Deputy Dispute

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We resisted calling this post ‘Deputy Dawg’ .  We’re better than that. Unfortunately our elected representatives aren’t.

However we have to thank our source who, in the dogged pursuit of truth,  asks the pertinent question   :

Just who is Deputy Leader of Wirral Council?

As the new administration gets “its feet under the table” there appears to be some confusion as to who is the Deputy Leader of the Council.  Pat “ the healer” Hackett decided to have a Deputy Leader of the labour group, Cllr Jeanette “ milly tant” Williamson, and Cllr Anita “dog shit supremo” Leach as the actual council deputy leader.  This is causing all kinds of confusion though, especially for Cllr Williamson who keeps telling everybody and attending conferences as “Deputy Leader of Wirral Council”  now we know that dear old Milly has a fragile ego but this is ridiculous!  However what would be truly ridiculous is if Cllr Williamson is also receiving the paid allowance of Deputy Leader as well as cllr leach. 

It would be great if Wirral Council could tell us what positions and allowances these two giants of Wirral politics actually hold and are paid for!
 Needless to say we have previously and ruefully commented on the fact that the local   Labour group have pulled this stunt before. Remember when Cllr Ann McLachlan and Cllr George Davies were both Deputy Leaders and both presumably gorging themselves on the trough of plenty?…
Apparently you don’t – hence it’s a case of history repeating itself  and you’re paying for it!
Meanwhile  can we just pause for a second  and consider the fact that ardent royalist Cllr Janette Williamson might actually be the Deputy Leader of Wirral Council…and you thought that Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and Donald Trump as US President heralded the end of days?…

 

New Ferry,Old Tricks Part 3

 

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So here’s another campaign we’re willing to support –  ‘Justice for New Ferry’ 

From Cllr Jo Bird’s Facebook page announcing the campaign comes this catty response from Cllr Janette ‘Ex-Milly Tant’ Williamson:

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Meow!

Apparently there’s only room for one Queen B in the Labour Cabinet and it ain’t Ms Bird! So much for the socialist sistahood!…

Meanwhile Justice for New Ferry campaigner Christopher Lee-Power (what a great name) tells us :

On 10 December 2018. Wirral Council announced a new hardship fund “£200,000” for the New Ferry victims of the blast. The criteria would be different from other hardship funds, such as the Local Welfare Assistance scheme,

As a victim along with others who have suffered for two years since the New Ferry Explosion was shocked to read in an email from Cllr Pat Hackett which reserved, that they would not be able to meet us victims until after a meeting about  how they should spend the £200,000 that had been allocated by the previous council.

As victims, we were led to believe that this fund had been allocated as a Hardship Fund for the victims of the New Ferry Explosion.   “Earlier this month, the council approved £200,000 to support residents and businesses affected by the explosion.”   https://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/17518576.into-the-light-to-mark-second-anniversary-of-new-ferry-explosion/

Justice For New Ferry which has been set up by our community wrote to Pat Hackett requesting that we could meet with him to discuss the fund as we had heard that it would not be used for the victims as mentioned in the press but allocated to others. As you appreciate we needed to find out if this was true as the victims have had a difficult journey over the last 2 years and financially it has had a huge impact on us all. To be told that there would be hardship fund for us victims and then they do a U-turn is heartbreaking.

Pat wrote back saying that we could meet after they had discussed the fund. To schedule a meeting with the victims after discussing the allocation of £200,000 is just ridiculous  The council is making a decision before meeting with those affected.

This needs to be looked into.

We’ll do our best but the only power that Wirral Council usually adhere to is the abuse of…

Frank Field’s Bread and Circuses (Special Royal Edition)

Red Braces

“Listen Janette dear, I’m well aware of your Republican tendencies but the Royals have their uses in times of trouble so do be a sweetie and step away from Twitter next week… and anyway never forget I’m more regal than any of them…”

Of course we couldn’t let the news pass that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry and Meghan) were visiting Birkenhead next week following the invitation from its MP Frank Field. Needless to say Frankenfield is ‘delighted’ as desperate times call for desperate measures and is there anything more desperate that roping in the royals to prop up your popularity and putting out the flags when support within the local Labour Party is flagging?

Will Frankenfield be showing the royal couple round the town he likes to call ‘Beirut’ and which is inhabited by people he refers to as ‘scallywags’ ? Needless to say local measures to tackle violence,poverty ,deprivation and anti -social behaviour will be highlighted on the royal mini-tour of the town which we are sure will leave a lasting and positive impression. But let’s not forget a trip to see the Wilfred Owen statue shoved to the side of Hamilton Square. Just let’s hope Prince Harry doesn’t don his Nazi regalia as our Fun with Fascism story highlighted it seems to be de rigueur on Wirral for someone to rock up at a World War One commemoration dressed up as a fascist.

prince nazi

We’re not sure that an introduction to Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies is not such a good idea though . What if one of the nation’s sweethearts asks the usual royal question “And what is that you do? …”  They might be in for a bit of a shock at the answer but then let’s face it Pip is unlikely to answer truthfully is he?

Perhaps a better option to be a guest of honour would be ardent royalist Cllr Janette Williamson – she must  want to enquire how Prince Harry’s dear grandpapa is, for as we know from this story she takes a particular interest in the wellbeing of the Duke of Edinburgh…

 

 

 

 

 

Consultations and Cover Ups

We’ve been concentrating on a series of special reports but couldn’t let a few recent local news stories pass without comment.

Consultations

Tomorrow’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting will feature announcements about two upcoming consultations which have been heralded in the local press. First up we have a press release in Wirral Globe where Cllr Angela Davies tells us she’s excited. However the former short lived Change Grow Live employee is not excited that Christmas is coming. Oh no! she’s excited because there’s exciting plans and she has an artist’s impression to prove it. Generously she wants to share her excitement with us :

Wirral Growth Company's artists impression of what some of the Birkenhead town centre redevelopment could look like

Only by listening and engaging with local residents and deliver thousands of new jobs. We will be asking the question: ‘What sort of place do you want Birkenhead to be?’ and soliciting ideas about improving the public realm, establishing more residential opportunities in and around the town centre and expanding the leisure, retail and cultural offers available.After too many false dawns, Wirral residents are now looking forward to being asked to shape real plans and a concrete set of proposals to regenerate Birkenhead as the commercial and retail heart of Wirral.Wirral Growth Company is an ambitious partnership between Wirral Council and a private sector regeneration specialist, but it needs to be informed by the views of local residents and businesses across the town. This consultation will provide the qualitative and quantitative regeneration evidence base which has been missing.Wirral Growth Company has established some provisional ideas for what a rejuvenated Birkenhead could look like – a new market, improved retail and leisure offers and up to 300,000sq.ft of Grade A office space.The Council is excited by these initial ideas and feedback already received has been positive, but it’s now the turn of local residents to say what they aspire to see. Rebuilding work in Birkenhead could start as early as Spring 2019, so over the coming weeks and months I am proposing the Council and its partners conduct this wide ranging consultation, outreach and engagement to gather the views of local residents.

Full press release here : Birkenhead regeneration consultation

It’s not just the dawns that are false Angie. Are you really telling us that Wirral Growth Company was set up with NO qualitative/quantitative at evidence base ? This consultation is beginning to look like “The people who get paid huge amounts of public money to think up new ideas haven’t got any – so can you lot come up with some for us ?” So here’s one from us – how about turning Birkenhead into Dubai on the Mersey and build a skyscraper hanging from the sky as let’s face it all of these consultations and artist’s impressions are already pie in the sky anyway.

 

Next up on the consultation front is keen royalist Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson who is introducing  a consultation on how Wirral Council should  spend the few quid that Wirral Council have left in the coffers with her Budget saving plan . If the Cabinet meeting wasn’t so early we’d suggest organising a drinking game for every time Williamson uses the phrase ‘Tory cuts’. Perhaps she’ll regale us with tales from her time working for the Insolvency Service. Or perhaps not …

Cover Ups

The other story we couldn’t help commenting on was  ‘Embarrassing’ council slammed after failing in 90% of complaints – with some taking YEARS to complete where we find Conservative councillors Tony Cox ( ’embarrassing’) and Chris Blakeley  (absolutely appalling’) commenting on the abject failure of ALL councillors to properly police complaints against themselves but failing to acknowledge that it was Wirral Councillors who agreed to the utterly woeful ‘Standards’ regime that is currently in place. Even Wirral Council’s leading apologist/lawyer Philip McCourt concurred the Council had ‘failed’. Inevitably Labour councillor Chris Jones chipped in that she was ‘happy’ with a 90% failure rate.Which let’s face it is a 10% improvement on most aspects of the ruling administration’s achievements.

This all comes after the recent case brought against Cllr Paul Hayes by Professor Maggie Atkinson ,the touchy Chair of the Wirral Safeguarding Board which we reported here. If somebody had just explained to Atkinson that commenting on the public perception of a cover up is a legitimate course of action for a councillor and is not the same as being accused of being part of a cover up perhaps Wirral Council could have saved a lot of time and money on this particular (non)-case.

Just a shame no-one from the Tory group (or any councillor) has seen fit to make a public comment on a notorious long running cover up involving Wirral Council . We suppose it will be down to us ,once again ,to dissect this particular one in a future ‘Special Report’ :

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Election Selection : Week 8

Red Braces

Labour groupies Cllr Chris Meaden and Cllr Janette Williamson admire Frankenfield’s red braces and his homage to 1980’s wankers, sorry, bankers and the glory days of Thatcherism. Pic courtesy of Wirral Globe 

We don’t know how you feel but this has seemed to be the longest 8 weeks of our lives. At last we can get back to moaning about the weather and Wirral Council.

Our interest in national politics only extends to how it affects the local political landscape. By which we mean Frank Field  – obvs. For as we know Frankenfield is the de facto political leader on Wirral. Let’s face it –  McGovern , Eagle and Greenwood are mere also-rans in Wirral’s political stakes.

With Merseyside totally in the red  when it comes to local politics – from the Metro Mayor and his cabinet to all council leaders and constituency MPs and the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy there is an unprecedented concentration of  power invested in one party. Whilst that is the democratic right of the people, it scares us to death, not only because it suggests there is no effective opposition but primarily that some of the people who wield power are just so bloody awful.

But it’s not all bad news – with a hung parliament and with fox-hunting enthusiast Theresa May now experiencing what it’s like to be hunted by the ruthless and privileged ( i.e her own party) it would appear that there could be another general election on the horizon (*sighs* all round at Leaky Towers).

This of course would mean another bumper pay day for Wirral Council’s Returning Officer Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson who as we know must be struggling on his £180K + salary which is supplemented by the bumper pay outs amounting to tens of thousands of pounds he receives for declaring the seemingly never ending round of elections.

Hey Eric – any more thoughts on donating your bonus to supporting local charities or foodbanks or the New Ferry explosion fundraising efforts like a former Wirral Council Chief Executive used to do?

No – thought not!

 

Question Time

question-everything

Let’s draw a discreet veil over last night’s ‘Question Time’.  All we will say is that if the audience in Wallasey Town Hall is what passes for the politically aware of Wirral it explains an awful lot!

Meanwhile , it’s not like us , but we’ve been a bit ambivalent about the local debate to reduce the number of local councillors. Our take has been that fewer elected members would mean a concentration of power and reduce  opportunities to challenge the powers that be , but then we had to remind ourselves that a) that rarely happens and b) party whips and council procedures can quell all rebellion.

We think that what we ‘d really like is a reduction in the number councillors who think a Nolan Principle is the latest winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

However such discussion is purely academic as councillors decided last month – quelle surprise! – not to suffer , like the rest of us , the consequences of the squeeze on public spending and to retain their numbers.

This decision was trumpeted by Cllr  Foulkesy – of all people! –  at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Labour Cabinet last month.

The conclusion that a reduction from 66 to 44 councillors would lead to the need for ‘full -time councillors’ and would apparently inhibit opportunities for women,ethnic minorities and disabled people to hold public office.  It would also lead to what Foulkesy called ‘a different shade of councillor’ being required as opposed,we presume, to a ‘shady councillor’ like himself. And suddenly we’re sold on the idea !  – in fact let’s go all the way and do away with councillors altogether and all the party political baggage that goes with it . Think about it – wouldn’t it be great to have full time professional public servants who are not compromised by toxic politicking?  So we say less councillors and more council staff ! – we can dream can’t we?

As we’ve been anxious to find out what Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson called the ‘evidence based analysis’ which led to the decision not to refer the matter to the Local Government Boundary Commission we not only read the Scrutiny Review Panel report but considered a Freedom of Information request made by John H Hutchinson which has been brought to our attention and which reads :

“In his Cabinet report “Number of Councillors Scrutiny Review” November
2016, Cllr Brightmore makes many broad statements the most vague of which
is “significant resources in terms of officer and councillor time” and,
later, to support this statement “significant amount of time and
resources”.

What, please, was the formal and recorded estimate of time and resources
to support these statements?

If no estimate was made, could Council make an estimate to complete this
FoIA request, please?”

The Council can advise that Cllr Brightmore’s statements relate to the
Scrutiny Review Panel’s estimation of the time and resources required for
the Council to prepare a submission document to the Local Government
Boundary Commission for England (the Commission), and to undergo an
electoral review (See page 9 of the report)
[1]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents…

In reviewing a number of lengthy and detailed submission documents from
other local authorities, the Panel was able to gain an appreciation of the
time and resources likely to be required to compile a submission in
preparation for an electoral review.  Technical guidance from the
Commission, indicating an 18-24 month timescale to complete each stage of
an electoral review also informed the statements. Beyond this, no detailed
assessment or estimation of the time and resources required to make a
submission was undertaken.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cost_of_reducing_councillor_numb

So it would seem that the  Scrutiny Review Panel Chair and rising Labour star Philip ‘Brightboy’ Brightmore –  who’s previous claim to fame was grassing up former Wirral West MP Esther Mc Vey for using House of Commons stationery and postage for Tory electioneering

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/wirral-leaks-advent-calendar-7-the-stamp-of-disapproval/

– was talking about an ‘estimation of the time and resources required for the Council to prepare a submission document to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (the Commission)’ .

So it would transpire that the Scrutiny Review Panel have basically made some comparisons with some neighbouring councils and councils with a similar profile and decided they are value for money.

It is significant there are no surveys or consultations undertaken canvassing the views of council taxpayers nor an analysis of how much additional council officer time and resources would be needed if the number of councillors were to be reduced. This was firmly put in the ‘too difficult tray’ by the Panel as follows : ‘The impact of a reduction of councillors on back office and support functions was also acknowledged by the Panel. Whilst this is difficult to quantify, it was agreed that that these functions would have to increase in order to fill the gap left by councillors, so any cost savings identified by reducing councillors would have to take account of any increase in officer workloads.’

Meanwhile Panel chair Brightboy says in the introduction :

‘I believe the findings of this investigation speak broadly for themselves. To speculate further upon those findings here risks undermining the analytical, data-led approach I and others have been careful to maintain.’

Which just about sums up some local councillors view of the local electorate.  It’s a case of : ‘We don’t want your views .We know best – even when we don’t ’cause we don’t have the data !’  

Which is why in the light of such a lack of investigative rigour we say to our readers :  keep on making those Freedom of Information requests and most important of all –  QUESTION EVERYTHING.

 

Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities

Following the local elections Wirral Council “leader” Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies has had a Cabinet reshuffle. But let’s face it judged by his awkward public performances he’s always fiddling with his drawers.

However – out goes Welsh windbag Cllr Adrian Jones having mainly served his purpose of pretending to support whistleblowers and giving his former Cabinet colleagues the heads up about where the next bombshell might be  coming. He must be so proud.

Also tossed aside is Cllr Chris Meaden , who as we commented this week seems to have been thrown under the bus by Power Boy Pip over the Passport for Life leisure pass fiasco . Her (personal) involvement in the Control Room debacle probably didn’t help either….

So what are we left with when it comes to the big decision makers affecting the quality of life for people on Wirral ?.

Read this and weep:

“Leader” , Strategic Economic Development , Finance & Devolution – Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies

You know what they say about a man with a big portfolio don’t you?. Yes! –  that’s right he’s hiding behind important titles to make him sound “bigger” than he is.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Group , Transformation , Leisure & Culture – Ann McLachlan

Talk about one trick pony. If this woman says “moving forward” one more time she’s going to blow the turret off Leaky Towers (and no that isn’t a euphemism). As for “culture” – somebody needs to tell her that doesn’t mean drinking a pro-biotic yoghurt every morning.

Deputy Leader of The Council, Housing & Community Safety – George Davies 

Well,well ,well. No Cabinet would be complete without Georgie-boy would it?. Old faithful. The runaround. The go-between.The fixer.

We look forward to the day when Power Boy Pip  is indisposed and Gorgeous George has to command the authority of the Council chamber without putting on his glasses and reading from his notes (written in crayon).

Adult Social Care – Chris Jones

Sadly as her husband has been ousted from the cabinet Welsh Windbag-ess Chris Jones will no longer be able to regale us with her rendition of Amy Winehouse’s classic ” Me & Mr.Jones”.

However her continuing appointment as a cabinet member after the Girtrell Court still has us singing “what kind of fuckery is this?”.

Children & Family Services – Tony Smith

Love the Irish lilt. Hate his role in the closure of Lyndale School. He probably does too. But he’s still in the cabinet. These are the choices people make in life. Again , he must be so proud.

Highways & Infrastructure – Stuart Whittingham 

The big question is whether Stuart “Witless” Whittingham knows what “infrastructure” means. Remember this is guy who spawned a jokes about streetlights and how many people does it take a change a lightbulb on Wirral.

Answer : lots of them and and great cost and only after being highlighted (pun intended) on this blog and elsewhere.

Environment – Bernie Mooney 

Bernie sees it as her personal duty to be publicly affronted by absolutely everything from the Tory government to fly-tipping to litter to dog crap.

But mainly dog crap. Because that’s where the votes are.

Public Health – Janette Williamson

Congrats to Janette “Milly Tant” Williamson at getting a cabinet seat for being gushingly enthusiastic about absolutely everything Wirral Council does.

There is the added advantage she can advise on matters related to the elderly – such as euthanising members of the royal family and in the case of money owed to the council Jan would have no trouble recommending sending in the bailiffs mainly because that’s who she used to “work” for. So much for being a champion of the poor and oppressed!.

Community Engagement & Communications  – Matthew Patrick    Martin Liptrot

Enough said.

 

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