Aintree Irony

For those of you looking for a last minute topical tip for this afternoon’s Grand National Wirral Leaks  provides you with this free cut out and keep guide to some of horses that have caught our eye:

grand national 011

This one is for fans of Martin Liptrot – that’ll be Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies then. Liptrotsky is always the perfect candidate for Pip regardless of his experience or qualifications. Who needs an Equal Opportunities Policy when your mate is the Leader of the Council? This is also one for fans of Stewart ‘Happy’ Halliday  – that’ll be his preferred referees if not our friends in York ! And again this will be popular with the Basnett clan because a) if you’re related to Princess Paula or b) you’ve  lamped the former CEO of Wirral Council over a shared perk then you’re the ‘perfect candidate’ for the Wirral Chamber of Commerce !

grand national 013

No, this isn’t for fans of the current Labour administration at Wirral Council. They’re definitely (spelt correctly) NOT red! This one is for fans of current Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘the Red’ Robinson. No, we’re not referring to the fact he’s an LFC fan among all the high profile bluenoses at Wirral Council – we’re talking about his visage and his presiding over the ‘Wirral Council High Blood Pressure Club’ alongside Cllrs Phil Davies, George Davies and Steve Foulkes. Whatever could be the reason for the beta blockers?

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It may have been a stellar notion for Wirral Council to place their bets on a Hong Kong bankrupt Stella Shiu. However we suggest looking elsewhere for a winner as this one could end up like Stella herself –  falling in the (Wirral) Waters.

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This is one for fans of the Hoylake Golf Resort . That’ll be Power Boy Pip again – shame the response to the desecration of the Green Belt in the name of big business has been decidedly under par.

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This one is for  Kevin ‘Lost’ MacCallum’s Communications Team at Wirral Council. Apparently they’re not averse to a tipple at our expense. Celebrating the launch of Wirral View and recently celebrating St Patricks Day. We wonder if they’ll drown their sorrows when Wirral View ends up in the recycling bin – again.

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This one is for all fans of Wirral Leaks as we continue to expose dishonesty,incompetence and corruption and prick the pomposity of local politicians and senior council officials. But unlike Wirral Council we ask you to gamble responsibly. When the Fun Stops Stop! 

A Tale of Two Martins

lombardy-poplar-012

Did anyone notice the fascinating juxtaposition on pages 26 and 27 of the print edition of this week’s Wirral Globe?

The story on the left concerns the dubious appointment of Martin Liptrot to a Wirral Council ‘non-job’ and the story on the right concerns the even more dubious situation of Martin Morton who has ‘no-job’ as a result of Wirral Council . The above picture is for illustrative purposes only. The stories behind the headlines can be found here :

Pip’s Pay Pal – THAT Liptrot Appointment

Truth Justice Accountability

Curiously we have found out that both Liptrot and Morton are both alumni of that hallowed educational establishment that was known as Wolverhampton Polytechnic – although we don’t know if they attended at the same time or whether their paths ever crossed or what faculty they attended. Although in Liptrot’s case we assume there was a Department of Dark Arts.

As a modern morality tale I don’t think we can get better than ‘ A Tale of Two Martins’.

The teller of truth and the spinner of truth and how we , as a society , value them.

Witness as Morton the teller of truth refuses to work with people in whom he has no trust and confidence . The corrupt liars ( Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr George Davies) and the cowardly enablers ( Cllr Phil Davies and all those council officers who sacrifice their personal and professional integrity on the altar of a lucrative career  – Blott, Tour, Armstrong , Robinson et al ) . This is detailed in a quite astonishing career-ending email sent by Morton to all 66 councillors and Birkenhead MP Frank Field in December 2014.

We’re not sure that as a spinner of truth that Liptrot would ever concern himself with the abuse of power , the corruption and the lies raised by Morton. Not when there’s £350 a day to be had anyway!

Interestingly enough Cllr George Davies was bemoaning at this week’s Cabinet meeting that Wirral Council’s woes were a result of ‘Thatcher’s children’ .  Although Gorgeous George may not be the most eloquent or insightful political commentators around and on the assumption that he didn’t mean Carol and Mark Thatcher , we have to say that we agree with him. Open your eyes Cllr Davies – the venal ,self serving and uncaring are all around you and are running the show at Wirral Council and indeed at institutions up and down the country. Might we suggest he’d do well to look beyond complaining about the austerity measures thrust on Wirral Council by central government and consider that some people are doing very well financially out of running down public services.

 

We may well look back one day and say that these were the best of times for the unholy alliance of middle class charlatans and working class chancers (Thatcher’s children indeed!) and the worst of times for everyone else.

Where Are They Now? Part 3 – Anna Klonowski

klonowski

A Valentine’s Day lament : Roses are red, Anna’s in blue,playing the game,cash she’ll accrue

We return to one of our occasional series. This particular one brings you news of the great and the good who have graced our blog with their presence. Sadly for us that has not hindered their progress towards high office and more importantly for them, the bank.

This blog post features the relentless progress of consultant Anna Klonowski . As we mentioned last month it is 5 years since the Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton & Others report landed with a bang in a blaze of bad publicity for Wirral Council and ended in November 2013 with a whimper that was the damp squib of a final meeting of the so-called ‘Improvement Board’ which purportedly was set up to address Wirral Council’s failings identified in the report.

We now hear that Ms Klonowski has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Bristol City Council on £160K a pop.

http://news.bristol.gov.uk/anna_klonowski_recommended_as_bristol_city_council_s

As we know Klonowski started her investigations at Wirral Council in August 2010 and when scheduled to meet the then Chief Executive Steve Maddox he promptly announced he was retiring to spend more time with his long suffering golf clubs. Three years on and with cowardly circularity Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies similarly made a swift exit at the aforementioned Improvement Board when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak .

Although it must be said Davies had every reason to have the squirts. Morton tells us he regrets not specifically mentioning that the misconduct of Labour councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies was one of the main reasons why he could not return to work for Wirral Council as it might have saved him 3 years of stonewalling and cover up. Sorry Mart, but we have to disagree with you on this one – stonewalling and cover up is like breathing to these people.

We understand that during her ‘investigation’ Klonowski bemoaned the fact to Morton that local authority investigative work was drying up. We suggest that this might explain why the investigation took so long. Despite the fact that Klonowski was on the case from August 2010 to  January 2012 and handbagged a £250,000 pay cheque and cost Wirral Council another £150,000+ as a result of legal advice and putting up Anna in her own Aparthotel in Liverpool , she summarily failed to complete what she was commissioned to do, and that was to FULLY investigate the whistleblowing allegations brought to her attention.

With a background in CIPFA ( Chartered Institute of Public Finance) it was clear that Klonowski was way out of her depth when it came to tackling the more problematic social care issues that Morton ( & unnamed and redacted others told her about ).

Klonowski was much more at home discussing corporate governance issues which led to the ‘Refresh & Renew’ report which was published in October 2011 . It’s just such a shame that this was not her brief. She returned to the CIPFA comfort zone in the Independent Review report itself were there are pages and pages and pages of endless, tedious observations about Wirral Council’s Internal Audit.

This led to some shameful omissions on Klonowski’s part. Morton tells us his most significant whistleblow concerned the death of a vulnerable young man who died whilst the staff who should have been giving him his medication were allegedly at the bingo.This received a couple of lines in her report!

The staff involved worked for an organisation by the name of Assisted Living Services (ALS). This organisation had links to drugs money laundering and yet were owned by former Merseyside Police CID officers. Strange bedfellows – or perhaps not! It was left to a subsequent investigation to identify these connections so we can only presume Klonowski either couldn’t be arsed or was warned off by ‘interested parties’.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/corporate_governance_committee_m#outgoing-259991

As you can read no serious case review was undertaken into the death – instead Wirral Council saw fit to persecute Morton and respond to false allegations that he was in cahoots with disgruntled staff to bring down ALS. An investigation into the allegations against Morton led the investigator to declare them as ‘a crock of shit’.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) considering her background in finance Klonowski also failed to address further issues of financial mismanagement involving disabled people – claiming she’d run out of time and that despite all evidence to the contrary that Wirral Council could be trusted to sort it out and left them to it ! Needless to say they never did .This is a matter we have previewed but have not got round to publishing. However whilst it is complicated story it is a cautionary tale of how a cover up is coordinated (and supported by other agencies) and something we will get back to at a later date.

Instead Klonowski sought the advice of largest legal firm in the world (DLA Piper)-like you do when someone else is footing the bill!- to come up with a convoluted and frankly ludicrous attempt to deny disabled people a full reimbursement of monies that was unlawfully taken from them on the grounds that to charge disability benefits from disabled people and not from non-disabled people was somehow not disability discrimination ! Even the shameless Wirral Council weren’t prepared to sustain this unsustainable argument and conceded that £736,000 should be repaid , despite DLA Piper giving them a get out.

Is it us? – or it is entirely perplexing that someone so seemingly intent on maximising their own fees wants to minimise the repayment of unlawful charges to disabled people – or are they in any way related? I think we should be told!

You won’t be surprised to hear that Morton wanted to raise these omissions with La Klonowski herself. After an unanswered telephone call and one email Special K set the hounds of law on him . Yes! , you guessed it – DLA Piper!

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Isn’t it funny that Klonowski had ‘no on-going obligations to liaise with interested parties’ and yet sat on Wirral Council’s Improvement Board during this time (reputedly for £1,000 a day) . Again we can only presume that ‘interested parties’ is defined by their ability to pay.

Even more damning we understand that she was quite happy to discuss her concerns about Wirral Council with opportunistic ‘complainant’ Gary Downey . Downey alleges that Klonowski disclosed to him during the first Wirral  Council vote of no confidence vote in the then current leader Steve Foulkes ( aka Foulkesy ) that she hoped he didn’t lose as she had no trust and confidence that Wirral Council Tory leader Jeff Green would do anything about Wirral Council’s toxic culture. Whilst she may have called that one correct it also means that she subscribes to the Martin Liptrot school of political neutrality. Either that or she was taken in by Foulkesy’s cheeky chappy persona and his ‘bible-like’ devotion to her recommendations for cash-money purposes.

Nevertheless in conclusion it would seem that it all worked out well for Klonowski in the end. For unemployed Morton and the long suffering council tax payers of Wirral – not so much !

Question Time

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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.

 

Picture Gallery

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Our thanks go one of our spotters who sent us this picture taken yesterday outside Wallasey Town Hall. We were asked if we could throw any light on the matter as to why a mahoosive shredding vehicle was parked there ( we do hope they were charged by the way) .

We welcome suggestions from our readers – but our top 3 guesses are a) There’s an investigation going on – but hey! isn’t there always?! b) Wirral Council need to deal with all those returned, unwanted copies of Wirral View  – but hey! every little helps when it comes to recycling trash targets ! and c) They’ve finally got round  to disposing of discarded undergarments of past Wirral Council senior managers – but hey! let’s hope the shredders were equipped with surgical gloves!

Our second picture comes courtesy of Twitter. Now we know we have a Twitter account but to be honest we try not to go there. It’s a bit like Grange Road, Birkenhead – 140 characters and they’re usually mindless.

However it is very kind of Wirral Council to keep us informed of their hi (sic) street cleaning schedule. For future reference : the only cleaning we’re interested in is when they fumigate Wallasey Town Hall and remove the vermin currently inhabiting the place.

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We know that the next one is a bad picture  – but it’s deliberate and a case of a picture painting a thousand words. It’s details of Wirral Council’s plans to charge you for basically parking anywhere on Wirral except your own driveway – although we suspect that a Super-Duper Director has been sent off to drum up a dastardly plan to enable them to do that too! – especially when none of them actually live here !

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And finally we have a heartwarming closing picture of Cllr Steve Foulkes so you go to bed all warm and fuzzy. So here’s Foulkesy stroking a pussy – what’s not to love?

Foulkesy and pussy

 

Mystery Figure

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One of the many curious aspects of this week’s  Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree conviction was the quote :  ‘You need to pay back the £19,000 bitch, or I will do what happened to that MP today’ which was addressed to Cllr Louise Reecejones and as we now know referred to the murdered MP, Jo Cox.

Never has the mention of a sum of money so troubled the minds of  Wirral Leaks and its readers since the infamous £48,000 paid to former Wirral Council head of communications, Emma Degg.

£19,000 seems to be such a random, arbitrary figure  – or is it?

Unfortunately as Crabtree pleaded guilty he was spared cross examination and so the finer details of his threat were not heard in court. Subsequently Reecejones has also failed to enlighten us on the significance of the £19,000 in her exclusive interview with the Wirral Globe :

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022017.Wirral_councillor_victim_of_death_threat_call_describes_her_shock_when_she_realised_it_was_made_by_former_colleague/

So what are we to make of this £19,000 ? –  an amount plucked out of the air in a drunken tirade or does it refer to matters which have been under-reported ?

We have reason to believe that the crux of this particular matter harks back to a time when both Crabtree and Reecejones were suspended , facing separate allegations and under investigation by the North West Labour Party – but not by the local Labour Party .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

Indeed we believe that what unfolded in this highly damaging case to the reputation of the local Labour group is due to a total absence of leadership. Also , witness the fact that despite this shameful case making the national newspapers (Daily Mirror and Daily Mail) that no prominent local Labour politician has issued a word of support for Reecejones or has been prepared to condemn Crabtree for his ‘despicable’ conduct.

However we have reason to understand that the £19,000 Crabtree referred to was not owed to him personally but was rather what he believed was owed, for some reason, to Wirral Council by Cllr Reecejones. Information we have received suggests this money was for the implementation of the special education needs and disability reforms given to Wirral Council by the Department for Education and there have been claims it was allegedly misused.

Although Reecejones was investigated , cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated  , Crabtree was given a formal warning about his conduct which related to quite separate matters which we have covered extensively on Wirral Leaks. He subsequently failed to be selected as Labour’s ward representative for Bidston & St. James . Could this have been the cause of deep abiding resentment that let led to last June’s cataclysmic phone call ?

Meanwhile we are promised that  : “There are more newsworthy issues to yet come out about LRJ in the not too distant future. “

Perhaps then we will finally find out what the £19K is all about – just as we eventually found out that the £48K that Degg received was a result of allegedly being bullied and harassed by ex – council leader and ex – mayor Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes.

Some of the local Labour group are a lovely bunch, aren’t they?.

Wirral Council Scoundrels : Five Years On

We couldn’t let this momentous day pass without mentioning it is the 5 year anniversary of the publication of  the ‘Independent Review of Allegations Made By Martin Morton ( & Others)’ aka AKA report .

We remember how in a blaze of bad publicity we all thought it was a bright new dawn for Wirral Council as the then council leader Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  went on TV to say he’d apologised to whistleblower Martin Morton for his appalling treatment for bravely pointing out that Wirral Council was a basket case. Investigator Anna Klonowski had recorded what Morton had told her (but strangely enough not the really damaging stuff) and pocketed £250,000 of public money for doing so . She proved to be  the first of many parasitic consultants who got paid for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious before pissing off back down south with a swag bag of public money.

Although it must be said Morton tells us he must have been in a coma at the time because he has no recollection of ever receiving an apology from ‘Foulkesy’. Which as far as we’re concerned kind of set the tone for Wirral Council for the next 5 years – shameless dishonesty over truth and media manipulation over a true reflection of how Wirral Council operates . No amount of bogus awards or the callow complicity of the Local Government Association or appointment of  so -called ‘policy advisors’ or publishing your own newspaper can disguise the dark,dark heart at the centre of Wirral Council.

This week’s  Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree court case provided but a brief glimpse into this heart of darkness. We have forthcoming tales of incompetence , bullying,pay-offs , fraud , thefts , dishonesty and seediness that prove to us that ‘no lessons have been learned’ in the past 5 years – other than you need to add several coats of expensive veneer if you want to fraudulently present yourself as the ‘Most Improved Council 2015′ . To which all we can say to Wirral Council is this : It’s 2017 now guys and nobody bought that shit then and they certainly ain’t buyin’ it now!

Indeed as a special request to commemorate this day we’ll leave the final word on the matter to the author C. S. Lewis who many years ago prophetically published this insight into how  ‘The Inner Ring’ at Wirral Council operates in a volume titled ‘ The Screwtape Letters’ ( not to be confused with  ‘The Wirralgate Tapes’!)  :

And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naïf or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.”

And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face—that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face—turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.

Crabby : Guilty as Charged

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After initially pleading not guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 a subsequent change of plea meant that today ex Wirral councillor Jim ‘Crabby’Crabtree was given a 12 week sentence (suspended for a year) plus asked to pay costs,compensation and a victim surcharge at Wirral Magistrates Court . The allegation of his offence was first reported on Wirral Leaks

Dial M for Mute : Update

Dial M for Mute

However for the full shocking story of today’s events in court read the Wirral Globe (you know the local newspaper that Wirral Council want to put out of business!) :

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15016582.COURT__Ex_Wirral_Labour_councillor_admits_making_death_threat_to_colleague_on_day_MP_Jo_Cox_was_murdered/

Finally we are able to publish the details of Crabtree threatening to kill Cllr Louise Reecejones if she didn’t pay him £19,000 . This incident happened on the same night Cllr Reecejones’ colleague and friend Jo Cox was brutally murdered.

As shocking as this – sadly it comes as no surprise to us. Not only did we know about the incident but we’ve been well aware of Crabtree’s increasingly worrying conduct over a number of years.

Astonishingly for a man who was once appointed to be Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit & Risk Management Committee, we’ve always known his communications haven’t always been in keeping with someone destined to hold high public office.

Who can forget his response Jim O’Neil the campaigner wanting  to keep Wirral’s libraries open when they were under threat ? :

“Jim, I’m fed up with all your childish crap, please keep it too[sic] yourself and don’t send me any more – I’m fed up deleting your trash.”

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillor-childish-crap-email-blast-3461816

Now it would appear that the contempt he had for members of the public also extended to elected members and over time escalated and became much more sinister.

We think the big lesson that needs to be learned from this case that if politicians  and officers think that they’re untouchable this is where it ends up  : Court 6 of Wirral Magistrates Court .

For many years Crabtree was one of the gang , the inner ring that rules Wirral Council. We’ve always maintained that the trouble with the local Labour group is that there is a small cabal of Labour councillors who for far too long were used to getting their own way both in and out of the council chamber  ( we understand that the question ‘Do you know who I am ?’ has got them out of many a scrape ). And of course they had the abiding support of an influential , national political figure in Birkenhead MP Frank Field – someone who has turned the three wise monkey act into an art form when it comes to the conduct of certain local Labour councillors.

The frightening thing is we don’t even think Crabtree was the most heinous member of this cabal . So our message goes directly to council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies  : This is what happens when there are no sanctions, no accountability and nobody takes responsibilities for their actions. You have a duty of care to protect all your party members not just those who are part of ‘the inner ring’….and by protect we don’t mean ‘cover up’ !

Indeed it is highly unlikely that Crabtree would ever have been suspended by the local Labour group if it wasn’t for concerned party members repeatedly raising their concerns about his conduct with Wirral Leaks . No wonder the Labour Party North West Regional Director Anna Hutchinson later decreed :

“That the leadership of the Labour Group are required to undertake training in order to ensure that any future issues raised with them that are of serious concern are dealt with in a prompt and appropriate way “

To which we can only respond by saying that the local Labour group don’t need training when it comes to addressing serious issues – they need a moral compass!

It remains to be seen whether the party faithful will rally round Crabtree after today’s ruling as  Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes previously did (see above) when Crabtree was having troubles over his suspension and subsequent de-selection ……

Jim Crabtree : A  selected Wirral Leaks history

Dark Night of The Soul

Cry- Bully Crabtree – Updated

Eulogy for Jimbo

The Curse of Leaky Towers

Fiddling the Meter

Master of Suspense

Rotten To The Core

Pick of the Week

We don’t know about Wirral Council but it has been a great start to 2017 for us. Leaks galore!  – so we suspect that the year might just be about to turn a whole lot worse for them . However in the mean time we’d like to provide a fascinating insight into our public representatives –  our betters, our role models – and their exemplary conduct.

Whilst we  can only aspire the reach the dizzy heights achieved by that pillar of the community Cllr Steve Foulkes aka ‘Foulkesy’ we are fawningly grateful that this week he provided us with a masterclass in public accountability via the medium of nasal excavation.

Foulkesy showed us mere mortals how to earn those generous allowances at a Merseytravel Committee meeting held this week . Watch as he proudly represents the people of Wirral with his masterful oratory by thanking Merseytravel for ,er , doing their job by kindly letting everyone know that the trains weren’t running to and from Wirral .This seems to be Foulkesy ‘s modus operandi at these meetings  :  a) turn up b) make a fatuous statement c) claim the allowance .

We’d like to reassure our readers that the stills from the John Brace recording of this week’s Merseytravel Committee meeting are not photoshopped. You can see the live action at about 9 minutes in on this video. Don’t have nightmares.

A FOULKESY MASTERCLASS IN PUBLIC REPRESENTATION

  1. PREPARATION!

It’s important to be prepared and position yourself to achieve maximum impact. Remember practice makes perfect!.

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2. PROBE!

You don’t get the results you want without probing. Be bold, be direct.

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3. RESULT!

The satisfaction that comes with teasing out what you’ve been looking for

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The Leaky Awards 2016

leakys-2016

No disrespect to the local worthies who voluntarily undertake good deeds ,  but we have a natural aversion at Leaky Towers to honours and awards given to people who either have :  a)  made a lot of money ( well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money… if what you want to do is make a lot of money….) or b) achieved riches and recognition for doing something they love ( while everyone else tediously toils away in jobs they hate with people they loathe just so they don’t end up living on the street).

Patronage for peerages has brought the awards system into total disrepute and we doff our hereditary ermine trimmed coronet to the increasing number who have turned down the tawdry badge of dishonour that the New Year’s Honours List has become.

We have three words on the subject of honours: “Sir” Jimmy Savile.

We have three words on the subject of awards : Most Improved Council.

Therefore we consider the annual Leaky Awards the natural antidote to the sordid status quo and rejoice in the fact that the awards that we bestow at Wirral Leaks are much more representative of the charlatans who run the show than the complicit smiley celebrities and their gleaming gewgaws.

Awards Award – ….and the winner is the Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Awards ceremonies appear to be the entire rationale for this empire building, family-run organisation. Whilst it appears to be a mere excuse for pouting Paula Basnett to buy another frock and flaunt the spray tan we need to remember the public grants and public properties that come their way and ask ourselves do we really want the non-elected personal empire building Basnett clan running a never-ending awards show at public expense?

Labour Councillor of the Year – This is obviously an inaugural award as in previous years this would be an oxymoron (or in some cases – just moron) . However this year we’d like to offer the award jointly to  Cllr Anita Leech and Cllr Christina Muspratt for annoying  fellow Labour councillors Foulkesy and Matron McLaughlin respectively. The former did so by casting the deciding vote at a recent Planning Committee whilst a clearly agitated Foulkesy laid the foundation for a potential appeal by questioning the planning process (see Campaign of the Year below). This is staggering hypocrisy coming from someone who has regularly circumvented due process in the name of managing his (bad) reputation.But then Foulkesy has built an entire political  career on being hardfaced and shameless so this should come as no surprise to anyone. Meanwhile Muspratt was the inspiration behind a tetchy display from McLaughlin as the latter tried to shut down Muspratt for trying to hold council officers to account over their failure to appraise staff. However as we know this is not how the Matron rolls – personal loyalties to officers will always take precedence over public accountability.

Quote of the year  – “From the brink of intervention, to the pinnacle of local government” (Eric Robinson CEO Wirral Council). Now we don’t know whether Stressed Eric has been buying some powerful hallucinogenics with his megabucks salary but this can surely be the only explanation for this ludicrous claim that Wirral Council is the pinnacle of local government. When it comes to public service peak performance we’re talking more Moel Famau than Mount Everest!

Runner-up : ” It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first …….” (Eric Robinson talking about Wirral Council’s decision to publish Wirral View ) “Until I was told to get back under my desk ….”  he might of added to prove once again why he’s the perfect CEO for Wirral Council.

Publication of the year –  Wirral Council  yawn-fest Wirral View . Having seemingly failed to a) attract advertisers  b) sort out its distribution problems or c) address anyone’s ‘information deficit’ this award is in recognition of the fact that Wirral View could soon become a collector’s item .We advise those who’ve actually received a copy should retrieve it from the cat’s litter tray or the budgie’s cage , as with the threat of central government intervention hanging over it it may not be around for  much longer!

Runner up – Cllr Tony Jones’ (aka Tones) election publication which broke election rules by failing to show name of agent, candidate or printer on the leaflet.  As one of our eagle-eyed readers has pointed out Tones does not seem to have learned any lessons from this faux pas as strangely he is the only one of Wirral Council’s 66 councillors whose council email contact details are not included with the Council mugshots in Wirral View. Campaign Fail  

Campaign of the Year –  ‘Save our Greenbelt – Say NO to the Firestation’  campaign may, thanks ultimately to the casting vote of  Cllr Leech than the campaigning local Conservatives , halted plans to build a fire station on green belt land in Saughall Massie.

However it will be interesting to see if Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service submit an appeal whether this continuing fight ends up being thwarted by powerful interests as was the ill fated Save Girtell Court campaign.

Similar can be said of the Stop Hoylake Golf Resort campaign who are arguably up against even more powerful interests as Wirral Council attempt a ‘money no object’ bid to ensure even more Wirral green belt is sacrificed to enable a housing development in the guise of a ‘golf resort’ to go ahead.

We’ll be following both campaigns in 2017 with great interest.

Picture of the year

jeremy-corbyn-cooking-at-the-neo-community-cafe

There is so much going on in this picture than ‘Jezza Makes Pizza For Starving Mites’. The supporting cast – Frank Field MP , Cllr McLaughlin, Cllr Meaden , Margaret Greenwood MP makes for fascinating viewing if we consider the various political intrigues,allegiances and betrayals that occurred throughout 2016 . However what intrigues us most on the right of the picture , ‘recording’ events for posterity, is the presence of ‘Person C’ . Adding further intrigue to the local political scene we understand the former political editor of the Liverpool Echo and reluctant witness in the Wirralgate saga has, for reasons unknown, apparently ceased working for the council’s favoured external publication ……….