A Blott on the Wirral Political Landscape

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We had one of our wanting to bang our head against the wall moments when we’ve been reading, one year on from our Spot the Blott  and Blott’s Pension Pot stories, that mainstream media are suddenly outraged that last year former Wirral Council  Super Director turned Managing Director of Delivery Joe Blott bagged a cool half a million plus of Wirral council taxpayers money.

The outrage was sparked by Taxpayer’s Alliance annual report of highly paid public servants and this was the headline in the Daily Mail :

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Needless to say the local press also belatedly gegged in on the story although the Liverpool Echo studiously avoided mentioning Blott by name. We were alerted to the fact that Tom Houghton did a bit of shit-stirring and sent his cut and paste job for the Liverpool Echo to the Crimewatch Wirral Facebook  page:

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Of course we know that what lies behind the payment IS A CRIME and  we’d’ve thought an ambitious young journalist or local government basher the Daily Mail would want to investigate the matter further. Curiously neither want to question how a complete nonentity like Blott wheedles and schemes himself into a position where Wirral Council have no choice but to hand over massive wedges of public money.

Needless to say we have no qualms about joining the dots , making the connections and revealing how this truly appalling situation came about especially when ,for us, Blott has become the personification of the modern public servant  – where protecting the powerful takes precedence over protecting the public purse and the public interest…

 

Eric Sees Red Over Green Belt

It really comes to something when Wirral CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson has to step in and call out the desperate electioneering tactics of Labour councillors and particularly Cllr Phil ‘Two L and Back’ Brightmore.

Cllr Brightmore was given the platform by the ever compliant Local Democracy (ha!ha!ha!) Reporter Tom ‘Media’ Houghton in the Liverpool Echo to star as the saviour of Wirral’s Green Belt and in an article titled Leaked documents reveal 22 huge Wirral green belt sites have been SAVED from developers  where Brightmore rejoices :

After months of relentless campaigning, countless meetings and a local petition backed by thousands, the council document indicates our community’s green belt has been saved for future generations to enjoy. Our arguments were clear and strong. They were listened to. This is great news for our community. The Tory order and ridiculous housing targets remain, and must be fought. However, it looks like our community will not be affected and no local green belt will be released for development.

Unfortunately the report was later denied by a Wirral Council ‘spokesman’ and the article had to be ‘updated’. We can exclusively reveal that yet another leak to us identifies that the Wirral Council ‘spokesman’ was none other than Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson himself :

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Tell you what though with this demonstration of media manipulation , blatant electioneering  and political dissemblance Brightmore is shaping up to be a future Labour Group leader isn’t he ? …and that is about as ‘poisonous and insulting’ (© Cllr Steve Foulkes)  as we can get !

‘Woe is Wirral’ : The Halliday scandal reaches Private Eye – again !

A very good summary of the foreseeable Stewart Halliday scandal in this week’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ section of Private Eye. And how courteous of them to acknowledge Wiralleaks (sic) as being an ‘excellent website’. It would seem that gone are the days when a local journo would earn a bit of pin money by flogging stories filched from us to Lord Gnome’s esteemed organ. Whilst we were OK with spreading the (bad) word about Wirral Council what did rankle was the lack of acknowledgment of where the stories or information first appeared. This is a tradition that the Liverpool Echo, in particular, continues with to this day. The belated coverage of the Halliday case by the local press entirely failed to mention that the incriminating invoices at the centre of the scandal and which led to Halliday’s downfall first appeared on this website in our EXCLUSIVE : What’s in a Name? – Is this the real reason the controversial, high profile Stewart/Stuart Halliday appointment was suddenly dropped by Wirral Council?

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The Dirty Back Roads of Wirral : A Sexsational Wirral Leaks Exposé

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We really to doff our ermine-lined cap to the Liverpool Echo as they have beaten us (for once) to a really important story affecting the lives of people of Wirral in the run up to the local elections. Yes, we’re talking about their series of groundbreaking  ‘dogging’ exclusives which you can read here.  Therefore in a desperate bid for cheap, exploitative clickbait we sent our intrepid dogging correspondents Darren Dogg and Liam Limp to bravely expose themselves to the elements and bring you the dirty lowdown on the dirty lowdown…

Here’s what our fearless reporters recorded whilst looking into the seedy underbelly of Wirral .There’ll be no cheap jokes about certain Wirral Councillors here.This is serious  cutting edge journalism.

So here we are sitting in a hire car ,in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, desperate for a story with the sorry excuse that al fresco sex is a fit subject for a political reporter because sordid shenanigans are reportedly taking place on disused (and now misused) Wirral Council land. We’re slightly scared but also strangely aroused. Indeed I haven’t been this concerned about a semi since that time I watched Brokeback Mountain with the mother-in law. I valiantly tell myself to get a grip (or more importantly NOT to get a grip) .  

I try to distract myself from the alleged lewd scenes and recall the last time I sat through a turgid Wirral Council meeting and suddenly I’m detumescent and ready to resume surreptitiously snooping on alleged sex pests without the inconvenience of a slight tautness in my trousers  Then dramatically Darren turns to me and starts screaming hysterically about a ‘mysterious boulder’ .  I look at my chinos and faintly blush.  Sensing my discomfort,he averts his eyes and shrieks “No !…” – like Yvonne Fielding in a particularly dodgy episode of ‘Most Haunted ‘ – “… look over there ,there’s a ‘mysterious boulder’ in the middle of the road!”. Suddenly I feel as though I’m in an episode of ‘Scooby Doo’  – although I can’t ever recall an episode where Velma,Freddy or Daphne end up taking a gimp mask off of a caretaker who had taken up recreational sex in the great outdoors . However there was a character called ‘Shaggy’ – so perhaps I was missing the hidden sexual subtext all along. My mind was obviously wondering again as I’d forgotten the reason I was sat in a car on a wet and windy night on Wirral. Then I recalled that whilst there was absolutely no sign of any open air furtling in the back of a Ford Transit (or Coq Au Vin as the French call it) the night’s events had taught us that we can generate a lot of online traffic even without any sightings of driving up a dirty back road…

Bye, Bye, Bernie!

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Two days is a long time in Wirral politics. Soon-to be ex-councillor Mooney is now smiling on the other side of her face.

We always know there’s something is brewing when an old post suddenly starts racking up the stats and sure enough Wirral Leaks Scoops the Mooney Scoop  has had a lot of interest all week.  Now we learn that Deputy Leader of Wirral Council ,Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney, is the latest local politician to be subject to democratic party processes and then go running to the ever compliant Liverpool Echo complaining of ‘the hard left’ and ‘bullying’ and how it’s all so ‘unfair’ when they get ousted by their own party members from seeking re-selection.

Needless to say ,and as you can read in our post above, we knew this was on the cards after we exclusively revealed the skullduggery surrounding Mooney’s nomination as a Labour candidate for Liscard at the forthcoming local elections . Once again here’s a reminder of her rap sheet during that particular selection process :

  • Multiple complaints about phone calls, done to promote herself – not permitted.
  • Using an email address “Wallasey Labour Party”, when the email was from her personally
  • The email had the Constituency Labour Party Office address on it and a photo which included people who had not been asked for permission, and were not in fact endorsing sitting councillor Mooney
  • Repeated canvassing of Branch members by phone using the Party database at a time when this is not allowed by the rules
  • Some of these phone calls also misrepresented the situation, implying that a candidate had already been chosen, and so discouraging members who favoured a full selection process from attending the meeting
  • Leafleting in support of a candidate inside the meeting venue, with other copies of the leaflets next to the signing in sheet, which is also not allowed
  • All of this conveyed the impression that the sitting councillor was the official or preferred candidate of the Labour Party
  • It was unfair to other potential candidates who might otherwise have been invited to address the meeting, and be given the chance to become the Council candidate in May 2019

Inevitably these issues are glossed over as a ‘dispute’ and ‘breach of procedures’ in the latest Liverpool Echo story titled  Council’s ‘next leader ‘ ousted as she becomes latest to hit out at ‘hard-left Labour Party takeover’ as we get the usual extended litany of McCarthyite ‘reds under the bed’ rhetoric from Mooney and co.

However what delights more than anything is that the decision to oust Mooney comes two days after she smirked and belligerently shouted “There’s always one…’ when whistleblower Martin Morton put in an inconvenient  appearance at Monday’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting .  Now with delicious irony she says that she’s been booted out “because I stood up and refused to be bullied…” – a line which is right out of the Morton Playbook.

All we do know that this decision will be a particularly hard smack in the face for ‘The Bruiser’ and affirmation of the old adage that ‘he who laughs loudest laughs last…’

 

Kingdom Consensus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love ACTUALLY

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Here’s what’s ACTUALLY going to happen to the Vue cinema site bought by council for £7m

This is what’s ACTUALLY going to happento Vue cinema site bought by council for £7m

We continue our series of commenting further on this week’s news stories by asking you to spot the difference between these two reports published yesterday in the Liverpool Echo and the Wirral Globe  

Our first comment was that we loved the use of ACTUALLY ,  in UPPERCASE – the written equivalent on standing with your hands on your hips and saying we know better than you,ner,ner,ner,ner,ner…

Although ACTUALLY we don’t think ACTUALLY is the right word here as it refers to the truth and the facts of a situation not the usual Wirral Council pipedream.

However what we didn’t love was the further erosion of local press plurality as BBC funded ‘Local Democracy Reporter’, Tom ‘Media’ Houghton , provides an official BBC approved version of the local news which follows a familiar pattern of the same story being a big splash in the Liverpool Echo before becoming a little ripple in the  Wirral Globe .

Clearly this was Wirral’s finger-wagging riposte to the negative response from commentators and bloggers to the press announcement earlier in the week that Wirral Council had bought Vue cinema for £7 million and which we reported in our  Birkenhead – A Tomb with a Vue  post.

Luckily for Wirral Council there was a fearless ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ at hand ( or more accurately on the receiving the end of an email from the Wirral Council Press Office) to put the record straight ( or rather unquestioningly publish some quick copy and a picture from the photo library) .

The MSM message being : ‘Oh no you nay-sayers and doubters, cash -strapped Wirral Council, who are reknowned for their business acumen, haven’t spent £7 million on a fleapit ! Nay,nay and thrice nay we’ve paid £7 million to demolish it!…’

Well, that’s alright then!…and what’s more they’re going to replace it with artist’s impressions. Lots of ’em – and they’ll all be dutifully published in the Liverpool Globe and then the Wirral Echo or the the other way round  – we get confused!

As to whether these artist’s impressions ACTUALLY happen is open to question but we’re going to put this out there – and it may surprise you but we think they just might! However looking at some of the councillors who would be involved in making the decisions , particularly the Cabinet Member for Housing & Planning and the Chair of the Planning Committee, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was ACTUALLY as dodgy AF…

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Cllr Chris Meaden : Not so much a declaration of independence as an exercise in pointlessness

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We were alerted to the fact that Cllr Chris Meaden had changed the party status on the Wirral Council website and that she now classed herself as ‘Independent’.  This struck us as somewhat ironic as Cllr Meaden aways struck us as one of those councillors who did as they were told by the local Labour Party elite and was quite content to be swept along on Rock Ferry councillor Moira McLaughlin’s coat-tails as it was an easy ride. We were once again minded to recall that old joke  Q:   What’s the difference between a supermarket trolley and Cllr Chris Meaden ?  A:  A Supermarket trolley has a mind of its own.

The belated declaration of ‘independence’  was all very reminiscent of an adolescent flouncing off  Facebook when no-one is paying them any attention and hoping for a few ‘U OK Huns ?’

Despite the Liverpool Echo headline  Yet ANOTHER top Labour politician quits party -blaming ‘hard-left’ takeover  our initial reaction to such a political hasbeen was CBA.   However reading the local media coverage it is clear that Meaden  has taken her acting out her adolescent angst to another level and be seen a-bitchin’ and a-snipin’ and a-moanin’ all over the local papers (the story in the Wirral Globe written by the same ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ Tom Houghton is a barely disguised re-write ) . As washing your dirty linen in public goes, the soon to be ex- councillor Meaden seems to have dug out the skiddy undies from the bottom of the washing basket , talking of ‘verbal attacks’ , ‘public attacks’ and ‘double standards’ . Much of her bitterness is directed towards Yvonne Nolan , her successor as Labour Party candidate for the Rock Ferry ward.

I believe over the coming months more information about Ms Nolan`s past involvement with politics will emerge and I don’t believe she is fit to serve the people of Rock Ferry. With her term coming to an end this spring, Cllr Meaden was ousted at a selection meeting back in October. But she said some of those present had “never attended” a branch meeting, while others had “never so much as delivered a leaflet’.That makes me believe that the meeting was packed with the aim of removing me and replacing me with Yvonne Nolan and the intention is to bring her in to lead the group.

Now we can’t comment at this stage whether Nolan is fit to serve the people of Rock Ferry but we do know that there are a few current Labour councillors who are DEFINITELY unfit for public office but has Cllr Meaden ever publicly voiced her concerns about them?  No, she hasn’t ! – and it suggests to us that the Rock Ferry selection committee made the right decision in getting rid of someone who was quite happy to follow the orders of a PROVEN dishonest,bullying and controlling Labour cabal whilst it suited her which makes her  declaration of independence nothing more than an exercise in pointlessness.

 

 

 

The Curse of Leaky Towers : Heave-ho for Halliday ?!

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Not so smug now…

And so it would appear that according to the Liverpool Echo  Council suddenly drops man lined up for top job after ‘financial irregularity’ concerns

That man of course being Stewart Halliday , someone we’ve been reporting on and expressing concerns since 2017, mainly about how he could ever be in a position to secure a ‘top job’ at Wirral Council in the first place.  Something that the local mainstream media has studiously avoided – until today . Now apparently, according to a Wirral Council spokesperson:

Some concerns were raised by council officers about potential financial irregularities regarding how a supplier was being paid.These concerns were immediately acted upon, and the contractor has stopped work for the council while further investigations take place. Until those investigations are concluded, no further comment can be made. 

We’re not pre-empting investigations but doesn’t this sound all very reminiscent of what happened  at Halliday’s previous employment at City of York Council (CoYC)?  For those interested in finding out exactly what went on can now read the once secret Strictly Private and Confidential Report that CoYC were once desperate to keep out of the public domain HERE

Although Halliday declined to participate in the investigation we think you can probably work out who is…

Wirral Council can’t say they weren’t warned, especially by us, ( note that Liverpool Echo are careful not to mention the blog that dare not be named) and there are serious questions to be asked ,not least of CEO Eric Robinson’s judgment at appointing someone with dodgy references ,something we highlighted in our post Reference Point where we reported that “…it was Wirral Council who made NO DIRECT APPROACH to CoYC  for a reference for Halliday…”

And this is just the start – we ‘re left wondering whether the Liverpool Echo press release is a spoiler for even bigger news about a high profile departure from Wirral Council? This time the news brings into question the judgment of the ‘Leader’ of Wirral Council when it comes to high profile appointments and indicates to us that the Curse of Leaky Towers may have struck once again…

 

 

Brexit – For or Against?

A couple of Wirral Leaks readers have been in touch seeking clarification on last night’s Brexit vote after hearing on the BBC local news that ALL North West Labour MPs voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal. This would appear to be very poor reporting or deliberately misleading information from the BBC – nothing new there then!

The confusion arose after they’d earlier received this message :

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Here’s how the Liverpool Echo reported how Merseyside MPs voted :

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We  await with interest how today’s ” No Confidence” vote in the House  of Commons goes. We know at least one North West/Merseyside/Wirral MP who won’t be looking forward to a General Election should Theresa May lose …