The Genuine Article : Can you spot the difference between news headlines and political adverts?

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A number of our readers have been in touch with pictures of the Wirral Globe wraparound ‘Advertisement Feature’ promoted by Cllr Ian Lewis on behalf of Wirral Conservative Group which has caused pre-Purdah murder.

We remember having a pop at the Wirral Labour Group for pulling a similar stunt last time the local elections came around. However this particular production really is something else. Real lowest common denominator stuff – right down there with their infamous ‘baseball bats’ leaflet which ruthlessly exploited the fallout from the damning  ‘Independent Review’ of 2012 .

baseball bats

The problem we have is that whilst we acknowledge you’d have to be spectacularly dim to think that the wraparound contained genuine news stories and not exploitative electioneering on the part of the local Conservative Group the fact is a) it appears under the Wirral Globe masthead and b) there are an awful lot of spectacularly dim people out there .

The scaremongering cover star is hasbeen ‘Militant’ bogeyman Derek ‘Deggsy ‘ Hatton. The picture is so old it was taken when he still had a decent head of hair . Whilst this ‘hard left’ trope is not only used as means of highlighting  the power struggle within the local Labour Party it also tacitly supports the established Labour cabal which have wreaked so much havoc in Wirral over recent years!

The inside features  pro- Green Belt , anti-Kingdom Security votecatchers which hitch a ride on the work of local activists and campaigners . Elsewhere it’s a bit thin on the ground policy-wise. A less than detailed 6 point plan features such nebulous aims as ‘ Expose Council Waste’ and ‘Better Council Services’ . Perhaps if the local elections don’t go well as expected the author can take over the running of Wirral Leaks. The local Conservative Group  don’t seem to have learned their lesson from exploiting the  political fallout of the Independent Review . Once they unexpectedly got into power , their main policy initiative was a desperate Council Tax rebate – even that didn’t work and there wasn’t enough spectacularly dim people to keep Cllr Jeff Green in power as Leader of Wirral Council  and the Conservatives were ousted at the next election.

Finally , we’d like to comment on the back page of the ‘Advertisement Feature’  which features the welcome demise of litter enforcement louts Kingdom  Security. We can’t help feeling that there’s been a bit of ‘Leaksification’ when it comes to the hard-hitting picture. Well ,they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

Grave Injustice

Wirral Leaks 2012

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Wirral Globe 2019

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The ‘Right’ Kind of Labour Politician

Following on from yesterday’s Selection Committee non-event at Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) we’ve been musing on the cock up or conspiracy aspects of the debacle.

Now , we’re not usually prone to reaching for a tin foil hat especially when Her Ladyship tells us that they’re ‘so last season’ but there were some worrying signs prior to the meeting that the political establishment both nationally and locally were gearing up for a spoiler.

Needless to say Frank Field ally The Daily Mail (aka Fail) , an ever willing receptacle for his self serving rhetoric, was ready with a less than complimentary article on Wirral Labour councillor Tony Norbury and leading candidate to succeed Frankenfield as the next Labour Parliamentary candidate…the day before the Selection Committee was due to meet. Well, what a coincidence! However and as you read on here yesterday in our EXCLUSIVE : And the new Parliamentary Labour candidate for Birkenhead is… post things didn’t quite go to plan…or did they (for some interested parties at least)?

The Daily Mail article titled Labour hopeful lining up to take on veteran MP Frank Field ‘is a hard-left bully with links to group that dismissed claims of anti-Semitism against party’ details how Cllr Norbury had been disciplined by the Labour Party for bullying and revisited issues of alleged anti-semitism which we’d previously reported here

Needless to say local Tories and Frank Field fans were on hand to add fuel to the fire with former Tory Council leader Cllr Jeff ‘Yellow’ Green retweeting a link to the  Daily Mail article with a typically cryptic and cowardly comment: ‘Well,well,well..’. 

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Well,well, well indeed! So tell us Cllr Green do you consider Cllr Norbury to be a worse prospect than Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes ? You know the one who considers you ‘kindred’? You know the one who organised a failed smear campaign against you and lied about it in an investigation and then there had to be another investigation because he’d lied during the first one and then continued to lie again in the second one? Or is ‘Foulkesy’ the ‘right’ kind of Labour politician who you can sit alongside on the  Board of Magenta Living , trousering the cheque and pretending to ‘play nice’.

As you can see from further tweets this week in support of Labour councillor Chris Meaden fellow Tory councillors Ian Lewis and Chris Blakeley follow the same path when it comes to Labour politicians . There’s a right sort and a wrong sort .

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Now don’t get us wrong we’re not taking sides here as nobody’s hands seem to be clean in this political shitshow and as you know we have pored over philosophical treatises ,mulled over manifestoes and read the political rhetoric and concluded :

bollocks

However to be frank (and not Frank) we’re  beginning to not care if the so called ‘hard-left’ returnees and entryists are hammer and sickle wielding wild-eyed Trots. Anything, ANYTHING that shakes up the moribund puppetshow that passes for political debate on Wirral where it’s all back to the Mayor’s parlour for a handshake , a sly wink and a slap on the back for a part perfectly played in a political pantomime is OK with us…

 

A Brokenshire System for Wirral’s Green Belt

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The above ‘leaked’ letter above sent to Wirral Council Conservative Group leader Ian Lewis by James Brokenshire MP,  the Secretary of State for Housing , Communities and Local Government is concerned with the local political debate about how housing need figures are calculated.

As this debate is particularly pertinent to Wirral’s Green Belt issues we thought we’d call upon ‘The Prof’ for comment. Regardless of where you stand on the housing needs debate it’s hard to disagree with his assessment of the people who are supposed to be running the show. Whisper it – they don’t know what they’re bloody doing!

Gents…an interesting letter. We have the usual disingenuous crap from government. The government housing need figure is the MINIMUM a council must meet or suffer a sanction even if the number is crazy. 

That is the situation we have here. Brokenshire mentions ‘availability’ 
but not the first key planning test, ‘suitability’. That is defined by several 
things including the need to protect current residents and the new development 
residents from air pollution effects.
As I told you many of the proposed local plan sites imply serious health risks if built on. Policy also requires the preservation of green belt / spaces except in exceptional circumstances. 
He also fails to mention the last test , ‘viability’. This means that the houses 
must be affordable to customers while giving the developers / builders an 
acceptable profit level. If sites are generally not ‘viable’ it makes no sense 
to sanction local councils where this occurs. We are in the hands of idiots
at central and local level. 
                                                                                   The Prof. 

Wirral Council playing the ‘Numbers Game’ with the Green Belt

Green Numbers

The turf war political tit-for-tat over the Green Belt continues. The latest instalment comes  courtesy of Wirral Globe giving Conservative group leader Cllr Ian Lewis and then Deputy leader of Wirral Council , Cllr George Davies, a platform to repeat the same empty soundbites about who’s fault it is that Wirral’s Green Belt is under threat (although we did laugh at the suggestion that Cllr George Davies was ‘writing exclusively for The Globe’ .)  We’re sure we all know who the ghost writer was . We wonder whether this could be one of the ‘shadowy figures’ that  Cllr Lewis refers to in his conspiratorial opinion piece? Whatever neither of them seem able to definitively identify how many houses that Wirral needs over the coming years and where they should be built. Of course not having a ‘Local Plan’ in place doesn’t help does it?

Thankfully we have ‘The Prof’ on hand to dig a little deeper than the shallow political rhetoric . We’d like th

dig

Gentlemen …for the (dated) record I have used the best ‘official’ ONS data I can find. I doubt we can do any better until the next census in 2021. The bottom line is I doubt if the population driven housing need will be more than 100 houses per annum or 1,500 over the plan period…a long way from 6,600 and 12,000. This means only a small fraction of the brown field sites already identified by the council and Peel will be needed. I want this latest analysis on the record since I have been told the council has hired someone from Liverpool University to ‘have a go’ at my work.

Should I be flattered do you think ? My contact now tells me that councillors are being told about the Liverpool University ‘critique’of my work. The contact was surprised that the council had not informed me of their intentions as a matter of courtesy. I agree.

The Nolan Principles

Posted on the Birkenhead Labour Party  Facebook page is this ‘Press Statement’ from Yvonne Nolan who comes out fighting addressing last night’s Rock Ferry Constituency Labour Party (CLP) selection process , the ousting of Cllr Chris Meaden and the Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin resignation . She also takes on local Conservative group leader Cllr Ian Lewis , who apparently has been pointing out the splits in the local Labour Party ( you don’t say!) and raising Ms Nolan’s historical role in opposing the Poll Tax (remember that?)…

Wirral politics appears to us to be in the midst of the ‘may you live in interesting times’ curse . This is great news for us as we anticipate that the curse is gathering  momentum (no pun intended) and is moving from ‘interesting’ to ‘positively fascinating’ …

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Bog Standards

Our thanks go to John Brace for filming last night’s meeting of Wirral Council Standards Panel and for giving us the heads up that we would be reunited with some familiar Wirral Leaks ‘favourites’.

John hasn’t uploaded all of the five part mini-series yet but from what we’ve seen it’s the usual Wirral Council Standards Panel farrago bogged down in procedure ,protocol, partisan politicking and pettiness. However we look forward to John’s incisive eyewitness report with snippets from the investigation report in question at a later date.

The actual hearing concerns an allegation brought against Conservative Cllr Paul Hayes councillor by the Professor Maggie Atkinson – the Independent Chair of Wirral Safeguarding Board. Professor Atkinson alleges that Cllr Hayes was in breach of Wirral Council’s Code of Conduct for suggesting that the decision not to publish the Serious Case Review into the Rajenthiram brothers Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case was part of a ‘cover up’ ( further allegations made against Cllr Ian Lewis and Cllr Tom Anderson found there was no case to answer).

Ironically the investigation report was written by ex Wirral Council solicitor Simon Goacher of Weightman’s who are the go-to legal firm that Wirral Council call upon to  when it comes to cover ups (most notably the infamous and illegal ‘four week delay’ in the provision of adult care services.) This has not only enabled Wirral Council to hide behind ‘legal privilege’ but allows them to state they have sought external legal advice and therefore everything is ‘legit’ when in fact the exact opposite is true – as was the case in an unreported case of further unlawful charging of disabled people that Weightman’s were also called upon to help put a bit of concealing legal gloss on.

Meanwhile initial observations from us indicate that the Standards Panel played their usual roles – Cllr Phil ‘Anodyne’ Gilchrist dithering about and being in complete,fence-sitting Lib Dem mode. Cllr Chris ‘Bulldog’ Blakeley in full on belligerent ,bulldog chewing a wasp mode and Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ Mc Laughlin in arms folded, eyerolling,  ‘Matron-Knows-Best’ exasperation mode (though we did enjoy the little snipe at Wirral Council’s head of law Philip McCourt – is the honeymoon period over we ask ourselves? )

We await further instalments with interest and be grateful for the fact that at least John Brace was allowed to film this particular Standards Panel and wasn’t physically prevented from entering the Committee room , as was the case in the infamous 2016 Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  Standards Panel debacle. Now, if you really want to talk about cover ups…

Flippin eck!! – The Faux Outrage of Phony Tories

The above Tweets are concerned with an article published on the Labour Uncut website which is titled  Screaming,bullying,laziness and voting for the opposition : Welcome to Wirral Labour Party

If you read the link above you will understand why the pair are so animated as the post involves an interview with  “veteran Labour official and northern legend, Sheila Murphy”

Below are some highlights that Ms Murphy alleges to have encountered whilst campaigning for the Labour Party on Wirral

“I accept the left has have taken over. We’re a democratic party and I accept all that. I just think our electoral chances, both locally and nationally are at risk because of their behaviour,” she says.

What she means, it turns out, is a combination of bullying, extreme levels of micro-control and indolence from the hard left in her local party on the Wirral where she now lives, after retiring as the party’s former ‘super’ director covering the three northern regions…

…she wants to speak out after facing bullying herself by some of the new members. “We have a new hard core whose behaviour is nasty, vicious, and controlling,” she says. “It’s a return to the factionalism of the 1980s. And we all know how that worked out.”

One recent incident saw a local male councillor scream in Murphy’s face demanding to know who had “given her permission” to be out door knocking. One of the women activists Murphy was with was so distraught she had to be driven home.

She reports this kind of aggravation and centralising control is now commonplace, but her major gripe concerns the behaviour of the hard left during the last local elections. Murphy was asked by the leader of the council and the local candidate to lead the campaign in a target ward as they tried to oust a Green councillor.

They lost, narrowly, by 72 votes. “We managed to speak to 4,000 people during the campaign and it was clear that some of our new members were actually voting Green,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

“We were knocking on these people’s doors and they were openly telling us they were voting Green instead of Labour and even had Green posters in their window.  I reported them to the Local Campaign Forum and was told: ‘It’s their choice’.” For good measure, the local branch even posted on their Facebook page that the Greens were not the problem – their Labour council was.

Banned from attending the branch by officers to offer a de-brief on the campaign, she had her efforts dismissed as “crap” by the local chair. Undaunted, she organised a “thank you” letter to voters. This act of defiance saw the chair post another message on Facebook, warning local people that the group out campaigning, which included the leader of the council (in his own ward), were not representing the Labour party.

“Honestly, looking back I wonder why I bothered!” she says with a wry smile. “But this is my party and I’m not being put off by bullies. Especially when they’re not prepared to do the work that keeps the party alive. Incidentally, no campaigning has been done in this ward for three months since I stopped organising, but the Greens are out in force determined to win the second seat at the next elections in May.”

Her criticisms about the toxic culture in parts of her local party are specific…

Painting a picture of Momentum on the Wirral as an undisciplined militia rather than a professional army, Murphy reports the left returning to bad habits. “Branches, CLPs the LCF have gone back to tabling motions – mostly against their own council.”

There’s also a fear of widespread deselections as the process to choose council candidates begins. “Hard working councillors are telling me that their mental health is suffering as a result of the pressures from local party members. It’s one of the reasons I have decided to speak out. I know I’ll be vilified for having done so,” she says.

“It’s just so frustrating. We’re not discussing the key issues or standing up for real people,” she complains. “Housing and Universal Credit don’t get a look in when we can pass resolutions against the newly established NHS birthing unit, or demand the whip is removed from Frank Field, or oppose the proposal to build a golf resort – anything that attacks the Labour Council.”

The fate of local MPs inevitably comes up in the conversation, with reported moves to deselect Field, who represents nearby Birkenhead. “If they move against Frank and he stands as an independent they are seriously underestimating how loyal the voters are to him personally and many in the party think he will walk it and take members with him.”

So now you can understand as to why Green and Lewis have an opportunity to indulge in what Labour Councillor Matthew ‘Matty Patty’ Patrick  once memorably described as ‘faux outrage’. We’ll be eternally grateful to Matty Patty for that prissy putdown if nothing else. It may surprise you that we’re not sticking the boot in – but what galls us about all this is that the behaviours described are not the preserve of new members and should come as no surprise to either our readers or Tory councillors. We contend that the behaviours of the Labour ‘old guard’  which we have chronicled for years on this blog far exceed anything that Ms Murphy details. This presumably includes the unnamed councillor who it is alleged screamed in Murphy’s face who is clearly not a new Labour Party member . Unfortunately as far as we’re concerned Green and Lewis have colluded with these behaviours from the Labour ‘old guard’, the former passively the latter actively.  Whilst Lewis is currently concentrating on describing the poor viewing figures for Wirral Council’s webcasts and comparing them to Crossroads and Love Island – real lowest common denominator stuff –  not so much low hanging fruit as political windfall at the bottom of the barrel. Meanwhile might we suggest that what is alleged to go on behind closed doors has in fact been hidden in plain sight.

We are not expecting Lewis to kick at the door that is ajar , even when the local Labour Party’s woes have been further highlighted this evening by another  Labour Uncut  story headlined Wirral councillor quits party blaming hard left ‘parasites’ . The councillor involved being Michael Sullivan . All we ask is that Lewis , Green et al spare us the faux outrage – it worked for the Tories a few years back when they managed to gain control of Wirral Council with the aid of the Lib Dems in the aftermath of  a series of  shock horror reports which highlighted the toxic and dysfunctional nature of Wirral Council.Once in power under the leadership of Green they clearly didn’t know what to do with it and inevitably the power was handed back to a small group of Labour politicians who had previously abused this power and have been allowed to continue to do so. Tut-tutting at new Labour party members who challenge the ‘old guard’ is political cowardice  – you may not like their politics or the way they go about things but please remember some of the people they are challenging are simply unfit for public office and they are doing what opposition councillors have simply failed to do for years and that is hold Wirral Council’s ruling administration to account…

Wirral Leaks Election Selection – 2 weeks to go

Vote Goodies

PEACHEZ ‘N’ POLITIX 

So after being open for 6 months Wirral Council ‘s Planning Committee unanimously pulled the (butt) plug on Birkenhead ‘gentleman’s club’ Peachez . However the other Birkenhead ‘gentleman’s club’ was out in force bemoaning the bump’n’grind. Council ‘leader’ Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies even put in an appearance . Might we suggest this was more in support of Birkenhead & Tranmere ward candidate Paul Jobson – for whom the decision was described by Pip as a ‘fantastic victory’ – than a genuine concern that Peachez was turning the town into a hotbed of moral turpitude. Remind us , wasn’t Pip part of the crew who flew to sleazy Reno hoping to be twinned with a town who’s main attractions are booze,strippers and gambling? Whatever happened to that hook-up ? The only stripping Wirral councillors now seem to be in favour of is the stripping of public assets.

We think that Power Boy Pip’s appearance in the Liverpool Echo video included in their Pip on Peachez story should itself be x-rated. Inevitably Wirral Labour described his performance (and it was a performance ) as ‘powerful’. Pip once again used the phrase ‘sordid business’ and it was hard to tell whether he was describing Peachez , his blatant electioneering or Wirral Council’s modus operandi.

However we had to laugh at the inevitable inane comment from that ultimate exemplar of political and personal decorum Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes:  “I don’t know much about these places but I’ve not seen one in Liverpool on the main thoroughfare” he said sounding like a snooty, teetotal maiden aunt all of a sudden.

Bizarrely the refusal for planning permission was moved on the grounds that it would “not promote a positive image of the area”  – which prompts us to wonder whether any of the councillors involved in the decision leading to Peachez going tits up have actually been to Birkenhead lately? Just sayin’ !

THORNY ISSUE FOR LABOUR ROSE

Tory Wirral Council group leader Ian Lewis managed to get a front page from Wirral Globe ‘blasting’ reports that 170 foster children went missing in 2016/17. The revelations gave further insight into why Children’s Services have been deemed inadequate by Ofsted.  In response Paul ” Boycey’ Boyce , Wirral Council’s Director of Children’s Services was in in full ” that was then,this is now”  “right direction” “moving forward”  mode  – you know the drill by now. However taking things even further in her local election campaign leaflet Labour Rose (no sniggering at the back) Cllr Christine Spriggs simply rewrites history when it comes to the past failures in Children’s Services.

We readily acknowledge that since 2010 the decimation of local authority funding under Tory rule has had a severe detrimental impact upon local services.  However we would ask local politicians to be honest  – a big ask we know – and acknowledge in return, that many of the failings in recent years with regard to vulnerable people, both young and old on Wirral, have had more to do with bad management and poor scrutiny.  Consequently the £20 million (of your money) that Wirral Council are putting into Children’s Services are because they have had to remedy these past failings are less to do with “Tory cuts”.

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The Repetitive Pains of Local Politics and the Lyndale School Tragedy

 

 

What You Allow 4

Let’s face it as soon as Julia Hassall stated from the outset of the consultation that Wirral Council was “minded” to close Lyndale School it was a done deal.

What we don’t understand that if “economic considerations” were the reason for the closure why don’t the sums add up?
Are the “economic considerations” more to do with a future potential capital receipt for the land we ask ourselves? – Wirral Leaks, December 2014

Crushed – The Closing of Lyndale School 

Oh here we go it’s the Tories turn for the electioneering and political posturing  as Wirral Council Tory leader Ian Lewis wades in (shame it’s going on for being nearly 4 years too late) on the Lyndale School tragedy/travesty as the former school is set to be demolished and the site used for housing. Read here : Bulldoze Backlash

As for Julia Hassall the poor, no sorry, well paid, patsy who fronted this debacle ,we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again , for all their qualifications and fancy job titles it must be galling for the likes of Hassall, Burgess, Adderley, Degg ,Blott  etc etc etc – INSERT NAME HERE  – to be tossed aside like trash after having served their political paymaster’s purpose.  Somebody needs to get litter Hitlers Kingdom Security on the case, they’d make a bloody fortune! You never know it would probably pay for all the golden handshakes ! All those self serving, self aggrandizing , self absorbed serfs who played the corporate game and then became the metaphorical game for the cowardly lions we call the Wirral Council cabal.

On Wirral – the officers they may come and they may go but the politicians stay the same and its the docile electorate who vote for them who unfortunately give them the political legitimacy to do what they like – such as closing Lyndale School

It’s the same politicians ,some of whom – INSERT NAME HERE – who should not be in  a position to be making decisions about anything, let alone vulnerable people’s lives. Political legitimacy is one thing  but the moral authority – and at times – the legal authority is another. Cllr Lewis may want to discuss with his predecessor Cllr Jeff Green how he enabled such politicians to remain in office before he takes the moral high ground on this one.

However at times such as these we can only turn to the wise words uttered recently by the less than revered elected member Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes

“Having been a young man growing up in Birkenhead, you see the same faces, and it can get very repetitive.”  Read here : Student Flats

Can’t it just Foulkesy!

Which leaves to re – post in full the summary of our coverage and commentary on the Mystic Wirral Leaks and the Tragic Tale of Lyndale School

Way back in March 2014 we implored Wirral Council to “Tread Softly” when it came to the proposed closure of Lyndale  School.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/tread-softly/

And sure enough we learn today that in true Wirral Council style they took this advice on board and now plan to demolish Lyndale School and sell the land. Read Here : Demolish and sell

Sadly this should come as no surprise to those who read another Wirral Leaks post    prophetically titled “Crushed – The Closing of Lyndale School” where we asked the following questions:

What we don’t understand that if “economic considerations” were the reason for the closure why don’t the sums add up?
Are the “economic considerations” more to do with a future potential capital receipt for the land we ask ourselves?

Seems that was the case all along – from the day Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall declared that she was ‘minded’ to close Lyndale School in November 2013 to the sham of a consultation to the demolition and sale of the site.

Lyndale parent Zoe Anderson displayed a firm grasp of how Wirral Council conduct such matters when she said: “We have always believed it is a foregone conclusion but we are glad that we got to say our bit and give our opinions in public.

“We are also pleased that the concerns we had about the consultation being open and transparent have actually been received and reassurances given to ensure that is the case.”

And who exactly gave Ms.Anderson reassurances about openness and transparency?.
Why none other than the chair of the meeting  who instigated the closure of Lyndale School – Councillor Steve Foulkes aka “Foulksey” – the former Leader of the Council whose lack of personal integrity when it comes to openness,transparency and truthfulness has recently been laid bare for all to see.Read here : Foulkesy the Fibber

Once again we commented with the foresight of a mystic seer  : “However we have to say we have to admire the sheer gall  – as earlier in the meeting he expressed the hope that the forum wouldn’t be used for “political points scoring” knowing what we know might we suggest that “Foulksey” needs to tread very,very carefully on the matter of “political points scoring” …. Read HereCold and Bureaucratic

Reading the posts back we presciently called out Foulkesy then and his sickening role in this tragic tale when we said :

Finally  we implore you to remember the names of the Cabinet members making the decision to close Lyndale School and particularly the one Councillor who we feel is simply not fit to hold public office , let alone make a decision significantly affecting the lives of people who he clearly regards merely as a means to pay his Council expenses.

We hope the people of Wirral are finally beginning to realise  where Wirral Council’s priorities  are – protecting the powerful whilst demolishing the dreams of the vulnerable.

 

Advent Farewell 14 – Why Wirral Leaks Speaks in Parables

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No offence meant to LRJ but Wirral Needs pleas to Pip seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. – Matthew 13:13 ( Our thanks to Mr F. Field , Oxton for the biblical quote )

We’ve found some time to catch up with our beloved John Brace’s footage of Monday’s last full Wirral Council meeting of 2017. We’ve attached part one of the meeting below (you can do the rest if you’re interested).

First thing to say is that it confirms that our sources were spot on with the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) story (part 3 of Brace’s footage)…..and secondly we were interested to see Mr Brace himself ask a question about Wirral Council’s forthcoming plans to film council meetings themselves. We just hope John keeps on filming as knowing Wirral Council if the rehearsed and scripted exchanges are anything to go by their footage is bound to be selectively edited.

So what else happened ? Hats off to young Peter Shield from the Wirral Needs campaign who spoke most eloquently whilst accompanied by the Momentum Choir in the public gallery who chanted at regular intervals :

                               LABOUR COUNCIL LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC

Good luck with that one guys and guyesses!  Although you’re singing our song – we would have added a few whistles. We’ve been at it for 7 years and they only listen to what they want to ( i.e what Frank Field tells them) . The battle for the soul of the local Labour group was clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Corbynistas applauded Tory leader Cllr Ian Lewis more than Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. These are strange times indeed.

Looking at the agenda ( well we didn’t – life’s too short) but our faithful factotum Verity told us to look out for a question about why the Highways contract , which is currently with BAM Nuttall, is suddenly being brought back in house. Unfortunately there were endless questions about the Hoylake Golf Resort which came with the same scripted answers and added nothing to the debate and so we never discovered the rationale or details of the business case for doing so. But then the question would have been answered by Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham so it is highly likely we would be none the wiser if he’d had the chance to clarify this curious volte-face anyway!

Finally we publish a statement from Defend Our NHS on their take on Monday’s meeting  if only to reinforce it’s not just us who are concerned about how the Wirral Council leadership conduct their business. Wake up people!:

Massive deception of Wirral public by Council leadership

A statement from Defend Our NHS.   

12th December 2017.

For immediate release.

 At Monday’s (11th December 2017) Wirral Council meeting it was agreed to press ahead with changes to local health and care services.

Council leader Phil Davies told the meeting that the Council was implementing Labour national NHS policy by working with local NHS colleagues to integrate health and social care services.

There were angry protests as Davies refused the suggestion of meeting local anti-cuts campaigners and accused them (falsely) of advocating an ‘illegal’ budget.

The health and care changes involve deception on an industrial scale.

Why?

At the weekend Davies had emailed every single Wirral member of his party to say, “In addition, Labour Party policy nationally is to halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STPs), which are looking at closing health services across England, and this is fully supported by the Labour Group in Wirral. It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre after its closure.”

His statement and the changes bulldozed through last night are based on deceit, half-truths and worse:

1.     To halt and review”?  NO! At its annual conference this year the Labour Party agreed: “This Conference Calls on our Party to restore our NHS by reversing all privatisation and permanently halting STPs and ACSs.” No mention of a ‘review’. The policy is ‘permanently halting’. STPs and ACSs are acknowledged to be the government’s way to “slash, trash and privatise” the NHS with over £900 millions of cuts planned for Cheshire and Merseyside alone.

2.     Davies and all but one of his misinformed councillors have been unable to answer an unequivocal ‘yes’ to this simple question put to them by Defend Our NHS: “Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts?”

3.     In fact and unbelievably the leaked policy of Wirral in league with the local Clinical Commissioning Group  is now “the development of a single ‘Accountable Care System’”, while:

4.     “The STP will operate at Cheshire and Merseyside level, commissioning some specialist services. Primarily operating on the basis of a Strategic Health Authority – holding the local Wirral system to account…”

5.     In other words they are planning the very things which Davies claims to oppose.

6.     It comes as no surprise. To give just one example from recent years (there are sundry others), what was the Wirral Council Leader doing at the 9th March 2016 (yes, 2016) Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board? 
In his role as Chair, Councillor Phil Davies suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan agenda”.

7.     He has never replied to a single communication from Defend Our NHS – including a question (asked twice) in relation to the Vanguard project. In April 2015 (yes, 2015) we asked him, “Why has Wirral granted enhanced entry to our local health services to major US and/or US-owned corporations, especially one representing the ACO model? Surely this and “testing of a capitated budget approach” are the logical precursors to a health insurance scheme?”

8.     And, by the way, to say that, “It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre” somewhat spins the reality.

Campaigners from across the entire Cheshire and Merseyside STP ‘footprint’ have been meeting to plan their response. Davies and his like who say one thing to their members but plan the exact opposite behind closed doors – and then push it through a Council meeting – will be in for a few shocks after Christmas.

Wirral Council 11 December Part 1