His Lordship’s Thoughts From Abroad : ‘Post -Truth’

” The way they lied, those days have to be over……”

As we promised we would from time-to-time provide our thoughts from abroad as we adjusted to our new surroundings and tried to make sense of our former life on Wirral.

Now that we lead a Wilde life of ‘cultivated leisure—which, and not labour, is the aim of man—or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight’ we have the time to indulge our passion for the arts and we have been able to see a couple of Oscar -nominated movies which particularly resonated with us.

The first of this movie review double bill is ‘The Post’ which we were drawn to as it tells the story of the Washington Post and the ‘Pentagon Papers’ . The leak of the Pentagon Papers – and as you all know we love a good leak – occurred during the Richard Nixon US presidency. Nixon recklessly embarked on a mega exercise in reputation management – to protect his presidency. In his eyes, the publication of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ would confirm the existence of a conspiracy whose purpose was to delegitimize him and topple the ruling administration .Nixon resolved to fight back with every tool at his disposal, making the fateful decision to break the law to achieve his ends. This led to the ‘Watergate’ which led to his downfall.  The plot should sound familiar to Wirral Leaks readers as from the very first time we broke the story we have likened to Wirralgate to the Watergate  scandal. Read here : Exclusive – Wirralgate!

SPOILER ALERT! –  ‘The Post’ is a dramatisation  of how Katharine Graham the publisher of The Washington Post came to publish the ‘Pentagon Papers’ even though it would be damaging to powerful politicians with whom she had close friendships. This in turn led to ‘Watergate’ – and whilst, yes we know, Wirral Globe or the Liverpool Echo aren’t the Washington Post our thoughts turned to how our local noble and principled press men from the Liverpool Echo and Wirral Globe dealt with the Wirralgate recording which would undoubtedly (and deservedly) bring down the current Wirral Council Labour administration if the contents were ever published.

Whilst we accept that it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the press to hold public authorities to account – there should be systems of public accountability in place to do that. However it would appear there simply isn’t the will or the way, especially when our public institutions seem to be set up to maintain the status quo – no matter how dysfunctional or corrupt .

So under those circumstances,what’s the best we can hope for from the local press? – is it too much to ask that those with the means to expose the biggest scandal in Wirral’s political history , but are unwilling or unable to do so , at least don’t collude with criminality and corruption for their own ends?

It is significant that both local news outlets refused to participate in either of the Thynne ‘Wirralgate’ investigations despite the second investigation report commenting that the Wirralgate recording was potentiality a criminal matter. This can’t be justified on the grounds of protecting sources especially when Liam Murphy ,the former political editor of the Liverpool Echo not only revealed the existence of the Wirralgate recording to then leader of the Wirral Council  group, Jeff Green  , he made his own covert recording and played it to Wirral Council’s head of communications, Emma Degg. And yet now we discover Murphy has secured himself a communications role within the local Labour ‘Inner Ring’ and as for the Wirral Globe – post -truth par excellence (see below) with regular columns from Birkenhead MP Frank Field and advertorial heaven from July 2017 – the date from which they had the ‘Wirralgate’ tape in their possession. So make your own mind up as to who’s interests are being served.

All we know is that it would seem that the days of the ‘W’ word rearing its ugly head in the local press is well and truly over. It is sad to reflect that in the run up to the series of elections held in 2016 Wirral Globe was asking ” Will controversial local issues influence Wirral Voters in Super Thursday ballot?” This included the following observation :

Another highly-controversial issue put on hold is the long-awaited report – believed to have been in studied in secret for many weeks at the town hall – into the co-called “Wirralgate” scandal has yet to be seen by anyone outside the inner circle.

Readers may remember this centres on allegations of a plot to “smear” a leading councillor by political rivals and has been the subject of TWO costly inquiries by an outside consultant

Full story here : Wirralgate – controversial issues

With Wirral’s politicians gearing up for another round of elections in May we guarantee that the ‘Wirralgate’ issue will not influence local voters as they will not be informed anything about it ! . This, despite there being yet ANOTHER investigation report into issues surrounding the scandal being concealed from public view and which we understand  is now subject to a high court challenge in that there London just before the local elections . Again, don’t expect to read about in the local papers!

Or in the words of  Wirral Globe columnist Peter Grant who wrote as far back as August 2016 :

Literary musings from Mr Shakespeare could come in handy for debates in Wallasey Town Hall, especially after the recent publication of the so-called “Wirralgate” report by Patricia Thynne. If the opposition parties want to complain they could always throw into the chamber pot such verbal attacks as: “Laughing stock”“For goodness sake” and, for the council leader: “The game is up”.Phil Davies could simply reply with: “The world’s mine oyster”.Whistleblowers would ask for “The naked truth” and demand that “The truth will out”.  But here’s my own favourite Bardism while I await any good local news always “With bated breath”.

Full story here : Wirralgate : Granty Goes Shakespeare

As it’s now February 2018 we advise Granty that breath holding whilst awaiting for any news on ‘Wirralgate’ is ill-advised  – as he’s likely to shuffle off  “this mortal coil”! 

After we’d watched the ‘ The Post’ with a mannered Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks not only did we assume the film fitted the ‘worthy but dull’ Academy Award category but we were also minded to recall the ‘Word of the Year 2016’ which was ‘post-truth’ an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.  Unfortunately it seems to us the local press operates in this post truth world of politician’s pet projects and pictures of pets. For further reading might we suggest the books ‘Post -Truth : How Bullshit Conquered the World’  by James Ball and ‘Post-Truth : The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back’ by Matthew D’Ancona . The latter investigates how we have got to where we are ,why quiet resignation is not an option and how we can and must fight back.

POST TRUTH

“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

what da faq
A student journalist called ‘Charlie’ has been in touch . Apparently he’s writing a public affairs story for an assignment and has asked us some pertinent questions . We thought it would be a useful exercise to share his questions and our answers with readers and critics alike as it will save us a lot of time explaining what we do and why we do it :
1. Why did you start your blog? And what are you hoping to achieve?
Astonishingly we’ve just realised the blog started in November 2010. So you could say we’re heading for our ‘Seven Year Snitch’ !  Wirral Leaks started as tool to give an alternative voice to town hall spin – often using satire to expose Wirral Council corruption . Our ‘Contact Us’ page reads: ‘Hello Citizens! If you have news, grievances or proof of bullying, incompetence, cover ups and malpractice share it in confidence HERE wirralleaks@gmail.com & one of our operatives will get back to you.’
This sums it up. Where else can people go? 
What are we hoping to achieve ? – the downfall of western civilisation or failing that waking up the apathetic electorate of Wirral! We think it is fair to say that many significant Wirral Council public interest stories might never have been fully exposed or quickly forgotten about if we hadn’t existed. There are too many to list here but our readers will have their particular favourites. 750 posts and an ever increasing readership suggests a continuing need for this type of blog.   
2. How much attention does your blog have? What impact does it have?
It all depends whether you’re talking about blog stats (read them for yourself) or attention that is actively sought. We have Facebook and Twitter links but we don’t whore ourselves out on social media – it’s madness out there!
It’s fair to say we only seek approval of our mates and who we consider those to be our (superior) peers. We’ve been referenced in Private Eye as an ‘excellent local blog’  – high praise indeed! and local freebie Wirral Globe newspaper who’ve described us as ‘caustic’, ‘mischievous’ and only today (19/4/17) in Granty’s Inferno as ‘guardian of the free press’ . Guilty as charged on all three counts!   
Although there’s a concerted effort by the powers that be not to give us any recognition we’ve been mentioned in legal proceedings,council meetings and independent investigations. We have been contacted by representatives of ALL local political parties and recently were surprisingly given the endorsement of a senior local political figure (more on that at a later date). Having said all that we’re probably not the ones to ask when it comes to impact – you’re best asking targets of our stories who contact us (usually after a few scoops too many ) . There’s public impact and personal impact. There’s also our impact on the reputations of those in power and the decisions they make.This is incalculable.  
3. What would you say are the main issues with the council?
Where to begin?
The two words that we receive get most often to describe Wirral Council are ‘ shambles’ and ‘cesspit’ . So we’ll go with that description – shambolic cesspit.
Wirral Council was described in an independent review in 2012 as a place where the ‘abnormal is normal’. Despite their desperate pleas that ‘lessons have been learned’ nothing has changed . All of the slugs that were around then have slithered their way back and acquired yet more slime along the way.
4. Where would you say the council should focus their spending? 
It’s not for us to say where Wirral Council should focus their spending. Councillors get elected to do that – unfortunately their IQ doesn’t seem to equate with those making the real decisions as they are too easily duped by senior council officers who just want to get through Monday to Friday with the least minimum effort. Doing things properly or in the public interest doesn’t come into it!   
However what we will say is that we do know where they shouldn’t spend it on serial failures or paying off incompetent,corrupt council officers – INSERT NAME HERE.  
5. What was your take on the council bringing out the ‘Wirral View’ paper?
We were trying to keep this clean but FFS have you read the wretched thing? And have you read our repeated ripostes? When you read that a damning report about how Wirral Council’s Children Services and their assorted partner agencies have repeatedly let our vulnerable children down is reported that Wirral Council is investing £10 million in Children’s Services you know the true intent of this sinister publication.
The fact that Wirral Council are actively seeking advertising suggests they want to put the local press out of business. The question is – what are they going to do about blogs like us?