Wirral Life – But Not As We Know It!

 

 

Press release

No dissent and no discussion. Press releases and publicity shots only please.  

Before we go we’d like to comment on the local media scene of which we were a very minor part. All we can say is that we fear for the future availability of alternative views or political commentary (now matter how ‘caustic’ or ‘mischievous’).

With Wirral News having thankfully committed hari-kari (or happy dispatch) shortly after the launch of Wirral Council’s very own Wirral View other local news sources seem to have been well and truly annexed.

Of course the appalling Liverpool Echo has never been properly attuned to Wirral politics or indeed Wirral itself despite their half-arsed attempt at lamely calling the local edition Wirral Echo. It’s always been a mouthpiece for the gobshites at Wirral Council. And it surely won’t come as any surprise to anyone that we understand Liam Murphy , the former political editor of Liverpool Echo, is now working for the local Labour group and has been for some time. Murphy was welcomed into the local corrupt Labour fold a) despite refusing to publish the dodgy document given to him by Cllr Steve Foulkes aka Foulkesy intending to ‘smear’ former Tory group leader Jeff Green b) grassing Foulkesy and Cllr George Davies up to Jeff Green about the ‘Wirralgate’ conspiracy and then  c) playing  a covert recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ recording to Wirral Council communications czarina, Emma Degg! And to think this fine exemplar of journalistic integrity refused to take part in the Patricia Thynne ‘Wirralgate’ investigations citing the need to protect his sources!

However never did we think that Wirral Globe would succumb to the undoubted pressures exerted on them by Wirral Council and we’d be experiencing the dark side of the Globe – and it’s not just us who’ve noticed the puff pieces, press releases, avoidance of high profile controversial stories ( the Cllr Reecejones case, the resignation of WUTH  CEO David Allison etc; ) and advertorials for private healthcare – Varicose Veins and retail outlets –  Beds

All we will say is that the Wirralgate tape must be the most valuable recording since Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’  – what better way to fend off threats to your career or advertising revenue than being in possession of the recording (or more accurately Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies listening to a recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ tape ).

Talking of advertorials we have seen the future of ‘journalism’ on Wirral and it would seem to be Wirral Life. The latest edition is here

Happy , shiny, Wirral Chamber of Commerce seemingly on every page, the same Botoxed, permatanned faces of Wirral’s business and ‘cultural’ (ha! ha!) elite in every edition . It looks lovely in their world but we wouldn’t want to live there – which may explain why we’re leaving you all to it!

One curious reader of Wirral Life brought our attention the picture of  a restaurant manager by the name of ‘Michael’ featured in the latest edition. Not only does his restaurant get a launch feature ,it also gets a glowing review courtesy of Nicky & Si who’s job seems to be going around gobbling grub and giving glowing reviews. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you’ve got the right connections- although needless to say we won’t be giving ‘Michael’ and his restaurant any free publicity even for a free kebab . However we would like to ask in this publication of publicity seekers why ‘Michael’ seems to be so modest ? Perhaps because he’s got a lot to be modest about ? Anyone able to provide the surname of this cheery chappy – as we understand he has a particularly interesting back story?

Mike Traynor 011

All we will say is always question how certain people get to where they are and exactly why they’re featured in the local media  – but exactly who’s going to do that questioning when we’ve gone?

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A Repulsive Exclusive

Echo exclusive 011

We understand that Wirral Council have just agreed a 3-year £750K contract with Trinity Mirror (publisher of the Liverpool Echo) to print their appalling rag Wirral View. This new arrangement  is due to start on December 1st so we just hope that council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , seen bopping away in a PRIVATE box in the Liverpool Echo Arena at last night’s Queen & Adam Lambert concert, paid for the dubious privilege or at least made an appropriate conflict of interest declaration. Just sayin’

However the arrangement seems to be bearing strange fruit for the Liverpool Echo as they publish an EXCLUSIVE! , presumably courtesy of Wirral Council ,on the repulsive Rajenthiram brothers Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case.

As we’ve already reported the Serious Case Review (SCR) report has not , and currently will not, be published . Instead  Liverpool Echo have today published a front page  EXCLUSIVE! under the headline  Grave Errors ‘ paved way for Wirral abuse scandal ‘. Inside on page 16 there are details of the 24 ( count’em) recommendations of the SCR.  Crime Reporter Joe Thomas chips in with the sub-heading ” Too many missed opportunities. The public should be told”  and bigs up the Echo’s role in revealing ‘concerns’. However after the bigging up comes the inevitable copping out as Joe says :

“The safeguarding situation on Wirral is said to be much different now ….”

And commenting on Wirral Safeguarding Children Board’s chair Dr Maggie Atkinson he adds :

” And she believes that improvements have already been made – and that the same failings seen in the Rajenthiram case would not be repeated today”

Yeah , whatever! Hey! Joe they said that in 2012 after the publication of a damning Independent Review about adult social services. They lie. It’s what these people do. Might we suggest you at  least check out the veracity of their claims before publishing.

Meanwhile we still think that the problem with Wirral Council is its culture and which is revealed in the 24th and last recommendation of the SCR  which reads :

To ensure the promotion of “professional curiosity” when vulnerable children seek advice 

Or in layperson’s terms – try and employ people who actually give a shit about their job and more importantly vulnerable people. Simple as that.

However isn’t it reassuring to know that the day before Wirral Council was humiliatingly yet again being called out for being crap all over the local TV and press that its ‘leader’ saw fit to play air guitar and headbang along to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ?

Any Old Ion

Regen 010

Currently awaiting artist’s impression.

Have you noticed how the supposed grand plans for the regeneration of Wirral (and Birkenhead in particular) are being disseminated in the the press in exactly the same incoherent , opportunistic and uncoordinated  way.

For example we’ve already covered how the charisma free zone that is Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson chose the trade press Inside Media (who?) to tease us about future major land and property deals Double Dealers

Subsequently there then followed  an announcement in the Liverpool Echo that there were plans to convert Wirral Council’s former finance building into student flats under the title ‘ Hamilton Hub’ (groan ). Here we learned that Liverpool-based developer YPG wants to convert these offices in Cleveland Street into an ‘apartment complex’ for 200 students. Hamilton Hub

Sze Ming Yeung, managing director of YPG, said: “Our research tells us there is a real appetite for this kind of student and key worker accommodation in the centre of Birkenhead, partly because of the city region’s excellent cross-river transport links.

Since YPG were set up in 2015 have been busy  helping turn Liverpool city centre into ‘Studentland’. It also won’t surprise you to read  HERE that Asif Hamid’s  Contact Company and YPG have teamed up on the controversial Monarch’s Quay development in Liverpool about which we commented on here :  Asif Attack

Well it would now appear that another one of these landscape changing deals is now out in the open. As apparently the developer behind the controversial Lime Street redevelopment in Liverpool has bought the site of an old Birkenhead railway station – and has vowed to use the land to transform the town. Into what?  Reno? Or has that desert mirage faded before our very eyes too ? We can hardly wait for the artist’s impressions !

We learn from the Liverpool Echo that Ion Property Developments has bought the site of the former Birkenhead Town station, off Tunnel Road between Borough Road and the Rock Retail Park. Ion, formerly known as Neptune Developments, has not yet revealed what it plans for the land. But it says the site is “in a strategic position for the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre”. Read the fully story here : Old Site

Wirral Leaks readers may remember that Neptune Developments had exciting plans to redevelop Birkenhead town centre and which included (gasp!) a drive-thru McDonald’s .  Mysteriously Neptune’s plans were kicked to the kerb by Wirral Council only to be replaced by new plans for  ,er,  a drive -thru Maccy D’s !

So now that Neptune Developments have had a re-branding and changed their name to Ion Property Developments could Managing Director Steve Parry be getting in on Asif Hamid’s act and is acquiring land and sitting back and waiting for the grants of public money to enable them to develop a bit of particularly undesirable piece of derelict land ? Of course Ion don’t quite have Hamid’s position of power and influence as chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board . We await developments (pun intended) with interest.

Meanwhile Wirral Globe are gamely still referring  to ‘the Wirral Waters regeneration project’ in a story about an ‘art installation’ on the site of what perhaps should have been an ‘International Trade Centre’. Forgive us for being so cynical but after the Stella Shiu debacle we feel we’re in for a continual series of piecemeal , ad-hoc developments being heralded as part of the ‘Wirral Waters regeneration project’ rather than the comprehensive transformation we’ve been sold . As a highways feasibility study tender issued last week demonstrates it would seem that there is still a long and winding road to travel before the Wirral waters regeneration project’ becomes a reality.

Regen 021

As an aside an interesting aspect of this story Wirral Waters  was the accompanying picture which included  ‘Community Arts Facilitator’ Cathy Warren alongside Birkenhead MP Frank Field. Could Ms Warren be in any way related to Frankenfield’s favoured report writer and former Judge Nicholas Warren?  I’m sure all of you who know how things work round here will know the answer to that one. 

Praise for Wirral Waters' art installation

Pic : Wirral Globe

Finally a concerned correspondent from over the Mersey has been in touch to provide us with a salutary tale and timely reminder as to what can happenwhen Due Diligence is sacrificed in favour of headline grabbing developments .

According to the Department for International Trade, ‘The UK continues to attract record levels of inward investment and remains extremely attractive to foreign investors.’ In fact George Osborne went to China with the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson to promote the ‘Northern Pitchbook’, with the £200 million New Chinatown development in Liverpool being the ‘centerpiece’ development 
In terms of Cash Only/Investor development investments, this is fast becoming a national scandal, which will have a very negative affect on UK/Chinese relations, and will seriously limit inward investment into the Northern Powerhouse. 
FACT 1 – Record numbers of Chinese and Hong Kong investors have been putting their money into northern developments, especially student accommodation and city apartments .Investors have to put 75% cash up front and the developments are usually ‘off-plan’. This means, in many cases, that not even the foundations have been built. 
FACT 2 – This has attracted the very ‘worst!’ of developers, which can be seen from the following information: 
[1] Angelgate Development- Manchester – which was developed by Pinnacle MC Global and went into liquidation in April 2015, leaving the development unfinished [foundations only]. By August, the developer told buyers the project had been “seriously undervalued” by around £14 million (HK$140.04 million), requiring additional funding in order to complete. The developer gave Angelgate [mainly Chinese/Hong Kong] investors two options: contribute more money to complete the project, or handle the construction themselves.According to a solicitor’s update from Pinnacle, a total of £13.2 million went to commissions and fees, with £7.9 million spent on “overheads, running costs and profits. [this begs the question: how can developers take profits when the development hasn’t actually been built]”An Angelgate investor said an estimated £32 million (HK$330 million) had been paid in deposit money from the buyers in the steering committee and they had filed reports with local police and fraud action groups.

 The Angelgate project was a scam and investors felt helpless, she said. One of the men involved in this development, Tony Freeman, has been arrested by the police. 
[2] Investors from around the world say they will never put money into Liverpool again after their experience of dealing with a city “landlord from hell”.

 They have been bombarding council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald [this man has also been arrested by the police for suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and intimidating witnesses.]with complaints about Nigel Russell, who runs a number of student properties around Liverpool. Investors say that if the council had carried out Due Diligence then they and fellow investors from as far away as Canada, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines may not have had to endure what they called years of hell.

 They had to endure months without any payments, and some had put their life savings into buying units from Mr Russell. Nigel Russell has been arrested by the police 
[3] £200 million – New Chinatown development – The companies involved in this development were given ‘preferred developer ‘status by Liverpool City Council without any proper Due Diligence being carried out. There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. With only the foundations completed, two of the construction companies involved have gone into liquidation and the development is at a halt.

[4] Baltic House – The companies involved in this development are on the point of liquidation. There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. With only the foundations and a small amount of the construction completed this project is at a halt. 
[5] The Paramount – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The development is only half built with 140 Chinese students living in the built half. This building is probably dangerous and building is at a halt

[5]Berry House – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The company involved is close to liquidation-no building work completed at all.

[6] North Point – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The company involved is close to liquidation-very little building work completed .

[7] St James Court – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

[8]Metalworks – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

[9] Eldon Grove – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

It is clear from the above information that Manchester and Liverpool City Councils [as just examples] are not carrying out Due Diligence and are leaving investors prey to criminals. It is quite evident that this is going to lead to a significant reduction in the number of foreign investors in the North West [Northern Powerhouse] and a deterioration in the Chinese/UK economic relationship. 

 

Half the Story and Double the Average

Bernie 004.JPG

In a classic case of getting your retaliation in first and prior to tonight’s Wirral Council meeting Cllr Bernie ‘ The Bruiser’ Mooney has been all over the press bemoaning the fact that children’s services is at ‘breaking point’. Needless to say it’s all the Tories fault.

And whilst indeed there are some government austerity measures which are nothing short of heinous Mooney needs to get real and tell us the full story.  Her version of the ‘breaking point’ story slipped out yesterday on a sleepy Sunday afternoon on the Wirral Globe website.

Breaking Point (Wirral Globe)

The story was updated today with comments from Ian Lewis the leader of Wirral Council’s Tory group. Needless to say Liverpool Echo gave the Bernie’s bleatings the full front page splash – though rather spoiled Bernie’s carefully prepared narrative by mentioning that damning Ofsted report and how the authority failed to halt a campaign of child sexual exploitation by the Rajenthiram brothers which are two things that Wirral Council’s ruling administration can’t pin on the Tories.

Apparently Bernie wants £25 million of extra funding from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to meet “increased demand for our services”. Good luck with that one !

Bernie 007.JPG

A spokesperson for the Chancellor said : ‘the cheque’s in the post ‘

The most shocking aspect of  Mooney’s moans was the revelation that the number of Wirral children is 120 per 10,000 of the child population . This is DOUBLE the national average ! DOUBLE!!

Bernie struggles to look around for a plausible reason for this and comes up with national figures concerned with cuts in early intervention and family support services. There is no mention of the specific impact on local services and more significantly no mention of one of Frank Field’s pet projects – the discredited Troubled Families Programme (TFP) into which millions have been poured down the drain.  As one of our valued contributors ‘ The Professor’ pointed out earlier this year Wirral Council taxpayers should bear in mind that our council are taking part in the useless,discredited TFP phase 2 at a minimum cost to us of £6 million to 2020.

The Miracle Workers

So enough already of this Bernie blather , surely she now knows what we’ve known for a long time – that children’s services locally are indeed at ‘breaking point’ and it’s not just about funding it’s also about Wirral Council’s toxic culture of denial which has built up over a number of years and under various administrations.

We think that Mooney finally realises the extent of the problem she’s inherited with children’s services and knows there are more bad news stories on the way . So what better way of keeping the Ofsted ‘improvement journey’ show on the road by playing the overplayed austerity card and asking the people of Wirral to docilely accept half a story ?

 

 

Songs of The Labour Movement : Two Tribes

 adrianjonesprotest
Our interest in the rising tide of Corbynism is, of course, how it impacts on local politics.  And you can say what you like about Jezzamania but it has at least shaken up (or a least slightly stirred) the moribund and complacent cabal at the heart of Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP).  Frank Field, having decried the Labour leader at every opportunity prior to this year’s general election, has been awfully quiet on the Corbyn front lately hasn’t he?
However where the impact has been most felt has been in the Wallasey CLP.  Ever since Wallasey MP Angela Eagle’s doomed Labour leadership challenge there have been deep divisions within the local CLP…..and it would seem from a leaked email from Cllr Adrian Jones sent to ‘Momentum Comrades’ – which somehow made its way to us – there clearly still are!
We’ll spare you the full text of the email as it’s more Citizen Smith than Councillor Jones. Suffice to say it’s as long-winded and self righteous as his council speeches and sets out his long-standing Corbyn – supporting credentials.

The genesis of all this rift was a bitter CLP meeting on 24th June 2016, when Cllr Bernie Mooney (now Joint Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Labour Group ) was voted out of her position as secretary of Wallasey CLP and replaced by lefty Kathy Miller.  Paul Davies was voted in as co-vice Chair ( Cllr Paul Stuart was the other co-Vice Chair.)

The CLP voted to back Corbyn in his leadership bid.  Eagle got wind of this and was presumably an ‘Angry Bird’!  She hadn’t yet said she was going to run for leader… and didn’t until early July.

Meanwhile the CLP was suspended by the Labour NEC at their London HQ and remains suspended to this day.  Indeed the CLP only realised they’d been suspended when they read it in the Liverpool Echo!

This suspension was done on the ‘strength’ of bogus allegations that were lodged with the press (not the police, where they should have gone – but that presumably would have risked counter charges of wasting police time) saying that some members at the above meeting had engaged in bullying of others, intimidation and ‘homophobic acts’ against Eagle, who was not even present.

Reputedly, it was Cllr Stuart who was the ringleader of 17 people alleging bullying, intimidation and homophobia.  Angela Eagle christened them “whistleblowers”, sullying the name of genuine, good faith whistleblowers everywhere, and whatdyaknow?  the likes of the Liverpool Echo and The Guardian were there, ever eager to fuel the fire.

Throughout all this nothing was heard from Cllr Adrian Jones, the huge “Corbyn fan”, as his hero was pilloried in order to push Eagle’s leadership chances.  And whaddyaknow?  Both Jones’s Mr and Mrs and Cllr Stuart can be seen in the photos attached to this tweet, supporting Eagle.  This was in the run-up to the 2017 election, 9 months after the CLP suspension and #Brickgate.

Ultimately the allegations went nowhere, but the damage inflicted by the media coverage had been done. We understand one CLP member still has a charge hanging over them, whilst those making bogus allegations have been strangely passed over for any disciplinary action.  Is it any wonder the rifts persist and that there are plenty of angry left wingers in Wallasey CLP who feel betrayed?  After being expected to tramp the streets in support of Angela Eagle during the general election campaign , some are suspecting that deals will now be done behind their backs rather than the embedded enemy within faced head on and challenged.

 

Meanwhile, Cllr Paul Stuart who’d nailed his colours to the Eagle mast has,  since Corbyn’s unexpectedly strong performance in the general election,  had a bit of a rethink and now wants the world to know, via the leaked Jones email , that he is supporting Jezza. But the idea that Cllr Stuart would now also be backing Corbyn is outrageous when you can find him on the internet posing for photos outside the smashed window of #Brickgate.  Along with Cllr Stuart , Eagle diehards Cllr Mooney, and Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy were immediately on hand to be interviewed on TV and press suggesting that Corbyn supporters were behind the brick through the shared stairwell window ….which apparently wasn’t Eagle’s constituency office window anyway! You can get a flavour of the furore here 
Moreover, Merseyside plod calmly intoned six months later that the constituency office window was never reported to them as being damaged !  But you wouldn’t know this if you picked up any national or local newspaper because they wouldn’t touch it !  And by that time, the whole sorry circus of MSM dissemblers had left Eagle’s “busy summer of lies” unretracted, and moved onto the next emerging #FakeNews bombshell needing their undivided attention….
Meanwhile only time will tell whether Cllr Stuart proves to be as an effective shape-shifting politico as Cllr Jones,

 

To quote from the latter’s email…

Comrades, “Now is the time” to stop acting like a “Party within a party” – and even like a “Momentum within Momentum”.

It is time to grasp that the mainstream (often called the “Left”) has won back the heart and soul of the Labour Party.  I do not know of a single member of the Seacombe Branch who has not fully supported my own declarations for Corbyn on the two websites or who does not support him now.  So why introduce friction where there need be none? Let’s try now to be a single Labour Party in Seacombe Ward.

Some comrades will remember that we also, for a while, held “Songs of the Labour Movement” musical evenings in the Park View Social Club – an opportunity for comrades to perform – or just listen and rub shoulders informally.  But, since then, we have had the difficulty of the Party being suspended so long that many of us don’t even know each other.

Under the circumstances can we suggest that any future CLP sing-a-long  starts off with a rousing rendition of  “Two Tribes” ?

 

 

Strange Boutique

Now that Wirral Council and Wirral Globe seem to be cosy all of a sudden ( Hmm – we wonder why?) it seems that the (piss) poor Liverpool /Wirral Echo have to make do with scraps off the table. Wirral Council is such a fickle mistress –  even though fickle mistresses always seem to get them into trouble.

Last week the Echo published a ludicrous puff piece in advance of Monday’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting where the headline screamed :

New plans to turn Birkenhead Town Hall into boutique hotel

Of course if you read the report to which the article refers to – there are no such plans.

Birkenhead Town Hall – Boutique Hotel

However there are pictures of Birkenhead Town Hall with crocuses in the foreground. “What a crocus of shit….” said our butler Eldritch. And who are we to disagree?

The report itself is grandiosely titled ‘ Strategic  Regeneration Framework’  (SRF) presumably because it’s no longer good enough to have a strategy , you have to have a ‘framework’ to go with it – which of course justifies the inflated salaries of those spewing out this nonsense.

Strategic Regeneration Framework

As Wirral Council seem to be so very keen on ‘ reality checks’  lets get the Leaky Towers crew to break it down for them :  Hamilton Square is magnificent. So is Birkenhead Town Hall. And they’re wasted in Wirral Council’s hands.  So having failed to turn Hamilton Square into a glorified roundabout U-Turn On Roundabout = Dead End  

Wirral Council are now hoping that investors are going to flock to them with an open cheque for a boutique hotel .So let’s take a look around –  God bless the Station Hotel. They really, really tried to bring artisan bread to Birkenhead. Unfortunately they didn’t realise that their customer base were more interested in Frank Field getting their housing benefits sorted out. You won’t be surprised to hear they’ve since closed down because those on the breadline don’t choose artisan bread.

Boutique 009

Perhaps the model Wirral Council should be following and to which they should be lowering  their aspirations somewhat and align themselves to is a skanky drug den such as the Central Hotel.

Boutique 012

Just sayin’

Strange Boutique

 

Wirralgate : 4 x 4

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It was 4 years ago that Wirral Leaks first broke the Wirralgate story.  Read how the story began with the first 3 chapters from September 2013 :

Wirralgate 1

Wirralgate 2

Wirralgate 3

However little did we think that 4 years later we would still be waiting for the biggest scandal ever in Wirral politics to be fully exposed. Call it our spectacular naivety in underestimating the power that 4 politicians hold locally but it is astonishing to us that this particular 4 x 4 is still on the road. So , for those of you unfamiliar with the Wirralgate story , which for a start off means you’re not a regular reader of Wirral Leaks , we’ll break it down for you. It goes a little something like this :

4 Wirral Council complainants have a recorded telephone conversation involving the Deputy Leader of Wirral Council where he uses a racist slur to describe a senior council officer and offers the complainants what they themselves call a ‘ sweetheart deal’ . They are asked to hand over a document smearing Tory leader Jeff Green and their suspect claim for compensation will be sorted without the necessity of all those bothersome legal processes. They hand over the document which was written by one of the complainants (and just for clarity was NEVER in the files of the former head of law Bill Norman, as was claimed by former leader of Wirral Council , Cllr Steve Foulkes.) Foulkesy subsequently hands over the document to Liam Murphy – the political editor of the Liverpool Echo. Murphy later makes a covert recording of the covert recording (!) and when later outed by Emma Degg the former Wirral Council head of communications to whom he played it, suddenly Murphy  is no longer the political editor of the Liverpool Echo ! Go figure!

Council Leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies later claims that the 4 complainants were using the recorded conversation to settle their compensation claim . The complainants record a meeting they had with Pip listening to the Cllr George Davies telephone conversation. Pip asks of one of the complainants whether he is recording the meeting. He wasn’t – but another of the complainants was. So now they have a recording of Cllr Phil Davies, the leader of Wirral Council listening to a highly incriminating recording his deputy! BINGO! Pip is heard to say on the recording :

” I can’t defend this” 

But of course he has to –   George Davies is not only his deputy but Frank Field’s electoral agent and confidante. No wonder Pip agrees to a bogus ‘inquiry’ by long time Field associate Nick Warren which was nothing more than a means of securing the complainants more than the £3,000 they’d been offered for their ‘time and trouble’ and a sum of public money much more in line with what the incriminating recordings are worth to the big 4 – if not to Wirral council taxpayers.

 

Of course Frankenfield, Power Boy Pip, Foulkesy and Gorgeous George wouldn’t have got away with the cover up for so quite long without the passive local political ‘opposition’, the complicity of the local press , Merseyside Police and senior council officers past and present,  the compromising of other investigations where Cllr George Davies and Cllr Foulkes were allowed to get away with persistently lying and where the complainants refused to take part ( hey, wasn’t there a cheque in it for you guys or something?) and, most pertinently,  the failure of the complainants themselves to ‘go public’ with the recordings despite the fact they’ve played fast and loose with local media for 4 years  – and  it must be said , even us , but you may have noticed we gave up on them doing the right thing a long time ago. Wirral Leaks is NOT and never will be a bargaining tool. The irony being that whilst the complainants were more than willing to go public with allegations that they could never properly evidence they have withheld incontrovertible evidence proving that the big 4 are utterly corrupt. Draw your own conclusions ££££££££.

Ultimately to us this is just an example of Frankenfield’s feudalism – getting his own way and doing exactly what he wants and knowing he’ll never be challenged. Another example was his backing of last night’s EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons , thereby defying Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who asked Labour MPs to vote it down. Could this be the same Frank Field who voted for EU enlargement and the accession of Eastern European countries in 2003?

Frank also seems to be labouring (!) under the misconception that people in his Birkenhead constituency voted to leave. We’ve got news for you Frank  – 51.7% voted to remain. But then Frank’s not one to let facts or truth get in the way of his one man mission which is the greater glory of HIMSELF – and it seems Wirralgate musn’t be allowed to get in the way of that amoral juggernaut.

An LRJ Reaction

Internal Audit frontsheet

Apparently Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) is appealing. Well , we suppose there’s a first for everything!

However in this particular case when we say appealing we mean that yet another disgraced Wirral councillor is proving once again that taking responsibility for their actions is an alien concept.

As ,yes indeed, according to Liverpool Echo  LRJ  is appealing against the recent sanctions imposed against her by a Wirral Council Standards Panel.

Sanction Distinction

We note that Wirral Leaks gets its first mention in the Liverpool Echo as a ‘local news site’ courtesy of Liam Mk II (Liam Thorp) . Of course Liam Mk I (Liam Murphy) wouldn’t give us the oxygen of publicity as he was too busy dancing to Wirral Council’s ruling administration’s tune despite apparently being ‘outraged’ by how they carried on. So outraged was he , he made a covert recording of a covert recording , played it to his oppo in Wirral Council, later claimed he couldn’t take part in an investigation exposing corruption as he was protecting the confidentiality of his sources and thus allowed a corrupt regime to carry on abusing their power. Thereby proving once and for all that Liam Murphy was to investigative journalism what Larry Grayson was to Rugby League!

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillor-sent-texts-saying-could-13292419

Among the damning evidence made against LRJ are texts released during a Code of Conduct investigation include : “They don’t seem to realise I’m at the top of the pecking order ” and referring to the investigator : “She doesn’t scare me and a little councillor involved might just shut her up.”

Listen folks , all we can say is that we know we’re all in big trouble if LRJ considers herself  ‘top of the pecking order’ . However what can we expect when local Labour politicians consider themselves to be untouchable and have been acting with impunity and without consequence for years? Let’s remember the only reason that LRJ’s adversary and convicted criminal Cllr Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree was suspended by North West Labour was down to Wirral Leaks ! So we’d  like to know what their Regional Director , Anna Hutchinson, is going to do about this latest disgrace. It’s all a bit embarrassing (yet again), isn’t it Anna ?

As you can see from the extracts from the leaked Wirral Council Internal Audit report the evidence against LRJ was ‘compelling’. And again you know you’re in really big trouble when even the complicit and compliant Internal Audit come to this conclusion (and yes we’re particularly looking at the Chief Internal Auditor – googly-eyed brown-noser Mark Niblock) . The information we have in our possession (and have had for some time ) is eyewatering and leaves us wondering why it takes 2 years for it to reach the public domain.

Internal Audit 2
Internal Audit 1
We understand the reason that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) didn’t proceed with prosecution because the money was ‘recoverable’  and it was not possible to prove who had fabricated the invoices.  Moreover we understand that Wirral Council have been trying for over a year to retrieve sums relating to this case amounting to £16.5 K (out of the infamous £19K that Crabtree referred to in his malicious phone call to LRJ) .
CPS
Strangely it would appear Wirral Council have been unsuccessful in retrieving the money to date. Can you imagine if any of us owed them £16.5K? We’d be hauled right down Wirral Magistrate’s Court.
But then we’re sure Wirral Council (and particularly the ruling Labour administration) wouldn’t want any of this heard in open court.
Which is why Wirral Leaks will continue to publish – in the public interest – the continuing developments in this case two years after we first gave the heads up on this increasingly complex and particularly sordid story.

Old Boy’s Network – No Girls Allowed

Northern Outhouse

Rotheram’s lot = Not a lot of ladies!

We note Liverpool Echo are late to the party yet again – as they suddenly raise questions about the newly announced male dominated Metro Mayor cabinet.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/who-metro-mayor-steve-rotherams-13110884

Not only was this picked up elsewhere beforehand

http://www.ybnews.co.uk/regional-development/metro-mayors-men-women/

but Wirral Leaks picked up that it was testosterone-a-go-go when it comes to Liverpool City Region politics a long time ago. November 2015 to be precise. Clearly the newly installed Metro Mayor Steve ‘The Brickie’ Rotheram thinks that ‘Diversity’ is a dance troupe from Britain’s Got Talent.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/northern-outhouse/

However we had to laugh that Rotheram has confirmed that Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies will be his cabinet member for ‘Economic Development and Culture’.

Although Pip seems incapable and/or unwilling to tackle the toxic culture afflicting Wirral  Council no doubt the appointment will help Pip in his attempt to box off the Hoylake Golf Resort scheme!

Needless to say a place was found in the Cabinet for  (M)Asif Hamid, who is the chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) . So that’s at least one diversity box ticked !…..

Where’s Wally?

Denial

Hopefully readers will be pleased to hear that Dr Robert B Smith is still on Wirral Council’s case. This time he’s trying to elicit a response from their CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson to queries he made via email over 6 months ago. Dr Smith has contacted all 66 councillors in asking whether Stressed Eric’s conduct was a) acceptable or b) unacceptable.

As far as we know the only councillor to respond was Cllr Walter Smith. We’ll leave you to read his email and Dr Smith’s meticulously researched riposte. However we would comment that as far as we’re concerned it’s a case of  ‘Walter by name , Wally by nature’. Indeed Cllr Smith has recently been observed on the campaign trail wearing a red fleece with his name printed on the back. Presumably to help him remember who he is if he get’s lost.  However if we were ever asked the question –  ‘Where’s Wally ?’ we’d have to say  : ‘In denial’……..

Dear Dr Smith,

I presume that there must be a reason for a failure to respond to your request. I suggest that you involve your local councillor. By the way WBC has never been better run than it is today. The officers do a good job, and we councillors have received the award of ‘The Most Improved Council’.

Kind regards,

Walter Smith.

Dear Cllr Walter Smith

It was my intention to circulate all Wirral Councillors with the results of my earlier survey, and reply  to you individually. I only asked for ‘unacceptable’ or ‘acceptable’ as a response. However, given your more expansive response to me, it would seem apposite to circulate my response more broadly.

Firstly, given your response, and the fact that you are a collective employer, why don’t you ask Mr Robinson what is his ‘reason for a failure to respond’? My assessment would be that he is unable to put anything in writing that would not seriously compromise his position.

Shall we take the latest development in the appalling situation regarding the Wirral Safeguarding Board, as a starting point?

The Government’s intervention by installing Eleanor Brazil to endeavour to address the numerous failings, speaks volumes regarding capability. As does Mr Robinson’s claim in the Wirral Globe given his background;

Eric Robinson, chief executive, said: “We have made some changes in terms of social care and I will now work with Julia Hassall”.
“My background is in Children’s Services so I will oversee the work”. (Wirral Globe 20 Sep 2016
)

The press coverage of the sentencing of Brothers Vinothan and Ilavarasan Rajenthiram, jailed for 40 years for grooming and sexual exploitation of vulnerable young girls in Wirral, included the following comment – “Over a five-year campaign Ilavarasan and Vinothan Rajenthiram groomed and sexually abused vulnerable young girls from Wirral, all known to Wirral Council”. That would go back to 2012 and doesn’t support the assertion of your 3rd sentence. Actually, it also blows a considerable hole ‘, in the claims made in your 4th sentence as well as in the credibility of the fantasy ‘The Most Improved Council 2015′ award.

Now, with regard to ‘The Most Improved Council’ award. I have discussed this award, and its credibility with Dr Gill Taylor of the Local Government Association (LGA). You will remember her from the ‘LGA Improvement Board’. I have also corresponded with the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and Government Ministers. It was actually a Local Government Chronicle Award, one of a range of local government awards given by a local government subscription periodical. This ‘Most Improved’ award was apparently never awarded prior to 2015, and it has never been awarded since – too many burned sponsors fingers, I suspect.

You may remember Graham Burgess? Yes, he who breezed into the ‘Improvement Board’ in 2012/13 as a peer reviewer (at the request of the LGA and Michael Frater). At the time Graham Burgess was CEO of Blackburn & Darwen Council (which incidentally had won the LGC ‘Council of the Year’ award in 2011).

The recruitment of Graham Burgess as ‘interim’ CEO of Wirral Council was an ‘interesting’ process. And as for the permanent position – 8 applications…1 successful interviewee?

Quite like self-proclaimed Labour activist Mr Liptrot and his published email thread to Cllr Phil Davies. Not to mention Mr Liptrot’s numerous conflicts of interest. It was fortunate that Mr Tour felt absolutely compelled to ‘remind him about’ occupying a ‘politically restricted’ post whilst it was reported he had several contracts across Merseyside. With Wirral Council’s plummeting reputation, and no Joe Anderson metro-mayor bandwagon to ride on, it appears that a side-step to promote unattainable investment ‘opportunities’ matches a mythical skillset. So we witness a frenetic appointment ‘crucial’ before the Cannes visit to MIPIM. Expedience which truly stretches credulity.
But back to Graham Burgess.
Wirral Council’s own press release described him as a ‘leading light’ of the LGA. He was also a regular contributor to, and endorser of the LGC. For the 2015 ‘Most Improved’ award, the ‘live panel’ presentation was made by Graham Burgess and Cllr Phil Davies to assessors comprising mainly LGA member Chief Executives. (Doncaster Council, the 2015 award runner-up is an interesting study. Even more so if you add WBC, LGA, SOLACE, ex-WBC staff and very low interest loans into the mix.)

It is a shallow exercise in massaging political egos, and self-promotion for the LGA (and the LGC) to promote the ‘LGA Sector-led Improvement programme’ and the ‘peer review’ mechanism. If you achieve some supposed ‘improvement’, by some supposed ‘measure’ or ‘other’ and provide the tea and biscuits, the LGA will bask in the glory, and parade an individual (in Wirral’s case Cllr Phil Davies) around the country, as a ludicrous example, of a ‘success story’.

It is evident that aspiring to mediocrity underpins the peer review process, and serial under-achievement is the benchmark of ‘improvement’. This is displayed in pyrotechnic fashion in Wirral Council, where documents by both the LGA and Anna Klonowski quote wording proclaiming ‘…in her report, of 2012 Ms Klonowski highlights how at Wirral Council “the abnormal has become the norm”.’

That is 5 years ago. The ‘LGA Improvement Board’ covered the period March 2012 until November 2013 and then, its job done, disbanded. The LGA produced a glossy brochure detailing Wirral’s ‘improvement journey’. The summary introducing the document makes interesting reading and includes this claim.

Eighteen months after Wirral developed and implemented their action plan with the LGA, the Improvement Board that provided advice and oversight of Wirral’s improvement journey reported that sector-led improvement had “transformed” the Council to one that was “stable, well-led, open and far more inclusive.” If you don’t recognise that description, and I certainly don’t, here is the link. http://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/wirral-councils-sector-le-40f.pdf

An interesting comment in the Liverpool Echo published 8th May 2013 from Cllr Harney at the time of establishing the ‘LGA Improvement Board’ Cllr Harney said the council needs “a great deal more openness and much more rigorous performance management”.
He added: “People, councillors, senior managers and the public, have not been aware of what has been going on.”

One aspect of the withdrawal agreement with the Improvement Board, was that Opposition Councillors would occupy the Chairs of Scrutiny Committees. Is that still the case Cllr Smith? No of course it isn’t. All scrutiny committee chairs were taken by Labour councillors in 2014. That casting vote, as required to achieve the prescribed outcome, is crucial to driving unopposed decision-making, but also negates independent scrutiny, accountability and transparency.

Coupled with other constitutional changes giving sweeping new powers to Cabinet members, and a forthcoming fallow year for elections in 2017, any prescribed outcome is attainable. Add to that heady mix the ruling group en-bloc voting and abstention regimes, and what results? Mythical resident’s surveys aside, and resident ‘information deficit’, party-political voting which mostly ignores constituents’ wishes e.g. Girtrell Court and Lyndale School thrives. As you will know, these deliberate changes effectively create the situation where power rests solely with Cllr Phil Davies. How would you describe that model of administration?

Graham Burgess’ apparently effortless ‘soft-shoe shuffle’ into Wirral’s CEO position preceded the 2015 LGC ‘Award’. The Guardian newspaper published, on 10 Apr 2014, the 3rd in the series ‘Public Service Tango’ – Headlined ‘One leader, one chief executive – and a joint vision for their council’s future’ – a far from enlightening piece by Graham Burgess and Cllr Phil Davies. A good journalist would normally extract a ‘riveting quote’, or an ‘earth-shattering insight’ from the article to draw the reader into this revelatory discourse.

This must be the best available. “Wirral council’s leader and chief executive attend each other’s meetings and welcome ideas from all employees”. An absolutely breath-taking insight you must agree – but does it actually matter? Well yes, and, no.

Actually it doesn’t in this specific case as one learns nothing, but of more interest is this extract from a paragraph beneath the published article.
Phil Davies is leader of Wirral council; Graham Burgess is the council’s chief executive. This collection of articles on the relationship between public managers and politicians is supported by SOLACE and is running on the Guardian Public Leaders Network from March to June 2014.

I know that you will be on the edge of your seat by now, Cllr Smith, but what happens next? You will take solace from what happens next.

The very, very low-key publishing of the November 2015 ‘peer review’ follow-up, of Wirral Council, by the LGA. You may not know the then-Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, but you should. His name is Mark Rogers – http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-city-council-chief-executive-12625426

Mark Rogers was the CEO of Birmingham City Council, a member of the LGA and SOLACE, which if you don’t know is the Society Of Local Authority Chief Executives. It is most likely that Eric Robinson (from neighbouring Staffordshire) and Graham Burgess, and Cllr Phil Davies would know him. Not only was he a member of SOLACE (supporting the Guardian article), but he was its President until October 2016.

Birmingham CEO Mark Rogers (LGA member and SOLACE President) was one of the ‘experts’ who undertook the ‘peer review’ of 2015 which unlike the ‘sector-led improvement journey’, and the farcical ‘Most Improved Council 2015’ award, was unleashed on an unwitting public without fanfare and illustrates regression, not improvement. I would imagine that even Mark Rogers would struggle signing that review off, with his background in children’s social care?

Does that look familiar, given Eric Robinson’s previous employment?
At this point, the question for me is where do I stop ‘joining the dots’?
I have only scratched the surface of the machinations of Wirral Council above, but you will get a flavour of why I have some difficulty taking your response seriously.

Wirral Council ruling administration is in serious trouble, and using great swathes of public money to defend the indefensible, is actually indefensible.

I look forward to receiving your response,
Your sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith FCMI

ps I would be making these observations and comments whatever the political colour of any Council administration conducting itself in this manner.