Murphy’s Law

Sheila Murphy

Photo: ITV news

We note that veteran Wirral based political campaigner Sheila Murphy has spoken exclusively to ITV news who tell us  “the woman who used to be Labour’s top official in the North has left the party – saying membership had become like ‘being in an abusive relationship’…” 

Murphy spat her dummy out the day after the recent local elections  presumably because she had foreseen the likelihood that the Green Party would win the Birkenhead & Tranmere ward  after previously bemoaning that Labour Party members were actively supporting the Green Party :

“We were knocking on these people’s doors and they were openly telling us they were voting Green instead of Labour and even had Green posters in their window.  I reported them to the Local Campaign Forum and was told: ‘It’s their choice’.” For good measure, the local branch even posted on their Facebook page that the Greens were not the problem – their Labour council was…”  

Whilst Murphy has continued to campaign in Wirral under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, she has now suddenly turned round and claimed that Jezza is to blame for ‘allowing a certain type of behaviour to happen.’

‘Certain types of behaviour’?  It would seem that ‘certain types of behaviour’  doesn’t include the reprehensible conduct of the likes of former Labour councillors Jim Crabtree or Louise Reecejones , current Labour councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies that Murphy has chosen to ignore but which have rightly appalled other Labour Party members . It’s no coincidence that the Birkenhead & Tranmere ward was, until the recent local elections, held by Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil Davies. It’s clear the local branch of the Labour Party wanted him gone ( for ‘certain types of behaviour)  and gone he has ( a Wirral Leaks ‘tribute’ will follow shortly). 

Murphy says that the local election results which resulted in loss of overall control  of Wirral Council by Labour and which is now a minority administration under Cllr Pat Hackett is ‘self-inflicted’. Whilst we can’t say we disagree with that assessment it seems to us that in this case  Murphy’s Law is , not just a case of what could go wrong will go wrong , but a law for one set of Labour Party members and another law for The Right Kind of Labour Politician …

 

 

 

Whither Wirral Politics?

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‘Disappointed’ Pip #sadface

How are you all feeling after the local election results ? We have to say that even in self-imposed exile we raised a toast or three to Wirral’s voters who seem to have at last woken up and smelt the bullshit!

So here are our thoughts on Thursday’s momentous events. First of all we’d like to say that it seems to us the old guard of all political parties have been wrong-footed by new outlets for political dissemination. Leaflets and flyers and doorstepping just don’t cut it anymore. ‘Advertisement features’ in local newspapers are seen for what they are – expensive and desperate.  We even have to say that the only mis-step of the highly effective Green Party election campaign was the ‘Thank You’ card sent  out to voters on the eve of the election. In the event the sentiment  wasn’t misplaced but it wasn’t very ‘green’. It seems to us that social media is increasingly where it’s at if you want to influence voters – there’s no hiding place anymore for the dissemblers and the disingenuous in political life. The truth is out there if you truly want to find it and as the song goes : ‘ do you want the truth or do you want your sanity?…

Meanwhile the wind of political change blowing across Wirral is not only evidenced by the graphic below which indicates the swing in the local election results since last time but we are also reliably informed that the Green vote share across Wirral was 17%. This is higher than Lib Dems, UKIP and Independents combined and more than double their percentage share last year…

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The fact that now ex- councillor and Wirral Independent Group  stalking horse Chris Meaden failed to secure the Rock Ferry ward is very bad news for another ‘Independent’ Birkenhead MP Frank Field. This was the public vindication of political loyalty over personality.  We understand that Field is repeatedly being told the same thing by the local Labour Party faithful and long standing party members : ” We simply can’t vote for you anymore – you’re not a Labour representative…” .  The inevitable victor in the battle of political ideology was Yvonne Nolan or rather Cllr  Yvonne Nolan who clearly we will be hearing a lot more of if her TV appearance in the wake of her political comeback is anything to go by…

However wasn’t it a shame that the Wirral Independent Group (WIG!) election campaign wasn’t as co-ordinated as their outfits – Oh, the shame!

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The Black and White Minstrel Show  – WIG are the light entertainment of Wirral politics.

Of course this being Wirral there were some sour notes among the sweetness of defeat of   a couple of prominent Labour cabinet members , namely Phill Brightmore and Angie Davies. Brightmore was succeeded as the  councillor for Pensby & Thingwall by Tory poacher turned gamekeeper Mike Collins. This screenshot from Facebook was sent to us in anticipation that Cllr Collins would feature prominently in future Wirral Leaks posts.

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Despite Cllr Collins’ obvious credentials when it comes to satirical opportunities he’ll be hard pressed to challenge long standing Wirral Leaks regular Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes who was sadly was returned to serve another electoral term as a councillor for Claughton. Seemingly Foulkesy is the political equivalent of shit on a shoe and we get the overwhelming urge to scrape the shoe along the proverbial kerb until the noxious waste is finally removed.

And finally – oh, how we hollered with delight to witness Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies on the telly with his best sadface on saying how ‘disappointed’ he was in the local election results. Believe us Pip, we guarantee you’re not as ‘disappointed’ as us in the 7 year misrule that you have inflicted on the people of Wirral whilst you’ve been ‘leader’ of Wirral Council . Tomorrow we will find out who his successor as ‘leader’ of the local Labour Group. Whoever it is will have their work cut out as to where the local Labour Party goes from here, especially  in the light of the fact that they no longer have overall control of Wirral Council and their hegemony of horror has come to an end.

For now all we do know is that when it comes to the future of Wirral politics the old certainties seem to be over…

Wirral Local Elections – Wow!

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We didn’t know whether we were still dreaming this morning when we woke up to  the news that Labour have LOST OVERALL CONTROL OF WIRRAL COUNCIL.

Some astonishing results included Birkenhead and Tranmere where the Greens ANNIHILATED Labour. Remember this was the ward that outgoing (and now gone) Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies was due to stand. We told you he knew the writing was on the wall and in typical Pip fashion popped off before he was publicly humiliated.  However we didn’t anticipate the scale of the victory of the Greens – who DOUBLED the Labour vote. We can only echo the word of Cllr Pat Cleary who  ,up until now anyway, was the only Green councillor on Wirral Council – WOW!

Other astonishing results meant that  Independent  Cllr Meaden was defeated, Cllr Brightmore was booted out and Cllr (Angie) Davies was downed by another victory for the Greens in Prenton.

Meanwhile we’re going to have a lie down in a darkened room and come back to you with our full analysis of yesterday’s events and what it means for the future on politics on Wirral…

A Fear of Green

Green

This is not a subliminal political message

Certain factions at Wirral Council appear to be suffering from a form of chromophobia (fear of colour) and a particular form known as prasinophobia which is fear of the colour green.

From the Green Party to the Green Belt to Dave Green (remember him? – if not we’ll be reminding you soon) to er, bowling greens

I am a member a member of a Crown Green bowling club in West Wirral which pays a fee to the Council for use of a Clubhouse and the Bowling Green. The maintenance of the Green is the responsibility of WBC Parks and Gardens. Over the last 3 years the maintenance of the Green I play on has diminished due to cuts in Parks and Gardens maintenance staff. This has affected not just my Green but about 8 other Greens in the District. The deterioration of our Green means that this year it has become unplayable. Promises by the Council to improve the playing surface has not materialised, but the cost of the hire has risen in this financial year to over £1000. As a Club we arrange fixtures with other local clubs and we also have internal club competitions. None of this is now possible for this season. Within our club we have at least one experienced bowler who has been bowling for over 60 years as well as being a knowledgeable green keeper in his earlier years. He has categorically stated that the Green is an utter disgrace and is ‘unplayable’.

The Wirral Health Strategy imposes a responsibility on the Council to encourage older people to not only keep exercising but to also socialise to alleviate loneliness and isolation. Our Club cannot now meet and play on our Green this season due to it’s condition. We are still expected to pay the fee? For over a 2 months we have been asking those responsible to get the Green into a playable condition, but we have received is promises…

Meanwhile on a slighter bigger scale we have been alerted to this particular item which is to be found on  Defend Wirral’s Green Spaces  Facebook page :

Wirral Council have REFUSED to publish their instructions / brief to the University of Liverpool who, we believe, have been contracted to review Wirral Council’s Housing need calculations.

They have also REFUSED to publish the Council’s brief to a top Planning QC who they are employing at a cost of £135,000 to advise on the Local Plan and Green Belt Review. The Council state that this QC has advised that the Council must meet the Governments Housing Target despite the Secretary of State for Housing writing to the Council Leader stating that the housing “target” of 12000 homes is NOT MANDATORY.

We wonder why, if the Council are supposedly doing everything they can to reduce the housing “target” number and are supposedly wanting to save the Green Belt they would not want to publish these briefs? In the interest of Transparency and Openness, surely the Council would want the people of Wirral to see exactly just what the University and this QC have been tasked with doing on our behalf and what they are spending our money on?

For further information read on……..

The Wirral Green Space Alliance submitted the following Freedom of Information Request on 1st March 2019:

“Nature of contact: This FoIR is lodged by ITPAS at the request of WGSA .

In the spirit of openness and ‘transparent’ local government, we request the following information, records and other relevant documents be made available to us in normal electronic format(s):

1.  The Appointment Documents, Terms of Reference (ToRs), Briefing(s), Instructions and the like of (i) Liverpool University and (ii) the Council’s QC (Chris Katkowski ?) for services in connection with Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan.

 

2.  The Minutes and Notes of all meetings between the above two parties and Wirral Council Officers, Councillors, Consultants and other relevant parties, together with all other related correspondence and communications (including advice, reports, etc. to and from each party) in connection with services related to Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan and the Case in support of and/or against it, whether prior to actual appointment(s), at appointment(s) or since appointment(s).
Any other information:  This information is requested in order to provide what the Groups within the WGSA consider to be missing, unclear, conflicting or essential information, and to facilitate a proper response to Wirral Council’s proposals and actions to be made in an informed, robust and timely manner.

 

‘ITPAS’ refers to ‘Irby, Thurstaston & Pensby Amenity Society’ and

‘WGSA’ refers to ‘Wirral Green Space Alliance’: a grouping of 20 local community, environmental and wildlife groups and specialists.”

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Wirral Council should have responded within 20 days. The Council failed to give a response by the deadline, so again on 16th April the Council were contacted to provide a response. Finally on 25th April the Council responded as follows:

“We refer to your request for Information which has been processed in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) as the information requested is considered to be ‘environmental information’ under Regulation 2(1) (c) of the EIRs; being information on planes, activities, measures etc. affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment.’

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in providing a response.  As previously advised we have been dealing with a high volume of requests with limited resources, resulting in a backlog in enquiries.  We do endeavour where possible to respond within 20 working days but acknowledge we were unable to do so on this occasion.  We are now in a position to respond to your request as follows.

 

Your request stated:

 

In the spirit of openness and ‘transparent’ local government, we request the following information, records and other relevant documents be made available to us in normal electronic format(s):

1.  The Appointment Documents, Terms of Reference (ToRs), Briefing(s), Instructions and the like of

(i) Liverpool University and (ii) the Council’s QC (Chris Katkowski ?) for services in connection with Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan.

 

2.  The Minutes and Notes of all meetings between the above two parties and Wirral Council Officers, Councillors, Consultants and other relevant parties, together with all other related correspondence and communications (including advice, reports, etc. to and from each party) in connection with services related to Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan and the Case in support of and/or against it, whether prior to actual appointment(s), at appointment(s) or since appointment(s).

 

In response the Council can advise the following.

 

Request 1

The Council is of the opinion that the documents requested relating to the appointment of, and work undertaken by, Liverpool University  are exempted from disclosure.  Regulation 12 (4) of the EIRs states that a public authority may refuse to disclose information where the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion; being unfinished documents or incomplete data. The work of Liverpool University in this instance relates to the formulation and preparation of the Local Plan, which is in the course of completion. Further, the Local Plan is a document which will be published in any event at a stage in the future.

 

The aims of the Regulation 12 (4) (d) exception include the protection of work in progress by delaying disclosure until a final or completed version can be made available.

 

With regards to the appointment of Counsel, the qualified exemption relating to legal privilege applies to Counsels advice. Advice privilege applies where no litigation is in progress or contemplated. It covers confidential communications between the client and lawyer, made for the dominant (main) purpose of seeking or giving legal advice. Further as these documents relate to material that is still being completed, unfinished documents including drafts, or incomplete data, the Council also refuse to provide the information under regulation 12 (4) (d).

 

The Council considers that at this stage in the Local Plan preparation the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Whilst there is a presumption in favour of disclosure under the Regulations the Council has taken into account the fact that the draft Local Plan will be subject to further public consultation in the near future.  The Council has also taken account of the fact that under the Regulations, when more than one exception applies to the information, the Council may combine the public interest arguments in maintaining the exceptions against the public interest in disclosure. This is different from the approach required under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Request 2

As stated above Regulation 12 (4) (d) of the EIRs states that a public authority may refuse to disclose information where the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion; being unfinished documents or incomplete data. In this instance the documents requested  relate  to the formulation and preparation  of the Local Plan, which is in the course of completion. Further, the Local Plan is a document which will be published in any event at a stage in the future.

 

Further, Regulation 12 (4) (e) exempts disclosure of internal communications, and the documents requested include such communications.

 

The Council considers that at this stage in the Local Plan preparation, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Whilst there is a presumption in favour of disclosure under the Regulations, the Council has taken into account the fact that a the draft Local Plan will be subject to further public consultation in the near future.  The Council has also taken account of the fact that under the Regulations, when more than one exception applies to the information, the Council may combine the public interest arguments in maintaining the exceptions against the public interest in disclosure. This is different from the approach required under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The Council is aware that, in addition to the public interest in transparency and accountability, there is a further public interest in disclosing environmental information because it supports the right of everyone to live in an adequate environment, and ultimately contributes to a better environment. Normally, public interest arguments in favour of the exception have to be specifically related to what that exception is protecting, but this is a general public interest argument for disclosure, and it does not have to be related to the specific exception. However, given the fact that the Local Plan is in the course of preparation and will be subject to further rounds of public consultation and to public examination prior to being finally adopted by the Council, the Council is of the opinion that the right to live in an adequate environment will be protected by this process and that this right does not therefore outweigh the public interest in non-disclosure of the requested information at this stage.

 

You have the right to make representations under Regulation 11 of the EIRs if you are unhappy with how the Council has dealt with your enquiry informationmanager@wirral@gov.uk.  If you were to remain dissatisfied, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, but would normally be expected to make representations before doing so. Contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office can be found at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management “

Wirral Green Space Alliance have responded as follows:

“Dear Lynette Paterson,

The belated responses to our Requests for Information are sadly much as expected but are nevertheless disappointing and unacceptable to us.  We ask you to reconsider your decision to refuse to release anything as this seems unreasonable to us.

 

We can understand that supplying information of a fluid situation, where hypothetical and unresolved matters which are being discussed and examined could be counterproductive, even misleading and would have the potential to distract key personnel from catching up on woefully late delivery.  However, all the items under ‘1.  The Appointment Documents, etc.’ and some of the items under ‘2.  The Minutes and Notes, etc.’ are finished documents and not fluid.  The Appointment process regarding the referenced parties is also concluded.  Therefore, to the extent that our Requests relate to the actual work being undertaken pursuant to these finished documents and process, we are prepared to wait.  However, we are advised and of the opinion that Information and Documentation relating to the completed documents and process could safely and reasonably be released (albeit redacted where commercially sensitive) and would be in the Public Interest.

 

Groups within the ‘Wirral Green Space Alliance’ (WGSA) have been advised to share with the Council instances where we consider that the Council’s approach and/or actions related to the production of its belated legal Local Plan to be flawed or not sufficiently reasonable/appropriate or could be improved, in order that the Council has the opportunity to change and so that the Planning Inspector at the Inquiry stage will not dismiss/set aside such evidence and suggestions, citing the Council’s lack of opportunity to take it into account at an appropriate stage.

 

Conversely, WGSA Groups would presumably have the opportunity to show the Planning Inspector that the Council had opportunity to change but did not do so and was requested of Information to assist us in our own public duty but were denied such useful Information.

 

May we have your further consideration and Information as soon as possible, please.  Many thanks.”

We will keep you posted when a response is received!…

 

 

The Local Election Circus Comes To Wirral

The names in the frames have been announced  for the local elections to be held on Thursday May 2 2019 . So we bring you the Wirral Leaks cut out and keep guide to where we think  the keenest contests will take place and which candidates to watch.

The first match up that caught our eye was the political celebrity death match to be held in the Rock Ferry ward where  ‘Independent’ Cllr Chris Meaden goes head to head with the official Labour candidate and former local Labour Group leader Yvonne Nolan.

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Credit where it’s due at least Cllr Meaden is throwing herself into the ring and is prepared to put herself to an electoral test unlike Councillors Mike Sullivan, Moira McLaughlin and Bill Davies who also fly under the flag of ‘Independent’. It will be interesting to see whether the Rock Ferry electorate vote for ‘personality’ over ‘politics’. Although with Rock Ferry regularly having the lowest voter turn out in the local elections we suspect that the winner of this particular political battle will be the one who best galvanises the local electorate from their political apathy. Good luck with that one.

Elsewhere judging by the resources that the local Labour group are throwing at the Birkenhead & Tranmere and Prenton wards, and the results last time round, it would seem they are anticipating a strong challenge from Green Party candidates Steve Hayes and Chris Cooke respectively.  The former is contesting current Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ ward now that the cowardly lion has bailed out of facing a public vote . The latter is up against Labour Wirral Council Cabinet member for being permanently excited, Cllr Angie Davies, who has been touted as a potential Labour Group leader (no laughing at the back) so this will be a particularly interesting ward to keep an eye on.

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Another anticipated closely fought political battle involving someone else who has been spoken of as a future Labour Group leader will be taking place in the Pensby & Thingwall ward where Cllr Phill ‘Two L and Back’ Brightmore faces Conservative candidate Mike Collins , who we know is a particular favourite of ex Wirral Council control room staff. When Collins stood last time in this ward the final count was very close. So who will take the spoils this time round? The political heavyweight or the actual heavyweight? People of Pensby & Thingwall you decide!

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Astonishingly we find that Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  is actually allowed to stand in the Claughton ward. It is an appalling indictment of the state of Wirral politics and the standard of its politicians. And then again look at his ‘proposer’,  fellow Claughton councillor George Davies. Of course, Davies , as Frank Field’s electoral agent is used to doing the dirty work when it comes to such matters.  Below is a picture from the local elections last time around and what the lucky people of Claughton can look forward to suddenly appearing on the doorstep over the next few weeks – but then knowing what the people of Claughton know about Foulkesy’s antics over the years they get what they deserve

George as Igor

And finally… if the name of the UKIP candidate for the Wallasey ward is to be believed it would appear that Santa Claus is coming to town in time for the local elections but then it must be said we don’t believe in any of them…

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Save the Davies

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This week’s very minor political news is that Rock Ferry residents now find themselves without a Labour councillor as Cllr Bill Davies is the latest local politician to claim to be ‘Independent’ and yet paradoxically recite the same script of those councillors who’ve gone before him. “Hard left”, ” I can’t continue to support something I no longer believe in.” etc;etc;

No mention of mention of bullying/anti-semitism so far. But then we suspect that Billyboy wouldn’t understand what either meant. After all his main claim to fame for Wirral Leaks readers came when he somehow found himself chairing the Standards and Constitutional Committee and where we observed:

Now if your idea of fun is watching someone picking their teeth, gurning and looking generally befuddled for 40 minutes we recommend you keep your eye on Committee chair  Cllr Bill Davies – “standards”  don’t even come into it !

Her Ladyship turned her head away from the screen and cried despairingly :  “Oh for goodness sake get that man a toothpick and some lessons in etiquette.What is it with local councillors called Davies ? –  they appear to be social disgraces unacquainted with the social graces

Read full story : Low Standards, High Fives

So now with Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies taking the coward’s route out before either the Greens or the Reds forced him out and Cllr Bill Davies joining Cllrs McLaughlin,  Meaden and Sullivan and their vainglorious ‘Independent’ venture Labour councillors called Davies are a threatened species. No wonder local Labour activists are throwing everything at the local election campaign to enable Labour Cabinet member Cllr Angie ‘Excited’ Davies to remain in the Prenton ward. This is a ward in which the Green Party made huge gains at the last local elections and will be hotly contested this time round (see above).

Somehow Angie is being touted as a future Labour leader (even by local Tories) which makes us want to use an expression using the following words : scraping, bottom and barrel.

The other Davies remaining in the Labour ranks is the infamous Cllr George Davies who by rights he should have been stripped of public office a long time ago. It’s a shame that when Cllr Bill Davies claimed that the Labour Party was not the party he joined and could no longer believe in was because of the corrupt antics of the likes of Cllr George Davies and Cllr Phil Davies . As we presume it’s not – Bill just looks like the latest of local Labour politicians who have benefitted from colluding with a corrupt cabal and are now unhappy with democratic processes which mean that they’re not getting their own way anymore… to which we can only say good riddance and for God’s sake get a decent pair of dentures.

EXCLUSIVE : Hoylake Golf Resort /Celtic Manor Resort – Extraordinary Wirral Council meeting

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For those of you who peruse the Wirral Council calendar of meetings and who might be wondering what the Extraordinary Meeting called for 25 February 2019 was all about we can exclusively reveal, courtesy of the above leaked email, that it’s all about the Hoylake Golf Resort (aka Celtic Manor Resort).

As you can see the letter requisitioning the meeting emanates from the Wirral Council Conservative Group :

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Now where do you think the ever opportunistic Conservative Group might have read about ‘the opposition voiced recently by the Local Campaign Forum of The Labour Party’ ?

We’ll give you one guess : Hoylake Golf Resort : ‘Wirral Local Campaign Forum reflects the views of the members which may at times differ from the Labour Group’

Whilst a credit would have been nice we are more than compensated by the thought that the Extraordinary Meeting will be a test of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ ‘leadership’ (no laughing at the back) . After all Pip has bewilderingly pushed for this misbegotten development against all known reason, logic and finance and after the sinking of Wirral Waters courtesy of his naive faith in Stella Shiu this was presumably to be his ‘lasting legacy’ on Wirral (we can  make some suggestions as to what his lasting legacy really should be but we’ll leave that for a later date )

Not only will Pip face opposition from the Conservative Group and presumably the might of the Green Party ( yes,that’s you Cllr Pat Cleary) but opposition within his own ranks of newly elected or up and coming councillors who will no longer do as their told or bend to the will of a power crazed elite. But will they stick by their new found principles and back the Local Campaign Forum of The Labour Party AND the Conservative Group ?  Now there’s a political dilemma !

Pass the popcorn…

 

 

Wirral Council ‘leader’ and his shock resignation : Power Boy Pip reaches the ‘Omega Point’

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Power Boy Pip’s reflects on his political career  and decides smashing the mirror is easier than doing something about the distorted image. 

There are many curious aspects to Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’  announcement that he was packing in politics – not least the fact we got to exclusively reveal the news from a leaked email . As much as we appreciate the leak we would have thought a more appropriate forum for this momentous news would have been the previous evening’s full Wirral Council meeting.

Whilst Liverpool Echo just did a hasty cut and paste job with archive photos shortly after we’d published the story , clearly other parts of local MSM were geared up for the announcement as Wirral Globe managed to get the news into yesterday’s print edition. The Globe also managed to reference to Frank Field’s recent run-ins with the resurgent Labour left despite the fact that this did not feature in Pip’s epitaph for his political career.

We’ll be analysing both the resignation message and Power Boy Pip’s political career in a special commemorative,cut out and keep, full colour supplement on Sunday  titled ‘ THE 30 INGLORIOUS YEARS OF PIP’ – but for now all we’ll say is the hackneyed comment about him wanting to spend time with his long suffering family’  was not only reminiscent of resignations of Wirral Council’s past ( ex-CEOs Maddox and Burgess spring immediately to mind) but is also the time honoured phrase used by politicians just before the proverbial hits the fan…and oh believe us, it’s about to…

There have been various theories sent to us about the sudden announcement  and we believe it may be a combination of all of them. After  Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  reign of terror came to an end in 2012 in an unprecedented vote of no confidence , Power Boy Pip had the chance  to really ,really make a difference to the toxic culture of Wirral Council but instead chose the path of least resistance.

Ultimately it is a failure of Pip’s ‘leadership’ – the reliance on a handpicked spin doctor ,the failure to rein in out of control councillors ( Crabtree, Reecejones, Foulkes and George Davies for starters) ,the inability to say ‘NO!’ to Birkenhead MP Frank Field, the all consuming reputation management and the constant denial best exemplified by the fantasy  (Local Government Chronicle ‘Most Improved Council award) taking precedence over the reality (an ‘Inadequate’ rating of Wirral’s Children’s Services by Ofsted).

However it is also what French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the “Omega Point”: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! … For everything that rises must converge.”

It is about the rise of the Green Party in Birkenhead (the humiliation of defeat in next May’s local elections had become a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of Labour left (being held to account by party members had never before been a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of local blogs ( there is no hiding place for local politicians up to no good any more ) and it is about the rise of political activism from people of all political persuasions across Wirral (especially those defending the Green Belt and the NHS – the likes of which Wirral politicians have never experienced before) .

For everything that rises must converge and together we say that is what is  responsible for Pip’s demise…

 

 

Who are the real ‘Red Menace’ ?

Red Menace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here :   A Maher-vellous Result for Labour 

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

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

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

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

PuppetMaster

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

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

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

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

 

Flippin eck!! – The Faux Outrage of Phony Tories

The above Tweets are concerned with an article published on the Labour Uncut website which is titled  Screaming,bullying,laziness and voting for the opposition : Welcome to Wirral Labour Party

If you read the link above you will understand why the pair are so animated as the post involves an interview with  “veteran Labour official and northern legend, Sheila Murphy”

Below are some highlights that Ms Murphy alleges to have encountered whilst campaigning for the Labour Party on Wirral

“I accept the left has have taken over. We’re a democratic party and I accept all that. I just think our electoral chances, both locally and nationally are at risk because of their behaviour,” she says.

What she means, it turns out, is a combination of bullying, extreme levels of micro-control and indolence from the hard left in her local party on the Wirral where she now lives, after retiring as the party’s former ‘super’ director covering the three northern regions…

…she wants to speak out after facing bullying herself by some of the new members. “We have a new hard core whose behaviour is nasty, vicious, and controlling,” she says. “It’s a return to the factionalism of the 1980s. And we all know how that worked out.”

One recent incident saw a local male councillor scream in Murphy’s face demanding to know who had “given her permission” to be out door knocking. One of the women activists Murphy was with was so distraught she had to be driven home.

She reports this kind of aggravation and centralising control is now commonplace, but her major gripe concerns the behaviour of the hard left during the last local elections. Murphy was asked by the leader of the council and the local candidate to lead the campaign in a target ward as they tried to oust a Green councillor.

They lost, narrowly, by 72 votes. “We managed to speak to 4,000 people during the campaign and it was clear that some of our new members were actually voting Green,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

“We were knocking on these people’s doors and they were openly telling us they were voting Green instead of Labour and even had Green posters in their window.  I reported them to the Local Campaign Forum and was told: ‘It’s their choice’.” For good measure, the local branch even posted on their Facebook page that the Greens were not the problem – their Labour council was.

Banned from attending the branch by officers to offer a de-brief on the campaign, she had her efforts dismissed as “crap” by the local chair. Undaunted, she organised a “thank you” letter to voters. This act of defiance saw the chair post another message on Facebook, warning local people that the group out campaigning, which included the leader of the council (in his own ward), were not representing the Labour party.

“Honestly, looking back I wonder why I bothered!” she says with a wry smile. “But this is my party and I’m not being put off by bullies. Especially when they’re not prepared to do the work that keeps the party alive. Incidentally, no campaigning has been done in this ward for three months since I stopped organising, but the Greens are out in force determined to win the second seat at the next elections in May.”

Her criticisms about the toxic culture in parts of her local party are specific…

Painting a picture of Momentum on the Wirral as an undisciplined militia rather than a professional army, Murphy reports the left returning to bad habits. “Branches, CLPs the LCF have gone back to tabling motions – mostly against their own council.”

There’s also a fear of widespread deselections as the process to choose council candidates begins. “Hard working councillors are telling me that their mental health is suffering as a result of the pressures from local party members. It’s one of the reasons I have decided to speak out. I know I’ll be vilified for having done so,” she says.

“It’s just so frustrating. We’re not discussing the key issues or standing up for real people,” she complains. “Housing and Universal Credit don’t get a look in when we can pass resolutions against the newly established NHS birthing unit, or demand the whip is removed from Frank Field, or oppose the proposal to build a golf resort – anything that attacks the Labour Council.”

The fate of local MPs inevitably comes up in the conversation, with reported moves to deselect Field, who represents nearby Birkenhead. “If they move against Frank and he stands as an independent they are seriously underestimating how loyal the voters are to him personally and many in the party think he will walk it and take members with him.”

So now you can understand as to why Green and Lewis have an opportunity to indulge in what Labour Councillor Matthew ‘Matty Patty’ Patrick  once memorably described as ‘faux outrage’. We’ll be eternally grateful to Matty Patty for that prissy putdown if nothing else. It may surprise you that we’re not sticking the boot in – but what galls us about all this is that the behaviours described are not the preserve of new members and should come as no surprise to either our readers or Tory councillors. We contend that the behaviours of the Labour ‘old guard’  which we have chronicled for years on this blog far exceed anything that Ms Murphy details. This presumably includes the unnamed councillor who it is alleged screamed in Murphy’s face who is clearly not a new Labour Party member . Unfortunately as far as we’re concerned Green and Lewis have colluded with these behaviours from the Labour ‘old guard’, the former passively the latter actively.  Whilst Lewis is currently concentrating on describing the poor viewing figures for Wirral Council’s webcasts and comparing them to Crossroads and Love Island – real lowest common denominator stuff –  not so much low hanging fruit as political windfall at the bottom of the barrel. Meanwhile might we suggest that what is alleged to go on behind closed doors has in fact been hidden in plain sight.

We are not expecting Lewis to kick at the door that is ajar , even when the local Labour Party’s woes have been further highlighted this evening by another  Labour Uncut  story headlined Wirral councillor quits party blaming hard left ‘parasites’ . The councillor involved being Michael Sullivan . All we ask is that Lewis , Green et al spare us the faux outrage – it worked for the Tories a few years back when they managed to gain control of Wirral Council with the aid of the Lib Dems in the aftermath of  a series of  shock horror reports which highlighted the toxic and dysfunctional nature of Wirral Council.Once in power under the leadership of Green they clearly didn’t know what to do with it and inevitably the power was handed back to a small group of Labour politicians who had previously abused this power and have been allowed to continue to do so. Tut-tutting at new Labour party members who challenge the ‘old guard’ is political cowardice  – you may not like their politics or the way they go about things but please remember some of the people they are challenging are simply unfit for public office and they are doing what opposition councillors have simply failed to do for years and that is hold Wirral Council’s ruling administration to account…