Defend Our NHS : An invitation to an important meeting TODAY

Prior to our final tour of the highways (!) and byways of Wirral political life we have an important message from our friends at Defend Our NHS:

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Dear friends of the NHS

We urge supporters who are patients of Wirral GPs to respond to the email address in the letter below* and to attend this vital meeting. Please try to arrive at around 5:30pm to join in leafleting.

Wednesday 30th October 2019 at 6:00pm at Wallasey Town Hall.

I would be appreciative if you could confirm your attendance with my colleague Alex Davidson, Scrutiny Officer on 0151 691 8381 or alternatively, by email to* alexandradavidson@wirral.gov.uk. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, or require further information, Alex will be happy to assist.

Now please read on.

The letter (from Wirral councillor Moira McLaughlin, who is chair of the Adult Care and Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee) has gone to local GP patient participation groups.

The original text is in italics and we have added some comments.

Wirral Council’s Adult Care and Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee is responsible for reviewing and scrutinising the commissioning, management and performance of health and social care services on Wirral.

[We have criticised the behaviour of this committee and have written to all Wirral councillors to say so. You will remember that in December last year 45,000 residents said ‘no’ to closures or reductions in walk-in services. This is also the declared policy of the Labour Party nationally AND of Wirral Council – yet a majority of councillors chose to support the plans of the clinical commissioning group.]

Later this month, the Committee are holding a workshop for Elected Members to consider Wirral Health and Care Commissioning’s future plans for integrated health and social care services on Wirral.

[We oppose the whole notion of ‘integrated care’ as currently designed. As we have said repeatedly over many years it is all part of the grand plan to slash, trash and privatise the NHS. It is a disgrace that councillors – including from a party which has set its face against these changes – should go along with them.]

As you may be aware, Wirral CCG and Wirral Council have pooled funds and resources in order to provide a seamless provision of care for those requiring intermediate care and those with complex disabilities that require packages of care from both health and social care every day.

[We oppose pooled budgets – the subsidising of private social care from the public NHS purse. Although councillors will argue that they had no choice except to go along with it, they did. They were kept in the dark about a report from PWC which said, “The introduction of an integrated commissioner with a single pool of funds will facilitate the introduction of a wider Accountable Care System / Accountable Care Organisation across the Wirral. Without the ability for Commissioners to ultimately let a single contract for services through the ICH, the ability to move to an ACS would be impaired due to complexity which multiple contracts, budgets and accountabilities would bring.” In other words they supported a change to something they had vowed to oppose.**]

For this reason, I would like to invite a representative(s) from your patient participation group to attend this workshop to provide a brief statement on patient experiences of health and social care services, and to take part in further discussion with Members.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday 30th October 2019 at 6.00pm at Wallasey Town Hall.

I would be appreciative if you could confirm your attendance with my colleague Alex Davidson, Scrutiny Officer on 0151 691 8381 or alternatively, by email to* alexandradavidson@wirral.gov.uk . If you would like to discuss this in more detail, or require further information, Alex will be happy to assist.

Please attend and give the councillors YOUR patient experience.

More background at http://999callfornhs.org.uk/

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

 

** PWC (who were paid £40k for their work) also noted the following. The report was kept SECRET from councillors who were supposed to be scrutinising the changes. It was full of bomb shells.

Both the Council and the CCG (together ‘the Commissioners’) would like to extend their current pooled budget arrangements to incorporate the majority of the total health and social care funding within the health economy. The services that fall under the scope of these new pooled arrangements will be formally commissioned by the Integrated Commissioning Hub (ICH)

The ICH would begin with a financial deficit, with funding insufficient to meet the required expenditure, prior to any additional budget pressures being experienced from 2018/19 onwards.

Additional contingency/deficit funding would be required to be repaid in 2018/19.

Savings plans are still under discussion with community trust to identify and deliver further savings

Pooled budget is underfunded, likely to result in a deficit for the ICH.

Without significant intervention cumulative deficit likely to increase annually as prior-year demand is unmet.

Defend Our NHS: FOUR important notices (A, B, C, D).

As ever we’re proud to support Defend Our NHS (who are leafleting  in Moreton TOMORROW- see below) and particularly keen to call out (no pun intended) the local and international trash that are making decisions about OUR NHS. 
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Dear friends of the NHS

A:

This is to give notice of the Defend Our NHS Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2019 on Thursday 5th September from 7.00pm at Birkenhead Town Hall, Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, CH41 5BR.

All supporters are invited. The agenda is below. The papers for the event will be emailed to you later this week and will also be available on our Facebook page. Paper copies of these will NOT be available at the meeting. Please bring them in electronic form or print at home.

The AGM agenda is:

  1. Defend Our NHS (DONHS): annual report introduced by the Chair + vote to approve
  2. Financial position: report from the Treasurer + vote to approve
  3. Changes to the constitution: report from the Secretary + vote to approve
  4.    Election of officers: nominations received + vote to elect

Nominations are invited for eight ‘officer’ posts. These are vital roles with active responsibilities to continue and develop the work of Defend Our NHS. Only individuals willing to accept the responsibilities detailed in the constitution should consider nomination. Nominations must be received (by email only to this address) by a week on Thursday (22nd August). All nominees and those voting must be listed on our database and must support the aims of DONHS.

  • Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • External relations officer
  • Two research and policy officers
  • Media officer
  • Events coordinator

If there are insufficient nominations those who are elected will continue to act with other volunteers and will fill any posts after the meeting by invitation. This can be ratified by the next general meeting as allowed by the constitution

B:

The short AGM will be followed by an opportunity to meet socially in the nearby Gallagher’s pub.

C:

We will be leafleting next SATURDAY 17th August (when no storms are forecast!) in a new venue: outside the Coach and Horses pub in the centre of Moreton from 11:00am to 13:00h. Come and meet fellow NHS supporters.

D:

Moreton is one of the walk-in centres which Wirral CCG plans to close. Our new leaflet about this is attached with another detailing the existing and growing American threats to our NHS in Wirral. Please distribute these to your contacts.

Thanks and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Frank Field’s Home Supporter

We’ve already raised the issue of  Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin’s political affiliations in our Social Justice Worriers post . However, for obvious reasons – to Wirral Leaks readers anyway – Field’s electoral agent and Wirral Council Deputy Mayor George Davies has to keep a very low profile on the political front at the moment and so it would appear that ‘Matron’ has taken over the role as Field’s faithful factotum.

So much so that she is allowing Field to use her home address as a P.O. Box for his new political venture. As you can see on the Birkenhead Social Justice Party website you can write to Frankenfield c/o Matron’s Rock Ferry residence:

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We know this because it is the same address that Matron provides as contact details on on the Wirral Council website.

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Now on the assumption that Matron and Field are not co-habiting then we really think the former should do the honourable thing and declare herself a Birkenhead Social Justice Party supporter and knock the ‘Independent’ malarkey on the head.

Silly us – whenever have either of them done the honourable thing?…

 

 

Social Justice Worriers

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A ‘Manifesto’ will be published soon apparently. Frank Field is absolutely not making it up as he goes along . Honest.  

So how did the launch of the Birkenhead Social Justice Party go yesterday Frank? Not quite as planned by the looks of it!

There was the forewarning in the local press that something momentous was going to happen outside Birkenhead Town Hall involving Frank Field. However when it transpired that he wasn’t throwing the towel in on his political career the one man and his dog that turned up had a, er , field day. The one man in this case being the spouse of former Wirral councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ).

As you can see below Mr LRJ had a right old go at Frankenfield:

 

You can make your own judgment about Mr LRJ’s claims but for ourselves we’re sick of people telling us they’re going to expose Field and the fact he has more skeletons in his closet than a fancy dress hire shop in the run up to Halloween. Yeah, yeah, whatevs…

We’re far more interested in the bit players in this particular psychodrama. Inevitably we see Field groupie ‘Independent’ Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin doing her usual defence of the indefensible act but then Field has pulled this stunt on her behalf before, most notably in the aftermath of the investigations in adult social care that nearly brought down the Labour-controlled Council in 2012.

We’d be particularly interested to know whether the ‘Independent’ Matron has nailed her white rosette to the mast of the Birkenhead Social Justice Party (BS Justice Party) and accordingly whether she will be calling a bye-election anytime soon ? Our guess is probably not . After all look what happened to fellow Rock Ferry ‘ independent’ Chris Meaden who was cast into the political wilderness at the last local elections. We’ve probably done this gag before but we can’t help asking – What’s the difference between a  Wirral ‘independent’ and a supermarket trolley? A supermarket trolley has a mind of its own …

We’re also interested in the nervous looking press officer /special advisor (?) hovering in the background in the obligatory navy blue suit who must be already rueing the day he took this gig on . Does he know what he’s let himself in for? And has anyone whispered the word ‘Wirralgate’ in his ear?…

Having said all that we don’t think ‘Wirralgate’ ,his association with Tom Quinn or the various unsubstantiated allegations that we hear about Field that will lead to his eventual political  downfall. It will be his own hubris…

Aldermen and Straw Men

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Pictures have arrived of hasbeen Labour councillors Ron ‘Ruined’ Abbey, Chris Meaden and Phil “Power Boy Pip’ Davies alongside long serving Tory councillors Thingy and Whatsit and current mayor Cllr Tony Smith and his consort.

Apparently ‘Alderman’ badges were being bestowed at Wallasey Town Hall at a surprisingly low key event for a self-aggrandizing group of people. Now we neither know nor care what an ‘Alderman’ badge is  – all we do know is that former Labour councillor Harry ‘Pottymouth’ Smith received one so we assume it isn’t much of an accolade!

However we must say Ron looks to have gotten over his deselection as a Labour councillor and seems much happier now he has a useless pendant dangling from him.

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This picture in particular got us thinking about such awards and how in recent times the Mayoral appointment especially among the Labour ranks has become not only a reward for failure but a form of ‘reputation rehab’ for ‘men of straw’. First, there was Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin and her woeful record with adult care services and then there was Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes , well  we wouldn’t know where to begin with this one and now we have Cllr Tony Smith  who was to children’s services what Matron was to adult services – a monumental failure.   And as for Cllr Smith’s Deputy (and next Mayor) why , it’s none other than Foulkesy’s partner in crime Cllr George Davies…

We rest our case.

 

Defend Our NHS: Trump, Wirral and scandalous behaviour

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Following on from our last post and continuing our support to keep public services out of private hands we bring you the latest missive from Defend Our NHS. We’d also like to give you the heads up on a new website launched next week by the NHS Support Federation  NHS for sale

Dear friends of the NHS

First, Mr Trump and his view that OUR health service has to be part of any trade deal with the USA. Well, of course we oppose that completely. But for British government ministers to bluster that it will never happen ‘on my watch’ is total hypocrisy. Parts of our NHS – nationally and HERE in Wirral – are already controlled by American corporations. A former boss of United Health of Minneapolis is the head of NHS England. 

We have warned about this since we were formed over eight years ago; other campaigners have been sounding the alarm for a lot longer*. Our Facebook page lists American outfits active in Wirral.

PLEASE read and share these articles which explain what has been going on and what’s behind it.

USA healthcare is already here!

The NHS is already on the table. But here’s exactly how Trump wants to sharpen the knives.

And watch this succinct and heartfelt video explanation by our friend Steve Carne and which refers to the first link above. 

Second, Wirral, and our alert about meetings to decide the fate of our walk-in centres. These were a joint scrutiny committee of Wirral Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council on Tuesday 18th June at 6.00pm in Wallasey Town Hall and a joint strategic board meeting (i.e. Wirral Council and Wirral CCG) on Tuesday 9th July in Birkenhead Town Hall. (The meeting starts at 2.00pm and we will meet outside the Town Hall from 1.00pm.)

18th June? Imagine our shock when we learned that Cllr Moira McLaughlin has CANCELLED the meeting, writing (in her words) “Cllr Gilchrist has been made aware that members of the public believe that a meeting has been arranged with Cheshire West and Chester Scrutiny cttee to look at the implications for both authorities of the Urgent Care review which was examined in detail by the Wirral Adult Scrutiny cttee during the last municipal year…. I have asked that the provisional notice of a joint meeting on the 18th June be removed from the Council calendar” 

Can you understand why Wirral (and Cheshire) Council would give up this opportunity to scrutinise this hugely important issue? We can’t. Please ask your own councillors to investigate and intervene. They are either for our NHS… or not. What are they trying to hide?

9th July? Thus is even more shocking. We are now told that the vote at the Joint Strategic Board meeting will be just by members of the CCG board and not by the representatives of the Council. JOINT?!!! Wirral Council has pooled budgets and agreed to joint decision-making on health issues and is now surrendering all its powers to the local branch of NHS England.

The CCG could vandalise our walk-in and urgent care provision against the wishes of FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND people and the vast majority responding to their ‘consultation’.

A date which will live in infamy? Don’t let them get away with it. PLEASE contact your councillors now to protest against this arrogant behaviour. It cannot be allowed. There’s even more reason to gather on Tuesday 9th July from 1.00pm outside and inside Birkenhead Town Hall.

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

 * To prove this is not new, try to answer this quiz:

What date is this conversation in the House of Commons? And who answered the question?

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the agreement between his Department and the United Healthcare Group?

A: The government is committed to encouraging expressions of interest from successful international organisations to partner Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in developing and testing models of integrated care in the national health service. In line with this commitment, the Department is in discussion with United Healthcare Group with a view to entering into a contractual relationship with them to provide hands-on support to a number of PCTs to test elements of United Healthcare Group’s Evercare model in this country and tailor it to the needs of the NHS. Under the Evercare model, doctors and nurses in primary care work together with care staff to identify vulnerable individuals at highest risk of hospitalisation. This allows for early intervention and treatment, thus avoiding inappropriate hospital admission, and facilitating safe, early discharge where a stay in hospital is necessary. The work will be carried out under the national primary and care trust development programme to promote significant transformational change.

 

Field/Day for Icons

Did anyone watch this week’s PMQS ?

Not our usual cup of hemlock but the opening exchanges between PM Theresa May and the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn were pure showbiz.  As everything is modern political life these days seems so scripted, rehearsed and stage managed  we’d be forgiven for thinking that there was a political and personal subtext.

Enter stage left sly old fox Jezza Corbyn firstly paying tribute to the late Hollywood actress Doris Day before saying “talking of icons…” and moving on to acknowledge that an unnamed somebody had been the MP for Birkenhead for 40 years. Now we might be reading too much into this but this neat little segue from from Doris Day to Frank Field –  What could possibly be the connection ? A mutual love of gingham? That in their respective quarters they’re regarded as some kind of ‘icon’?

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Whatever the intent it is amusing to observe that no matter how many times Field taunts him in the tabloids or tears into him on the telly there are always conciliatory words from Corbyn and the Labour leadership or when Field is on the campaign trail for the local Tories (oops! ,sorry, Matron’s Independents ) there are no threats of suspension or expulsion from the Labour Party. Field keeps on paying his Labour Party subs in the hope that all this awful, nasty Militant left wing nonsense blows over soon and everything can go back to being ‘nice’, where locally, nobody challenged his authority or his pet projects on the poor.

In tribute to Day (or was it Frankenfield?) Corbyn teasingly suggested that members  should join him in a rousing  chorus of  ‘Whip Crack Away” (whip – geddit?). Meanwhile they seemed to opt for ‘ Que Sera Sera’. We would have thought that in this instance ‘Secret Love’ would be as the most appropriate tune in more ways that one but especially when Theresa May reminded the House of Commons that Frank becoming MP for Birkenhead in 1979 coincided with Margaret Thatcher, Field’s great friend and political inspiration, becoming Prime Minister…

Outing Doughty : An Introduction

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As we exclusively revealed in September of last year Labour councillor Paul Doughty would soon ‘Dance Away’ from Wirral politics . This time there have been no screaming headlines about bullying ,harassment,anti-semitism,Militant or a hard-left takeover.  However Doughty now finds himself  ‘auto-excluded’ from the Labour Party for campaigning for Cllr Chris Meaden ,the ‘Independent’ candidate in Rock Ferry, just a couple of weeks before he was due to quit as a Labour councillor.  Doughty’s crime? Appearing in a photo feebly wearing a white rosette and holding a leaflet supporting Cllr Meaden which appeared on Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin’s Facebook page ( we have more to say on this particular picture but we’ll save that for another time.)

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We’re left to ask the question why it took the Labour Party so long to boot him out.  We can only assume that they thought he’d appeal to the ‘swing’ voter. However as we set out a few weeks ago in our Wirral Leaks : Past,Present,Future  post there were a few stories that we wanted to do before we too finally escaped the cesspit that is Wirral politics. The rise and fall of Doughty and his position as chair of the Merseyside Pension Fund , acting chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and astonishingly his recent appointment as the chair of Northern Local Government Pension Schemes was certainly one of them.

A number of sources have been in touch about Doughty over the years raising their concerns about various conflicts of interest, links to ‘colourful’ local businessmen/women and other eyebrow-raising matters . We have been investigating these further and busily compiling a Wirral Leaks ‘Special Report’ to commemorate Doughty’s curious political career. We are inviting further contributions and meanwhile offer you this sneak preview as to one of the real reasons that Doughty is now happy to be seen wearing the white rosette of ‘independence’ :

I bumped into Cllr Paul Doughty on Friday.  He told me he is not standing in the local elections this year because there are “just too many [pesky, darn-tootin’] conflicts of interest” with his architectural/development practice.  No, really?!!

Then he illustrated exactly the sort of conflict he was talking about, telling me that he has plans to build a 17-storey residential tower on the car park between the Cheshire Lines Building and Bridge Street, which would severely impact upon views out of the Hamilton Square Conservation Area and harmfully dominate views from within Hamilton Square Gardens …

And believe us there are plenty more other such ‘conflicts of interest’ that we intend to explore in our forthcoming ‘Special Report’…

 

 

Crossing the Party Line

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We feel a clarification is in order following our unexpected mention at last week’s Council meeting where Cllr Mary Jordan said :

“Making jokes about the holocaust crosses that line, a line which even Wirral Leaks recognise…”

See webcast at 2:14:00 onwards.

Whilst we hope that Cllr Jordan wasn’t impugning our good/bad name with that comment we really need to make it clear that our Jo given the Bird in the Phoney War of Words  story to which she was referring was commenting on the fact we considered – and at the end of the day who are we to judge? – that comments made last year by Cllr Jo Bird  a woman of Jewish heritage referencing the holocaust were crass/insensitive/unfunny. And once again – who are we judge on that score? But were they really worthy of censure and suspension by the Labour Party ? Absolutely not and thankfully they have since been rescinded.

What Cllr Jordan fails to mention is the fact that our post called into question the repercussions that followed Cllr Bird’s comments and the collusion of her Jordan’s own local party with conduct far more worthy of moral and political outrage. But perhaps the subtleties of this website – and we do have some – are lost on those wanting to cite our wayward scripture for their own warped purpose.

But then political hypocrisy is not confined to the opposition benches at Wirral Council. Just prior to Cllr Jordan’s ‘faux outrage’ (© ex- Cllr Matthew Patrick)  Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin had been banging on about the newly arrived scourge of anti-semitism that didn’t seem to concern Labour councillors until very recently. Astonishingly she  mentioned the threat of involvement of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  in investigating  anti-semitism within the Labour Party. Could this be the same EHRC that found that the Wirral Council had discriminated against disabled people under her oversight? The same people whose letter she had hushed up when former Conservative councillor Simon Mountney had handed out the EHRC verdict to councillors?

Nevertheless Cllr McLaughlin and her tag-a-long political follower Cllr Chris Meaden saw fit to walk out of the Wirral Council chamber , along with ‘outraged’ Conservative councillors , at the Council budget meeting held on March 4 at exactly the point when Cllr Bird was attempting to put her comments into context and talking about her Jewish heritage and her family’s persecution during the holocaust.

Under the circumstances the comments of Cllr Jordan, the actions of Cllr  McLaughlin  and Conservative councillors strike us as yet another example of the flagrant hypocrisies of our local political classes which currently makes them indivisible.

Frank Field’s Forty Glorious Years

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

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

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

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

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

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The email read : Feeding Birkenhead no expense spared lol

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

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

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

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

Our source put it more succinctly but no less sarcastically :

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

His legacy – a starving community

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

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

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

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