The Genuine Article : Can you spot the difference between news headlines and political adverts?

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A number of our readers have been in touch with pictures of the Wirral Globe wraparound ‘Advertisement Feature’ promoted by Cllr Ian Lewis on behalf of Wirral Conservative Group which has caused pre-Purdah murder.

We remember having a pop at the Wirral Labour Group for pulling a similar stunt last time the local elections came around. However this particular production really is something else. Real lowest common denominator stuff – right down there with their infamous ‘baseball bats’ leaflet which ruthlessly exploited the fallout from the damning  ‘Independent Review’ of 2012 .

baseball bats

The problem we have is that whilst we acknowledge you’d have to be spectacularly dim to think that the wraparound contained genuine news stories and not exploitative electioneering on the part of the local Conservative Group the fact is a) it appears under the Wirral Globe masthead and b) there are an awful lot of spectacularly dim people out there .

The scaremongering cover star is hasbeen ‘Militant’ bogeyman Derek ‘Deggsy ‘ Hatton. The picture is so old it was taken when he still had a decent head of hair . Whilst this ‘hard left’ trope is not only used as means of highlighting  the power struggle within the local Labour Party it also tacitly supports the established Labour cabal which have wreaked so much havoc in Wirral over recent years!

The inside features  pro- Green Belt , anti-Kingdom Security votecatchers which hitch a ride on the work of local activists and campaigners . Elsewhere it’s a bit thin on the ground policy-wise. A less than detailed 6 point plan features such nebulous aims as ‘ Expose Council Waste’ and ‘Better Council Services’ . Perhaps if the local elections don’t go well as expected the author can take over the running of Wirral Leaks. The local Conservative Group  don’t seem to have learned their lesson from exploiting the  political fallout of the Independent Review . Once they unexpectedly got into power , their main policy initiative was a desperate Council Tax rebate – even that didn’t work and there wasn’t enough spectacularly dim people to keep Cllr Jeff Green in power as Leader of Wirral Council  and the Conservatives were ousted at the next election.

Finally , we’d like to comment on the back page of the ‘Advertisement Feature’  which features the welcome demise of litter enforcement louts Kingdom  Security. We can’t help feeling that there’s been a bit of ‘Leaksification’ when it comes to the hard-hitting picture. Well ,they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

Grave Injustice

Wirral Leaks 2012

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Wirral Globe 2019

Kingdom Kicked To The Kerb

Here’s the leaked email sent by Cllr Anita Leech to Elected Members this morning :

 

Sent on behalf of Cllr Anita Leech

 

Dear Members

 

I am writing to inform you that this morning our contract with Kingdom Services Group has been terminated by mutual consent.

 

I have provided the statement below to the local media.

 

“Residents have told us time and again how important clean streets are. They want us to tackle the small minority of people who think it is OK to drop litter, fly-tip, and allow their pets to foul the streets.

 

“This is why we launched our zero-tolerance policy towards this environmental crime. Our primary concern was and remains to protect our local environment, maintaining the area’s many beauty spots and improving areas where environmental crimes repeatedly take place.

 

“The goal of the contract with Kingdom was to deter and punish those who commit environmental crime. But it is clear the approach wasn’t right for everyone and so, after listening to the feedback and meeting with many residents, we have decided to end the contract by mutual consent.

 

“We will now take some time to reconsider our wider litter and dog fouling strategy. Later this year, we will launch an extensive consultation with residents to help develop a new method of prevention which works for local people and keeps our beautiful borough litter-free.”

 

I look forward to discussing this with you all on 18 March.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Anita

 

No Kingdom for Two Mayors

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Our thanks again to ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’ for capturing  footage of  Kingdom protestor , Metro Mayor  Steve ‘The Brickie ‘ Rotheram and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson prior to  yesterday’s Merseytravel meeting.

As you can see both a rather tetchy Rotheram and a somewhat more relaxed  Anderson  make their feelings clear on the subject of Wirral Council’s continued use of Kingdom Security. However it remains in the hands of Wirral councillors and specifically the ruling Labour administration to address what is beginning to look more and more like a punitive tax on the poor and vulnerable and very little to do with  litter enforcement or environmental concerns.

 

Kingdom and Merseytravel – ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’ taking it to the streets…

Our thanks to ‘Liverpool Litter Plod‘ for taking it to the streets over the ongoing Kingdom Security debacle and forthrightly putting his concerns to Wirral Councillor and Merseytravel Committee member Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes about how Kingdom operate and particularly on Merseytravel property on behalf of Wirral Council .

Foulkesy replies with the classic line : “I’ve never defended poor behaviour in my life …”

Are you sure about that Foulkesy? As far as we’re concerned your entire political career has been characterised by ‘poor behaviour’. Foulkesy may not like ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’s ‘style of engagement’ but it’s becoming increasingly clear that for complacent local politicians to sit up and take notice you sometimes have to take it to the streets and use the language of the streets – otherwise they will dictate the rules of engagement and they will control the course of events.

Can we please have more of this type of thing?

 

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Merseytravel HQ

Kingdom Consensus

The redoubtable Wirral Against The Litter Police (Kingdom Security) Facebook page is currently a meeting point/melting pot for interested parties seeking to expunge Kingdom Security from our shores and high streets and car parks and promenades and country parks and bus stations and …you get the drift …

All political denominations are there – look there’s the Lib Dems belatedly requisitioning a ‘Special Council meeting’…

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…and oh look over there , the 4 Labour CLPs are calling for Kingdom to be kicked to the kerb and elsewhere high flying Labour councillor Jo Bird offering her support…

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…and then there’s the Green Party reminding everyone that their sole councillor Pat Cleary  was the only one to vote against a motion where Wirral Council rejected criticism  of Kingdom’s conduct…

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…and of course there’s Tom ‘Media’ Houghton picking up the scraps promising write ups in the Echo and Globe (in that order obvs) and celebrity shop owners Sean Martin and Cathy Roberts brandishing their letters and sweet wrappers respectively and now mainstream media favourites. Ms Roberts also achieved what we consider the ultimate accolade in social media by appearing on the Angry People in Local Newspapers Facebook page.

Indeed we understand that the Fry’s Chocolate Orange wrapper , although not being the sweet wrapper that resulted in a threatened £300 fine, has its own agent and publicist and is in negotiations for a reality TV series.  Oh and there’s even  a link to Wirral Globe’s Granty’s Infernal column where there was no conflict of interest acknowledged but at least we got a passing mention…

Don’t get us wrong these are observations not criticisms .We’re celebrating both a growing political consensus and the tireless efforts of campaigners. Nor are we after bragging rights that Wirral Leaks first raised concerns about Kingdom way back in 2015. After all we are commentators not campaigners and our weapons of choice are sarcasm and satire.  However the point we want to make (and we do have one) is that much of Wirral  only get involved in local politics when something impacts on them directly – be it  being hassled on the street or issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice by Kingdom operatives. But remember whilst you may not always be interested in local politics ,  local politicians are always interested in you and involved in almost every aspect of your life…

Kingdom Come Lately

FF gegs in on Kingdom

Inevitably we find Frank Field gegging in on the growing anti-Kingdom Security sentiment spreading throughout Wirral . As you can see the Birkenhead MP  has sent a Valentine’s Day love letter to Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson asking him to cancel the contract.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again this consummate politician knows which way the political wind blows much more than his Labour councillor colleagues. What’s more Frankenfield has a canny knack of knowing when a Wirral Council CEO is vulnerable. As we remember from history Field took advantage of the,ahem, compromising position that former Wirral CEO Graham Burgess had found himself in. Consequently when Burgess wouldn’t be coerced into making unlawful payments to phoney whistleblowers to protect Field’s electoral agent Cllr George Davies , the sly silver fox was forced into ‘retirement’ . Now with current Deputy CEO David Armstrong indisposed Stressed Eric  will have no-one to hide behind and be particularly  susceptible to political and public pressure. We anticipate that Robinson’s response will be dictated cowering from under his desk.

If – and we hope and pray – when the Kingdom Security contracted is terminated shall we expect headlines in the local press of the kind that we find in the national paper that Field likes to write for :

IT’S FIELD WOT DONE IT! 

However as this leak from the Liscard Labour Party branch seems to indicate that there is growing discontent elsewhere in the Labour ranks which are making Wirral Council’s continuing strange relationship with Kingdom Security to be increasingly untenable

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Meanwhile we find a much more robust challenge to Wirral Council staff and particularly the enforcement of the  ‘Engine Idling Policy’ on the Facebook page Litter PLOD Kingdom Liverpool . A timely voice of experience from somewhere that has already ditched the services of Kingdom into the gutter :

Imagine this……

Your employer has out-sourced litter enforcement to a private company. That contract gets extended into business waste fines, dog fouling, PSPO’s and fines for idling your car when it’s not appropriate.

This out-sourcing happens despite 6 other authorities cutting the contracts of the same private company due to serious concerns over the way they interact with the public and how they behave.

Imagine now that there has also been a growing, serious public concern from the outset and that concern is growing. Only a small proportion of the concerned masses have received fines, the majority are concerned because they have WITNESSED the way this unscrupulous and immoral company and its staff operate.

Imagine, now, that, despite ALL this evidence, public concern and morally corrupt staff, your EMPLOYER, the local authority, are granting this company more powers and allowing them the chance to make more money.

Now imagine going to work for the local authority and you find that there is a new management protocol placed in front of you. One which will make YOU the potential target of this disgraceful company…..

How would you react? Would you be angry? Upset? Worried? Concerned that this company, a gang of wannabe gangsters, at best, are now able to target YOU whilst you work for the authority, YOUR EMPLOYER, the same people who keep these rogues on the street.

How would you feel to see THIS?

Kingdom are spreading throughout the local authority like Japanese Knotweed. Unwanted, unpleasant, morally corrupt bullies and they may now be coming for you…. BACKED BY YOUR EMPLOYER

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Kingdom Comeuppance ? – Part 2

 

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More leaked emails from Wirral Council featuring correspondence between Liberty Antiques shop owner  Sean Martin and various councillors is most illuminating on the political machinations that are going on behind the scenes.

We’re confident that our campaigning friends at Wirral Against The Litter Police (Kingdom Security) understand the motives of a ‘Tory-Come-Lately’ or a ‘Labour Appeaser’ as clearly there is much political capital that can be made from the increasingly contentious situation in the run up to the local elections in May.

Our main concern is that the current ruling administration would rather stick with a highly unpopular course of action than be seen to cave in to public pressure . The same approach also applies to the plans for the Hoylake Golf Resort/Celtic Manor Resort and the publication of Wirral View.

This also seems to be the approach of Cllr Anita Leech , Wirral Council Cabinet Member for Environment about whom it is alleged knows nothing of Kingdom’s actions – which is simply either untrue or a failure of scrutiny. Although it must be said from other comments she’s alleged to have made at least she seems to be upfront about her motives – money for Wirral Council and political power for her party.

All we know is that the controversy surrounding Kingdom will run and run until  hopefully they are run out of town…

Liberty Antiques <libertyantiques@gmail.com> Thu, Feb 14, 12:10 AM  to all Wirral councillors

Good morning all Wirral Councillors I received a call today from a small business owner in Pensby who had just received a £300 fine from Kingdom. This is what he said to me: “I feel that Wirral Council have given someone the authority to enter our premises and take £300 from our till and there is nothing I can do about it” As an elected councillor whose job it is to serve the public if you think what Kingdom are doing is right you have lost touch with reality and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Your views on this matter would be welcomed

Kind Regards Sean Martin

Ellis, Gerry (Councillor) Thu, Feb 14, 8:34 PM

Dear Mr Martin

Thanks for the copy of your message to councillors. I totally agree with you. It was a discrace (sic) for Kingdom to behave in the way they did. However, I understand that our Cabinet Member responsible for Waste was not aware of Kingdom’s actions and she has now ordered them to cease the practise until council officers have investigated what is going on and reviewed the policy.

With best wishes  Councillor Gerry Ellis Hoylake & Meols Ward 

Liberty Antiques < Thu, Feb 14, 8:58 PM  to Gerry Ellis

I am sorry sir but you are deluded if you think that. Her own constituents have been telling her for the last 4 weeks and she has been rude and dismissive with quotes such as “the council need the money” and “it’s either us or the tories so take your pick” . My local representatives Pat Hackett and Tony Jones have been canvassing her for the last 2 weeks without success. Pat Hackett actually asked her to come down to meet us and listen to our concerns and she ignored his request

I stand over my beliefs

Kind Regards SEAN —

Kingdom Comeuppance? – Part 1

Cathy &amp; Granty

#sadface pic courtesy of BBC website

Grant us this indulgence but we’d like to comment further if we may on stories featured this week on Wirral Leaks with a mini-series of quick fire posts .

First up is a follow up to last night’s Kingdom Suspended ! story where in our haste to get the BBC footage on the website we missed the opportunity to comment on some aspects of the latest saga in the Kingdom Security debacle and particularly the role of the  mainstream media and local politicians in ‘exposing’ how the cash for trash company operate on the say so of Wirral Council. No doubt Kingdom will still be operating to full contract value (much like the other Wirral Council suspendee Stewart/Stuart Halliday) and so will now have the capacity to have more operatives out on the streets of Wirral hounding those least able to pay a fine for what is essentially a trash tax on the poor and very little to do with environmental protection.

The most curious aspect for us was how the suspension of Kingdom Security from dealing with the business waste aspect of their contract with Wirral Council ended up on the telly. Perhaps a clue is to be had from one of yesterday’s commentators on our blog :

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Taking time out from from name-dropping to comment on litter-dropping Peter ‘Granty’ Grant in his ‘Granty’s Infernal’ column was surprisingly low key on the Kingdom story (not even mentioning them by name) he merely stated :

While Wirral Council comes under fire for “Waste-Gate” (the incredibly ill-thought out fixed penalty notices blitz on businesses… )

“Waste-Gate”, eh? Now where have we heard a similar turn of phrase ? Ah yes  – “Wirralgate” . Now we know that Granty is keen on recycling – and as has been brought to our attention before, often from this very blog – but we very much doubt Granty will be referring to “Wirralgate” any time soon and certainly not in the run up to May’s local elections like he did last time round (see below). Well, not since July 2017 when the editor of the Wirral Globe got his hands on the “Wirralgate” tape anyway!

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Talking of ‘literary musings’ let’s get back to Granty and Cathy Roberts , the ‘co-owner’ of the ‘Literally’ bookshop in New Brighton, who was on the telly complaining about being fined £300 over sandwich wrapper . The TV and website records Ms Roberts in full flow  complaining that sweet papers, newspapers, milk cartons and tea bags weren’t commercial waste. Whilst we agree it made us wonder a) just how much butty munching, sweet eating and tea bagging goes on in ‘Literally’ b) was Ms Roberts reading ‘Granty’s Infernal’ column in the picture on the BBC website above c) did Granty  pull a few strings with his extensive media contacts to enable the story to get such prominent media coverage ?  and d) why has the Kingdom business waste story attracted so little attention at the Wirral Globe until this week? If they had covered the matter as Wirral Leaks had done so here back in October 2018 and highlighted “the incredibly ill-thought out fixed penalty notices blitz on businesses” perhaps the co-owners of ‘Literally’ might have known what was heading their way !

Shall we await “with bated breath” to see whether Granty answers these questions in next week’s Wirral Globe column…

 

Kingdom Suspended !

 

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BBC North West Tonight are claiming the credit for the suspension of Kingdom Security following their ‘investigation’. Tip off  more like.

But will the ruling administration Wirral Council dig their heels in as a show of strength or finally realise their support for how Kingdom operate on their behalf will be calamitous at the May local elections.

View here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0c2jldc/north-west-tonight-evening-news-14022019

Wirral Council and Kingdom Security – Further Liberties

 

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As a follow up to our Wirral Council and Kingdom Security – Taking a Liberty  story we bring you further developments as leaked emails reveal that after adverse social media coverage on here and elsewhere over last weekend there was an early Monday morning call at Liberty Antiques to visit – or should that be pacify? – Wallasey shop owner Sean Martin.

We understand Cllr Tony Jones and Cllr Pat Hackett were particularly keen to keep a lid on Mr Martin’s concerns about how Kingdom Security operate and what appears to be a punitive levy on small businesses masquerading as concerns for  business waste and the local environment.

You may remember the same thing happened with complaints about the glorified rubbish dump in Cleveland Street  – see our Tipping Point  story – where Cllr Brian Kenny rushed out to provide some soothing words to a complainant who had come to us out of sheer frustration at Wirral Council’s  indifference to his raising of concerns.

There’s a lesson to be learned here . If you want your concerns to be heard – forget about approaching a Wirral Council officer – just get what you have to say out there and get it out to as many people as you can and watch them come running…

Mr Martin writes to Cllr Tony Jones :  

Dear Tony,

Further to our meeting of Monday morning I have been made aware of the Wirral Council Enforcement Policy 2014 ( Amended 2016 ) It would appear to me that the fines being issued by Kingdom are illegal for several reasons as the way they operate is the complete opposite of the written Council Policy and I feel leaves Wirral Council open to litigtion from businesses targetted and fined by these vultures. In particular I am looking at 5.2 where it states “ensure that officers register any conflicts of interest to ensure that decisions made are fair and transparent” — As the more fines Kingdom issue the more money they get then this is a clear conflict as they are motivated to fine you, not educate you. Its the same with their staff, they get bonuses the more fines they issue so they are motivated to fine you, not educate you. Also of interest is 6.1 where it states the following: In assessing what enforcement action is necessary and proportionate, consideration will be given to:  The seriousness of compliance failure  The past performance of a business or individual  The current practice of a business or individual  The risks being controlled  Legal, official or professional guidance  Local priorities of the Council Again they clearly do not follow this policy as they fine 100% of the people they visit without any communication. Can you please advise if this written policy is still the council’s policy. If it is can you please advise who thought they had the authority to disregard it. If it was done without agreement of the council then that persons position is untenable. Can you also advise if the people employed by the council whose job it is to enforce business waste enforcement are still employed by the council or have they been sacked or moved to other positions as obviously the council have transferred their jobs to a private company. I am concerned that the council are trying to let this run out of steam and the public anger to die down so would appreciate if you could get back to me as soon as possible I will be writing to Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Eagle, Phil Davies, Mike Cockburn and other councillors and public servants regarding this same matter. Can I put on record with you that I am disappointed that the leader of the council Mr Davies and The Strategic Commissioner for Environment Mr Cockburn have not even had the manners to acknowledge my previous letters to them. However, I have received numerous emails and messages from other residents and businesses in this area advising me that they seem to completely ignore requests for help or information from their constituents so maybe I should not be surprised. I look forward to hearing from you Kindest Regards

Cllr Tony Jones, responds to Mr Martin and Cllr Pat Hackett

I am aware Pat is pursuing this with officers so will leave it with him for the time being but thanks for the information, can I suggest any future email are sent to both of us at the same time as it just makes sense. Will be in touch (or Pat will) as soon as we have more information.

Kind Regards

Cllr Tony Jones