Advent Farewell 10 – Question Everything

question-everything

As we’ve commented earlier in this Advent adventure we’re lovin’ the emergence of a seemingly increasingly questioning Wirral public. It would seem that Wirral politicians relying on the supine,docile and uninformed seem to be over……and they don’t like it! Witness yesterday’s public meeting organised by Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood about the Hoylake Golf Resort proposals. An increasingly exasperated Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies was told to ‘stop sulking’ by a member of the public when he was repeatedly forced to halt his oft-repeated stream of BS. It’s called public accountability Pip – get used to it and quit with the titty-lip!

And we don’t know what superannuated Cllr Gerry Ellis is putting in his Horlicks – but can we have some? We couldn’t have done better than describe the dodgy housing development on the Green Belt masquerading as a ‘golf resort’ as ‘Phil’s Folly’

And apparently there’s more to come as tomorrow’s full Council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall which features more pesky members of the public wanting answers to various questions . We anticipate the BS quotient from Pip & Co will be through the Wallasey Town Hall roof. We’d like suggest that people might be better off making Freedom of Information requests  but let’s face it , they probably wouldn’t be – life’s too short.

We are also breathless with anticipation as to whether Cllr Louise Reecejones actually turns up and offers a grovelling apology to rest of the council chamber and the public gallery for previously failing to make an acceptable apology for conduct unbecoming an elected member as well as being , well  Cllr Louise Reecejones and therefore not  one of the protected Labour Party  cabal. Fortunately there are a number of attendees in the public gallery who’ve promised us some feedback on events as they unfold – so we look forward to reporting all the gory details.

Until then we’ll leave you with the petition organised  by the Hoylake & West Kirby Campaign Group which has forwarded to us. And finally remember – when it comes to Wirral Council – question everything!

A few days ago the petition, below, was delivered to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, signed by 600+ people. The Council will now go through its ‘validation process’ which means excluding any signature which was not accompanied by a full address.

People are still waiting for Margaret Greenwood, the Wirral West MP, to oppose Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to devastate the NW England Greenbelt at Hoylake and West Kirby.

SAVE WIRRAL’S COUNTRYSIDE.
STOP THE HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT.
STOP THE URBANISATION OF WIRRAL’S GREENBELT.
To – PHIL DAVIES, Council Leader, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED.

We are opposed to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to build the exclusive ‘HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT’ on 285 acres of the Birket Valley, which is publicly owned greenbelt land.
The Council’s plan includes: the construction of roads; car parking; a luxury housing estate; a 250 bedroom, exclusive hotel; a spa; and a conference centre. The Hoylake Municipal Golf Course is to be relocated. There are already 17 golf courses in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough. Most Wirral residents do not play golf. Hoylake already has two golf courses, one privately owned and one publicly owned. There is no need for another, private golf course in the Hoylake/West Kirby area.
The Council has failed to act in an open, transparent and fair manner, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project. . A Freedom of Information request (FOI request 827270), of August 2014, revealed that the Council had paid £237,012, of public funds, to consultants, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project.
The Council failed to allow members of the public to participate at an early stage in the planning process, in an effective way, when ALL options were open. There is no evidence that the Council allowed members of the public to propose any alternative plans for the 285 acre area or for the area to remain as it is.
There is no guarantee that the exclusive Hoylake Golf Resort would be an economic success. Golf resorts, all over the world, have gone bankrupt, including several in the USA and one in Northern Ireland. The proposed, private Hoylake Golf Resort would have a detrimental impact on the Hoylake and West Kirby landscape. It would urbanise a rural area.
We, the undersigned, call on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council to cancel its exclusive ‘Hoylake Golf Resort’ plan. Housing should be built on ‘brown field’ sites, not on valuable, much appreciated, ‘green belt’ land, in the borough.
We believe that the remaining Wirral greenbelt countryside should be protected.
The construction of the Hoylake Golf Resort would not be in the interest of the local community.

NAME SIGNATURE ADDRESS DATE

…………… …………………… ……………….………… ……
Published by: Hoylake and West Kirby Campaign Group.

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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!………….

‘Hub’ Hubris – The ‘Defend Our NHS’ fight back opens the party season

Hunt

As the  party season arrives here is our first notification from our good friends Defend Our NHS (DONHS) Wirral that they’re organising  ‘a bit of a do’ .

Of course all we can do is sarcasm and satire so we doff our caps to those out there who actually give a damn and go out there and do something about it. They’ve also listed other dates that should interest you if you care about the future of the NHS – including a Clinical Commissioning Group meeting to be held tomorrow (see below).

We would also add that Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 27th November is a date for the diary for anyone interested in bloody ‘hubs’ and more specifically ‘integrated commissioning hubs’. Sorry scrub that – as you can see all the interesting stuff that affects YOUR life and health will be discussed behind closed doors. Because that’s how Wirral Council roll (over all of us).

STP Hub

Dear friends of the NHS,

First the good news: we’re having a Christmas Party! We wanted to celebrate all we’ve done in the past year and give everyone a much -needed chance to relax from campaigning and to make and renew acquaintances with fellow NHS defenders.

It will be in central Birkenhead on the evening of Friday 8th December. There will be hot and cold food available. If we are to go ahead and make final arrangements, we need to know who is coming AND if you want food. (Food – something like chilli/curry with a vegetarian option – will be available at a cost of up to £10; it could be less if we have enough people. Any extra money will be used for printing leaflets and room hire.)

Only people who reply by 27th November to say they are coming will be sent the final details and ticket arrangements. Email now!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

But now the bad news – and we’re afraid there’s little else.

You will know that our campaigning this year has concentrated on Wirral Council. We wanted them to do a simple thing: to make good on the agreed policy to oppose the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation plan/partnership’ (STP).

They agreed this in December 2016 – yet it took the leader of the Council, Phil Davies, eight months to send off the letter to Jeremy Hunt.

We’ve been lobbying and briefing councillors and pointing out the wickedness of the STP and its associated ‘accountable care organisation/system’.

Only last month councillors agreed that, “This Council will, therefore, remain opposed to changes and savings which place the achievements of our NHS at risk.

The STP would involve £1bn CUTS for the Cheshire and Merseyside area.

The reduced budget will have to pay for social care AS WELL AS our NHS services.

Meanwhile the party to which most Wirral councillors belong has adopted a policy of complete reinstatement of the NHS.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered the following…

21 11 2017 - DONHS picture (1)

Guess who’s advising Wirral on this? Yes, Private Eye’s old friends, global auditing company Price Waterhouse Cooper– PwC (known in the trade as ‘profits without conscience’). 

On Wirral we have already seen how quickly cuts can be implemented. Eastham Walk-In centre was closed within days with no consultation with the public. We have already been warned about the “really big cuts to come” and everyone has evidence of long delays for appointments, staff shortages, service cuts and rationing.

Thanks to a fantastic community campaign the Eastham centre is to be re-opened. But will this be at the expense of A&E at Arrowe Park?

To compound the misery Wirral clinical commissioning group have secretly agreed to talk to Wirral partners (including the Council) and potentially to send a letter to NHSE requesting Wirral CCG join something called the ‘Capped Expenditure Programme’. If you want to know why this is terrifying read this from the BMA:

Have YOU been consulted on any of this? Does any of it meet the NHS mission of ‘no decision about me without me’?

We are simply flabbergasted – but we will fight back, and we urge you to do the same.

                        …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

What can we do if the NHS is to have a happy Christmas?

Join us and fight to reverse NHS cuts & privatisation

      Oppose the STP and ACS

      Insist that your councillors and MPs do the same

      Fight for the full restoration of an effective NHS

      Ensure that the Eastham NHS Walk-In Centre is re-opened without damage to other services (for example NO cuts to Arrowe Park A&E)

       Achieve an emergency £20m increase for Wirral NHS funding

      Come to the CCG ‘consultation’ meeting in Mayer Hall, Bebington from 6.30pm WEDNESDAY 22nd NOVEMBER

      Protest at the Wirral cabinet meeting, Wallasey town hall, 9am MONDAY 27TH NOVEMBER

      Protest at the Wirral council meeting, Wallasey town hall, 5pm MONDAY 11TH DECEMBER

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

ALL Wirral councillors have been asked these three simple questions:

  1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts? YES/NO
  2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
  3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

The replies we’ve received so far are very interesting.

And note that all Wirral MPs have been asked to pledge allegiance to the NHS at https://weownit.org.uk/nhstakeback Guess how many have?

IF OUR COUNCILLORS AND MPs FAIL TO JOIN US IN DEFENDING THE NHS WE HAVE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION.

SOME OF THEM WON’T LIKE IT.

                        ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                        Reminder:

  1. Reply now and tell us how many tickets you want for the Christmas party.
  2. Put those meeting dates in your diary and join us.
  3. Share this email and the information as widely as you can. And finally:
  4. We have been campaigning locally to defend our NHS for almost seven years. We need some new blood in the team who will DO things. If you are as determined as us to make this a happy NHS Christmas get in touch.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                        Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

                        defendournhswirral@gmail.com

                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

                        https://twitter.com/DefendourNHS



The Skwawking Canary Comes Home To Roost

 

SAINT-FRANK

Yes ,we know it’s not a canary but then Frank’s no saint!

There are alternative sources out there for the politically curious beyond the usual newspaper columns, press releases and soundbites.

Indeed we’ve been inundated with contacts providing links to a couple of left -leaning blogs The Canary and Skwawkbox and telling us that they’re singing our song.

And so it would seem there’s only so much backstabbing of the Labour Party leader that Corbynistas are prepared to tolerate from Birkenhead MP Frank Field.

Firstly, The Canary rustles Frank Field’s feathers by challenging him on his reprehensible stand on paying disabled people less than the National Living Wage (NLW). Apparently this is because their work has “an economic value below the legal minimum wage”. He says his idea is to help employers “to take on low-productivity disabled workers”. Field, in his typical high handed manner ,dismisses criticism of his standpoint as “absurd” . Might we suggest as a point of comparison he checks out the “economic value” of some of the charlatans on six figure salaries running Wirral Council?

Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) believes that Field does not understand why his comments have upset disabled people. She told The Canary:

For anyone in this day and age to hold those views, and especially someone in Frank Field’s position, is abominable. It is exactly the same sort of thinking as the Nazi ‘useless eaters’ rhetoric.

John McArdle from campaign group Black Triangle also criticised Field :

The right to equal treatment and equality are human rights. Human rights are not privileges. That’s why they are called rights. I suggest Mr Field goes back to the drawing board. His comments are a disgrace and he should now apologise. Furthermore, if the Labour Party wishes to prove that it has truly changed its tune, it will need to demonstrate that the New Labour old guard are no longer calling the shots and put the voices of disabled people first.

The last time we looked, Mr Field was not a spokesperson for disabled people.

Read the full article here : Sack Field

However talking of the ‘old guard’ Field and his cabal will be facing a much more serious and pressing challenge much closer to home at tonight’s Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) AGM to be held at The Lauries.

Skwawkbox reports a local activist as saying  that :  “The cabal of right-wing, clapped-out councillors needs a shakeup. We now have a record membership – they just need to turn up, in numbers, and make change happen!”

This is like a line from our back pages as is the ‘slate’ for a member driven Birkenhead CLP  which includes the following commitments . These are the ones that stood out for us but the full list can be found here: Birkenhead CLP AGM

  •  A member driven CLP run from the bottom up ,not a top-down Cabal .
  •  A more competent CLP ; where meetings are properly organised, and managed  for the benefit of ALL members ,not just the needs of a few Councillors or the MP
  • Honesty,integrity and openness;where decisions are democratically arrived at, and nobody is bullied, disenfranchised or discriminated against by those with agendas or vested interests
  • A more visible , and active CLP ; that campaign’s on multiple fronts (locally and nationally) not just to preserve the careers of elected members ! we will be more visible and active than ever – in our Community and beyond

Ouch!

But then we’ve always maintained that it was only a long established small cabal who were responsible for bringing the local Labour Party into such disrepute. Furthermore we always said that it would be party members who would finally call time on this abuse of power.  We shall be following tonight’s developments with interest in anticipation of ,not so much a coup d’état , as a coup de grâce – for everyone’s sake it really is time to put the old guard out of their (and our)  misery.

PuppetMaster

Election Special: Leading with the Left

FFvsJC

Southpaw v Glass Jaw

Call us the ‘Imp of the Perverse’ if you must but we were delighted that the Labour Party did much better than predicted in the General Election.

Of course this was mainly because that after Birkenhead MP Frank Field’s continual sniping and undermining of Labour leader Jezza Corbyn and Wallasey MP Angela Eagle’s failed leadership coup against him , both of them now look rather foolish, duplicitous and frankly out of touch with their own Labour Party members (no change there then!)

Election Selection : Week 6

Of course we know that Corbyn was assisted by the calamitous campaign of the Conservatives and he’s getting a bit carried away with himself when he says ” It’s pretty clear who won the election”  . Sorry to have to tell you Jezza it wasn’t you or the Labour Party in terms of votes cast ,seats won or percentage of the overall vote (44% – 41%) and let’s not forget the Conservatives – with the dubious assistance of the Democratic Unionist Party – are still in power.

Nevertheless it was a jolly good show – and after Brexit and Trump yet another two finger salute from the public to political pundits.

It must be galling for Frankenfield in particular, to have to say through gritted teeth and prissy pursed lips :  “This is real success for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn”

After all,could it be that only on May 16 Frankenfield became the first Labour politician to call for the party to split after the election following what The S*n  described as an ‘expected election thumping’. Described by this disgraced organ as “the respected Labour grandee” ,they reported that Frankenfield had called for MPs to form the “People’s Labour” bloc in the Commons if Jeremy Corbyn refused to quit in June.

We’ve got news for you Frankenfield, Jezza ain’t goin’ nowhere ( although we can’t say the same about Tory leader Theresa May!)

So tell us Frank – do they serve humble pie in those foodbanks of yours?………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Election Selection : Week 3

frank-and-corbyn

Frank’n’Jezza do the foodbank fandango

Fleetfooted Frank 

When it comes to the question of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ,our very own Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead ,Frank Field, have danced around each other with all the deftness , if not the grace, of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Firstly it should be remembered that Frankfield nominated Jezza for the Labour leadership to encourage ‘debate’ within the Labour Party , when Corbyn cruised to victory he immediately started backtracking and backstabbing  Jezza – regularly briefing the press about Corbyn’s supposed shortcomings including agreeing with J.K.Rowling, the dreary and self righteous writer of tedious children’s tales, that Corbyn was an electoral liability. There appeared to be a slight rapprochement when last year Frankenfield invited Jezza to one of his ideologically dodgy ‘feed the poor’ projects just after the latter had seen off a leadership challenge . Frankenfield was even recently named in an article in the Daily Telegraph (aka Torygraph) as one of Corbyn’s staunchest supporters alongside John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. Huh? – we must have missed that!

The Urge to Purge

Now in his latest media interview published this week Field acts the drama queen again –  clutching his chest and saying that it’s a ‘tragedy’ that Corbyn can’t sell vote winning policies. We’re wondering whether Field is referring to same policies which he described last year as ‘serious claptrap’!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-36629342/corbyn-has-serious-claptrap-problem

There is a particularly interesting revelation in the interview that ‘left-wingers’ (presumably Corbynistas within the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party) had been preparing an attempt to remove him as Labour candidate for the next General Election – just as Militant tried 30 years ago. Sadly, this latest threat to his personal fiefdom of Birkenhead vanished when Theresa May called a snap election and all sitting Labour MPs were automatically reselected. “I have been imposed by Jeremy,” he joked. “I have had this indignity of the leader imposing me on the party.” 

Oh, Frank you’re such a wag!

Frankenfield, 74, also said the prospect of retirement filled him with dread: “I would collapse soon, it would be over. I hope to hit the wall running, that’s the aim.”

Talk about amateur dramatics! – makes us want to pass Frankenfield some metaphorical rollerskates so he can hit the wall much quicker and with greater force.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/frank-field-tragedy-corbyn-cant-sell-vote-winning-policies/

Angela’s Activists

Talking of amateur , Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has proved herself to be a rank amateur when it comes to political guile , especially when compared to Frankenfield. We hear from a Labour insider that Wallasey Constituency Labour Party activists have flown the Eagle’s nest to assist Margaret Greenwood’s campaign in  Wirral  West.

Now we don’t know whether this is a result Ange’s attempted leadership coup against Jezza which might have upset the Corbynistas within Wallasey CLP or it was the Brickgate episode or the false allegations of homophobia made against party activists . Alternatively  it could be Labour party activists have made a pragmatic decision to campaign in what will be the only closely contested election on Wirral.

As surely they must know that  Tony Caldeira – a distant runner up in this week’s Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor election to Steve ‘The Brickie’ Rotheram-  will find much richer pickings ( pun intended) in the West Wirral constituency.

Rising Wood

Gillian Wood’s ascendency to councillor for Claughton, where she stand alongside Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies, elicited some comments about her involvement in the Wallasey CLP shenanigans

Gilly Keeps Bad Company in Claughton

We can’t confirm any of these allegations , mainly as the people who made the allegations have never been identified . However  we have been reliably informed that her partner, James Laing, stood for Labour in a safe Tory seat of Eddisbury in the last General Election. Her son Tom Laing is also active in Wirral Young Labour.  So with Gilly’s electoral victory could we be looking at a rising political dynasty on Wirral?………….

Mayor Balls

Metro Loco 015

So have you all voted yet in the bore-fest that is the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor election?

We studied the Mayoral election booklet that was sent to Leaky Towers before we decided where to place our X ( or X X – as we lucky people get to choose a second candidate!) We’re still not sure what the Liverpool City Region ‘Metro’ Mayor is for , although we read that he – because let’s face it it will be Steve the Brickie – will have a range of powers including strategic housing and planning ,transport and highways, business growth, energy and environment, finance and European funding.  He’ll be a busy boy then – although doing what exactly we’re not quite sure. I suppose we should be thankful that this election didn’t take place 20 years ago as our very own Frank Field said he’d fancy his chances. Can you imagine Frankenfield meddling in everything left, right and centre? Frightening! But anyway back to the current eight candidates and their policies/pledges/pleas/promises – call them what you will…………………… http://liverpoolcityregionelects.org/media/1006/mayoral-booklet.pdf

We’re trying to be objective here but what struck us reading them all is that Steve ‘Brickie’ Rotheram’s pages are decidedly short on any actual concrete plans. Plenty of soundbites and platitudes  and needless to say ‘the vision thing’-  “ My vision is for a region that is ambitious ,fair,green,connected and together”, ” I will stand up for every community and ensure every voice is listened to”  etc; etc;  Yes , Steve , but how?

All of the other candidates set out exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it . Even though one candidate Paul Breen doesn’t appear in the booklet at least we can tell from his handle Get The Coppers Off The Jury what he wants to achieve !

Roger Bannister ( Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – TUSC) may not be the same man who was the first to run the mile in under 4 minutes but he does set out 5 key aims.  Tony Caldeira (the Conservative Party) sets out a 6 point ‘Tony’s Plan for the City Region’ .

Similarly Tom Crone (Green Party)) has a 5 point plan as does Tabitha Morton ( Women’s Equality Party) who has the same number of ‘priorities’. Carl Cashman has 4 parts to his ‘vision’ whilst Paula Walters (UKIP) must have double vision as there are 8 parts to her particular ‘vision’ for the City region.

Shame that none of the visions ,plans ,priorities will come to fruition as we know that with six boroughs in the City region and all of them Labour-controlled that Steve the Brickie is a shoo-in . This might explain his ‘can’t be arsed’ entry prepared by his agent , head of North West Labour executive, Anna Hutchinson. We are however treated to a full page picture of Steve the Brickie wistfully gazing into the middle distance wearing a ’96’ badge , campaigning wristbands and stroking a puppy ( we made the bit about the puppy up – but you get our drift).

So having considered all the information on offer we’ve decided to vote for Tabitha Morton from the Women’s Equality Party. With a name like that she seems to be ‘one of us! one of us! one of us!’ to purloin Steve the Brickie’s rather cultish election tagline. Talking of cults wouldn’t it also be good to shake up the tired old male -dominated City Region political scene? Go Tabitha!

 

Metro Loco 022

Purdah Palaver

Steve Rotheram 012

Apparently we are in ‘Purdah’ – the period prior to an election where public bodies are constrained when it comes to communications in case it adversely interferes with the democratic election process.

The ‘democratic process’ involved at this particular time is the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority ‘Metro Mayor’ election on Thursday 4th May.  We’ve had our poll cards posted through the letterbox at Leaky Towers and tossed it into the junk mail tray in acknowledgement of the sheer futility of voting in this particular political sideshow. Whilst it will provide cash-strapped Wirral Council Returning Officer Eric Robinson with another bumper payout it will be , as far as we’re concerned , just another stepping stone on the road to political oligarchy. The People’s Socialist Republic of Merseyside –  only not for the people and without the socialism obviously.

However ‘Purdah’ gives Wirral Council the excuse to be even less forthcoming with the public than they usually are. But it’s not all bad news – it means the publication of Wirral View has been suspended.  Which surely is a tacit admission that the truly terrible rag is indeed a political tool and was never intended to address anyone’s ‘information deficit’.

Talking of which – some of you may have had the privilege and honour of having the Labour Party leaflet in support of Labour candidate Steve Rotheram shoved through your letterbox.

As you can see from our above picture it tells you everything you need to know as to why a once great party is now appealing to the lowest common denominator.  Steve’s big selling point apparently is that he is a ‘brickie’ and therefore ‘one of us’. Although he’s not a brickie – he’s an ex-brickie and now very much part of the political elite. The only way being an ex-brickie is a selling point when it comes to being the ‘Metro Mayor’ is if Steve is going to personally help build new homes to meet government housing targets!

Sadly for us it’s a further demonstration that the once great Labour Party (and particularly some elements of the local party ) have become in the words of a memorable phrase we picked up this week ,  ‘the pitiers of the poor’.   Witness the evangelical zeal (and we use the term advisedly ) with which local foodbanks are promoted whilst one of their political leader jets off to Cannes and stays in £407 a night hotels. This one to be precise :

Marriott cannes 2

Of course Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ rationale would be that he’s there to ensure international investors will flock to the insular peninsula to ensure future prosperity of Wirralians forevermore.  However after the many past fruitless excursions around the world have resulted in rotten tomatoes we’d be forgiven for waiting until something actually comes to fruition. And then if it does why do we get the impression that the beneficiaries will be big business and the political / council officer elite setting themselves up nicely for when Wirral Council becomes merely a ‘local commissioning hub’ for the Liverpool City Region?

The Man in the Mirror

PIPMirrorKisser.jpg

Portrait courtesy of Leaky Towers resident artist Tolose Letruth

Now we know there’s a call for Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies (and others) to resign in the light of the corporate failure to adequately safeguard vulnerable children.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037017/Conservative%20NoM.pdf

But of course it won’t happen. Not only is it a case of Tory grandstanding it’s also a truism that no-one takes responsibility for failure in public life these days – least of all at woebegone Wirral  Council.

However we do begin to wonder what Power Boy Pip sees when he looks in the mirror. If as they say “there is nothing worse for the lying soul than the mirror of reality”  we thought we’d hold up that mirror so he could take a close look at his ‘strong’ leadership.

This is the man who as far back as 2009 and as chair of a so-called disciplinary hearing allowed incompetent,bullying liars from social services off the hook and sent them back to the department to wreak further havoc  – only for the truth to be revealed 3 years later, resulting in Wirral Council having to pick up a £220,000 tab for their sly and deceitful departure ; This is the man who lamely declared “there’s nothing we can do” to hold senior officers to account after they’d landed Wirral Council with £31 million of toxic debt as ” they’d all left”. No , get it right Pip- you’d  paid them off to make all that unpleasantness go away; This is the man who got Michael Frater to do his dirty work when sending Director of Law Bill Norman off site ; This is the man who didn’t have the backbone to stay in the same room when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak at the final meeting of the  LGA Improvement Board in 2013; This is the man who doesn’t seek answers to difficult questions (see below) and does not suspend nor subsequently condemn the behaviour of dishonest councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies; This is the man who doesn’t take action but hides behind action plans; This is the man who more recently failed to hold errant senior officers to account for behaviour that should have seen them sacked and instead reaches for the chequebook ;This is a man who when the going gets tough jets off to China ; This is a man who appoints a personal policy adviser/control freak to create that illusory image in the mirror; This is the man who believes the strong leader model is a sign of strength when in fact the need to control everything from council committees to the local media is indicative of a lack of confidence and an insecurity about scrutiny ; This is not a strong leader. This is a flushed and fidgeting failure.

To reflect back even more we are grateful to a disillusioned local Labour Party member who has sent us a copy of an email asking :

labour-leaflet-009

We’ve  copied the most pertinent parts of the email below underlining points of interest and added our comments (in red of course) . And again we must reiterate we aren’t anti-Labour we just want them to be better than they are or more specifically the small number of party members who abuse their power . But ultimately it’s up to local Labour Party members to decide whether they want to save the soul of their party and not impertinent blogs , opposition councillors or indeed the people of Wirral.

The Wirral Labour Party is in the process of selecting candidates to stand for election in May 2018.
                    Applications are now open until Monday 31st October 2016.

Halloween – how appropriate for this horrorshow!, no more killer clowns need apply! 

Winning the LGA award for Most Improved Council in Britain 2015 is testament to the hard work which has gone into improving Wirral Council by Labour, Council staff and partners.

Talk about Freudian slip !  – this discredited and increasingly ridiculous looking award was given by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and NOT the Local Government Association (LGA) . Although we are convinced it was the LGA who twisted LGC’s arm to invent this bogus endorsement and  enable Wirral Council to keep up the charade until further failures showed up what a sham the award was in the first place!. 

We must not become complacent though. It is a challenging time for Wirral and to be a Wirral Labour councillor. Wirral faces unprecedented budget challenges that will require Labour Councillors and candidates to be real community champions, seeking answers to difficult questions and engaging in the transformation process of the authority.

Not so much complacent as controlling . And as above demonstrates the difficult questions are never asked never mind answered!.  

Many of our Labour priorities can only be delivered through local action, and Labour’s core band of Councillors is the party’s front line and strong link with residents and local agencies.

The decisions made by councillors in Wirral affect people’s quality of life in countless ways, from education to housing and regeneration, community safety, environment, roads, care for older people, sport and culture, and helping local businesses to thrive.

This is what worries us ! – Labour appoint a councillor with a track record of dishonesty to the Planning Committee , a councillor who doesn’t acknowledge never mind address problems in Children’s Services as their Cabinet lead and the scrutiny of his area of responsibility is undertaken by a Chair who previously failed to safeguard vulnerable adults – what could possibly go wrong?. 

We need Labour councillors to reflect the communities they serve, empathise with local residents and communicate effectively with them. Only by ensuring there is a good range of councillors can we hope to do this.

Whilst we wholly endorse this approach – the end of fishing for councillors in the shallow end of the gene pool is only part of the solution. The other part is by throwing some unpalatable politicians over board. 

We want dynamic, committed members who welcome a challenge to stand for election to Wirral Council. You will need experience of party and community activity, campaigning, a commitment to Labour’s aims, values and policies, as well as enthusiasm to be part of effective service delivery and relationship building in Wirral.

We’d really love to know locally what are Labour’s aims values and policies – and please don’t point to the bloody 20 pledges. If someone was given a list of Labour’s actions – NOT words – the closure of services for vulnerable people, the lurch to privatisation, creating the illusion that Wirral Council is a business – a business that does not include public service , the courting of big business and private enterprise , the pursuit of mirages –  be it golf courses or international trade centres and ending up with foodbanks and call centres  ,selling off swathes of green belt  to property developers, a harsh approach to Council Tax reductions for the unemployed ,  they would all point to a Tory regime in all but name.

It’s all about finding people who are ordinary enough to be representative, but extraordinary enough to be representatives.

Extraordinary is the word – extraordinary that you’ve been getting away with what you have been up to  for years.

We want our candidates and councillors to be representative of the community they serve. Therefore, we are particularly keen to hear from women, young people and members of ethnic minorities who want to stand.

Are you sure ?- some of your leading politicians don’t seem keen on ethnic minorities in particular

Don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough about how the council works – we will provide training for all candidates and potential candidates.

Don’t worry if you don’t know enough about how the council works (!) – neither do we , we’ve been winging it for years !

What is expected of a Labour councillor?

The ability to abuse your power and if you don’t yet have power or influence – unquestioning compliance – in the hope that one day , you too can abuse your power?.

Support regular campaign and communications of the Labour Group
Raising the profile of Labour and its work for local residents
To be an ambassador for the Labour Party
To attend branch meetings and report and consult on all council activity
To campaign with Labour members on local issues
To recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action
To build a healthy party locally to do this you first have to get rid of the poison and that really does need some strong medicine . Sadly this is something  this ‘strong leader’ is seemingly not prepared to administer !

 

 

Frankie Rotter & The Council Chamber of Secrets

Chamber

Just when you thought Birkenhead MP Frankenfield couldn’t get any more publicity seeking there he goes taking time out from feeding starving mites and covering the arses of corrupt local politicians to write to popular author J.K. Rowling

Sadly the appeal of Ms.Rowling’s oeuvre is rather lost on us as  a) we’re adults and b) thoughts of boarding schools induces flashbacks of fagging.

Anyway apparently Labour Party donator J.K. has had a pop at Labour leader Jezza Corbyn on social media and who wades in gushing like a luvvie but our Frankie.

This ‘private’ letter managed to find itself all over the internet courtesy of it being published on Frank Field’s own website :

This latest stunt comes as no surprise to us as Frankenfield is drawn to the lustre of celebrity like a starstruck Stage Door Johnny . Who can forget his courting and feteing of Jerry Hall ( aka Mrs.Rupert Murdoch), alleged tax avoider and frocky horrorshow Vivienne Westwood and sex tape starlet Pamela Anderson ?.Frank & Stars

Talking of tapes – we guarantee even JK Rowling herself couldn’t come with a a story as fantastical as the Wirralgate saga. Although it does involve Frankenfield waving a magic wand in an attempt to make unpleasantness disappear in a puff of smoke.

As you can see from our feature picture above – we’ve included former Wirral Council Chief Executive Graham Burgess (aka Burgesski)  alongside Power Boy Pip , Gorgeous George and Frankie Rotter as one of the characters in the ongoing tale of intrigue. We wonder whether Frankie has shared with  new found friend “JK” how he tried to ,ahem, compromise Burgesski  by “demanding” he  agree pay the holders of the Wirralgate tapes a substantial sum of money equivalent to that which had been paid to close colleague . Burgesski was having none of it and resigned soon thereafter.

But then Frankenfield  is used to getting his own way as demonstrated by his pompous reference in his letter how Corbyn failed to do as Frankenfield told him. Now we know Jezza needs all the help he can get fighting members of his own party but we’re not sure the sage advice of the backstabbing Birkenhead MP is the way to go!.

Oh how we long for the day when Frankenfield gets his own “blast of reality” and in the final chapter of the Wirralgate saga he’s exposed as the  devious , hypocritical schemer that he really is.