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

p1010768-1.jpg

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

p1010776.jpg

Wirral Globe 2019

Pip’s Poisoned Chalice : Who will follow the ‘Leader’ ?

Well, it all seems to be a bit of a death wish  – or should that be witch hunt – situation  with the local Labour Party at the moment isn’t it? The local Tory group must be loving it as it follows their time honoured tradition of identifying the problems of others without having to find solutions of their own .

However the big question, not to mention the big challenge for the person who gets passed this particular poisoned chalice , is who will be the next ‘leader’ of the  local Labour Group at Wirral Council when – thank the Lord – Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies,   pops off to pastures new.

We suppose the big question between suspensions, deselections and ‘retirements’ is whether there will be anyone left to choose from? By rights the obvious choice at the moment would be Cllr George Davies,  especially now that his co-Deputy Leader  Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Nooney has been rumbled by her local Constituency Labour Party .  But surely even the local Labour Party wouldn’t opt  for a racist liar as their leader?  But then again didn’t they once have Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes as their head honcho so we suppose anything is possible!

Historically,  the selection process and outcome was fairly straightforward. Birkenhead MP Frank Field just made his preference known and it was a done deal. The only criteria would be that the Labour leader at Wallasey Town Hall would bend to Frankenfield’s will. Both Foulksey and Pip fitted the bill perfectly.

Now currently local party members actually get to vote and are apparently being very careful not to upset the  Labour whip who is under the control of the current ruling cabal in case they lose their right to vote in the leadership contest. Well that was Cllr Tony ‘Tight Fit’ Norbury’s feeble excuse as to why he voted for continuing with the Hoylake Golf Resort proposal although he didn’t agree with doing so !

We don’t know whether Cllr Norbury is in the running to be Labour ‘leader’ as we know he wants the ‘top job’ as Labour’s next Parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead. We suppose he’s hedging his bets waiting the result of the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party selection, which as we know had to be rearranged following the last debacle which we covered in this EXCLUSIVE : And the new Parliamentary Labour candidate for Birkenhead is…

What we do know that current Councillors Chris Meaden, Moira McLaughlin and  Mike Sullivan are out of the running as they’re now ‘Independent’ councillors. ‘Independent’ of what we ask ourselves? ‘Reality’ judging by the comments emanating from the ‘Three Stooges’ . “Be careful what you wish for. Our little group could hold the balance of power come May.” Cllr Sullivan is quoted as saying this week. Yes, Mike whatever you say but then we know you’re prone to a bit of the hyperbolics which nevertheless are always good for a laugh. As you can see below Cllrs McLaughlin / Meaden are already on the local campaign trail but then, as today’s Kingdom Security announcement confirms ,everything a local councillor does at the moment is all about electioneering . ‘ A Concerned Resident’ sends us this letter with the attached comment  :

MM:CMHi. This letter is currently being delivered to residents of Rock Ferry, signed by our two ‘independent’ councillors who “think it would be helpful to let people know” what they are up to. Looks like blatant electioneering to me, using taxpayers money to publicise themselves. 

Regards, A Concerned Resident

 

So who does this leave us with in the Labour Group leadership race? Any suggestions? Now that Cllr Jo Bird has been nobbled (for now anyway)  our ante-post tips would be Cllr Phill ‘Two L and Back’ Brightmore and  Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson (Gawd ‘elp us) but then again there is former leader Yvonne Nolan waiting in the wings hoping to get elected in Rock Ferry . However the way things are going at the moment we advise ‘doing a Norbury’ and hedge your bets ’til the local election results are in and see what we’re, er, left with…

LRJ : An Unofficial Announcement

Resignation letter

Here we have a social media post from our old friend and correspondent Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ). We’ve omitted 2 paragraphs ( containing either personal details or plugs for her charity) , other than that all words , as far as we know, are LRJ’s own. We’ve decided to publish in the public interest mainly because it would appear that LRJ has “made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics” and therefore surely the local electorate need to know exactly what this means:

Last night I made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics due to the extreme stress the constant targeting I have faced personally that has put extreme pressure on my health , this is not stress from those residents that I have served as that has been an absolute pleasure.

I would like to thank the one Labour councillor who had wished me well ……., it shows there is at least one good person . I won’t name them as I wouldn’t want them targeted. (Although I believe they can hold their own)

I believe in Jeremy Corbyn and what Labour stands for , I have principles I will not push to one side in order to make friends , I will not stand by an watch bully’s (sic) at work and I will not keep quiet to stop myself being bullied as I was not brought up that way.

My purpose was to make change and make a difference to children and adults with disabilities. I don’t believe in the current climate that there is any intention to change things on Wirral. I see so many children and their families in crisis and more energy is given to try and discredit me through the press , than change a way of working xx

I’ve not gone anywhere and will be back stronger than ever ,just without the noose … 

First thing to say is that we have no problem believing that some local Labour councillors ” can hold their own” – let’s face it many of them don’t have a choice! The second thing to say is that LRJ doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what it’s like being a local Labour councillor does she?  However we don’t appear to have had any official confirmation from the local Labour group or Wirral Council that indeed LRJ no longer features among their ranks . Whilst LRJ is still listed on Wirral Council website as a councillor for the Pensby and Thingwall ward – and presumably still collecting her council allowances  – she was a notable absentee from this week’s annual Wirral Council budget meeting held earlier this week.

foulkesy-lrj-012

The Nolan Principles in motion : Comrade LRJ putting on a show of solidarity with Comrade Foulkesy (mate of Comrade Crabby)  – awks!

If she is true to her word we have to say we will be sad to see LRJ go ( pass us an onion) as she was such good source of stories for us if nothing else. Who could forget her epic feud with ex – Labour councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree  and how that ended up with him getting a criminal conviction ? LRJ then went from victim to victimiser and ended up falling foul of Wirral Council’s pisspoor ‘Standards’ ( ha!ha!) regime, refusing to apologise to either members of the public that she’d badmouthed on social media or councillors who feigned being ‘appalled’ at her conduct. Let’s face it the councillors were just miffed she didn’t meekly ‘ Do-a-Foulkesy’ and say she’d been very naughty and she wouldn’t do it again……..until the next time. She then threatened Wirral Council and former and current Monitoring Officer ( Surjit Tour and Philip McCourt respectively) with legal action. We also understand she made further allegations against another Labour councillor ( but respect and decorum prevents us from pursuing that particular story any further).

We have to say that from our first post that mentioned LRJ and which dealt with her original suspension by North West Labour Party in May 2015 we always thought her days were numbered. Therefore she appears to have done well to have lasted this long before apparently throwing in the towel. As we said at the time her only hope was to foster a friendship with Frank Field. He wasn’t keen and her fate was sealed. Read more here : Suspension Suspense

Whatever the situation we suspect that the local Labour group will want to keep very quiet on this one – at least until after the local elections in May.  But will LRJ?

Social media strategy

Advent Farewell 3 – Wirral Needs

Wirral Needs

We think the fact that we have faced criticism from both ends of the political spectrum stands as testimony that we have always tried to be avowedly apolitical. For clarification we hold the political classes (with a few honourable exceptions) in complete contempt. However we have found ourselves regularly criticising the ruling Labour administration at Wirral Council  because a) they’re in power b) they abuse that power and c) some Labour councillors are either not up to the job or in some cases , simply corrupt.

It is not that we are anti-Labour per se it’s just that we’ve long maintained that we deserve so much better from them as councillors and MPs. With the local media more or less sewn up – adding further to the argument their own publication Wirral View is surplus to requirements and an expensive luxury – and local political opposition being, at best ineffective and at worst, collusive, we have always maintained that the only way the local Labour cabal would change their ways was when their own supporters started holding them to account.

As we can see from the recent reinstatement of the Wallasey CLP there is an increasingly interesting battle for the soul of the Labour Party on Wirral . However what Wirral needs is more politically engaged people of all political persuasions and we have to say in the seven years that Wirral Leaks has been a minor irritant there does appear to be an increase in public awareness of what goes on in Wallasey Town Hall . No doubt this has been prompted by a continuing series of damning reports involving Wirral Council after which we’re inevitably told ‘lessons have been learned’  – which inevitably it hasn’t and which ourselves  us and other excellent local blogs continue to point out. We are also encouraged by the increase in campaign groups that are challenging the political status quo.

One such campaign is Wirral Needs ,which although may be too closely politically aligned for us to maintain our neutrality, it is fair to say we broadly support the campaign to prevent the continuing dismantling of public services.  However we don’t think it’s just about serving the needs of the wealthy – it’s also about serving the needs of the political classes locally and nationally and fuelled by self interest and nepotism.

From the Wirral Needs campaign:

Please continue mobilising for our protests against public-sector cuts and privatisation:

      5pm Monday 11th December, Wallasey Town Hall, for the Full Council meeting at 6pm – the WIRRAL NEEDS petition is on the agenda; support our speaker, and

      9am Monday 18th December, Wallasey Town Hall, for the Cabinet meeting at 10am – we expect all the proposed cuts 2018/19.

 This weekend, every Labour Member of the Council will receive copies of the attached letter, joint position statement and leaflet in advance of the Labour Group meeting on Monday 4th  

The letter is published here :

To each Member of the Labour Group, Wirral Council

SERVE HUMAN NEED NOT GREED: STOP CUTS & PRIVATISATION

A petition of Wirral people has been submitted for the Council meeting on 11th December.  It calls on our Labour-controlled Council to start seriously fighting cuts to, and privatisation of, our much-needed public services.  That means no longer doing the Tories’ dirty work, and ending secretive decision-making.

It means working with unions to protect and build all the services we need on the Wirral for safe, useful work and fulfilling lives.  It means getting out of the Town Hall and helping to lead a mass public campaign against Tory austerity, greed, hypocrisy and cruelty to working and marginalised people.

The petition will be supported by a demonstration of protest by local people, including many Labour Party members – a protest against a Labour Council, which has been serving the needs of the wealthy and not the needs of workers, dependents and vulnerable people.

We are asking you to support the people of Wirral.

Whether the Labour old guard finally realise that there are people out there who want  Wirral politicians to finally change for the better or whether they’ll resort to the time-honoured tradition of  denial, carrying on as abnormal and claiming conspiracies against them – be it from the left or the right – only the ‘Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ will know!………….

Standards and Measures

We promised to revisit the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  ‘It Has To Stop’  story with our considered views on the role of Wirral Council’s Standards Panel/ Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee and the measures they have taken to sanction LRJ. As we said :

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

So let’s briefly recap what sanctions that LRJ faced for being a bad – but by means the worst – councillor at Wirral Council

  •  suspension from the local Labour Group

The Labour Group ‘leader’ , Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies in a rare show of authority recommended permanent expulsion 

  •  referral to the Labour Party regional body ( Labour Northwest) 

Labour Northwest ,who must be heartily sick to the back teeth of Wirral Labour Party careerists, sorry members, commuted the suspension to 6 months 

  • removal of the Labour Party whip 

Thus isolating LRJ from the ‘support’ of the local Labour Party machine. Although we have to say the Labour Party whip would have to have the skills of an ex-lion tamer with a whip and a chair to keep local Labour members under control

  • removal of LRJ representing Wirral Council on outside bodies

Although we’re not sure whether this involved any loss of remuneration (our money)

  •  asked to make full apology to whistleblowers 

And look how that went! LRJ came across as an obstreberous 6 year old stamping her feet and crossing her arms in protest at being found with her hands in the cookie jar

  • asked to make a full apology to all elected members at next full Wirral Council meeting

We won’t hold our breath waiting for LRJ to humbly apologise for her misdemeanours 

As we all know the last councillor to face the Standards Panel prior to LRJ was ex- Wirral council leader and mayor Cllr Steve ‘ Don’t Mention Sorrento’ Foulkes. And what sanctions were imposed on him for being a serial liar?

  • asked to make an apology  to the then Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green

Even though by his own admission Cllr Green WAS NOT THE COMPLAINANT!

  • Er, that’s it  

Bit of a discrepancy don’t you think?, especially when the reason given by clapped out Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin for the local Labour group going after LRJ was her lack of ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness. We’re left wondering whether Matron should have been on the Standards Panel in the first place . She nearly came a cropper for declaring she put her personal friendship with Kevin Miller ,the former monumental failure of a Director of Adult Social Services, above her civic duties.

But then Matron isn’t the only errant councillor in this farrago. Where were the rest of the councillors of all parties when the first Patricia Thynne report was published and where Foulkesy said he couldn’t possibly have handed over a document attempting  to smear Cllr Jeff Green to duplicitous journalist Liam Murphy because there would have to have been an adjournment of the Council meeting when it was alleged he had done so.

Apparently neither ‘investigator’ Thynne or any Wirral councillor bothered to check the minutes because they would have found out that there had indeed been an adjournment. This was one of the reasons that a second (costly) investigation took place and enabled several witnesses to later testify that they saw Foulkesy hand over the incriminating document to Murphy. Something which he had denied in the first investigation. The only explanation we think of for this particular lack of scrutiny is that councillors must have all just sat there and said  : ”  Well, it’s Foulkesy, innit, what do you expect?”

Clearly our expectations are out of step with our local elected members and until they realise they are accountable to us we’re afraid it will remain forever thus.

So when it comes to ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness we’re left thinking that Foulkesy is even more lacking than LRJ – and that’s really sayin’ somethin’ ! What it doesn’t do is explain the difference in the measures made against each respective councillor.

But then those who regularly read Wirral Leaks will know exactly what the explanation is…..

Meanwhile compare and contrast these respective investigators comments :

LRJ v Foulkesy 017

LRJ v Foulkesy 019

 

 

 

‘It Has To Stop’

AnimatedStop

‘It has to stop’ …..

These were the poignant words used by one of the whistleblowers at last night’s special meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee. These whistleblowers had been found to have been victimised by Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) at a Standards Panel hearing held in June.

As we flagged up last week  in our Sorry/Not Sorry – The LRJ saga continues story it seems that LRJ didn’t offer up an adequate apology for her actions and compounded the original breach by continuing to victimise the same people who had been brave enough to act in the public interest and raise their concerns about how LRJ had allegedly handled the financial affairs of a charity.

We recommend you watch both parts of the John Brace videos below to witness the full halloween horrorshow.

Needless to say  it won’t surprise any of you to hear we have a few observations to make on proceedings. It was frankly sickening to witness the weasel words of all the councillors on the committee –  ‘beyond belief’,’disbelief’, ‘astonishing’, ‘disappointing’ were used to describe the actions/inactions of LRJ. However it was particularly galling to hear it from Labour councillors and especially from Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who in full  Matron mode ( stern looks and crossed arms) uttered the immortal words :

As the Labour  member on the (Standards) Panel it was very difficult for me  to hear that a Labour councillor had used her position as a councillor to damage the reputation and the livelihoods of other people. It goes without saying that people who come into this council were elected to serve the residents of the borough and not to use our position to do damage to them………

This was breathtaking hypocrisy – as she of all people knows only too well that Labour councillors have been destroying the reputation and livelihoods of whistleblowers and those who call them out or won’t go along with their cover ups for years and years and years. It’s like the year 2012 has been erased from history.

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

Meanwhile we’ll just wait and see as to whether LRJ finally offers a meaningful apology to her victims, whether the local Labour Group does indeed impose further sanctions and whether LRJ turns up to provide Council with a fulsome and sincere apology at their next meeting in December.

As for the whistleblowers all we can hope for is that, for them , the nightmare does ‘stop’. Although our knowledge of whistleblowers on Wirral is that it never ‘stops’ – the sense of loss, injustice and powerlessness stays with them for a very long time.

We also have to ask ourselves whether the appalling conduct of some councillors will ever ‘stop’ without meaningful , equitable and proportionate sanctions.

 

I Can See Cleary Now The Labour Reign Is Gone

_everythings_gone_green
The most heartwarming news of the local elections was the astonishing result of the Green Party ‘s Pat Cleary taking the Birkenhead & Tranmere seat.

And so we say “Bye Bye Bri” and farewell then to Labour cabinet member Brian Kenny who was very much part of Labour group power elite.

Meanwhile a less than gracious Power Boy Pip dismissed the momentous event as a “protest vote”   Displaying his usual lack of political acumen he failed to elaborate on what this was actually a protest against and at the same time displayed his contempt for the voters of Birkenhead and Tranmere. Could it be they were voting for someone who actually bothers to be active in the community and can cogently explain the Green Party’s ideology?

Meanwhile the usually mute Alison McGovern ,who apparently is a Wirral MP ( who knew?),popped up out of hibernation and offered the unique insight that only a MP can bring to the party  by saying  “you can get funny results at elections”.
Thanks for that Ali Bongo – you can get back in your (ballot) box now.

No reaction so far from Birkenhead MP Frank Field in whose constituency this remarkable result took place in – but then this is a man so much in denial he’ll say that the outcome of the election in fact endorses the wonderful work that he and his team are doing in the area.  No, Frank dearie it’s not,it’s really,really not.

Also on the way out is pesky (former ) Councillor Ian Lewis. We can only hope that his peskiness proves to be more of a potent force outside the Town Hall than inside because we need as many people as possible who are willing to shake up the political scene on Wirral.

Finally might we suggest that the result in Birkenhead/Tranmere will do more than any damning report to rattle the ruling Labour group out of their political complacency.
Whilst it wouldn’t surprise us if the resounding result is dismissed by these golf-obsessives as the “rub of the green” (geddit) we must remember that power is what these people crave and when one of their own is taken down these people must finally sit up and take note that they can no longer rely on a docile and compliant electorate – which can only be a good thing for democracy and the people of Wirral.