Memento MORI

 

Memento Mori

The slow,painful death of public services

This year’s biennial Ipsos MORI report looking at the key findings of the 2017 Wirral Residents ‘ Survey was published earlier this week . The research was designed to explore  :

– Residents’ views on Wirral as a place to live, particularly around perceptions of litter and anti-social behaviour;

– Community involvement and social cohesion;

– Satisfaction with the Council and with specific public services;

– Resident health, with focus on prevalence of smoking and alcohol consumption;

– Well-being and resilience.

So under the circumstances you’d think that Wirral Council would be making a song and dance about the results like they did last time around – The C Word

However  Wirral Council seem to be rather coy when it comes to disseminating and discussing the results which you can read here :  Residents’ Survey 2017

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We note that Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and their elective mute CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson shove hapless patsy and Wirral Leaks correspondent Kev ‘Lost Boy’ MacCallum into the fray to polish the stinking turd that is Wirral Council. Read here :  Public Trust has dropped significantly

Our toes instinctively curled as we read how Kev tries to rationalise why sensible people on Wirral are sick to the back teeth with the poor services and lack of respect they receive from Wirral Council.

Yes, yes, Kev the survey reflects national trends – Whatevs,babes.You’re out of your depth and always were. Now – as is your wont – you need to get lost and leave this to intelligent people who aren’t taken in by the corporate bullshit you’re paid very well to pedal. We just ain’t buyin’ what you’re sellin’! Just sayin’!

So let’s break it down. First of all can we say that Ipsos MORI are getting money for old rope when they come up with nuggets like: ” Older people are less likely to consider themselves in good health compared to younger people” and ” Generally males drink more and on a more regular basis than females” . No shit, Sherlock!

However the summary of Council services says it all for us :

 There has been a fall in resident satisfaction with a number of key performance indicators for the Council.

– Overall satisfaction with the way the Council runs things has decreased by 6 percentage points;

– Those who would be critical of the Council spontaneously or if asked has increased by 6 percentage points;

– Mistrust of the Council has increased by 8 percentage points;

– The perception that the Council does not provide value for money has increased by 9 percentage points; and

– Belief that the Council acts on residents’ concerns has decreased by 5 percentage points.

However what is particularly shameful is the evidence that the Wirral Council funded Wirral View has failed SPECTACULARLY and EXPENSIVELY.  ‘The majority of residents (60%) do not feel that the council keeps them well informed about the services it provides. This does mean, that six in ten residents feel ill informed”. Which as the survey notes : “Compared to their peers, Wirral Council has significantly more negative results.” 

So much for addressing the alleged ‘information deficit’ or attracting advertising revenue (but then Wirral Globe has them over a barrel on that score!) Not for the first time we say its time to put the scabby dog that is Wirral View out of its misery. Not that those who run Wirral Council will – they just expect us to put up and pay up for their egotistical bullshit. Which, might we suggest, more than anything, explains the damning results of the Ipsos MORI survey!

 

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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

Saints and Sinners

St Helens

Red marks the spot 

Wirral Leaks has a history of  picking up followers from far flung ,exotic places such as Hereford, Sandwell, Bristol , York and Cheshire East –  presumably from locals interested in what Wirral Council’s cast offs were up to before they landed on their doorstep. So following on from our  York Paving The Way  story we are proud to bring you news from St Helens. 

Indeed as far back as 2015 we were wondering whether Wirral should be twinned with St Helens when we wrote :

Talking of St Helens politicians by the sound of it Wirral should forget about Reno and make enquiries as to whether Wirral can be twinned with Labour controlled St Helens Council (aka St Hellhole Council according to one of our sources).

Witness recent allegations made against the former St Helens Council leader and now St Helens South & Whiston MP Marie Rimmer who could possibly teach our local political bullies a thing or two about how to deal with dissenters. Rimmer (a great name for a politician) was recently accused of kicking a Scottish independence supporter at a polling booth in Scotland (the case was , er, kicked out this week on a technicality but we understand it may be re-opened) :

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyside-mp-marie-rimmer-walks-9784035

Depending on the eventual outcome if the case goes back to court it could be that if St Helens rugby league team need a new prop forward who knows how to kick a conversion they may know where to go.

We feel we need to clarify at this point that we are not kicking Labour while they’re down nationally (if not locally) we just want them (no we NEED them) to be so much better than they are – politically,morally and ethically.

Full story here : Taxi Cuts

However considering the current situation in St Helens it seems we were wrong. St Helens puts Wirral to shame :

  • A major Police investigation of serving Councillors going back years  (which is more than be said of Wirral where Merseyside Police steer well clear )
  • Leader resigned from role and is suspended from the party  ( if only the same could happen on Wirral!)
  • The Cabinet holder for Growth ( Local Plan) has been sacked from his post as Chief Parliamentary Assistant to the MP ( Sackings? – unheard of on Wirral) 
  • Interim Leader was due to be challenged at Labour AGM  ( Challenged? – ditto)
  • A Labour  local election campaign  which was described to us by a St Helen’s resident as ‘despicable’ in Rainhill (much like the campaign against Green councillor Pat Cleary in Birkenhead & Tranmere) 
  • Returning Officer gave evidence to the Police which appears to have sparked the further investigations (shame Wirral’s Returning Officer Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson didn’t give evidence to Merseyside Police on a non-electoral matter concerning Wirral councillors  – but then he’s not going to risk his £200K pa paycheck is he?)
  • Landslide victory by Independent candidate in Rainhill ( ‘Independents’ don’t get a look in on the insular peninsula )

Which us brings us round to one of our eternal pleas – the need for more independents and the independently minded in local politics. Therefore can we give a shout out to Rainhill  independent councillor James Tasker . You could say we’ve  taken to Tasker. This is from his Facebook page

I’m Rainhill born and bred. I’m standing as an Independent Councillor for Rainhill in the May elections, the only candidate who lives and can vote in Rainhill. I’m standing as a committee member of the Rainhill Civic Society, a member OF the community, FOR the community. I was a member of the Labour Party until very recently, but the local Party decisions made over the past few years, do not reflect my Labour Party values. They do not reflect your Labour Party values, they do not reflect the values, needs, and potential of our Rainhill community. Our Rainhill Councillors, represent themselves, not you, the people who allow them to make decisions on our behalf. This May, vote for someone who cares about Rainhill, lives in Rainhill, and can vote Rainhill.

 

And they did!

Dare we suggest you need some of this on Wirral ? For far too long you’ve had a group of local Labour councillors who put the lumpen into lumpenproletariat (that’s a Marxist joke – Pip’s Posse won’t understand a bleedin’ word of it! ) . They are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the excesses and abuses and hyperbole and hypocrisy of their leadership as long as get to play at being a pretend politician. Sure we get a few dissenters from time to time who question the cabal and then they get offered a Cabinet position and suddenly their concerns about how the local Labour group operates suddenly disappear ( yes, you know who you are!)

The day that Wirral is twinned with St Helens we may be tempted to return. Or perhaps not ….

Wirral Leaks Election Selection – The Results

 

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Phew! we bet you’re all glad that’s it’s over and you can all get back to what passes for normal on Wirral.

It seems to be very much a case of ‘as you were’ with no gains or losses for any political party in the local elections . However considering the effort that Labour put into trying to topple lone Green councillor Pat Cleary in Birkenhead & Tranmere this has to be considered a huge moral and political victory for the popular and hardworking councillor deep in hardcore Labour territory . Although superannuated  Birkenhead MP  Frank Field was in attendance at the count and said he hoped for Labour success in his constituency even ‘The Field Effect’ couldn’t save them. This must come as a bitter blow to someone who is used to getting his own way in what he regards as his own personal and political fiefdom.

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Everything’s Gone Green : Green in the background and Green to the fore makes reds go green with envy !Pic courtesy : Wirral Globe

Cleary thanked the people of Birkenhead and Tranmere for re-electing him “in the face of a horrible,negative campaign by the Labour party” . Meanwhile Wirral Council leader  Cllr Phil  ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies stood by with a face like a smacked arse as Wirral CEO  Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson read out the result .

We were left wondering which one of the following options that Stressed Eric will choose to do with his mega electoral expenses :

a) deposit in an offshore bank account

b) donate to a local charity

c) prop up the bar and order trebles all round in ‘Brew Dog’

The closest result of the night was in the Pensby and Thingwall ward where Labour candidate Kate Cannon held off the challenge of Conservative candidate Michael Collins by a mere 23 votes. Close but no cigar for the poacher turned gamekeeper . Suffice to say that some of our most devoted readers were very pleased indeed that their former colleague experienced the bitter taste of disappointment.  Schadenfreude can be such an unseemly emotion but can be so,so satisfying.

Meanwhile ambitious Labour councillor Gillian ‘Gilly’ Wood came over all stateswomanlike as she was (inevitably) announced the victor in the Claughton ward and starting channelling the Pankhursts. Unfortunately the gravitas was somewhat undermined by the reporting of her profound words as follows (full report read here ) :

Local elections 033

Suffragits ? Faught?  Listen guys and guyesses from the Globe we know it was a late night – but really?  As Her Ladyship said : ” The rousing speech ended up not so much Emmeline or Christabel but more Emily Davison .” Perhaps suffragits was a subliminal message about the gits that Gilly has to suffer .  Those gits being Gilly’s her fellow ward councillors – Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies.

As you know a couple of the reasons that we continued Wirral Leaks whilst in self imposed exile is that we wanted to cover the local elections and reach a million hits . It looks like that serendipitously that both events will coincide within a few hours. So it will be just a case of tying up a few loose ends and we can finally enjoy our day in the sun.

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2

Spot the deliberate mistake ! After this week’s prolific output a further Wirral Leaks post may seem like too much of a bad thing . It’s barely a month into 2018 and we’ve already had to concede that the announcement of our retirement was somewhat premature. But then as Wilde said : “To be premature is to be perfect” !

The thought of our departure to foreign shores has obviously stirred many Wirralians into action as we’ve been sent stories simply too good to pass up on (and what’s even better – where much of the work has already been done) .What’s more we have already noticed that campaigning for the May 2018 local elections has already started in earnest. But perhaps more than anything that explains our renewed impetus is further shocking information which has come our way and which needs exposing . Furthermore we guarantee the mainstream media will not touch it – but we’re keeping our powder dry on that one for now. However we’re left shaking our head in disbelief at the claims that are being made (and more importantly the damning evidence to back it up) . Meanwhile with the agreement with Her Ladyship  and support from Eldritch and Verity let’s all together plough on into oblivion ……….

Holiday Hypocrisy

Whilst we’re grateful that someone sent us the John Brace video posting of this week’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee meeting we faced a dilemma as we didn’t know who’s face deserved a slap more as they gazed over to Brace to make sure he captured their reactions to Cllr Steve Foulkes’ contribution to the Mersey tunnel toll debate – Cllr Jerry ‘The Mouse’ Williams , Cllr Ron ‘ Rude’ Abbey or Foulkesy himself . Truth be told (an alien concept for some of the parties concerned) but it was no contest really – Foulkesy every time .

Watch in disgust from 12 :00 as Foulkesy turns to our beloved Mr Brace , tries to take the moral high ground and resorts to his non existent ‘conscience’ .Whilst professing to respect Tory Cllr Les Rowlands he then proceeds to slag him off for planning a holiday to coincide with this particular meeting. Now we might know his political allegiances but we don’t profess to know Cllr Rowland’s personal proclivities but we’d like to think his holiday won’t result in allegations of  racist abuse.Just sayin’

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress

Self Serve 

We understand that internal vacancies at Wirral Council are accessed by ‘Self Serve’. You really couldn’t make this shit up! Why do they bother with such bureaucratic machinations when it would appear that cronyism/nepotism/favouritism is still the main route to promotion we can only hazard a guess. Unfortunately we can’t report on this particular aspect further as it would appear that another feature of Wirral Council’s modus operandi – the culture of fear – is still very much in operation.

Road to Hell

If the Merseytravel Committee video was infuriating the John Brace footage of the Audit and Risk Management Committee sent us into paroxysms of rage and fury. Witness how the utterly pathetic ex- Tory leader and Foulkesy’s ‘kindred’ Cllr Jeff Green meekly raises the issue of bringing the £multi-million highways contract back in house like Uriah Heep with a serious Woodbines habit. The Nigel Farage sound-a-like says something along the lines of : ” Bein’ ever so ‘umble . Can we have a bit of case study. I’m not ‘solutioneering’ (!) I just want to know that the decision to bring the highways contract back in house wasn’t written on the ‘back of  a fagpacket’, if you would so please, kind sir”.

Observe and despair from 8:25

Why so coy Cllr Green ? You know that the decision was made behind closed doors using Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ special ‘delegated powers’ and with Frank Field’s personal approval. They obviously want to minimise suspicion about unlawful compensation pay-offs to the Wirralgate complainants – so what’s the next best thing ? A token bung and then a cosy job for life for keeping their gobs shut.  But then you knew that didn’t you Cllr Green ?- shame you didn’t have the balls to say it. Incidental dark comedic value is to be had from the ever oleaginous senior officer David Armstrong who promises a short report and ingratiating interim Monitoring Officer Philip McCourt who says that the commissioning of highways contract is a ‘live project’ and that report would be a ‘ partial measure’ – ain’t that the truth ! Then suddenly  Cllr Ron ‘Rude’ Abbey has a “Don’t Mention The War” moment and can’t help himself saying something completely bogus about discussing TUPE ( Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) regulations . Which ,is of course, as ARMC and us know is what this is all about : ” Listen guys, we can’t give you a massive pay out you wanted without raising serious questions so we’ll give you the next best thing and you can be responsible for Wirral’s highways . Let’s face it you can’t do a worse job than Colas / BAM Nuttall ” 

As this image and comment proves :

image1 (4)

Dear Wirraleaks,

The attached photo shows a stretch of Mere Farm Road which was “repaired” by the Wirral Council contractors 6 months ago.

They clearly did such a magnificent and cost effective job that it needs much more repairing now.

When will they learn that doing a decent job first time round is more cost effective or do they just love throwing public money away to private sector mates ????

In response all we can say is  – buy cheap, pay twice!

All Wrapped Up

In the case of this particular Freedom of Information request all we can say is have Wirralgate tape, pay through the nose.

Full details :Wrap around FOI

Screenshot_20180130-101108

All wrapped in cosily in a symbiotic security blanket. Snug as a mug with a bug (that’s a reference to the Wirralgate recording obvs)

Patience is a Virtue 

Dear Mr Robinson

I received this assurance from you on 19th December 2016

On 19 December 2016 at 11:42, Robinson, Eric <ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Dr Smith

Thank you for your email below.Officers are considering the matters you have raised in your emails and I will respond to you fully in January.

Regards

Eric Robinson

Chief Executive

Wirral Council

Tel : 0151 691 8589

Email : ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk

You did not specify ‘responding to me fully’, by January 2017. 

However January 2018 has now passed, and I can only surmise that your ‘Officers’ have been completely occupied with Wirral Council’s 2016/2017 ongoing catalogue of disasters.

For your convenience, I attach a reply I sent to Cllr Walter Smith, who contacted me in May 2017 as you hadn’t, with his view of the ‘Most Improved Wirral Council’ (the absolute definition of an oxymoron given the events of 2016/2017)

Patience is a virtue. I look forward to receiving your ‘full response’ as assured.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith FCMI

Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson is increasingly making Howard Hughes seem outgoing and gregarious. A local government patsy drowning in a mire of his own incompetence and other people’s corruption.  Hey, Stressed Eric! – you really should have spoken to your predecessor before you took up post. Oh – but wait a minute your political paymasters didn’t allow it did they? Protecting themselves and setting you up to fail as you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. Oh but you know now don’t you? And you chose the side of the people who pay your obscene salary. We sincerely hope and pray that one day you will regret that choice. In fact we’re working on it day and night – you may have noticed.

Meet the Talent

Without any fanfare – we wonder why? – Dave Fergus is the man who has taken over running Wirral Evolutions from Chris Beyga the disgraced former Managing Director of this arms-length Wirral Council experiment that went horribly wrong mainly because Beyga (aka Rosa Klebb) thought she was running her own personal fiefdom.

Meet the Talent

You will note from his profile above (can somebody please provide a translation of local government BS? ) that there is absolutely no mention of disability rights. Just the person you want running a service where apparently the thick as mince managers think that somehow they’re doing a favour to the people who actually pay their wages. We’re wondering whether we’ll  get a comment on this latest appointment from Wirral Evolutions ‘ Independent’ Chair and professional disability rights ‘champion’ Carey Bamber or ‘Non -Executive Director’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy’ Pip’ Davies? We’re not holding our breath.

Crime Report

We note that this week Mayor Joe Anderson was taken in for questioning ‘under caution’ by Merseyside Police in relation to the fraud probe concerning Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others . Power Boy Pip, Stressed Eric and others will no doubt be observing developments with interest – as will we !

Proceed with caution

Holiday Hypocrisy Part 2

And finally we understand that someone is taking a particular interest in Wirral Leaks from their undeserved winter break in the Dominican Republic. Answers on a postcard please…….

 

Advent Farewell 2 – Twin Towns in Hell

Tour - Nuremburg

Be it Wirral and Sandwell , how did we get to the point where Tour adjudicated on other people’s lives/careers or indeed anything of any importance. Frightening. Pic courtesy @CrowMultimedia 

Ghost of Christmas Past and Christmas Present 

It was three years ago we commented on the Wirral Council delegation that was whoring itself out in Reno desperate to hook up with somewhere that had even less attractive features than itself.

Consequently recent events tell us that our Big Guns in Tiny Town post needs re-posting in full here :

Following our earlier story about the beano in Reno Verity has been doing some further research into other towns who have had the dubious honour of being twinned with Wirral.  Apparently Wirral has been rather wanton with it’s unique charms and has previously wooed (in no particular order) Gennevilliers (France) ,Lorient (France) ,Latina (Italy) and Midland (Texas ,USA not the Black Country).
Then of course there was the Eurowirral office in Brussels which achieved er, well nothing much at all really.

As we’ve said before it seems to us at Leaky Towers that never has so much public money been spent on air miles by so many globetrotting councillors and officers to achieve so very little………

Of course the Twin Town debate is something that has concerned the great and the ghoul of Wirral for sometime.
Leaky Towers have always maintained we should be twinned with Jericho in recognition of our local whistleblowing community whilst Frankenfield seems to think that Birkenhead should be twinned with Beirut!.

However it seems to us that Wirral is behaving like a desperate divorcee on a dating website – posting flattering pictures to prospective partners in the hope of finding true love and salvation. The Reno hook-up seems particularly dodgy – apparently the fact that “The Chamber of Commerce had a contact over in Reno with a guy who used to work in Liverpool in the video gaming industry….” was enough for the Wirral posse to metaphorically put on the lippy ,reach for the Wonderbra and fly down to Reno on a wing and a prayer.

Finally we’d particularly love to know what clean living local Councillor Paul “Danceaway” Doughty thinks about twinning with Reno – famous for gambling and quickie divorces.

Let’s just hope if we get a delegation from Reno visiting that Wirral tops up the Botox to prevent “The Biggest Little City in The World” seeking a quickie divorce…….

It would appear that the Reno beano has finally come up trumps (no pun intended) with the announcement, in the form of a leaflet distributed with the Wirral Globe ,that a ‘gentleman’s club’ is opening up in Birkenhead.  On hearing this news Her Ladyship commented : ” But there’s always been a gentleman’s club in Birkenhead. It’s called the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP)”

I had to rudely interject and inform Her Ladyship that ‘Peachez’ was certainly not the kind of gentleman’s club that fine upstanding, God-fearing Birkenhead MP Frank Field would frequent – although we had to admit we’re not so sure about his less enlightened acolytes. For any avoidance of doubt we’re talking about Foulkesy. Just sayin’.

Peachez 016.JPG

We also queried as to where this fitted with the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and their Birkenhead Improvement District (BID). Although we’re sure that that one of their prominent ‘ members’ ( pun intended) would approve. For any avoidance of doubt we’re talking about Kevin ‘Addled’ Adderley.  Just sayin’.

So can we just say in our public service role that Wirral Council should instead lower their sights and twin with the Black Country paradise that is Sandwell (aka Sadwell).

As we commented previously when Surjit Tour escaped there in his personalised number plated car to Sandwell Council that it was very much a case of  To Sandwell in a Handcart . And as Her Ladyship declared on his locally celebrated departure :

” There’s goes a man with low self -esteem issues. And never have they been more justified.” 

So let’s justify for you why we think Sandwell is a better fit for twinship with Wirral than previous speculative suggestions by referencing the superb local blog The Sandwell Skidder which makes Wirral Leaks seem like Wirral View. And that is very much a compliment.

Read for yourself here : http://thesandwellskidder.blogspot.co.uk/

Meanwhile consider this Sandwell Skidder comment as an example :

The bent Labour Council in Sandwell (aka Sadwell) have, as we have seen many times, appointed weak and feeble characters to the top echelons of the paid service in the benighted Borough. Head honcho, the pathetic Jan Britton, had a very thin CV but was appointed as Chief Executive. A selection of weirdos formed the second tier – like now-disgraced “Head of Legal” Neeraj Sharma who already had a record of  dismal failure at Walsall Council.

Sound familiar? – simply insert the name Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson in place of Jan Britton and Neeraj Sharma with Surjit Tour and you have Wirral Council.

Wirral and Sandwell – twin towns in hell who both have had Surjit Tour as the head of their legal departments. Just sayin’.

International Relations

Wirral  Council have a couple of mentions in the Rotten Boroughs section of the latest edition of Private Eye .

“Just a couple ?…..” snorts Her Ladyship ” that’s a good ‘Performance Indicator’ of the ‘Direction of Travel’ on their  ‘Improvement Journey’ “

The first mention is in an article about Sheffield City Council and their pursuit of Chinese investment (or “Wang wonga ” as the Eye would have it) . However when it comes to such ventures it would seem that Wirral Council has now become the byword for naivety, lack of due diligence and hyperbole after the Stella Shiu ‘International Trade Centre’ fantasy left them with “egg foo-yung on its face” ! 

Private Eye Nov 2017 010

It really doesn’t augur well for Wirral CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson and Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies repeated declarations following their MIPIM missions that billions and billions and billions of pounds – or euros or dollars or yuan , they’re not fussed where the moolah comes from –  will soon be ‘transforming’ Wirral and it’ll be the land of milk and honey where the streets are paved with gold (see artists’ impression).

The second mention involves the Eye picking up on our  Sorrento Shame story under the title ‘Travel Section’ . You’d think after undertaking an ambassadorial role as Mayor and Mayoress that the Foulkes’ would be well equipped to foster good international relations. Alas – it would seem that whilst you can take the girl and boy out of Birkenhead you can’t take Birkenhead out of the girl and boy.

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However to end on a happy note here – giving a whole new meaning to ‘holiday snap’- is a touching Sorrento memento which Elaine Foulkes posted on social media for us all to enjoy.

Foulkes in Sorrento

Double Dealers

Wirral Council closes in on double deal

Hey Eric, is that Asif Hamid in the background? Might we suggest you don’t introduce him to the Foulkes’s any time soon ? Just sayin’ !

Recent alleged racist events on the continent rather overtook us ( you may have noticed) so this particular post was relegated to the back burner. Nevertheless we think this story is interesting for several reasons. To understand what we mean read the following link:

Wirral Council Closes In On Double Deal

First of all doesn’t Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson look particularly smug? Wouldn’t you be on a near cool £200K of public money we hear you cry ! Well, yes but would you be him? , we shriek back in horror.

Apparently according to Inside Media :

Wirral Council is close to sealing two major land and property deals in Birkenhead totalling 200,000 sq ft.

The local authority has signalled its intention to acquire a number of strategic sites and buildings to support the work of Wirral Growth Company, a new joint venture company that it is creating with the private sector.

As part of this, the council has reported that it is close to concluding two acquisitions in central Birkenhead, while a further four potential deals are currently under negotiation. The objective is to unlock covenants and leases that are holding back redevelopment, and to provide new revenue streams to support local services where buildings are profitably occupied.

The exact details of the sites have not been disclosed.

Whilst it seems the usual Wirral Council story of Stressed Eric doing his dance of the seven veils like a superannuated local government (asset) stripper on their behalf – ‘signalled its intention’ , ‘close to concluding’ , ‘potential deals’, ‘currently under negotiation’ , ‘the exact details of the sites have not been disclosed’  –  we’re particularly intrigued as to why this major exclusive announcing the selling off of what remains of the Borough’s family silver was heralded on this particular (deservedly) obscure website.

We haven’t checked the Wirral View lately ( let’s face it – life’s too short) or other Wirral Council approved outlets to check whether this story was covered elsewhere but we’re astounded that Stressed Eric can , from the comfort of yet another costly and glamorous MIPIM event ,this time in London rather than the rather more louche Cannes, casually announce major plans for the redevelopment of Birkenhead.

Can somebody tell us how, without any local consultation or hysterical local press coverage replete with the requisite ‘artist’s impressions’ of schemes that will never come to fruition unless magic mushrooms are involved, that this ever went to press?

Answers on a postcard please ( or should that be a brown envelope ?)………….

 

The £Million Interims

 

Interim

We’re sure you can appreciate that we’re still processing the fall out from the full Council meeting held earlier this week as it was a very long meeting !

However we are aware Lib Dem councillor Phil Gilchrist asked Council leader Phil Davies the following  question about ‘interim appointments’ that had been made during Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson tenure to assist with the implementation of his New Operating Model (or Non Operating Model as we like to call it)…….
How many interim officers are currently in post and what, typically, are the daily rates that are being paid?
What expenditure has been incurred on interim posts between 30th June 2015 and
30th June 2017?

Apparently it transpires there are currently 12 interims/consultants in place across Wirral Council. Their daily rate of pay varies between £350 and £720  – once again , nice work if you can get it and you can get it even working for a cash-strapped local authority ! In terms of expenditure incurred since June 2015, the total gross spend was revealed to be approximately £2,530,556.
However it has been explained  that where interims have been covering a vacant post, a proportion of this will have been funded by the budget for that post. Officers were not able to check exact figures but they estimated that  £1.5  million was paid for from monies attached to these vacant posts.

This would appear to mean that there has been an additional ONE MILLION POUNDS spent on interim appointments over the last two years for which seemingly there wasn’t a budget. And we thought the drive behind the ‘New Operating Model’ was that Wirral Council should be more sustainable and business like !

With news that another interim appointment has been made to replace the outgoing Head of Law, Surjit Tour (about which more another time) and yet more senior management restructuring we’re getting the impression that Stressed Eric and his million pound fly by nights are flying by the seat of their pants!

Cool Million

Pond Life

Fish 2 010Fish 2 012

You may remember a recent post about a Wirral Council  Employment and Appointments Committee held on June 28th where we referenced a particular agenda item and commented  : Curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift). Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.   

Comings and Goings

As we alluded to last week we can now confirm it’s farewell then to cartoon character Dolly Pond lookalike and Wirral Council Super-Duper Director Clare Fish.

We’ll miss her. Mainly because of the endless punning opportunities this overpaid failure provided – wet fish, fish out of water , out of her depth etc; It really was like shooting Fish in a barrel.

It always struck us that Clare was content to be a small fish in a stagnant pond and suddenly found herself swimming with sharks who were either screwing each other or screwing each other over.

Inevitably she found herself to be yet another Wirral council senior officer responsible for social care who has been thrown overboard having netted a big fat cheque – think Miller, Webb, Noone, Fowler ,Hassall . Meanwhile  the overseer of a series of failures, Cllr Moira McLaughlin, sails serenely on like an ocean going tanker full of toxic waste.

In this particular case Fish netted £105,000 . Wirral Council will have you believe with some financial jiggerypokery that they didn’t splash out another six figure sum to reward failure – but they did. It’s what they do, because they don’t know any other way. We say try sacking people or let them resign – that’s how it works in the business world that Wirral Council seem so determined to replicate.

However the most curious aspect of this hasty departure , and a demonstration of Wirral Council’s usual commitment to openness,transparency and accountability is the fact that having applied an exemption, thus excluding press and public from the Employment and Appointments Committee where the pay-off was discussed, they then had to refer the matter for approval at last night’s full Council meeting as Ms Fish swam through the magic six figure mark meaning it needed to be agreed by elected members.

Outgoing Head of Law Surjit Tour seems to have forgotten to tell Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson how this council business works as Stressed Eric merrily revealed in his ExecView  internal newsletter ( which is a bit like Wirral View but without soup recipes and pictures of smiling tots)  that Fish had already slipped through the net .

Fish 009

As you can see ExecView  was dated July 4th and the CEO revealed that Fish had already left the previous week ! So what was the point of even bringing the matter to the Council meeting to agree Fish’s leaving terms ? None whatsoever! But it appears the pond life who are our local elected representatives get along swimmingly and don’t like to make too many ripples when it comes to spending our money on rewarding failure!

Fish 012