Wallasey Labour party members on October 12th which indicates to us that it is ‘squeaky bum’ time for some long standing Labour councillors , especially as we have been advised:

Some points, Mooney sent this out before Liscard has even shortlisted and may be in breach of some rules, she has never before mentioned Corbyn in any of her leaflets , she has managed to find an old photo of her with two leftwingers and the MP. Complaints have gone in ,this will go further.

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Dear

After eight years working hard to represent Labour values in an era of vicious Tory attacks on our local funding, I am standing once more to be your Labour candidate for Liscard Ward in the local elections.

Here are some of the reasons I believe I am worthy of your support:

  • I have been a champion of the community on the Council since taking the seat from the Conservatives in 2011.
  • I have lived here for 40 years and raised my family here.
  • I am a proud and active trade unionist being a member of Unite for 40 years almost as long as I’ve been a Labour member.

I am currently the Deputy leader of the council and hold the portfolio for children and families. This is a crucial role because after years of relentless Tory cuts one in four local children now live in poverty. This is an outrage in 2018 and we can only stop it by electing a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn. He will govern Britain for the many and not the few.
One of my proudest achievements as a councillor has been to secure £500,000 from the City Region in high street funding for Liscard. Our local shopping area has been in decline for too long. This money will be available from next March. I will work tirelessly to ensure that it improves the quality of our community and begins to address the ongoing issues of inequality and provides new opportunities for local business regeneration.
I have fought alongside those who are opposing the night time closure of our fire station and the proposals to close the local NHS walk-in centre. These reductions in our vital public services have to be challenged and I promise that alongside my other two Labour councillor colleagues I will continue to be in the forefront of the battle to reverse these closures. I have already met with local health chiefs to express my disgust with the threat to close the walk in centres and I along with other community leaders and MPs from all over the City Region, will be meeting shortly with the fire authority to fight for our local station.
I have a record of activism and dedication as your representative. I want to carry on being your champion and I still have a lot more to do to ensure that we can transform Liscard and uphold Labour values on the Wirral. The shortlisting meeting is Thursday 18th October at 7pm at St Albans community centre which is opposite the cherry tree car park. If you wish to take part in the decision you must be at the centre before 7pm. You will not be allowed in if you are late.
I hope I can rely on your support so that I can continue the vital work I do for our local area.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for a chat if you have any questions on issues. You can contact me on: XXXX XXXXXXX
Many thanks,

Cllr Bernie Mooney

Postscript : Can anyone help us identify the mysterious ‘Paul’  mentioned in the following message :

Just discovered that someone called Paul has been ringing Liscard members asking for them to vote for Mooney even before the shortlisting meeting…

 

 

Apologies and Apologists

Apologies i have none

There was a very sorry display (or should that be ‘not sorry’ display?) at this week’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee where much of the meeting was spent discussing ” How do we solve a problem like Louise Reecejones (LRJ) ?” .

Apparently at the time of Monday’s meeting LRJ has yet to issue an acceptable apology to the whistleblowers who had made valid complaints about her but were then subject to personal attacks on social media and had to counter allegations intended to damage their careers. Furthermore doubts were raised during this week’s  meeting as to whether LRJ will comply with the requirement  to offer a  grovelling apology for her conduct to all Wirral councillors at full council meeting to be held on December 11 and whether she will actually turn up – something we had already raised as a possibility as you can read here : Standards and Measures

Having said all that it was particularly dispiriting to witness Wirral councillors flailing about and not knowing what to do if LRJ’s BSL signer is required to stick two fingers up to the sanctions imposed on her by the council’s Standards Panel . A rather excitable interim Monitoring Officer Philip McCourt seemed to get a vicarious thrill from reciting instances of appalling conduct of councillors from other areas as if to say ” and you thought you were bad!……”  

At which point Cllr Ron Abbey gormlessly  commented :   ” Just goes to show what’s going on out there . We live in a sheltered world . We’re all too good for our own  good 

Really???

Meanwhile his comedy sidekick Cllr Paul Stuart seems tickled pink by his hilariously insightful comments . They’re the Chuckle Brothers without the chuckles. All of this can be witnessed at between 18- 22 minutes of the John Brace video posted below.

We’d like to ask McCourt where he thinks councillors using racial slurs to describe his predecessor , attempting smear campaigns and trying to use public money to buy the silence of complainants would rank in the scheme of councillor misconduct?  #Wirralgate ……or whether this just confirms his prissy assertion that councillors can currently be ” naughty to a fairly large degree” without it impacting on them being fine upstanding public representatives and pillars of the community.

As far as we’re concerned it’s BY FAR the very worst behaviour ever committed by Wirral councillors . However sadly the days when  councillors could be surcharged for their  misdeeds (Tesco heiress Dame Shirley Porter’s gerrymandering  in Westminster being the most prominent example ) or even referred to inept independent body Standards for England are long gone . Would you believe that despite ex-councillor Jim Crabtree’s conviction earlier this year for his repulsive behaviour (ironically) towards LRJ  that he would still be eligible to stand again as a councillor as he did not receive a custodial sentence of more than 3 months!

It would appear the bar for decent conduct for public servants has now been set so low that is it any wonder that we have the appalling shower of public representatives that we have at Wirral Council?  What’s more when you consider that councillors have been apologists for the most appalling conduct of both favoured senior officers and fellow councillors over recent  years that they now lack any MORAL AUTHORITY when it comes to trying to censure the conduct of  others.

Not that we’re apologists for LRJ but if she’s struggling to cobble together a convincing and sincere apology here’s our humble suggestion :

As a once proud upstanding member of this council I am today detumescent before you. Before I prostrate myself  in abject shame and beg your forgiveness I offer these wholly inadequate yet heartfelt words. I realise I could never hope to meet the high standards set by former Labour councillors such as Harry Smith , with his tact, diplomacy and his use of the English language ,and especially his command of Anglo-Saxon . Nor could I ever hope to attain the high office of  Jim Crabtree .  I realise that his telephone manner left a lot to be desired but in every other respect his behaviour was exemplary – at least by Bidston & St James ward standards anyway.  

As for current Labour councillors there is our supreme leader Phil aka Power Boy Pip who has been a particular inspiration to me when it comes to delegating his powers as I have long admired how he gets other people to do his dirty work. As for his deputies what can I say ? There’s big hitter Bernie and casual racist George. And as for Foulkesy? What can I say other than I am simply unworthy to keep their company.  All that is left for me to say is that I apologise for all the wrongs that the Labour group have inflicted upon Wirral and I accept my role as a scapegoat on their behalf.  

 

 

The Never-ending Story

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Now if there’s one area of council business we receive more complaints about than any other it’s social services (be it children’s or adult services and particularly the transition between the two). Of course this might be expected. It’s an important component of public services and is a difficult area of work as it involves the most vulnerable people in our community and the involvement of statutory services is often required at times of crisis and distress.

With the push towards more integrated working with the NHS , includes moves to create an All-Age Disability Service – which we hear is not going down too well with staff as it it as seen as another way of undermining professional expertise and status of social workers – we are left to pity the poor carers and service users out there who find themselves all at sea trying to deal with what are now called ‘care navigators’ .

Earlier this week at the Wirral Council Cabinet meeting we had councillors  Christine Spriggs, Chris Jones and Phil Davies extolling the virtues of integrated working and how it would prevent carers telling their ‘story’  over and over again in an attempt to acquire a service to which they are legally entitled. Needless to say Cllr Bernie Mooney waded in to blame everything on Tory cuts but reassured everyone she had written to everyone she could think of to protest about how unfair it all was. This included a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. You can imagine the consternation in 10 Downing Street can’t you? as a special adviser whispers in the PM’s ear : “Psst ! Theresa – you’d better drop the Brexit negotiations and forget about that bit of bother you’ve got with Priti and Boris and Damian and Michael and whoever the next errant Tory is – Cllr Bernie Mooney is on the warpath and you wouldn’t like it when she gets angry!”

So what we’d like to do here is to provide a case study which is typical of the many complaints we receive from carers and which suggest the problems that Wirral Council have are not just about money it is, as ever ,about the CULTURE  of Wirral Council.  How about they look more closely at why they can’t recruit and retain quality staff and have to spend a fortune on consultants and agency staff.   Talking of which we hear a social services big hitter may soon be on their way out……we’ll bring you more when we get it.

Meanwhile read this never-ending story and weep :

I could fill a book about this but, in short, my severely autistic and learning-disabled son (aged 19) and I have just lost our second second social worker in 15 months.

Last August (2016) I got a call out of the blue from our social worker to say “I am going on secondment and I won’t be seeing you again.” 3 weeks earlier she had said, without prompting, that she would be “right beside you” for at least another year, as my son went through his last year at school and made crucial preparations for college and work placements. When I objected she said “Here’s the number of my immediate boss. Take up your concerns with him.” I kept phoning, over a good two weeks, only to get voice-mail. I left a message that wasn’t picked up, etc. Eventually it turns out that her immediate boss had already been on “indefinite sick leave” for quite a time already, something she must have known when she suggested I ring him.

My son still asks what happened to this social worker and wonders why she didn’t say goodbye.

A new social worker arrived from another borough in Sept 2016. (As did another person to replace the person who was on indefinite sick leave.) In January, the second of these two people gave a week’s notice and went back to South Wales, clearly defeated by Wirral Council’s complete inability to organise. . .anything. Our new social worker kept saying to me “We need to work with each other on the basis of trust.” I have tried for a year now to get my son’s respite dates guaranteed to me in writing by Wirral Social Services. I have been in contact with the MP about it, and she has tried repeatedly to be in contact with them. They are usually on voice-mail, or don’t respond to emails, hers or mine. I still have no written guarantee.

The social worker, after lots of meetings/phonecalls with me, assured me at the start of June that my son’s two work placements would start this September. September came: no work placements. It turns out that the work placements hadn’t received the necessary paperwork from the social worker to enable my son to start work; Social Worker insisted that they had the necessary paperwork. Then she and I and the work placement people (Wirral Evolutions) have a meeting in which it is agreed that my son needs one-to-one support at both of the placements. “Don’t worry, I’ll get these sorted” social worker tells me. This was at the end of September. Yesterday (November 3rd), having heard nothing, I phoned the social worker to ask what the delay is. I get a person on the phone who says “Social Worker doesn’t work for Wirral Council anymore. She left 2 weeks ago. Who are you?” This person was, apparently, a receptionist, someone I’d never dealt with before, left with the task of telling x number of people that they have been abandoned.

Wirral Council/Wirral Social Services are grossly incompetent. They are rude. They have no regard for their clients and their clients’ families. They don’t even show the most basic courtesies or consideration. In due course, I daresay I’ll get a call from whoever the replacement social worker is, and the replacement will say “We need to work with each other on the basis of trust.”

Basically, it is the same thing over and over and over: incompetence, very poor communication (with me, but also with other agencies and between themselves), rudeness, poor or non-existent note-taking, people leaving at short notice and with no proper explanation, etc etc. It just goes on and on.

When the Klonowski enquiry produced its damning report, I briefly hoped that the people found to be grossly incompetent (and, in some cases, corrupt) would be removed. Disheartening, to say the least, to see people like Steve Foulkes still in place. Where is the accountability? There simply is none.

It beggars belief that Wirral Council has not been placed in special measures. I daresay the reasons behind that are political. The Tories asking for it are being hypocritical because part of the problem is chronic underfunding from central govt but I do think that being placed in special measures would be the best thing. The only thing, actually, that would give people like me and my son the chance at least of a semi-decent service. I know special measures are not a panacea but they would be our best chance.

Apparently the new person to whom my son and I have been allotted is going to be in contact “in due course.” Big deal. The “leader” of the “integrated” (!) team for disabilities at Wirral Social Services since January is someone who clearly does not lead. When I told him at that point (no-one had told us the previous man had left, I found out by chance) that Wirral Social Services is a shambles, he replied with “But that’s just your opinion.”  No-one with a shred of conscience can stay working with these people for any length of time: they either go off sick, having had some kind of breakdown, or they are “let go.” The people there for any significant length of time are, almost by definition, dead wood.

When my son is going to get his work placements is anyone’s guess. Ever? SW who has just gone was saying to me most of the past 12 months “It’s very important that your son gets a 5-day week”. .. I know, I had never suggested otherwise!”

Half the Story and Double the Average

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In a classic case of getting your retaliation in first and prior to tonight’s Wirral Council meeting Cllr Bernie ‘ The Bruiser’ Mooney has been all over the press bemoaning the fact that children’s services is at ‘breaking point’. Needless to say it’s all the Tories fault.

And whilst indeed there are some government austerity measures which are nothing short of heinous Mooney needs to get real and tell us the full story.  Her version of the ‘breaking point’ story slipped out yesterday on a sleepy Sunday afternoon on the Wirral Globe website.

Breaking Point (Wirral Globe)

The story was updated today with comments from Ian Lewis the leader of Wirral Council’s Tory group. Needless to say Liverpool Echo gave the Bernie’s bleatings the full front page splash – though rather spoiled Bernie’s carefully prepared narrative by mentioning that damning Ofsted report and how the authority failed to halt a campaign of child sexual exploitation by the Rajenthiram brothers which are two things that Wirral Council’s ruling administration can’t pin on the Tories.

Apparently Bernie wants £25 million of extra funding from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to meet “increased demand for our services”. Good luck with that one !

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A spokesperson for the Chancellor said : ‘the cheque’s in the post ‘

The most shocking aspect of  Mooney’s moans was the revelation that the number of Wirral children is 120 per 10,000 of the child population . This is DOUBLE the national average ! DOUBLE!!

Bernie struggles to look around for a plausible reason for this and comes up with national figures concerned with cuts in early intervention and family support services. There is no mention of the specific impact on local services and more significantly no mention of one of Frank Field’s pet projects – the discredited Troubled Families Programme (TFP) into which millions have been poured down the drain.  As one of our valued contributors ‘ The Professor’ pointed out earlier this year Wirral Council taxpayers should bear in mind that our council are taking part in the useless,discredited TFP phase 2 at a minimum cost to us of £6 million to 2020.

The Miracle Workers

So enough already of this Bernie blather , surely she now knows what we’ve known for a long time – that children’s services locally are indeed at ‘breaking point’ and it’s not just about funding it’s also about Wirral Council’s toxic culture of denial which has built up over a number of years and under various administrations.

We think that Mooney finally realises the extent of the problem she’s inherited with children’s services and knows there are more bad news stories on the way . So what better way of keeping the Ofsted ‘improvement journey’ show on the road by playing the overplayed austerity card and asking the people of Wirral to docilely accept half a story ?

 

 

Songs of The Labour Movement : Two Tribes

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Our interest in the rising tide of Corbynism is, of course, how it impacts on local politics.  And you can say what you like about Jezzamania but it has at least shaken up (or a least slightly stirred) the moribund and complacent cabal at the heart of Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP).  Frank Field, having decried the Labour leader at every opportunity prior to this year’s general election, has been awfully quiet on the Corbyn front lately hasn’t he?
However where the impact has been most felt has been in the Wallasey CLP.  Ever since Wallasey MP Angela Eagle’s doomed Labour leadership challenge there have been deep divisions within the local CLP…..and it would seem from a leaked email from Cllr Adrian Jones sent to ‘Momentum Comrades’ – which somehow made its way to us – there clearly still are!
We’ll spare you the full text of the email as it’s more Citizen Smith than Councillor Jones. Suffice to say it’s as long-winded and self righteous as his council speeches and sets out his long-standing Corbyn – supporting credentials.

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.

 

Meanwhile, Cllr Paul Stuart who’d nailed his colours to the Eagle mast has,  since Corbyn’s unexpectedly strong performance in the general election,  had a bit of a rethink and now wants the world to know, via the leaked Jones email , that he is supporting Jezza. But the idea that Cllr Stuart would now also be backing Corbyn is outrageous when you can find him on the internet posing for photos outside the smashed window of #Brickgate.  Along with Cllr Stuart , Eagle diehards Cllr Mooney, and Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy were immediately on hand to be interviewed on TV and press suggesting that Corbyn supporters were behind the brick through the shared stairwell window ….which apparently wasn’t Eagle’s constituency office window anyway! You can get a flavour of the furore here 
Moreover, Merseyside plod calmly intoned six months later that the constituency office window was never reported to them as being damaged !  But you wouldn’t know this if you picked up any national or local newspaper because they wouldn’t touch it !  And by that time, the whole sorry circus of MSM dissemblers had left Eagle’s “busy summer of lies” unretracted, and moved onto the next emerging #FakeNews bombshell needing their undivided attention….
Meanwhile only time will tell whether Cllr Stuart proves to be as an effective shape-shifting politico as Cllr Jones,

 

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.

Under the circumstances can we suggest that any future CLP sing-a-long  starts off with a rousing rendition of  “Two Tribes” ?

 

 

Wirral Council and the Maximum Wage

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It was whilst we were researching our piece on the appointment of Paul Boyce, Wirral Council’s new Director of Children’s Services , that we came across an interesting concept that cash-strapped Wirral Council would do well to heed.

Old Boyce Network

Of course you can read the Cllr Bernie Mooney approved version of the appointment in the following local media outlets :

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You may remember that we mentioned that following an Ofsted inspection in 2010, which identified children’s services at Cheshire West & Chester ( CWaC) to be ‘inadequate’ , a certain Gerald Meehan was one of the people brought in to oversee the Ofsted improvement plan. Indeed between  2010-15 Mr Meehan was somehow working at both Halton Council as head of the children and enterprise and as strategic director of children’s services at CWaC . According to The Taxpayers’ Alliance lobby group in 2015, Mr Meehan was on £168,700.

Meehan then replaced departing CWaC  CEO  Steve Robinson in 2015 . Curiously Meehan was appointed on £30,000 less than his predecessor with a salary of £150,000. According to a report about the appointment in the Chester Chronicle

Mr Meehan will earn £150,000 compared with Mr Robinson’s £180,000 wage as it is argued the task is less onerous compared with that of Mr Robinson who helped set up CWaC from scratch in 2008 before it became a fully fledged authority in 2009.The huge restructuring of council services that followed saw thousands of posts made redundant so it is also claimed Mr Meehan will be in charge of a smaller organisation.

The full report can be read here

Meanwhile that same year neighbouring Wirral Council ,who as we know operate in a parallel universe ,actually INCREASED the CEO salary by £40,000 to £175,000 following the departure of slash and burn CEO Graham Burgess. Apparently the justification for the increase was that Wirral Council wanted to ‘attract the best’.  We suppose it all rather depends on how you define ‘the best’ – certainly best for the ruling Labour administration – but for the people of Wirral ? Is it any wonder that current CEO ‘ Stressed’ Eric Robinson has a lower profile than Lord Lucan?

And so with Wirral Council continuing to slough off  staff and services like a snake shedding its skin isn’t time we asked whether the CEO and senior officer remuneration should be exponentially lowered ? Will we look back in years to come and think that rewarding public servants to facilitate a free for all for free enterprise was a shameful period for public services. It’s not only about how central government (of all political hues) has encouraged outsourcing and asset stripping it’s also about how public servants in local government getting paid very well for placing public assets into private hands.  So whilst there are rich pickings at the top of the tree it seems that everyone else in public service are at the bottom waiting for windfall in the form of their P45.