As a follow up to yesterday’s post concerned with the incident at Friday’s launch of Frank Field’s BS Justice Party we’ve discovered this tweet from former Wirral councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) which was posted on the same day.
As you may have witnessed Frankenfield can be seen in the Youtube video we linked to yesterday accusing LRJ of being responsible for inducing a heart attack on a now deceased former Labour councillor. Now LRJ alleges that she was ‘assaulted’ by ‘Frank Fields lynch mob’ resulting in a ‘bruise’.
It’s all getting very messy isn’t it? And you all know how we love a messy drama! So it would appear that now is not the time for us to sail into the sunset. Pass us the catering size pack of multiplex popcorn …
Power Boy Pip’s reflects on his political career and decides smashing the mirror is easier than doing something about the distorted image.
There are many curious aspects to Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ announcement that he was packing in politics – not least the fact we got to exclusively reveal the news from a leaked email . As much as we appreciate the leak we would have thought a more appropriate forum for this momentous news would have been the previous evening’s full Wirral Council meeting.
Whilst Liverpool Echo just did a hasty cut and paste job with archive photos shortly after we’d published the story , clearly other parts of local MSM were geared up for the announcement as WirralGlobemanaged to get the news into yesterday’s print edition. The Globe also managed to reference to Frank Field’s recent run-ins with the resurgent Labour left despite the fact that this did not feature in Pip’s epitaph for his political career.
We’ll be analysing both the resignation message and Power Boy Pip’s political career in a special commemorative,cut out and keep, full colour supplement on Sunday titled ‘ THE 30 INGLORIOUS YEARS OF PIP’ – but for now all we’ll say is the hackneyed comment about him wanting to spend time with his long suffering family’ was not only reminiscent of resignations of Wirral Council’s past ( ex-CEOs Maddox and Burgess spring immediately to mind) but is also the time honoured phrase used by politicians just before the proverbial hits the fan…and oh believe us, it’s about to…
There have been various theories sent to us about the sudden announcement and we believe it may be a combination of all of them. After Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes reign of terror came to an end in 2012 in an unprecedented vote of no confidence , Power Boy Pip had the chance to really ,really make a difference to the toxic culture of Wirral Council but instead chose the path of least resistance.
Ultimately it is a failure of Pip’s ‘leadership’ – the reliance on a handpicked spin doctor ,the failure to rein in out of control councillors ( Crabtree, Reecejones, Foulkes and George Davies for starters) ,the inability to say ‘NO!’ to Birkenhead MP Frank Field, the all consuming reputation management and the constant denial best exemplified by the fantasy (Local Government Chronicle ‘Most Improved Council award) taking precedence over the reality (an ‘Inadequate’ rating of Wirral’s Children’s Services by Ofsted).
However it is also what French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the “Omega Point”: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! … For everything that rises must converge.”
It is about the rise of the Green Party in Birkenhead (the humiliation of defeat in next May’s local elections had become a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of Labour left (being held to account by party members had never before been a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of local blogs ( there is no hiding place for local politicians up to no good any more ) and it is about the rise of political activism from people of all political persuasions across Wirral (especially those defending the Green Belt and the NHS – the likes of which Wirral politicians have never experienced before) .
For everything that rises must converge and together we say that is what is responsible for Pip’s demise…
… but all is not as rosy as it may seem. For a start it would seem that former Wirral councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) – No. 6 in the above picture – is back in a position of power and influence as Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) ‘ Diversity Officer’ . Yes, the same LRJ who was as you can read here was removed as Secretary of Disability Labour earlier this year as Labour Party members had deemed her position had become ‘untenable and unworkable’.
However we leave the expert analysis to a Labour Party insider who attended the Birkenhead CLP Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday 28 September . Whilst we’ve always maintained that the only way that the local Labour Party could rehabilitate itself locally ,having been brought so low by a corrupt cabal , was by its own members holding them to account. The jury is out on whether these latest developments are the way forward. As you can see it’s a view that is shared by ‘Red Eye’ our eyewitness at the Birkenhead CLP AGM :
So, it was a clean sweep for the Left with the old guard well and truly swept aside.
Predictably there was much self-congratulation going around on the Left. Some of it deserved but perhaps satisfaction rather than congratulations was more appropriate.
There is no question that Corbyn has caused there to be a dramatic increase in
membership in Birkenhead; it has more than doubled. But this has not translated to increased attendance at meetings – to be fair not an uncommon feature across
England and Wales.
Friday’s success was claimed by John Maher, Birkenhead CLP Secretary, the self-styled leader of the purge, as a masterclass in organisation.
The real reason for Friday night’s success was not down to some Left-wing uprising but down to a dramatic collapse in the old guard/opposition to the Left when compared to the previous year. Last year the ‘old guard’ attracted 80-100 votes compared to around 70 for the Left. But on Friday whilst the Left’s vote was broadly unchanged from the previous year the old-guard’s vote fell to around 40 or so.
No doubt the direction of the Labour Party nationally has heartened local socialists.The truth is that the Wirral ‘old guard’ are in disarray. Disheartened Blairites, the old guard councillor club and St Frank Field fan club are waving the white flag. For them accountability is an ugly word and they would rather remain at arm’s length from the accountability that party activists are beginning to demand.
So, it seems we are at last beginning to a new broom sweeping through Labour locally. Perhaps that is no bad thing as there is surely many decent and earnest people are amongst them. But there are some warnings signs too and grumbles are beginning to emerge.
As reported recently in the national Press, John Maher, self-styled leader of the group has a somewhat chequered history of party allegiance and embrace of democracy. As Wirral Leaks reported in 2016 here Maher has his own way of doing things and isn’t best pleased if you disagree with him. The prize at stake in Birkenhead is of course the Parliamentary Candidature. The NEC has given the go ahead for Birkenhead to proceed with an open selection.
John Maher has made no secret that Cllr Tony Norbury is his man for the job. Cllr Norbury has been quick to defend Maher when accusations of bullying and intimidation have been made by old guard councillors in the national Press. They seem to be a formidable tag team. So, is it a forgone conclusion that Cllr Norbury will become the MP? Will anyone have the temerity to challenge the anointing of Norbury? Will the resurgent Left in Birkenhead have a democratic choice of socialist candidates or will they do as Maher tells them? The prize is indeed great. Let’s hope they choose wisely and from a wide field of worthy candidates
Above are some of the redacted comments that according to Frank Field friend and ally Mail on Sunday have appeared on social media in the wake of his resigning the whip and his comments about bullying,intimidation and anti-semitism in the Labour Party (and particularly the local Labour Party). Whilst undoubtedly it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience to be on the receiving end of such comments we have to ask ourselves what exactly does he expect when he labels people ‘thugs’ , ‘toerags’ (and worse) and then suddenly discovers that there are people without his power and influence who only have a PC and a pottymouth and aren’t afraid to use it! Is any of the above worse than referring to a council officer “a bloody useless Chink” as Field’s electoral agent once did ? No, it isn’t – because the people making the comments don’t have the power of Cllr George Davies ,Deputy Leader of Wirral Council, to directly prejudice or influence important political decisions.
What’s more according to former Wirral Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) Field himself once advised her that she needed to “harden up ,bullying is part of politics”. Whilst we acknowledge that LRJ is not the most reliable of sources it is something we can well believe her on this one as it is the type of arrogant statement we can imagine him saying. LRJ made the claims in a ‘press release’ to the Daily Telegraph in the knowledge that they were going to publish a story which included damning comments from Field. In the interest of journalistic balance The Daily Telegraph chose not to print a word of LRJ’s statement in defence. Consequently LRJ has chosen to share it on social media and here it is . Please note : the typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are LRJ’s own.
My press release to the telegraph who are publishing a negative story about me tomorrow thanks to Frank Field.
I am responding to this from Hospital, I have been poorly for over three years and spent most of this year in Hospital, proberly brought on by stress.Mr field and his supporters are fully aware I have been so poorly and not even been active in the party, and yet he continues to behave in this way.
The panel you refer to I am not even going to justify with an answer, because there are no words to describe the lengths people go to to discredit and try to break a person. There is also Franks friend ex Labour Cllr James Crabtree who was convicted after his threats against me following the murder of Jo Cox MP.
Frank field has publicly attempted to discredit me, and the charity I am involved for disabled children and their families, this is minuted in Birkenhead CLP. Frank field gave me advice that I need to harden up, bullying is part of politics, well I said it then and I say it now. Bullying has not place in a civilised society and as an MP I was shocked that was your view.Franks conduct speaks for its self, any MP who writes for the S@@ rag has no place in politics.I wish Frank well for the future and any other Councillor waiting to take the headlines over the coming weeks with resignations from Wirral Labour.
I fully support Jeremy Corbyn and have supported him before he was ever on a leadership ballot paper, he is a proud man with clear values and integrity. This is what our country needs and this is what some members don’t want. I am proud to be a socialist with a kind heart, always putting others first and working hard to make a difference.
Times have changed, Birkenhead CLP and the other three Wirral CLP’s are now pleasant, its an environment that I can now allow my children to attend without the fear of shouting and nastiness.We welcome all new members of all backgrounds abilities and ages for friendly, socialist debate.
Kind regards,Louise Reecejones
The Daily Telegraph‘s sister paper The Sunday Telegraph continued the saga of internal strife within the local Labour Party by including a tale re-told by long- time fawning Field acolyte Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin and a clash of handbags in the street between Labour councillors Angela Davies and Tony Norbury , this classy little incident apparently reduced two Labour Party members to tears – though presumably not McLaughlin, Davies and Norbury who would be well aware of Frank’s dictum that ‘bullying was part of politics’ Read full story here : Ghost of Militant Barges Through Birkenhead
All of which adds to the impression of a local party about to implode. However according to leaked emails we have received none of this should come as any surprise to North West Regional Director of Labour , Anna Hutchinson. The emails were sent to her in July and September 2016 and includes compelling evidence of allegations of misconduct by Labour politicians including Field, Cllr George Davies, former Labour leader Cllr Steve Foulkes and current Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies .
We have agreed not to publish the correspondence for the time being but it has been agreed that we can publish the prophetic and telling statements which end both of the emails.
Email 1 : “You may choose to ignore these allegations but you can’t say you weren’t told …”
Email 2: “You have a problem with your politicians on Wirral – a real problem”
You may remember our disappointment at the announcement on social media by local Labour Party luminary Louise Reecejones (LRJ) that she was ‘retiring’ from politics. LRJ was such prolific source of gobsmacking stories that we felt momentarily bereft – although we did note that she did say in her valedictory Facebook post :
I’ve not gone anywhere and will be back stronger than ever, just without the noose…
So imagine our delight when we saw that familiar name at the head of the recent letter calling for the removal of the whip from Birkenhead MP Frank Field and finding that LRJ was the Chair ,yes! – the Chair of the Bidston and St James Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Read here : Exclusive : Will Frank Field have the Labour Whip withdrawn?
We can only speculate that the only other candidate during her election was an actual chair – one with four legs and a backrest. But what a metaphorical smack in the face that must have been for ex-Bidston & St James ward member, ex- Wirral elected member – we use the term ‘member’ advisedly- and convicted criminal – Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree. All we will say is someone is doing a fine job keeping Jimbo away from the telephone and the late night light refreshments.
Nevertheless LRJ’s comeback has not been without its setbacks as can be witnessed by this month’s Disability Labour AGM motion :
Oh dear ! it would appear LRJ’s little local difficulty involving sanctions and suspensions and wrist slapping from the Labour Party slipped her mind. Last thing we knew she was suing all and sundry at Wirral Council for bringing her good name into disrepute (no laughing at the back). The question we’d like to ask is : How on earth did LRJ get to be Secretary of Disability Labour in the first place?
We just continue to be appalled at the calibre of politicians in general and local politicians in particular. Such developments reinforces our belief that there is but one attribute that is required to achieve high office. You only have to peruse the rap sheet of some of the serial liars who pass themselves off as our local politicians – it would seem you don’t need to be intelligent,ethical,moral or honest – you just need to be HARDFACED.
We all know that humans are the only species that blushes (or indeed needs to) but those marble busts in the Lady Lever Art Gallery would crimson up before any of the shower than run the show on Wirral.
Nevertheless we have to confess to the guilty pleasure of witnessing Her Royal Highness of Hardfacedness (LRJ) taking on the Czar of Chutzpah ( Frank Field). We know it’s a bit of a mismatch but nevertheless it has all the potential to get very messy . Indeed we look forward to chronicling the fan-assisted flight of the excrement…
Local Labour Party leakers have provided details of a particular interesting item on the agenda at the next meeting of Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) . As you can see item 5 concerns a motion about Birkenhead MP Frank Field and his recent voting behaviour in the House of Commons which we reported here : Brexit Quiz
What makes the motion even more intriguing is that it emanates from the Labour stronghold of Bidston & St James and what makes it positively fascinating is that the Chair of that branch is none other than former Wirral Leaks regular Louise Reecejones (aka LRJ) . And so it would appear that LRJ’s ‘retirement’ from local politics was a particularly brief episode and as we all know hell hath no fury than a woman who was previously suspended by the local Labour Party.
Here we present Bidston & St James Branch motion in full submitted by Secretary Brian Parsons (only addresses and contact details have been omitted)
Not only is the request for ” The withdrawal of The Labour Whip from Frank Field MP” of particular interest as this means that that the MP would be effectively expelled from the party (but keeps his seat) and must sit as an independent until the whip is restored but also the revelation that Frankenfield refuses to attend Birkenhead CLP monthly meetings. The latter news comes as no surprise to us as we’ve regularly commented on his highhandedness and reluctance to put himself in any position where he’s challenged or held accountable. What’s more they should know by now that their constituency MP is far too busy writing for The S*n or taking advantage – and we use the term advisedly – of photo opportunities at foodbanks and the like to grace the Birkenhead CLP with his celestial presence.
Along with the news that six Labour councillors have received written warnings after they abstained at a recent Wirral Council meeting we are particularly pleased to report that even if Field doesn’t get the Labour Whip withdrawn – the local Labour old guard will almost certainly see to it that he doesn’t – it is reassuring to hear that the old certainties are over and the peasants are revolting…
We’ve been sent the other half of the Labour Party leaflet distributed in Birkenhead & Tranmere during the recent local election campaign..
Might we suggest that the Green Party stick to their ethical principles and recycle this leaflet next time the local elections roll around. They just need to cross out where it says : ‘Pat Cleary lives in West Kirby’ and replace it with ‘Phil Davies lives in West Kirby’. Of course there would be very little chance of Power Boy Pip getting elected where he actually lives. So with the Green Party increasingly making inroads in traditional Labour wards perhaps Pip will need to look for a safer seat come the next local elections. Then he won’t have to rely on his Sat Nav to steer him towards the ward he apparently represents in Birkenhead & Tranmere to find out how the other half lives.
Oh dear – forever late to the party here’s the Labour ladies with their kitten heels on the new carpet and their green and purple rosettes commemorating female suffrage. It must pain them to wear green and to add insult to injury doesn’t red and blue make purple? We just hope they realise that in 1918, Parliament passed an act which only granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities.It wasn’t until 1928 that a Conservative Party led Parliament passed the Representation of the People ( Equal Franchise) Act which granted 21 year old women the right to vote on the same terms as men.
Sadly for us there is no appearance from Wirral Leaks regular – former Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) – who was quietly replaced at the recent local elections by Cllr Kate Cannon. This is consistent to the Stalinist approach that the local Labour group take when it comes to historical events. If there’s one thing they excel at it’s erasing people and events from their own history.
This looks like it may develop into a regular feature. The latest news is that long time Wirral Leaks contributor Nigel ‘Highbrow’ Hobro finally gets his day in court.
Birkenhead County Court – 10.30am, Tuesday 22nd May 2018 (TOMORROW)
Now we don’t know the precise details of the case against Wirral Council so we don’t know whether any members of the public will be able to attend the hearing. However we hope to provide you details of proceedings at a later date.
As we promised in Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch 15 : There is still no news on the outcome of the Morton v Information Commissioner‘s Office and Wirral Borough Council case . We also understand that our other main Wirral institution is also keeping under wraps a matter that will soon come before Liverpool Crown Court. We’ll keep you posted………
And sure enough whilst there is still no news on the Morton v ICO & Wirral Council case there have been developments on the Damien Renshaw child porn case ( which as far as we know as not been reported on Wirral and which we’ve known about since his suspension and subsequent sacking .Meanwhile Wirral Globe chose to tell us about Paul Thompson ,a nurse at Arrowe Park Hospital who has been struck off by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) for amongst many other misdemeanours messaging a 18 year old colleague on Facebook saying he wanted ‘to give her a bed bath with his tongue’. Nice. Read more here : APH nurse struck off
Might we suggest that whilst this conduct is utterly repulsive it is hardly in the same league as former Arrowe Park Hospital IT worker Damien Renshaw . The 34 year old – – was last week found guilty of downloading child porn. Read more here : Smirking Paedophile
It’s cases like these that provide us with an understanding of the toxic culture within some parts of Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) than any number of independent inquiries.
Has the silly season arrived early ? Now we know hasbeen hoofer Ballas was born in Wallasey but as far as pitching a local angle on a (non) news story goes this is about as tenuous as it gets. What next ? Paul Hollywood eats cake on The Great British Bake Off ?
We’re sorry to have to do this to you folks but it’s you lot who suddenly started sending us election stuff and which included the above picture from a clearly disillusioned potential voter. Therefore this week’s dispatch will mainly be an election special . However we’ll start off first with a follow up to last week’s Wallasey Town Hall carpet story :
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
A Wirral Leaks reader writes :
A shiny new black BMW Mayoral car floating about the Borough….is there no shame this local Labour council will stoop too? Had to do a double take in New Brighton tonight and yep it’s a new GERMAN BMW …..no chance of this upstanding gobshite of a council supporting struggling Vauxhall whose livelihood of about 1/4 of Wirral residents are hanging in the balance.
Am sure someone will supply pics of the car and the carpet!
POACHERS TURNED GAMEKEEPERS
Meanwhile we’ve been receiving news of former Wirral Council staff who fancy their chances when it comes to being councillors. Presumably on the grounds that they couldn’t be any worse than their former political paymasters!
One such candidate is this handsome chappy who is standing for the Conservatives in Pensby, Thingwall and Barnston :
Not sure it will go down too well with ex-Wirral Council staff who he screwed over. But it will certainly explain the hasty retreat by former and current Conservative councillors who feigned support for the ‘Control and Patrol’ staff who were shamefully made redundant.
However in the interest of political balance we’ve also been made aware of a Labour candidate who was previously an employee of the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) . This fact alone sets alarm bells ringing for us. However we’re reliably informed that this candidate is being cruelly indulged for their loyalty to the party than for any real prospect of victory. This would seem to be the case as they are contesting the Heswall ward which as we all know is a ‘Momentum’ hotbed. However our informant tells us that in the highly unlikely event that they succeed in getting elected then we all need to order the cyanide capsules (well you lot do anyway).
Shocking news arrives that current Pensby , Thingwall and Barnston councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) could be losing her mobility vehicle! #sadface
Fear not LRJ. Labour MP Frank Field loves to challenge this kind of injustice. Perhaps you can give him a tinkle (not a euphemism, obvs). Or perhaps not – you’re not part of the ‘Inner Ring’ are you? Have you got any compromising and incriminating recordings handy? That might help! Just sayin’!
We’ve been asked about our Wirral Leaks Election Selection – 1 week to go story and to justify the fact that Green Party councillor Pat Cleary appears to give an actual shit. The first thing we have to say is that we don’t have to justify anything we write. We just have to evidence it. Much as Cllr Cleary appears to have done. From what we can gather all councillors were required years ago to report problems in their own wards and submit all cases through Councillor.Net which is an internal Web portal for use only by councillors. What’s more any councillor who claims to be reporting stuff in other ways is ignoring official advice and increasing costs to the council because it is alleged that Councillor.Net is apparently very efficient – which let’s face it is a first for Wirral Council!
AND FINALLY …… WORD OF THE WEEK
Take your pick as to which Wirral councillor this quote applies to. All we will say for now is that the facinorous nature of some local election candidates (and their agents) will be revealed tomorrow in all its sordid glory on Wirral Leaks ………
Here we have a social media post from our old friend and correspondent Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ). We’ve omitted 2 paragraphs ( containing either personal details or plugs for her charity) , other than that all words , as far as we know, are LRJ’s own. We’ve decided to publish in the public interest mainly because it would appear that LRJ has “made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics” and therefore surely the local electorate need to know exactly what this means:
Last night I made the move to withdrawn (sic) from politics due to the extreme stress the constant targeting I have faced personally that has put extreme pressure on my health , this is not stress from those residents that I have served as that has been an absolute pleasure.
I would like to thank the one Labour councillor who had wished me well ……., it shows there is at least one good person . I won’t name them as I wouldn’t want them targeted. (Although I believe they can hold their own)
I believe in Jeremy Corbyn and what Labour stands for , I have principles I will not push to one side in order to make friends , I will not stand by an watch bully’s (sic) at work and I will not keep quiet to stop myself being bullied as I was not brought up that way.
My purpose was to make change and make a difference to children and adults with disabilities. I don’t believe in the current climate that there is any intention to change things on Wirral. I see so many children and their families in crisis and more energy is given to try and discredit me through the press , than change a way of working xx
I’ve not gone anywhere and will be back stronger than ever ,just without the noose …
First thing to say is that we have no problem believing that some local Labour councillors ” can hold their own” – let’s face it many of them don’t have a choice! The second thing to say is that LRJ doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what it’s like being a local Labour councillor does she? However we don’t appear to have had any official confirmation from the local Labour group or Wirral Council that indeed LRJ no longer features among their ranks . Whilst LRJ is still listed on Wirral Council website as a councillor for the Pensby and Thingwall ward – and presumably still collecting her council allowances – she was a notable absentee from this week’s annual Wirral Council budget meeting held earlier this week.
The Nolan Principles in motion : Comrade LRJ putting on a show of solidarity with Comrade Foulkesy (mate of Comrade Crabby) – awks!
If she is true to her word we have to say we will be sad to see LRJ go ( pass us an onion) as she was such good source of stories for us if nothing else. Who could forget her epic feud with ex – Labour councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree and how that ended up with him getting a criminal conviction ? LRJ then went from victim to victimiser and ended up falling foul of Wirral Council’s pisspoor ‘Standards’ ( ha!ha!) regime, refusing to apologise to either members of the public that she’d badmouthed on social media or councillors who feigned being ‘appalled’ at her conduct. Let’s face it the councillors were just miffed she didn’t meekly ‘ Do-a-Foulkesy’ and say she’d been very naughty and she wouldn’t do it again……..until the next time. She then threatened Wirral Council and former and current Monitoring Officer ( Surjit Tour and Philip McCourt respectively) with legal action. We also understand she made further allegations against another Labour councillor ( but respect and decorum prevents us from pursuing that particular story any further).
We have to say that from our first post that mentioned LRJ and which dealt with her original suspension by North West Labour Party in May 2015 we always thought her days were numbered. Therefore she appears to have done well to have lasted this long before apparently throwing in the towel. As we said at the time her only hope was to foster a friendship with Frank Field. He wasn’t keen and her fate was sealed. Read more here : Suspension Suspense
Whatever the situation we suspect that the local Labour group will want to keep very quiet on this one – at least until after the local elections in May. But will LRJ?
We’ve been forwarded the latest footage from the eye of the lens of our beloved Mr Brace by a number of people who thought it might be of interest.
Although Our Man Brace makes a guest appearance three minutes into Part 1 which was diverting especially when we clocked the facial expressions of Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee chair Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who gives a whole new meaning to the expression clockwatching. However there were too many longueurs for our liking (that’s French for ‘boring bits’).
As usual it was a case of councillors skirting round the most pertinent issues with Matron reminding committee members that they “can get yourselves into a bit of amess “ if they don’t follow the Council’s guidance and protocols. You don’t say ! – care to give some examples? There then followed a prolonged session of speaking in tongues about ‘sanctions’ for errant councillors (or rather lack thereof) with everyone careful not to mention ‘The Councillor That Dare Not Speak It’s Name’ ( that’s Cllr Louise Reecejones aka LRJ ). Although we have to say that LRJ’s violations against the Council’s Code of Conduct are but nothing compared to the likes of Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies we feel as though we’ve done that one to death.
We were just about to turn off halfway through Part 2 when the issue of ‘whistleblowing’ was dismissed in the blink of an eye or rather a cold hard stare from the Matron as if to say “nobody better say another bloody word on this subject”
However we pricked up our ears at about 18 minutes as councillors struggled to understand the word ‘intimidation’ (after all it is more than two syllables ). There followed a particularly revealing exchange between Matron and Cllr Ron Abbey . Well when we say exchange poor Ron couldn’t get a word in as Matron seemed particularly agitated about this particular subject :
Matron : There isn’t actually a way of defining what intimidation (is). You might think that a particular website in the way that it talks about people and elected members…..
Abbey : I’m not talking about ……
Matron : No… I am , I am. I’m suggesting would that be intimidatory, could that be considered intimidatory if someone is regularly being insulted or allegations made that you can’t contradict……
Ron Abbey : The only way you can test that is in a court of law…..
Matron : Well so far some people have tried to have something done about a particular website that might use those sort of tactics and found that it’s not possible to do it.
What particular website could Matron possibly mean? If , for argument’s sake we take it to be Wirral Leaks we need to make ourselves very clear on this particular matter. Firstly , let’s us deal with the issue of defining ‘intimidation’ . Perhaps we can assist elected members where their acting head of law and governance Philip ‘Peachy-keen’ McCourt failed them. Might we suggest their discussion could have been better informed if they were aware that the government’s Committee on Standards in Public Office published a report in December 2017 titled : Intimidation in Public Life : A Review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life
As ever what was missing from the discussion was a failure to acknowledge the power dynamic between a public institution and a local website. What’s more we totally refute the idea that people are not given the opportunity to contradict any allegations that this particular website makes. All they have to do is contact us at email@example.com as well Matron knows as a member of her family has done so a couple of times. The trouble is that those who have contacted us usually come off second best ( Kevin MacCallum – Wirral Council’s head of communications springs to mind.)
As for the fact that some people have apparently ‘tried to have something done about a particular website’ for exercising its right to freedom of expression tells us everything we need to know about Wirral Council. Now if that isn’t a definition of ‘intimidation’ we don’t know what is!
Intimidation is all about power and control and getting people to do what you want by threatening them .Those people who try to control the public discourse are those who want to control everything.Wirral Council’s control freakery is out of control and they hate the fact they have no control over this particular website. We’re in no mood to apologise for our irreverent tone or our sarcasm or our satire or our cynicism or our expletives and certainly not our lack of deference for people for whom we have absolutely no respect – deference died a horrible death for us a long, long time a go. We are not Wirral View!
The Brendan Cox quote taken from the report that we reference above highlights the hypocrisies that surround the subject of intimidation. For those who don’t know , Cox is a former highflyer in the charity sector and the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. Mr Cox, was forced to quit two charities he set up in her memory earlier this month after allegations of sexual assault were made public. This is the second time Mr Cox was forced to quit after similar allegations were made when he resigned from the Save the Children charity in 2015. If you read the lurid allegations made against Cox it would appear he himself was an expert in intimidation. The Intimidation in Public Life report is littered (and we use the term advisedly) with quotes from Mr Cox. A hypocrite pontificating about hypocrisy is something we do not need.
Similarly might we suggest that no representative of Wirral Council (Matron or otherwise) is any position to to accuse a particular website of intimidation when it actually REWARDS such conduct :
Add to holding an incriminating recording over the heads of Wirral’s top politicians like the Sword of Damocles , threatening councillors and council officers over the phone and in person , participating in a smear campaign and even ordering pizzas from Pizza Magic and sending them to a former councillor.
And what did the Wirralgate ‘Group’ get for such ‘intimidation’ ? – the most senior politicians and council officers on Wirral conspiring to enable them to receive ‘compensation’.
All those involved will be forever tainted with the accusation of hypocrisy (and worse) by a particular website and that is most definitely NOT intimidation.