Field/Day for Icons

Did anyone watch this week’s PMQS ?

Not our usual cup of hemlock but the opening exchanges between PM Theresa May and the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn were pure showbiz.  As everything is modern political life these days seems so scripted, rehearsed and stage managed  we’d be forgiven for thinking that there was a political and personal subtext.

Enter stage left sly old fox Jezza Corbyn firstly paying tribute to the late Hollywood actress Doris Day before saying “talking of icons…” and moving on to acknowledge that an unnamed somebody had been the MP for Birkenhead for 40 years. Now we might be reading too much into this but this neat little segue from from Doris Day to Frank Field –  What could possibly be the connection ? A mutual love of gingham? That in their respective quarters they’re regarded as some kind of ‘icon’?

icon

Whatever the intent it is amusing to observe that no matter how many times Field taunts him in the tabloids or tears into him on the telly there are always conciliatory words from Corbyn and the Labour leadership or when Field is on the campaign trail for the local Tories (oops! ,sorry, Matron’s Independents ) there are no threats of suspension or expulsion from the Labour Party. Field keeps on paying his Labour Party subs in the hope that all this awful, nasty Militant left wing nonsense blows over soon and everything can go back to being ‘nice’, where locally, nobody challenged his authority or his pet projects on the poor.

In tribute to Day (or was it Frankenfield?) Corbyn teasingly suggested that members  should join him in a rousing  chorus of  ‘Whip Crack Away” (whip – geddit?). Meanwhile they seemed to opt for ‘ Que Sera Sera’. We would have thought that in this instance ‘Secret Love’ would be as the most appropriate tune in more ways that one but especially when Theresa May reminded the House of Commons that Frank becoming MP for Birkenhead in 1979 coincided with Margaret Thatcher, Field’s great friend and political inspiration, becoming Prime Minister…

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 …

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE : The runners and riders in the race to be the next MP for Birkenhead

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Red silks all the way in a two horse race?

16th February 2019 could be the most the most significant date in Birkenhead’s  political history in the last 40 years. Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) have started the process of finding a replacement for Frank Field – the man who has been the town’s MP since 1979 – and this Saturday will see a special meeting take place where a Selection Committee will vote on who will be the parliamentary candidate at the next General Election.

So let’s have a look at who is in the running for £77k (plus expenses) prize that comes with being first past the post:
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Whilst we understand that Frank Field is a non-runner following his withdrawal of the Labour whip and can no longer be considered a candidate we just hope that someone has checked the rule book when it comes to running for selection-  just in case there’s a Steward’s Enquiry when the result is announced. We say this as a journalist at New Statesman recently wrote this :

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Therefore assuming that Field is out of the race who are jockeying for position to be riding high as the Labour candidate in one of the safest seats in the UK ?

Well first off in stall 1 and running in the ‘Maomentum ‘ colours is Tony ‘Tight Fit’ Norbury, local councillor for Prenton and scion of the so-called Wirral ‘hard left’. He has a favourite’s chance due to his ‘comrade’ John Maher and that latter’s control of the Birkenhead CLP and consequently the make up of the  Selection Committee.  Under these circumstances Norbury would appear to be the front runner…

Norbury scarf

However in stall 2 running Norbury close will be Mick Whitley in the Unite colours . We recently introduced you to him here and reported

Mr Whitley, formerly a long-standing convener at the Vauxhall car plant in nearby Ellesmere Port, was born in the area and is the former north-west regional secretary of the Unite union.

He has gained the support of Momentum, which holds a powerful presence in north-west England, while left-wing MPs such as John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Dan Carden have voiced their support.

The local branches of Unite, FBU, RMT, BFAWU and Aslef have also formally endorsed Mr Whitley’s candidacy.

Thus far ,despite living in Wirral (but not in Birkenhead?), Whitley has, up until now, not had a local political (or media) profile. However now that Unite’s Regional Political Officer,Alison Spencer Scragg, is running his campaign (and pulling the reins) Whitley has taken a sudden interest in turning up at food banks,demos and picket lines and making sure he’s seen to be doing so on his Twitter account which was only set up in November 2018…

mick 'n jez

Jez ‘n’ Mick

Finally, in stall 3 we have the token filly in the race. Theresa ‘I’m not Tony or Mick’  Griffin is running in the colours of  the EU flag/Unison/GMB. The clock is ticking on MEP Griffin as she looks like being out of a job by the end of next month unless Brexit is halted or delayed. Fresh from her defeat in the selection in Walton in 2017 we predict Theresa will again aim to be the token woman on the shortlist and hope that following her defeat she may make it third time lucky and actually win in Liverpool Riverside when their trigger ballot happens and current Labour incumbent Louise Ellman is ousted.  Consequently Griffin’s half-hearted attempt to become the next MP for Birkenhead has thus far amounted to nothing more than taking a sudden interest in Birkenhead’s flyovers :

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Thus a Labour insider sums up the current selection process situation for us as follows :

There will also be several local also rans who will no doubt throw their caps into the ring but in truth the members of Birkenhead CLP will have a choice between Tony Norbury or Mick Whitley, which will be akin to them being asked if they would like to be stabbed or burned to death.  Ah thank God for a new and kinder politics……

 

Field of War – Let the Political Battle for Birkenhead Commence!

Bunker

After the phoney war that was Frank Field flouncing out of the local Labour Party and resigning the whip it would seem that hostilities have begun in earnest in what was dubbed the ‘Battle for Birkenhead’ in the local media , as if the town was the personal fiefdom of the sitting MP!

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We state this after receiving a leaked email sent out by Momentum which anticipates that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will instruct the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) to begin to select a new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

It is further anticipated that there will be a large volume of applications and Momentum are requesting that anyone who wants to receive their support ‘must subscribe to the aims and values of the organisation as well as, and most importantly, support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.’

This ,presumably, rules out Frank Field as he has done everything he can to undermine the Labour leader since he mischievously nominated him for leader ‘to encourage debate within the Labour Party’. This has since become a classic case of be careful what you wish for !

Of course being a wily politician and a peerless media manipulator we anticipate that Field will be in the bunker and gathering the old guard in a last ditch attempt to stave off what seems an inevitable defeat on the political battleground of Birkenhead.

2019 is already shaping up to be a momentous year for local politics.

In the new year, we anticipate that Labour’s NEC will instruct Birkenhead CLP to begin procedures to select a new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, following the resignation of Frank Field from the Labour Party.

In the past few weeks, Momentum has called hundreds of members and supporters and many of you have participated in our survey consultation in Birkenhead. Thank you to those who spoke to us during this process. It was important to hear your hopes and aspirations for a Labour candidate in Birkenhead. Your views matter and will be fed into our process going forward whether you are active in Momentum and Labour or not. If we did not manage to speak to you during our consultation feel free to email us on the contact details provided below.

We have endeavoured to have the most open and involved process possible and have tried to involve every Momentum member and supporter in Birkenhead.

As is the case with seats like Birkenhead, it is expected that there will be a large volume of applications. If you are thinking about standing yourself or know somebody that is, and you/they wish to receive the support of Momentum through this process, you can apply by responding to this email. You do not have to be a member of Momentum to apply but you must subscribe to the aims and values of the organisation as well as, and most importantly, support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

How to Apply for Momentum’s Support

  • Please email damian.bailey@peoplesmomentum.com to request an application form be sent.
  • Fill in the application form and return todamian.bailey@peoplesmomentum.com by midnight on Sunday 6th January.
  • If you have a problem with applying by the deadline owing to personal circumstances and/or have a problem filling in the application or any special requirements, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

What Happens Next?

  • Momentum’s democratically elected governing body, the National Coordinating Group has convened a panel of NCG members. These NCG representatives are elected by thousands of Momentum members to represent you. In addition, members from the Wirral and Birkenhead will be represented on the panel. It will be the panel’s task to review applications and interview prospective candidates.
  • The process to endorse a candidate will begin soon after the applications close. At this point, applications will be reviewed, and interviews will take place soon after with those candidates.
  • Prospective candidates will need to be available for interview at a date arranged by the panel in conjunction with the prospective candidates.

If you are interested, we hope to hear from you very soon. Indeed, if you have any questions do not hesitate to get in touch.

In Unity,

Momentum
http://momentum.nationbuilder.com/

Momentum is funded entirely by membership fees and donations from thousands of supporters across the UK.

More Good Advice – Top Ten Tips For Tentative Trots

 

Top Ten Tips

Our readers have  rightly brought to our attention that we missed a trick with our Good Advice story as we all know that the most useful piece of advice that any local Labour politician wanting to remain in public office on Wirral can receive at the moment is to publicly pledge allegiance to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Although @ronnieabbey1 is pure comedy gold we’d like to help prospective Labour councillors to avoid having a post- deselection public meltdown on Twitter .

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So here’s our cut out and keep ‘Top Ten Tips For Tentative Trots’ advising how the politically ambitious can ensure that the allowances, expenses and lucrative gigs on outside bodies can continue during this difficult time of political upheaval ( i.e. Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes)

1  Buy some Jeremy Corbyn memorabilia ,a t-shirt , a mug , an oven glove, a ‘Jez We Can’ baseball cap .  Just make sure that whatever you purchase wasn’t made in a third world sweat shop by a 9 year old earning less in a day than your monthly Labour Party subscription ( £4.17) . Indeed we understand that until he stopped going to Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party meetings Frank Field was delighted to see so many Labour Party members wearing ‘I JC’ t-shirts until  he realised that they were not on the path to spiritual enlightenment but exhibiting the first signs of Jezzamania , leading him to comment  : ‘He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’ !

2  Acquaint yourself with that quaint old ideology known as ‘Socialism’.  Try not to get it confused with ‘National Socialism’ . Know your ‘Das Kapital’  from your ‘Mein Kampf’! We don’t want any more racist incidents involving local Labour party members do we?!

3  Study the works of Marx and no, we don’t mean watching ‘Duck Soup’ or ‘A Day at The Races’ on the Sky Cinema Greats channel !

4  Have your photograph taken wearing your ‘I JC’  t-shirt and ‘Jez we Can’ baseball cap (preferably at a foodbank, on a picket line or wiv da yoof ) and get it printed on your election leaflet.

5 Use the word ‘comrade’ as often as you can especially when communicating with the lumpenproletariat*  ( i.e. Foulkesy)

6 Stand in front of the mirror with a hairbrush (or if your folliclely challenged – a rolled up copy of the Morning Star) and practice chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn…” to the White Stripes tune ‘Seven Nation Army’

7 When approached by the media to comment on the Frank Field withdrawal from the party whip  situation reply : ” Never heard of him … was he the one that sang ‘She Taught Me How To Yodel’ ?

Listen we know Field gets bloody everywhere but it’s important that you adopt a Stalinist approach on the subject. So despite the fact that many a time he got you out of trouble of your own making you must make every attempt to erase the last 39 years from history (i.e. Foulkesy) . Frank Ifield may have sang ” I Remember You” but when it comes to Frank Field you don’t ! – got it?

8 Emphasize your working class background by mentioning in your election leflet that you once went to Maccy D’s in your pyjamas but didn’t much like it as you were shocked to discover that ‘smashed avocado on sourdough’ wasn’t a menu option

 Emphasize your revolutionary credentials by letting people know that you might possibly go and see the new Mike Leigh film ‘Peterloo’ –  the story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester – but only if  ‘Mamma Mia 2’ is no longer showing.

10 Finally, the most contemporary way to show both your political devotion and guarantee your political survival would be to get a Jeremy Corbyn tattoo. A temporary one obviously …

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Foulkesy – Faking it ’til he makes it…

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Never mind Elaine having to put up with you for weeks whilst you ingratiate yourself with party members – we’ve had to put up with you for years!

The latest news to arrive from the rounds of Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meetings is bad news for those who expressed the view – more in hope than expectation –  that Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes was next for the Labour CLP selection guillotine.

Alas, it was not to be, as in an astonishing lack of judgement we discover that Claughton and Noctorum CLP thought Foulkesy should be their representative at the local elections in May 2019.

However it must be said that Foulkesy is showing the way to go if you currently want to remain a Labour councillor – you must pledge your allegiance to Jeremy Corbyn, even if you have to fake it and it is a slap in the face of your long time political benefactor Frank Field,who has helped get Foulkesy out of many a political scrape and helped (with others) to cover up a multitude of  misdemeanours on his behalf.

Meanwhile those close to the action are expressing shock horror to us that even after our Sorrento Shame:Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex- Wirral Mayoress  story that Foulkesy is still considered to be a fit and proper person to represent the ward.

To which we can only reply – Oh do give over you’ve also got Cllr George Davies as a ward councillor . So obviously you don’t have a problem with alleged racism (or dishonesty).

What’s more we don’t think that being associated with allegations of racism, being utterly repellent whether it takes place at home or abroad, is  the main reasons why Foulkesy needs to f-f-f-f…fade away.

For all the amnesiacs out there (and particularly in Claughton and Noctorum CLP) let us remind you of Foulkesy’s official rap sheet ( an unofficial rap sheet would probably bow our collective minds ).

Let’s remember – this was the man who was ousted in a vote of no confidence in 2012 after it discovered that the Council he was the leader of – and by the way how did that happen? – was a basket case overrun by bullying , dishonesty and incompetence.

Unbelievably ,even after all the ‘lessons have been learned’ PR BS , worse was to follow as we reported in our WIRRALGATE! – Foulkesy the Fibber  story where it was subsequently proven that Foulkesy was a smear campaign organiser and a serial liar – as we said at the time :

Is it only us at Leaky Towers who find the  term ‘economical with the truth’ much more offensive than ‘liar’. What should we do call Foulkesy a ‘fibber’ ? – sorry we’re in no mood for polite and dare we say evasive euphemisms –  Foulkesy is a LIAR – and a well practised if not very accomplished one at that . Even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence he persists with the lies…

But then we have reason to believe that Foulkesy has a long and inglorious history of being dishonest. Could this be the same man who prior to being a councillor was caught fare dodging on Merseyrail and yet is now one of Wirral Council’s (well remunerated) representatives at Merseytravel meetings ?

Ultimately , why should we care ? Mainly because we do – but we also concede that we get the politicians we deserve or at least what Claughton and Noctorum deserve.  However we still believe that the rest of Wirral deserve so much better…

SweatyFouker

For Foulkesy waiting for the CLP nomination results must’ve been like waiting for a ticket collector on Merseyrail…

 

Fieldwatch 2 – The Clash of the Messiahs

 

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Frank Field suffers lens envy at the Labour Party Conference

The Labour Party conference held in Liverpool last week cast a Corbyn-shaped shadow over the River Mersey and the neighbouring constituency of Birkenhead and particularly over its former Labour MP Frank Field.It must have been so upsetting for Frankenfield to witness the local front pages singing songs of praise – but not for him.

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However, once again give him his due,  Field did his very best to rain on the parade of the Labour Party faithful who came in adoration of their new messiah, Jezza, but it was very much a case of scattered showers in less exposed places than the usual high profile media deluge.

On the eve of the conference Field had a story published in The  Sunday Times titled ‘The Politics of Faith’ where he wrote :

Writing about the link between my faith and my political activity is among the hardest challenges I have ever been given. I can describe my political activity with ease. Exploring the link between my politics and my faith is where I face a quandary. My questioners often think that these are two separate issues that can be consciously joined together at specific times and on particular issues.

It would appear that, indeed , it must have been one Field’s hardest challenges as he fails spectacularly in explaining how he aligns his political activity with his faith. Though, to be honest, if you can make out what the hell he’s going on about you’re a better man than I, Bungdit Din. It starts off reading like the usual ‘holy man in a wicked world’ schtick that Field has been pedalling for years before degenerating into a messianic mess :

Linked to a sacramental view of the world has been a biblical basis for my utopian politics. The leitmotif running through the Old and into the New Testament is the concept of the Kingdom in this world. The historical Jesus heralds a Kingdom at hand, one that is being sought and built, and a Kingdom that is to be completed at the end of time.

My revolutionary politics are about that commandment to seek and, by seeking, to help to build the Kingdom. However, this has always been a collective effort. We are pilgrims, not Napoleons.

Read full story here

Huh? We couldn’t tell if he was talking about less than popular local litter snitches Kingdom Security , as let’s face it they share something in common – preying on the poor and vulnerable for profit and political point scoring.  However there were a couple of insights we found interesting though  :

I was brought up as a Christian at St Nicholas’, an Anglican church in Chiswick, West London. It had a restrained Catholic worship, but a strong distaste of any excess of church millinery. It also lacked, as I was later to learn from my reading, a sense of a Church Militant (Christians on Earth struggling against sin). It did teach me the Catholic faith.

So Field clearly had a distaste for ‘Militants’ of any kind from an early age and it also helps explain his affinity with the local Labour Catholic mafia that he has helped sustain in power despite their many and varied ‘sins’ over the years.

More God-bothering was to follow in an article in Christian Today – which is a first appearance by that hallowed publication on these pages.

The Church Commissioners, who handle investments for the Church of England, have pulled out of talks around buying the loan book of payday lender Wonga.

Wonga, which specialised in high-cost short-term loans, collapsed last month following a surge in compensation claims and former Labour MP Frank Field suggested the Church should consider involvement in a buyout to ensure its loans do not pass to another high-cost lender.

Read full story  here

Now we confess (something Field’s cronies like to avoid doing) that we’re not as familiar with The Bible as St Frank but we always thought that Jesus ousted the moneylenders from the temple rather than trying to buy them out!

This was a story that was also picked up by ITV . The accompanying article on their website included an artfully crafted photograph of  Field looking as though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders as if it was he himself who had a massive debt to pay off.  But then Field knows that poverty and hardship is always best experienced vicariously and as the basis for a tear-jerking anecdote.

Wonga woe

Woe is me…my favourite gingham shirt hasn’t been ironed.

Next stop was the anti-Corbyn Guardian and a call for an enquiry into the gig economy (hopefully something that Field will be forced to experience first hand for a change)

“The inquiry will, I hope, shine a bright light on the extent to which justice is being evaded in the gig economy,” said Field, who resigned the Labour whip late August. “We will be looking to suggest any immediate changes that are required, both to the law itself as well as its enforcement, to ensure no company is able to evade justice.”  Read full story here

Which is a typically hypocritical Fieldian sentiment  – relentlessly calling for individuals and organisations to be held to account and yet doing everything in his power to ensure that those who slavishly support him evade justice.

Field also tried to geg in and take some credit for the Birkenhead’s House of Fraser Store SAVED headline in the Liverpool Echo  . The decision to keep the store open was made by ‘Sports Direct’ boss Mike Ashley . We doubt very much whether Field writing a letter to Ashley six weeks ago made a blind bit of  difference as clearly the decision was based on renegotiating rents with the landlord. What remains to be seen is how long ‘House of Fraser’ store continues to stay open – it’s not exactly Beattie’s is it? Indeed ‘House of Fraser’ is to ‘Beatties’ what Frank Field is to local politics –  a shadow of its former self and something of a spent force.

…and the omnipresent Field media presence doesn’t end there with only today Wirral Globe belatedly covering the EXCLUSIVE : A Clean Sweep for the New Momentum Broom in Birkenhead CLP story under the extraordinary headline Corbyn supporters ‘gain complete control’ of Frank Field’s former Birkenhead Labour Party  which we think pinpoints exactly some of the misconceptions that led to a vote of no confidence in Field by the Birkenhead Constituency Party (CLP) in the first place . It is NOT Field’s ‘Birkenhead Labour Party’ and nor is he automatically entitled to treat Birkenhead as his personal,political  fiefdom…

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE : A Clean Sweep for the New Momentum Broom in Birkenhead CLP

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… but all is not as rosy as it may seem. For a start it would seem that former Wirral councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) – No. 6 in the above picture –  is back in a position of power and influence as Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) ‘ Diversity Officer’ . Yes, the same LRJ who was as you can read here was removed as Secretary of Disability Labour earlier this year as Labour Party members had deemed her position had become ‘untenable and unworkable’.

However we leave the expert analysis to a Labour Party insider who attended the Birkenhead CLP Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday 28 September . Whilst we’ve always maintained that the only way that the local Labour Party could rehabilitate itself locally ,having been brought so low by a corrupt cabal , was by its own members holding them to account. The jury is out on whether these latest developments are the way forward. As you can see it’s a view that is shared by ‘Red Eye’ our eyewitness at the Birkenhead CLP AGM :

So, it was a clean sweep for the Left with the old guard well and truly swept aside.
Predictably there was much self-congratulation going around on the Left. Some of it deserved but perhaps satisfaction rather than congratulations was more appropriate.

There is no question that Corbyn has caused there to be a dramatic increase in
membership in Birkenhead; it has more than doubled. But this has not translated to increased attendance at meetings – to be fair not an uncommon feature across
England and Wales.

Friday’s success was claimed by John Maher, Birkenhead CLP Secretary, the self-styled leader of the purge, as a masterclass in organisation.

The real reason for Friday night’s success was not down to some Left-wing uprising but down to a dramatic collapse in the old guard/opposition to the Left when compared to the previous year. Last year the ‘old guard’ attracted 80-100 votes compared to around 70 for the Left. But on Friday whilst the Left’s vote was broadly unchanged from the previous year the old-guard’s vote fell to around 40 or so.

No doubt the direction of the Labour Party nationally has heartened local socialists.The truth is that the Wirral ‘old guard’ are in disarray. Disheartened Blairites, the old guard councillor club and St Frank Field fan club are waving the white flag. For them accountability is an ugly word and they would rather remain at arm’s length from the accountability that party activists are beginning to demand.

So, it seems we are at last beginning to a new broom sweeping through Labour locally. Perhaps that is no bad thing as there is surely many decent and earnest people are amongst them. But there are some warnings signs too and grumbles are beginning to emerge.

As reported recently in the national Press, John Maher, self-styled leader of the group has a somewhat chequered history of party allegiance and embrace of democracy. As  Wirral Leaks  reported in 2016 here Maher has his own way of doing things and isn’t best pleased if you disagree with him. The prize at stake in Birkenhead is of course the Parliamentary Candidature. The NEC has given the go ahead for Birkenhead to proceed with an open selection.

John Maher has made no secret that Cllr Tony Norbury is his man for the job. Cllr Norbury has been quick to defend Maher when accusations of bullying and intimidation have been made by old guard councillors in the national Press. They seem to be a formidable tag team. So, is it a forgone conclusion that Cllr Norbury will become the MP? Will anyone have the temerity to challenge the anointing of Norbury? Will the resurgent Left in Birkenhead have a democratic choice of socialist candidates or will they do as Maher tells them? The prize is indeed great. Let’s hope they choose wisely and from a wide field of worthy candidates

Red Eye

Fieldwatch

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Frank Field and Tory Party donor David Ross are described as ‘controlling members’ of new free school – you don’t say! Pic courtesy of Schools Week

As we highlighted in our Bye, Bye, By Election! Hello, Brooklynhead Boulevard! article Birkenhead MP Frank Field’s political activities are somewhat curtailed at the moment. However we also predicted that this wouldn’t prevent Field seeking further publicity in pursuing his own political and personal agendas.

Therefore we are instigating a series of posts titled ‘Fieldwatch’ where we identify some of the MSM stories featuring Frankenfield during his self imposed political sabbatical which we find particularly interesting.

First up is this scary development ,one which surprisingly  (or perhaps ,unsurprisingly) has not appeared in the local MSM, and which was announced in Schools Week under the headline Labour MP joins millionaire Tory donor to open new free school  

Veteran Labour politician Frank Field and high-profile Tory donor David Ross have been granted permission to jointly open a free school with a view to taking control of some existing schools later this year.

The Frank Field Education Trust is the brainchild of the MP for Birkenhead, and Ross, the millionaire founder of Carphone Warehouse, who chairs the New Schools Network.

Initially called The Cathedral Academies Trust, Field’s chain was approved as an academy sponsor in 2016, but changed its name in April to acknowledge that “most people referred to it as Frank Field’s Trust”.

Frank’s long-term commitment to resolving social inequality remains a key focus, and the aims of the trust transcend any political interests

Documents show the government has cleared the trust to open the Liverpool Free School, though it is not known where and when the school will start accepting pupils.

The chain has also expressed its desire to take control of a number of existing “outstanding” schools later this academic year.

The news follows Field’s decision on August 30 to resign from the Labour Party whip, meaning he is no longer required to vote with the party in Parliament. He quit in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s ongoing antisemitism crisis.

Although this is quite possibly one of the most frightening things we’ve ever read we did guffaw at the lines about the aims of the trust transcending any political interests – yeah right ! – and of course most people would refer to the academy sponsor as ‘Frank Field’s Trust ‘ because ultimately it would appear to be an ideologically driven vanity project.

Could it be that the local MSM who are in thrall to Field have been reluctant to cover this story as it is reminiscent as of an embarrassing episode from July 2009. As Field wrote on his blog at the time he was as an enthusiastic supporter of plans to establish a ‘Birkenhead Boys’ Academy’

I was in Birkenhead Park at a press conference with David Hughes. David is a local boy who has made good, big time.

He is the sponsor of the new Academy that will replace two of Birkenhead’s schools.

David is very clear that the new Academy will produce an education which is technically based and prepares young people for highly paid skilled jobs.

He is also fanatical about the school being sports-based and being open for business for the local area for sixteen hours a day, 52 weeks of the year.

We will now have our work cut out in getting all the plans in place so the Academy opens next summer. A spanking new school needs to be built.

Read full blog post here : Academy is opportunity to address needs of young people

Unfortunately plans came unstuck a month later when the following information about the lead sponsor of the Birkenhead Boys Academy was revealed by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) :

A businessman who failed to pay a fine of more than  £1 million has been appointed as the lead sponsor of a new academy in the Wirral, raising further concerns over England’s academies programme.

David Hughes, who has been named as the main backer of Birkenhead Boys’ Academy in the Wirral, was involved in a price-fixing scandal when he ran the Allsports chain of sport shops.

Mr Hughes’s company was fined £1.35 million in 2003 by the Office of Fair Trading for participating in a cartel that agreed to sell replica football shirts at set prices.

Following an appeal by the company, the fine was increased to £1.42 million because of Mr Hughes’s failure to co-operate with the original investigation.

Allsports did not pay the fine and two years later the company fell into administration. Mr Hughes, a multimillionaire, also ran a property business, which went into administration this year. The entrepreneur was named as the lead sponsor for one of two new academies planned for Birkenhead last month.

Read full story here : Sponsor has £1m in unpaid fines

 

Even his close political allies at Wirral Council weren’t prepared to indulge Frankenfield’s fantasies after this particularly spectacular failure of due diligence, which is just as well as the thought of a ‘spanking new school’ endorsed by the Birkenhead MP  doesn’t bear thinking about. We just hope Field has done his background checks on another sports retailer who he hopes to court and fete. As was reported last week Field is currently wanting to meet with Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley and negotiate for the House of Fraser store in moribund Birkenhead Precinct to remain open. Read here 

Mr Ashley is most certainly a colourful character about whom it was alleged that at a business management meeting he drank 12 pints with vodka chasers and vomited into a pub fireplace. So that promises to be an interesting meeting! More significantly Ashley has  been repeatedly severely criticised over his business, employment and financial practices . Read here and here

Isn’t it curious how selective Field is in his public criticism of certain businessmen? Compare and contrast above with his repeated (if justified) criticism of ‘Sir’ Philip Green. Can you imagine the feigned outrage if anyone suggested that there was even a whiff of  anti- you-know-what involved?

All we will say is that with the Labour Party Conference coming up in Liverpool next week and Jeremy Corbyn addressing the faithful at the Pier Head over the weekend that Field is going to have to go some with his MSM mates if he’s to upstage his potential political nemesis.

 

 

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!