Billionaire Boy’s Club (Plus Princess Paula)

Tower Gardens

Tower Gardens : ‘Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me’

We had previously questioned whether the cancellation of the Special Meeting of Wirral Cabinet on 22 May had something to with purdah during the run up to the General Election.

Political Manoeuvres In The Dark

As you can also see we asked whether there would be a surprise waiting for us when the interminable electioneering period was over . We anticipated that council “leader” Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and the rest of the burgeoning Billionaire’s Boy Club that went to the MIPIM event in Cannes earlier this year would reveal to us all the international trade deals that had been expertly negotiated during their spring break.

And sure enough this morning  there was a launch of a ‘£1 billion Wirral regeneration plan’ . Although Power Boy Pip shared his Wirralian hallucinations in Cannes it would appear there weren’t any takers and so deploying that old maxim ‘if you want something doing – do it yourself’  the council-led ‘Wirral Growth Company ‘ has been set up. Sadly what we have is not £1 billion of investment but  ‘a shared our vision for £1bn worth of development opportunities’ .

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15342545.Council_unveils___1_billion_Wirral_regeneration_plan/

So it would seem we’re back in the realms of ‘possible new look Tower Gardens’ and ‘possible redevelopment in Brighton Street Wallasey, and Hamilton Square’. All very much a case of dream the impossible dream and absolutely no mention of the Wirral Waters International Trade Centre. That particular fantasy seems to have been assigned to a watery grave as judging by the pictures in the Wirral Globe we now have a new set of artist’s impressions to laugh at and which suggest to us that someone has been let loose with the watercolours whilst under the influenceand some serious mind -altering drugs.

We have undertaken an Ipsos MORI  inspired vox pop of Wirral Council’s new shared vision at Leaky Towers. This may just have involved asking Her Ladyship, Eldritch and Verity what they think –  might we suggest their respective responses of : “Yeah! whatevs!, ” Here we f*cking go again”  and “Srsly?” is a more valid representation of public opinion than most pollsters have come up with lately!

Needless to say among the audience at today’s launch held at Woodside was ‘ Princess’ Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

She announced :  ” We have been awarded the business engagement and support contract for Wirral….”

Yes , of course you have Paula. And we’re sure it was a rigorous, open and transparent process!  We are therefore led to conclude from today’s historic announcement that there are 4 growth industries on Wirral – artist’s impressions , foodbanks , the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and whoever supplies their CEO with the frocks for the never-ending cycle of press launches and awards ceremonies!  It’s as simple as ABC….

I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
Say Mr. Whispers! Here come the click of dice
Roulette and blackjacks – gonna build us a paradise
Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me

Maybe these luxuries can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate
So tell me
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire!

Millionaire! Billionaire! Trillionaire!

Hardly surprising if you might consider
Loyalties go to the highest of bidders
What’s my opinion? I’d give you ten to one
Give me a million, a franchise on fun
But there are millions who often get nowhere
And there’s just one secret I think you should share

Maybe these luxuries can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate
So tell me
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire!

Who wants to be millionaire?
I do! – I don’t! – I do!
Who wants to be millionaire?
I do! – I don’t!

I’ve seen the future and I can’t afford it

 

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Basket Case Review

Pip Resign 012

Even gormless Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies must know he’s in big trouble when the usually lazy and compliant  Wirral edition of the Liverpool Echo runs the front splash – Wirral Council boss ‘must resign’  followed by a double page spread headlined  ‘Five Years of Shame : How Wirral Social Services Failed Its Most Vulnerable’ and Leader Under Pressure To Quit Over Child Abuse Failings’.

Pip Resign 009

It comes to something when the most complicit agent of Wirral Council’s armoury of reputation management realises that artist’s impressions of the International Trade Centre on Wirral Waters just doesn’t cut it when a couple of miles away young girls are being groomed and abused in a tawdry cornershop.

And as for the mantra ‘ lessons have been learned’. Just cut it out. We don’t care if it’s Pip, new Cabinet member for Children’s Services Bernie Mooney ( Gawd’elp us) or the new Chair of Wirral’s Children’s Safeguarding Board – Dr Maggie Atkinson who use the dreaded phrase . Dr Atkinson in particular needs to realise the people of Wirral have been here many times before and we’ve had enough of the platitudes and the cliches and the soundbites.

Pip Resign 010

How we remember another so-called Doctor  – Dr Gill Taylor from the Local Government Association (LGA) who breezed in the last time Wirral needed an Improvement Board and then breezed out with plaudits and pay cheques for the LGA  and abolutely nothing for the people as she declared ,yes you guessed it, lessons have been learned.

I suppose we have to wait for the publication of the Serious Case Review in the summer before we can FULLY judge the failings of Wirral Council and other statutory agencies involved in the appalling Rajenthiram brother’s depraved exploitation of our most vulnerable.

Although we have to say a Serious Case Review (SCR) is a step in the right direction. The last time an Improvement Board was set up they’re wasn’t even a  SCR to consider when a vulnerable adult had been found dead after 13 hours after repeated warnings that his placement with an abusive organisation linked to drugs money laundering was putting him at grave risk.

Pip Resign 011

Finally can we say – fuck what Ipsos MORI tell us – the most disempowered members of our community, young vulnerable girls, do not need their ‘information deficit’ met by Wirral View .They need protection and support from the agencies that get paid handsomely to do their jobs.  Not much to ask is it?

ps  can we just hope you’re all tuning into ‘Three Girls’ right now  on BBC1

 

No News is News

missing-wirralview

Don’t know about you good people but we’re still waiting for the first print edition of Wirral View to arrive.

However, in preparation for the grand arrival it seems that the lamentable Wirral News is dutifully clearing the path of least resistance in readiness for the first print run of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet.

As if by magic and a week after the Wirral View hit the internet if not the streets, the parent paper ,the Liverpool Echo , turns Wirral News into a bi-weekly newspaper. Although we have to say we use the term ‘newspaper ‘lightly as we think Wirral News gave up trying to be a proper newspaper a long time ago. It now seems to us as though it merely served as a less flashy dry run (and boy do we mean dry ) for Wirral View. 

Apparently from the end of November the current Wirral distribution of  Wirral News of 82,500 will increase to 115,000. However rather than being a weekly newspaper, it will become a bi-weekly newspaper, allegedly focusing on community news and events.

 

With Wirral News/Wirral View /Wirral Globe/Wirral Life/Wirral Echo/Wirral Leaks – the people of Wirral should never have to complain to nosy pollsters from Ipsos MORI that they’re suffering from an ‘information deficit’ ever again !- not that they did in the first place! However we still can’t see the number of Freedom of Information requests decreasing as a result – which probably tells us more about the quality of information from Wirral Council that’s made available by the communications control freaks at Wallasey Town Hall.

Talking of which we note that Wirral Council placed an advert in the November 5th print edition of the Liverpool Echo (obviously!) for a ‘News and Content Officer’.

http://www.fish4.co.uk/job/5887665/news-and-content-officer/

We are left wondering whether the council are making yet another ‘ News and Content Officer’ appointment or has the officer that helped out with the first online edition of Wirral View saw the writing on the wall (and the local websites) and scarpered ? . If it’s the former then it’s increasingly looking like the Communications and Marketing Department is heading to be all that is left of Wirral Council. It can only be a matter of time before the council will be ‘a commissioning hub’ with a PR department attached churning out endless press statements about why they can’t provide information to the public because of commercial confidentiality or because it’s classed as personal data or because it’s subject to legal professional privilege.

However considering Wirral Council’s ‘policy advisor’ Martin Liptrotsky’s faithful assistant Kev is such a fan of our blog , perhaps one of our interns could apply for the post as long as they promise to leave their Superman pyjamas at home? A touch of Wirral Leaks would certainly liven and lighten up Wirral View dontchathink? !……

Spewing News

 

Spew

 

The foulest damage to our political life comes not from the ‘secrets’ which they hide from us ,but from the the little bits of half-truths and disinformation which they do tell us . These are already pre-digested and then a sicked up as little gobbets of authorised spew – E.P.Thompson , British historian

Hot off the press following the report that Wirral Council was looking to publish its own propaganda sheet   http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14558491.Wirral_Council_set_to_defy_Government_rules_by_launching_its_own_monthly_newspaper/ we received a copy of  Wirral Council’s CEO Stressed Eric Robinson ‘s ExecView which tells Council staff the reasoning behind the proposal :

Hello,

When we carried out our major piece of research into what residents think of living in Wirral, we also asked questions about how much they knew about services and events in their communities. There was a very clear response that local people felt they didn’t know enough about what’s happening in their area – and they’d like to know more. This week, we will publish a Cabinet report with a proposal for a new, free, monthly printed publication that will go to every home and business in the borough. 
We will support this with a new website, carrying information which is useful and relevant to residents, and improving our use of social media and other digital channels. If it’s approved, the publication will carry information on public services and community events and activities. It will be produced using existing resources and delivered to homes and businesses once a month, with copies available at locations such as supermarkets, hospitals and transport hubs. I’m very keen we help local residents know more about their area because we know that when people feel informed about where they live, they feel happier about living there. As employees, you and your teams would have a regular opportunity to contribute ideas and stories for the publication. As the vast majority of staff live in Wirral, your expertise and local knowledge will also help ensure we’re including the right things for our communities. 
Of course there is a cost to producing a new printed publication but it will be met from redirecting existing spending on communications and advertising, and offset further through generating income. There will be no extra cost to the council tax payer. Longer term, this will save money compared to what we spend on advertising now. 
Cabinet will discuss the proposals on Monday 27th June. If approved, the first edition will be out in the autumn. The Cabinet report will be published on our website towards the end of the week.

A few observations from us. Firstly it confirms that  “Executive Policy Officer” Martin Liptrotsky is truly the de facto Chief Executive Of Wirral Council . Fourteen months in office and all Stressed Eric can come up with is a newsletter?. I think  we all know who’s pulling the strings here don’t we?. Clearly not satisfied that having licence to print stories in the Liverpool Echo (or more accurately the pisspoor Wirral edition)  Liptrotsky seems to have been heeding the words of dead rock star Jim Morrison that “whoever controls the media ,controls the mind”.

Secondly we note that the survey to which Stressed Eric refers to pointed to the fact that the residents of Wirral didn’t trust the Council. What better way to restore that trust than by pumping residents with “authorised spew” straight through their letterbox every month?.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/the-c-word/

What’s more we’re not sure what Stressed Eric is doing referring to “our communities” – like every recent CEO before him he doesn’t even live here!

We at Leaky Towers would ordinarily be rejoicing in the news – after all it’ll be more blogfodder for us and endless opportunities for satire  – but we realise that when Eric talks about generating income/saving on communications and advertising that this is worrying for mainstream media outlets and consequently local democracy.

We say this bearing in mind guidance issued in 2011 by Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which states :

Local authorities should not publish or incur expenditure in commissioning in hard copy or on any website ,newsletters ,newssheets or similar communications which seek to emulate commercial nespapers in style or content .Where local authorities do commission or publish newsletters ,newssheets or similar communications ,they should not issue them more frequently than quarterly ,apart from parish councils which should not issue them more frequently than monthly . Such communications should not include material other than information for the public about the business , services and amenities of the council or other local service providers

We wonder whether local publications such as the Wirral Globe should be concerned about this proposal and if (or rather when) the proposal is approved whether a legal challenge in the form of a Judicial Review  might be in order?

However last word on the matter (for now) goes to Kevin “The Lost Boy”MacCallum the Council’s Senior Manager for Communications & Marketing who makes the confession:

Our Residents’ Survey last year told us very clearly that people in Wirral wanted more information.These findings were a rude awakening for us: they told us the tools we currently use to communicate with residents aren’t powerful enough and aren’t getting the job done.

To which all we can say is don’t be so hard on you and your team Kev!.

The C Word

Liptrotwallofspin

After we reported earlier this week that we paid that Ipsos MORI  twerp £25,000 for telling us all about the C word it would seem it’s catching – a bit like herpes.

We’re reliably informed that the totally non-partisan , apolitical spin doctor Martin Liptrotsky is oft heard bellowing  the C word around Wallasey Town Hall like a low rent Malcolm Tucker ( no , that isn’t rhyming slang ) .

Phonetically the actual C word comes out something like this :

                                “COM.MUN.I.CATE PEO.PLE!”

This has led to mutterings under the breath by long suffering town hall staff of a quite different C word which would certainly be familiar to the aforementioned Tucker from TV’s political satire ‘The Thick of It!’.

But really could this man be any more of a cliché ?. We know we printed his job description when he was  hand-picked for the role as Power Boy Pip’s hand-holder (sorry appointed after an exhaustive search and rigorous recruitment process) but in reality his JD translates into  :

  • Thinking up 20 random pledges  which leads to council managers having to go away scratching their heads thinking how they are supposed to measure how they are making the people of Wirral’s lives so much more fulfilling and lovelier than they already are.
  • Supervising the Council’s prolific Twitter account. Where the modus operandi seems to be “more is more”  or more accurately “more is bore”.
  • Getting as many  Wirral Council positive news stories in the Liverpool Echo as possible.Which is not so much of an ask as it once was now that the Echo have got a brand new Wirral Council advertising contract  (now doesn’t that explain a few things boys and girls !) . To which Her Ladyship responded in her best Mae West drawl:”Honey, I hear the lucky boy gets paid by the column inches “
We think it speaks volumes about Wirral Council’s priorities that as services are cut and staff are made redundant that the only Council departments that have had an increase in staff are the Legal Department and the Press Office.
How ironic that these two departments spend an inordinate amount of time and money NOT communicating but controlling  what the public are allowed to know and what they’re not allowed to know from behind a wall of spin !.
In fact “The Wall of Spin” is currently the only area of local government operations that seemingly isn’t under threat.
This is a world where according to the Ipsos MORI poll conducted for Wirral Council that when only 12% of Wirral people think that the Council provide value for money this is sold as a “positive driver”.
Positive Drivers 1.png
And a  place where only 3% of the population think  that definitely agree they can influence decisions about where they live but where a lone local MP can influence 100% of local decisions !!.
Influence Decisions
Oh how we long for the day when we can say “Okay Fuckity Bye” to the lot of them and then Wirral Council can concentrate on what local people really want – like getting value for money and influencing local decisions perhaps?.

Tree Line

treegate

Further evidence reached us today that Wirral Council operate a policy of “governance by social media “. By which we mean if you want a response from Wirral Council – don’t send an email , don’t make a Freedom of Information request , don’t make a complaint  , don’t ask a question at a Council meeting , don’t go to a councillor’s surgery .  No!  – send  your issues to any local blog  or set up a Facebook page or better still set up your own social media forum for people with a common concern and tell Wirral Council what you’re not happy about!.

Time and again we’ve witnessed local councillors and council officers only sitting up and taking notice when it interferes with the Council’s reputation management. And without blowing our own trumpet if there’s one local blog that likes to justifiably question reputations it is Wirral Leaks.  

So what started out as, in the scheme of things, a minor story about trees maintenance has , er, blossomed and taken on a life of its own. As case of mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

The tweet above was taken from today’s Wirral Council Twitter feed  (there’s also , unsurprisingly , a tweet about  streetlights) and it looks like they’re employing a full time tweeter. Could it be Martin Liptrot (sky) earning his £45K  we ask ourselves?. Whoever it is they seem to have taken to heart the big message from last week’s presentation from Ben Page  , Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI who conducted a (very selective) resident survey and presented his findings  on Wirral Council’s “Journey”.

For those of you masochists out there who enjoy watching professional PR schmoozers in action the full video is here :

However to save you the pain we can summarise his big message was about telling Wirral Council (and their partners) to communicate their successes (!) but most of all to just :

                                                  C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E ! 

Hence we presume the frenetic tweeting which will no doubt see a future compensation claim from the Council tweeter for Repetitive Strain Injury.

Meanwhile the last word goes to this week’s tree spotter  “Dad”  who writes :

I have been following this thread since it started and am quite amused by the content.
Today I came across the perpetrators of this heinous crime including their getaway vehicle in Prenton Hall Road.
If you zoom in you can see the large wood louse committing environmental crime ( is he holding a scythe? . If you zoom in even further, you still will not see any safety barriers. I am uncertain that these are the same tree fellers Wirral Council use, but still it’s amusing.
We think it’s actually a harness rather than a scythe and the trees certainly don’t look like those examples of pollarding in the Wirral Council tweet!
Trees Prenton Hall Rd
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