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…

Who are the real ‘Red Menace’ ?

Red Menace

Thanks to those who have got in touch with reactions to some rabid stories which have appeared in both the local and national press concerning the ongoing melodrama within the local Labour Party (and specifically Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party).

First there was the Wirral Globe front page story which was headlined : ‘Death Threats made to to Birkenhead MP Frank Field‘ although the article provides no examples of such threats being made on social media. Tweets wishing someone is dead may not be very nice but they still doesn’t constitute a death threat. Consequently the article just provides Frankenfield the opportunity to resurrect memories of Militant Tendency that resemble nothing more than McCarthyite-era fears of reds under the bed .

This ‘Red Menace’ theme was expanded on yesterday at great length in what can only be described as another piss-poor piece of scaremongering even by The Daily Mail’s risible standards under the headline :

How the hard left is reclaiming Merseyside: Three decades after Derek Hatton made them unelectable, Corbynistas are forcing Labour moderates from their heartlands

This week local Labour Party Secretary  John Maher and Labour councillor Tony Norbury are featured after last week’s Frank Field inspired press tsunami which starred his superannuated political groupie Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin playing a supporting role as a ‘witness’ to a bullying incident that she heard about secondhand on Twitter.  It didn’t stop The Sunday Times  publishing the story as ‘fact’. Whereas the sad fact in all this is the press attention that is being given to these no-marks for the former’s political ends and the latter’s personal ends.

Read it for yourself and make up your own mind: here

Having said that we’re inclined to believe some of what is written about Maher as needless to say we’ve featured him on Wirral Leaks before . Once again how prescient of us to write in 2016 about this Labour -turned Green-turned Red again political chameleon :

From what we can gather about his behaviour within the Green Party is that if he’s true to his “principles” it won’t be long before he falls out with his suddenly rekindled allegiances within the local  Labour Party  – as it’s a case of Maher-way or the highway.

Read more here :   A Maher-vellous Result for Labour 

However much of what is claimed in the Daily Mail shock horror probe about Maher is all a bit ‘meh’ .  Among the anonymous reports about him making people feel ‘incredibly uncomfortable’ there is this hilarious quote :

I was a police officer prior to re-joining the Labour Party and have been trained in reading body language when in confrontational situations. To me it was clear that the body language displayed by both John Maher and [a friend] was clearly threatening…

Meanwhile regurgitated from last week’s scare stories published elsewhere there’s patronising tales of Maher and Norbury upsetting the Labour ‘laydeez’ with their belligerent ways. All of the above conduct has apparently been reported to Andy Smith the Labour Party’s top official in the North-West by a group of six Labour politicians who plotted, sorry, met with Smith one Saturday at Birkenhead Town Hall (somebody needs to tell Daily Mail it’s not the Wirral Council HQ but again why let a lack of local knowledge get in the way of cutting edge investigative journalism?)

Who are the unnamed ‘Gang of Six’ we ask ourselves? We’d go for  Birkenhead MP  Frank Field , Cllr George Davies (of course), Cllr Phil Davies , Cllr Moira McLaughlin,  Cllr Steve Foulkes , Cllr Brian Kenny  or Cllr Jean Stapleton  (you may have your own pick of the politicians – let us know) .

PuppetMaster

Whoever they were they were complaining about an ‘an orchestrated campaign to remove long-standing and hard-working’ Labour officials in which ‘suggestions have been made that people are corrupt and ineffective’

We have to say that this is something we can wholeheartedly get with. What’s more we think that knowing what he knows about the local Labour cabal Maher has been rather restrained – and yes, Mr Maher we have seen the emails which contain similar information to that which was sent to Anna Hutchinson – Regional Director of Labour North West.

Under the circumstances is there a more sickening, hypocritical spectacle than Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies whinging that ‘Bullying is a serious issue, and to have it ignored like this just beggars belief.  Isn’t this someone who was part of a small gang of Labour politicians who tried (and failed) to suppress allegations of a bullying culture at Wirral Council which we maintain persists to this day? And could this be the same ‘gang’ who are now feigning victimhood about being ‘bullied’ themselves? We think the people of Wirral should be told – and fear not Wirral Leaks will be telling ALL very soon…

… and finally in light of the information contained in the Daily Mail  article can we say the most offensive thing we could identify was the sight of Derek Hatton’s mullet!

 

Frank Field Vox Pop Part 2

Frank press cuttings 003

Above are some of the redacted comments that according to Frank Field friend and ally Mail on Sunday have appeared on social media in the wake of his resigning the whip and his comments about bullying,intimidation and anti-semitism in the Labour Party (and particularly the local Labour Party). Whilst undoubtedly it wouldn’t be a pleasant  experience to be on the receiving end of such comments we have to ask ourselves what exactly does he expect when he labels people ‘thugs’ , ‘toerags’ (and worse) and then suddenly discovers that there are people without his power and influence who only have a PC and a pottymouth and aren’t afraid to use it! Is any of the above worse than referring to a council officer “a bloody useless Chink” as Field’s electoral agent once did ? No, it isn’t – because the people making the comments don’t have the power of  Cllr George Davies ,Deputy Leader of Wirral Council, to directly prejudice or influence important political decisions.

What’s more according to former Wirral Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) Field himself once advised her that she needed to “harden up ,bullying is part of politics”. Whilst we acknowledge that LRJ is not the most reliable of sources it is something we can well believe her on this one as it is the type of arrogant statement we can imagine him saying. LRJ made the claims in a ‘press release’ to the Daily Telegraph in the knowledge that they were going to publish a story which included damning comments from Field.  In the interest of journalistic balance The Daily Telegraph chose not to print a word of LRJ’s statement in defence. Consequently LRJ has chosen to share it on social media and here it is . Please note : the typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are LRJ’s own. 

My press release to the telegraph who are publishing a negative story about me tomorrow thanks to Frank Field.

I am responding to this from Hospital, I have been poorly for over three years and spent most of this year in Hospital, proberly brought on by stress.Mr field and his supporters are fully aware I have been so poorly and not even been active in the party, and yet he continues to behave in this way.

The panel you refer to I am not even going to justify with an answer, because there are no words to describe the lengths people go to to discredit and try to break a person. There is also Franks friend ex Labour Cllr James Crabtree who was convicted after his threats against me following the murder of Jo Cox MP.

Frank field has publicly attempted to discredit me, and the charity I am involved for disabled children and their families, this is minuted in Birkenhead CLP. Frank field gave me advice that I need to harden up, bullying is part of politics, well I said it then and I say it now. Bullying has not place in a civilised society and as an MP I was shocked that was your view.Franks conduct speaks for its self, any MP who writes for the S@@ rag has no place in politics.I wish Frank well for the future and any other Councillor waiting to take the headlines over the coming weeks with resignations from Wirral Labour.

I fully support Jeremy Corbyn and have supported him before he was ever on a leadership ballot paper, he is a proud man with clear values and integrity. This is what our country needs and this is what some members don’t want. I am proud to be a socialist with a kind heart, always putting others first and working hard to make a difference.

Times have changed, Birkenhead CLP and the other three Wirral CLP’s are now pleasant, its an environment that I can now allow my children to attend without the fear of shouting and nastiness.We welcome all new members of all backgrounds abilities and ages for friendly, socialist debate.

Kind regards,Louise Reecejones

The Daily Telegraph‘s sister paper The Sunday Telegraph continued the saga of internal strife within the local Labour Party by including a tale re-told by long- time fawning Field acolyte Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin and a clash of handbags in the street between Labour councillors Angela Davies and Tony Norbury , this classy little incident apparently reduced two Labour Party members to tears – though presumably not McLaughlin, Davies and Norbury who would be well aware of Frank’s dictum that ‘bullying was part of politics’  Read full story here : Ghost of Militant Barges Through Birkenhead

All of which adds to the impression of a local party about to implode. However according to leaked emails we have received none of this should come as any surprise to North West Regional Director of Labour , Anna Hutchinson. The emails were sent to her in July and September 2016 and includes compelling evidence of  allegations of misconduct by Labour politicians including Field, Cllr George Davies, former Labour  leader Cllr Steve Foulkes and current Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies .

We have agreed not to publish the correspondence for the time being but it has been agreed that we can publish the prophetic and telling statements which end both of the emails.

Email 1 : “You may choose to ignore these allegations but you can’t say you weren’t told …”

Email 2:  “You have a problem with your politicians on Wirral – a real problem”

Now with Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies doing his bit for ‘The Gang’ by asking for an investigation into the local Labour Group. Read more here – Labour Council Leader Demands Bullying Investigation In Wake Of Frank Field Resignation  – We would suggest that knowing what we know Pip needs to be careful what he wishes for…

Notes & Observations

We’ve had a couple of notes and observations from Wirral Leaks readers that we hope some of our other followers can help,  especially when His Lordship and Her Ladyship are still away and we’re been having a lazy Sunday back at Leaky Towers …sssssh- don’t tell anyone!

First of all we received this note about our old friends Change,Grow,Live (still the lamest company name we’ve ever come across) :

I note that the council Scrutiny committee has just extended a three year contract into six for Kingdom, the litter fascists, as reported in The Globe.
Has the committee also ‘scrutinised’ the drug treatment contract for CGL, awarded in Feb 2015 for three years, time is up and nothing has been announced about whether it is to be extended…probably…or re-tendered. The contract is huge and comes to £7.5million annually. Surely this should be scrutinised as to exactly what we have bought and what CGL are doing.
As you know CGL replaced the excellent NHS service, Wirral Drug Service, presumably on monetary grounds. Drug related deaths are now at a national high and Wirral CGL has been taken to task about this as you also know. 78 deaths in their first 18 months of operation. Crime is up, street begging and drinking is up, street drug crime itself is increasing, all of which is obvious to anyone living in Birkenhead. Street prostitutes are increasing around the Cleveland road area and CGL provide no service to them such as condoms or needles or advice. The old service tackled all of these issues CGL do not. Even the provision of clean needles from pharmacies has deteriorated, again a matter of pride for the old service.
What have we gained from CGLs arrival, nothing in my view, treatment and support for Wirrals addicts is appalling. All I can see is the so called Spider Project in Hamilton Street providing addicts a place to write poetry and draw pictures.
£7.5 million pounds for a poorly run and poorly delivered service is a bit rich!

Now, we thought a new £7million + Public Health contract was waived through ,no bother,by Wirral Council  in April , but we’d be delighted to be proved wrong. In fact , we’d be delighted. As you all know we’ve long held concerns about this particular organisation.  Read here : Public Health England brought into investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks

All we could do at this point was to advise that the Chair of the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee was Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin so any chance of any proper scrutiny was out the window!

Meanwhile we have also received this intriguing observation on the issue of Wirral Council’s proposals for the potential use of  ‘brownfield’ sites which we covered earlier this week :

Just an observation about Wirral Council’s extensive list of brownfield sites in Birkenhead that may be suitable for housing and commercial development. One of these sites is Duncan Street car park, near Hamilton Square.

But if anyone tries to build here, they’ll be in for a shock when they dig the foundations – because the Mersey Tunnel runs just a few feet under the ground at this spot. That’s why it has never been built on since the tunnel was constructed in the 1930s. Perhaps someone should tell the council.

Great website, by the way.

I’m no engineer or expert, just someone who’s interested in local history.

However, I’m sure what I’ve said about the Duncan Street car park is correct – the tunnel is just too near the surface for any building to be feasible above it. You can see from the attached map the route of the tunnel.

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 12.19.09

Are there any structural engineers who can advise our reader ? We know we’re good at digging for dirt but we draw the line at digging for information on tunnels ! Oh and please,no comments on the  ‘Square Entrance’ illustration at the bottom of the map. After all, this is a family blog…

Pip’s Cabinet Kerfuffle

Following the local election comes the the arrival of the new civic year with the Mayor-making ceremony held earlier this week at Wallasey Town Hall which witnessed  Tory Cllr Geoffrey Watt installed as this year’s incumbent. Watt’s yawn-inducing acceptance speech gave Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson the opportunity to do what he does best – multitasking. By which we mean blinking and looking utterly vacant .

Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies then did what he does best  by rewarding failure – in this case we mean nominating former Cabinet member responsible for Children’s Services , Cllr Tony Smith to be Deputy Mayor (and therefore next year’s Mayor). This follows the inglorious record of failed and disgraced councillors who have been Labour’s nomination to be Wirral’s first citizen following on from the likes of Cllr Moira McLaughlin and Cllr Steve Foulkes.

Pip later moved on make the announcement of a Cabinet shake-up which involved the creation of new portfolios and the dropping of Cllr Christine Spriggs from Leisure and Recreation in favour of Cllr Philip ‘Brightboy’ Brightmore . We can only wonder what prompted Pip to oust Spriggs – but we have a fairly good idea.  The other change of note is Cllr Paul Stuart heading up ‘Law and Order’ (no laughing at the back). Might we suggest that Stuart’s first test will be the argy-bargy brewing with Wirral Council staff who are part of the much heralded ‘Safer Wirral Hub’ at Solar Campus (more on that developing story later.)

Meanwhile here’s a Labour sources interesting observations on the recent election campaign , The Contact Company and the current Labour cabinet

Dear Wirral Leaks,

During the campaign in Birkenhead & Tranmere, it was widely known throughout the Labour camp that they were keeping record of Labour members within the ward who were planning on voting Green. It was claimed by Sheila Murphy, a delegate to Wirral Labour’s LCF, and Paul Jobson the Labour candidate that members who say on the doorstep they will vote Green can be removed from the party.
It is my understanding speaking to North West branch that this is false. Members may vote for whoever they choose as it is a secret ballot, provided they do not campaign for another party. It is my belief this was an intimidation tactic used by the Labour campaign to force members to vote Green.
However, if such a list exists separately from the data political parties may keep when knocking on the doorstep, then there would possibly be a legal infringement.
You may have also picked up a leaflet printed about Pat Cleary during the campaign, much of which was a personal attack up Pat rather than over policies. It should be noted that on Twitter many Labour members made their feelings clear over personal attacks against candidates rather than those on policies.
However, it is not only members who were being forced to get behind the campaign.
Wirral Council’s cabinet were also whipped to attend campaign days in Birkenhead & Tranmere on “action saturdays”, and it was only until this issue was raised by Labour’s LCF that other target seats were included too. Again, this was well known throughout the Labour campaign.
The pouring of resources into Birkenhead & Tranmere it is well known is less to do with a fear of Pat Cleary, and more due to the fact that there is a fear Phil Davies will lose his seat next year and throwing everything into the ward this year was meant to stem the Green tide. However, it may have come at the cost of Pensby, and the possibility of winning other seats.
One final note, an investigative piece into workers rights in The Contact Company, and Phil Davies and Liverpool City Region’s links to the company and its owner Asif may be well worth a look in to. Agency workers  on minimum wage, 13 week, zero hours contracts working over 40 hours a week, many getting sacked for spurious reasons linked to a LABOUR council leader…. you get the idea.
Please respect my anonymity, but understand I am only trying to uncover what is going on behind the scenes because the majority of Wirral Labour Party want this current cabinet out, and are in fact good people.
  Yours Faithfully,
  A Labour Source.
We managed to track down copies of the offending leaflets referred to above on Twitter courtesy of  @LuciBella_
Twitter - Election

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9

Javid letter 354

Mail on Sunday 25/3/18

LOCAL PLANS,WEDDING PLANS – IT’S ALL THE SAME TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT (NO F*CKS ARE GIVEN)  

We think it’s fair to say it’s been a bad week for Wirral Council’s planning department. Just to cap it off there was a High Court ruling on the long running Thornton Manor story  A Thornton Huff : Where once again ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to the Green Belt . You won’t be surprised to hear that Mr Justice Kerr ruled that Wirral Council had allowed Thornton Manor to flout planning laws and erect three marquees on the Green Belt by mistakenly making the permission to do so ‘unconditional’. The council only spotted the blunder in March 2017  – SIX YEARS  after permission was granted – like you do. In an unprecedented move Wirral Council apparently “confessed to its error “(!) which prompted the owners of  nearby rival and Mayor’s Ball venue , Thornton Hall Hotel, to make a legal challenge. Press reports say that as Thornton Manor has made wedding bookings up until 2020 that up to 50,000 guests could be affected by the ruling. Mr Justice Kerr stated ” I do not think that the existence of these bookings should override the public interest in the integrity of the planning process”. Little does he know that the public interest and integrity of the planning process seem to be alien concepts to Wirral Council!

We have to say the story reduced Her Ladyship to tears……..tears of laughter that is – as she read that blushing brides had been tempted to hire one of the marquees for their big day with a ‘Say I Do In Choo’ promo, where if they spent £3,950 – which struck us as a bit of a random figure – they would be entitled to a £500 voucher for Jimmy Choo shoes.  Her Ladyship composed herself after her bout of schadenfreude and rather pointedly sniffed : ” I think that prospective brides will find that being Choo-less is the first of many disappointments when it comes to married life “

“DON’T LET THE S*N GO DOWN ON FRANK” PLEADS MATRON

Oo-er Matron! Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin tries to come to the rescue of her adored Frank Field as he came under fire at Friday night’s Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting for continuing to write for The S*n .

The Skwawkbox blog reports that a strongly-worded motion of censure was proposed by Birkenhead CLP’s Prenton branch which stated as follows :

Prenton Branch condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Frank Field to write for Murdoch’s S*n. This not only flies in the face of Birkenhead public opinion and a Wirral Labour Council boycott, it rides roughshod over the memory of those who died or survived the Hillsborough tragedy and were smeared by that rag. It also causes upset to friends and family of victims and survivors.

One Prenton member has cancelled his membership due to Frank’s involvement in the gutter press. The branch feels that this is a clear case of bringing our Party into disrepute.

We call on Frank, to give a clear, unambiguous, public apology, for the hurt caused and to provide an undertaking not to contribute in any way, in future.

field-s_n-clp

“The writing was almost literally on the wall beyond him” –  pic and caption courtesy The Skwawkbox

A Labour Party member who was present at the meeting told Skwawkbox :

Frank said that he would not be muzzled. He refused to give the requested commitment not to repeat the offence caused and stated that if members didn’t like it, they could deselect him.

He flounced out of the meeting, claiming that he was continuing his surgery at nearby Birkenhead Town Hall. Nobody believed that, as it was nearly 8 pm and his surgery started at 5 pm!

His parting shot was some snide comment about Jeremy Corbyn, but members shouted back at him “thanks for nominating him”, as Field provided the deciding vote, which secured JC’s place on the original ballot!

We remind him of that frequently. If he thought he was being clever at the time, and JC had no chance of winning, look how that turned out.

Read full story here : Labour MP Field censured by Birkenhead CLP for S*n columns

The flouncing , arrogance and snide comments of Frankenfield will be familiar to those who happen to get on the wrong side of the Birkenhead MP . All you have to do is simply not to agree that he is 100% right on EVERYTHING and fail to prostrate yourself in adoration before him and you’re a wild-eyed Trotskyite and/or a mad malcontent. Which brings us round to Matron who gallantly (and unusually) writes in support of her hero in the comments section (Frankenfield had himself had declined to comment to The Skwawkbox) . There’s an interesting spat with local blogger Wirral In It Together. Matron loses – badly (and inevitably). One comment that particularly caught our eye was from Ian Campbell who wrote : “1984 N Wales Euro election Frank FIELDS (sic)  signed a half page in all the 10 constituency newspapers to warn against Ian Campbell the official Labour Candidate LP general Secretary wrote to me to apologise adding Fields has the backing of the Catholic Church and is untouchable.”

This reminded us that we really must get round to that story about Anglican Field’s extensive local connections with the Catholic Church………

ALL WRAPPED UP

You’re telling us that the Wirral Growth Company news emanating from its PR arm Wirral Well Made is absolutely relentless. We understand that this week’s Wirral Globe featured yet another 4 page  wrap around ‘advertising feature’ (costing  £4K +). Why Wirral Council’s ruling Labour administration continues to publish their Wirral View and duplicate spending on exactly the same content in a local newspaper we can only assume is down to arrogance and contempt for council tax payers. Wirral Well Made ‘s Martin Liptrot must be Wirral well made up that having wanting to put the Wirral Globe out of business he now has the financial means to use it as just another Wirral Council media outlet  Indeed Wirral Council now appear to have the local mainstream media all wrapped up. Indeed one reader has kindly sent us an artful representation of what it feels like to be subject to the ongoing media bombardment :

Javid letter 361

And what’s more it would appear that local opposition parties are not able to do anything about it. Whilst we understand the local Conservatives took out their own pre-purdah page in this week’s Wirral Globe (presumably paid for by local Tories and not by local council tax payers) to rerun the usual fare of complaints about consultants, Wirral View , Hoylake Golf Resort , bins and loans it seems to us that despite the high costs these are , politically-speaking , low ticket items :

Javid letter 360

The problem that opposition parties on Wirral now have (and particularly the Tories) is that as a result of their misplaced politesse the big ticket item of institutional corruption involving a small cabal of  Labour councillors has allowed the latter to act with impunity . Consequently this cabal have grown in strength, increased their power and are now acting, somewhat like their mentor and spiritual leader Frankenfield , as though they are “untouchable” . And with a perpetually impotent opposition with few new ideas things can only get worse.

AND FINALLY….

There were a few notable absentees ( including Cllr Louise Reecejones) and the announcement of a couple of retirements at this week’s full Wirral Council meeting. The latter included Cllr John Hale , a former Wirral Council leader from the last century (or was it the century before that?) and outgoing Mayor and former Deputy Leader of  Wirral Council  Cllr Ann ‘Moving Forward’ McLachlan.  Cllr McLachlan always appeared to us to be in a permanent state of denial about the appalling conduct of some of her contemporaries be they Wirral councillors or council officers . Her mantra was always about ‘moving forward’ as if it made all that ‘unpleasantness’ suddenly disappear. Now that Cllr McLachlan is ‘moving forward’ into retirement from politics perhaps she will take time to reflect that sometimes silence is compliance.

 

 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #6

Hey! people of Wirral – we’re supposed to be semi-retired here! But in the mean time keep ’em comin’……

CONDUCT UNBECOMING 

This is a postscript to our Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life post where earlier this week we witnessed Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin desperately querying whether a particular website was intimidatory. Hey , Matron – we pay for your taxis , it would appear you now want us to pay for your phone. As Her Ladyship said : ” It’ll be bad dye jobs and manicures next !” Can we just pitch in that we agree with a recent Guardian report (that’s a first for us) where ex- Tory minister Sir Eric ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ Pickles gets a deserved kicking (or this being the Guardian – a mild riposte). It was Frank Field’s mate who dismantled the external scrutiny of Councils with the abolishment of the Audit Commission and Standards For England and my goodness haven’t councillors at Wirral Council taken advantage of the fact since? For more read here : Blame Eric Pickles for councillors guzzling high on the hog

It is apparent that electors on Wirral don’t or at least don’t in any coherent way police the conduct of councillors. So we try to instead – and if that’s ‘intimidatory’ Matron we make no apologies! Just sayin’

HUBWATCH  

Maritime_Knowledge_Hub

Her Ladyship turned to me the other day and said :

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
It’s the only thing
That there’s just too little of
What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
No not just for some – but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need
Another mountain
There are mountains
And hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans
And rivers enough to cross
Enough to last – ’til the end of time

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs

And who was I to disagree? So in honour of Her Ladyship we are introducing a new Wirral Leaks feature – Hubwatch. This week’s hub is the ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’ exclusively featured in Wirral Council’s favourite website Insider Media Ltd. 

The ‘Digital Staff Writer’ for this exclusive for this is one Matthew Ord. Now we’re not being rude here Matthew but your profile pic makes you look slightly deranged. We suppose that’s what happens when you have to cut and paste press statements from various interested parties into a vaguely coherent article so that it doesn’t read like complete BS for a living. Just sayin’

WIRRAL WINDFALL 

The latest contribution from regular Wirral Leaks contributor ‘The Prof ‘ may be a bit controversial but we’re a broad church and we like to encourage debate and dispute

It was good to read in the February Wirral View that according to Cllr. Phil Davies Wirral is now the centre for ‘Offshore Renewable Engineering’! Orsted’s new ‘flagship’ site for windmill maintenance is apparently the best thing since sliced bread ! Phil must have read the piece in Renewable Energy News, etc, which reported that several hundred offshore windmills supplied by Siemens, including those of Orsted, have suffered unexpected problems including severe blade erosion requiring expensive repair or replacement. That should keep Orsted’s base busy in the short term. But, as to the medium term,  did Phil not also read the Financial Times piece (23.02.18) :’Global Renewable Energy Sector Faces Enron Style Collapse’. With the end of cheap money and subsidies and the US shale gas revolution ,the ‘windmill era’ may be ending again just as it did when coal and oil arrived in the 19th century. If Phil wants economic renewal for Wirral he should forget politically correct fantasy, embrace reality and talk to Cuadrilla.                                                                        Professor D P Gregg (retired)

 

Juergen Maier is Siemens CEO and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) Chairman

Emma Degg (ex Wirral Council, Wirral Leaks passim) is CEO of NWBLT

Oh and DLA Piper, Grant Thornton, Orsted and Unilever have representatives on the NWBLT board. Have you all worked out how this shit works yet?

NWBLT Members

Just sayin’

STIR IT UP
Marley's E-cigs
Now you know we don’t judge here at Wirral Leaks and we fully support local businesses and recognise you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living these days. However from time to time who question the appropriateness of some sponsorship deals . We say this as we’ve been sent these pics and comment from a local resident :
Good to see Somerville Medical Centre being sponsored by the cheapest e cig shop on Merseyside……sponsored by Marley’s where (if you zoom in on this photo) you will also see that you can buy ‘spliff boxes’, ‘bongs’, and associated drug taking paraphernalia ……. ha ha
Spliff box
Perhaps Julie Webster Head of Public Health at Wirral Council could comment on the matter and at the same time confirm she has an MSc and therefore has the authority to do so. Just sayin’
AND FINALLY 
We’ve been sent this picture and asked  ” What does this former party political leader and his partner have in common with a Wirral political power couple?”
Henry & Jo
We were stumped – perhaps Wirral Leaks readers can enlighten us………

Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life

Cox 009

We’ve been forwarded the latest footage from the eye of the lens of our beloved Mr Brace by a number of people who thought it might be of interest.

Although Our Man Brace makes a guest appearance three minutes into Part 1 which was diverting especially when we clocked the facial expressions of Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee  chair Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who gives a whole new meaning to the expression clockwatching. However there were too many longueurs for our liking (that’s French for ‘boring bits’).

As usual it was a case of  councillors skirting round the most pertinent issues with Matron reminding committee members that they  “can get yourselves into a bit of a mess “ if they don’t follow the Council’s guidance and protocols. You don’t say ! – care to give some examples? There then followed a prolonged session of speaking in tongues about ‘sanctions’ for errant councillors (or rather lack thereof)  with everyone careful not to mention ‘The Councillor That Dare Not Speak It’s Name’ ( that’s Cllr Louise Reecejones aka LRJ ). Although we have to say that LRJ’s violations against the Council’s Code of Conduct are but nothing compared to the likes of Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies we feel as though we’ve done that one to death. 

We were just about to turn off  halfway through Part 2 when the issue of ‘whistleblowing’ was dismissed in the blink of an eye or rather a cold hard stare from the Matron as if to say “nobody better say another bloody word on this subject”

However we pricked up our ears at about 18 minutes as councillors struggled to understand the word ‘intimidation’ (after all it is more than two syllables ). There followed a particularly revealing exchange between Matron and Cllr Ron Abbey . Well when we say exchange poor Ron couldn’t get a word in as Matron seemed particularly agitated about this particular subject :

Matron : There isn’t actually a way of defining what intimidation (is). You might think that particular website in the way that it talks about people and elected members…..

Abbey : I’m not talking about ……

Matron : No… I am , I am. I’m suggesting would that be intimidatory, could that be considered intimidatory if someone is regularly being insulted or allegations made that you can’t contradict……

Ron Abbey : The only way you can test that is in a court of law…..

Matron : Well so far some people have tried to have something done about particular website that might use those sort of tactics and found that it’s not possible to do it.

What particular website could Matron possibly mean? If , for argument’s sake we take it to be Wirral Leaks we need to make ourselves very clear on this particular matter. Firstly ,  let’s us deal with the issue of defining ‘intimidation’ . Perhaps we can assist elected members where their acting head of law and governance Philip ‘Peachy-keen’ McCourt failed them. Might we suggest their discussion could have been better informed if they were aware that the government’s Committee on Standards in Public Office published a report in December 2017 titled :  Intimidation in Public Life : A Review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life 

For elected members information we provide a link to the report here :  Intimidation in Public Life

As ever what was missing from the discussion was a failure to acknowledge the power dynamic between a public institution and a local website. What’s more we totally refute the idea that people are not given the opportunity to contradict any allegations that this particular website makes. All they have to do is contact us at wirralleaks@gmail.com as well Matron knows as a member of her family has done so a couple of times. The trouble is that those who have contacted us usually come off second best ( Kevin MacCallum – Wirral Council’s head of communications springs to mind.)

As for the fact that some people have apparently  ‘tried to have something done about a particular website’ for exercising its right to freedom of expression tells us everything we need to know about Wirral Council.  Now if that isn’t a definition of ‘intimidation’ we don’t know what is!

Intimidation is all about power and control and getting people to do what you want by threatening them .Those people who try to control the public discourse are those who want to control everything.Wirral Council’s control freakery is out of control and they hate the fact they have no control over this particular website. We’re in no mood to apologise for our irreverent tone or our sarcasm or our satire or our cynicism or our expletives and certainly not our lack of deference for people for whom we have absolutely no respect – deference died a horrible death for us a long, long time a go. We are not Wirral View!

The Brendan Cox quote taken from the report that we reference above highlights the hypocrisies that surround the subject of intimidation. For those who don’t know , Cox is  a former highflyer in the charity sector and the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. Mr Cox, was forced to quit two charities he set up in her memory earlier this month after allegations of sexual assault were made public. This is the second time Mr Cox was forced to quit after similar allegations were made when he resigned from the Save the Children charity in 2015.  If you read the lurid allegations made against Cox it would appear he himself was an expert in intimidation. The Intimidation in Public Life report is littered (and we use the term advisedly) with quotes from Mr Cox. A hypocrite pontificating about hypocrisy is something we do not need.

Similarly might we suggest that no representative of Wirral Council (Matron or otherwise) is any position to to accuse a particular website of intimidation when it actually REWARDS such conduct :

Thynne1 011

Add to holding an incriminating recording over the heads of Wirral’s top politicians like the Sword of Damocles , threatening councillors and council officers over the phone and in person , participating in a smear campaign and even ordering pizzas from Pizza Magic and sending them to a former councillor.

And what did the Wirralgate ‘Group’ get for such ‘intimidation’ ? – the most senior politicians and council officers on Wirral conspiring to enable them to receive ‘compensation’.

All those involved will be forever tainted with the accusation of hypocrisy (and worse) by a particular website and that is most definitely NOT intimidation.

Children’s Services : The ‘Real’ Reality Check

In the light of information we had received about Wirral Council’s Children’s Services we thought we’d do a bit of further research which included reluctantly checking out the John Brace footage of Children’s and Families Overview Committee held on January 25th .

We admit we couldn’t get past ‘Part One’  – but it was enough to introduce us to the new Director of Children Paul Boyce (forgive us but his title is giving us flashbacks to ‘The Childcatcher ‘ character in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’). Wirral Leaks readers will remember that Boyce was appointed back in October 2017 following the long overdue departure of the previous Director Julia Hassall. For further information read here :  Old Boyce Network

So what was our first impression of Boycie? Well, put it this way – as far as we’re concerned it’s never good when you can’t remember the original question asked by a councillor after Boyce has answered it .The repeated use of the terms ‘ improvement journey ‘ and ‘narrative’ didn’t help. So in answer to your question we thought the BS quotient was particularly high , even for a Director of Wirral Council .

Needless to say the councillors present appeared to be soothed and reassured . Laughably (and tragically) Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin thanked Boycie for his ‘realistic’ presentation. Because as we know Matron spent many years being duped by incompetent,dishonest Directors in the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) and thus allowed vulnerable people to be abused over a prolonged period of time .

In the understatement of the year so far Boycie admitted there was ” a bit of work to do” and ” we’ve got a way to go” in Children’s Services . There was some ‘tough talk’ about not wanting social workers who don’t know what good practice looks like to work for Wirral Council anymore .

Whilst Boycie reminded councillors of the reality visits they would be undertaking to check the claims that Children’s Services was heading in the right direction on their ‘improvement journey’ and that there was ‘depth to the rhetoric’ ( see what we mean about the BS quotient?) can we ask him whether Sandra Dykstra is what ‘good social work looks like’ ?  (see below)

Misconduct

Therefore we challenge Wirral councillors to consider the ultimate Children’s Services reality check. In answer to the simple question “Why are there so many looked after children in Wirral”  this is the response they won’t get on their carefully managed visits. Simply because the quality of management in Children’s Services is – and always has been – appalling and your much lauded new agency recruits are motivated simply by money and we guarantee will be out the door when it all gets a bit messy. And believe us – it will.

Reality Check 1

Reality Check 2

Reds Go for Greens

As this leak from the Labour Campaign Forum (LCF) proves the campaigning for the local elections to be held in May has already begun.

The man in charge (no laughing at the back) is LCF Secretary  Cllr Paul Stuart, a man who is a past master at plotting and scheming as certain members of the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party (CLP) can testify.

As you can see the local Labour Party has but one target in May and that is to oust Pat Cleary the incumbent Green councillor in Birkenhead & Tranmere .

The campaign is based on the desperate, lazy and unimaginative # VoteGreenGetBlue . The man they’re relying on to achieve a Birkenhead & Tranmere Labour stranglehold is Paul Jobson (see below). Doesn’t he look peachy keen in his Labour Party fleece with his name on? Bless! Just to reinforce the lowest common denominator aspect Jobson is seen here being promoted on the Frank Field’s Community News Facebook page (run by Anna McLaughlin – daughter of Labour Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin) . No doubt to enable him to trade on the Field brand name. It’s just a shame that Jobson has chosen to promote his credentials by purloining the single -use plastic (SUP) campaign championed by , yes you guessed it ,Cllr Pat Cleary. Oops!

Read all about it here : Cutting Plastic Waste In Wirral

As a source tells us : “The motion, to begin with, was highjacked by the Labour Party in the form of a press release and a story with their friends at the (Liverpool) Echo.”

More a case of #VoteRedGetGreen ! This is reinforced by our final picture as it would seem that Team Foulkes may have misunderstood the Cllr Stuart memo! Oops ! they did it again! #LETSGOGREEN

 

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 Foulkes Green