This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. – Matthew 13:13 ( Our thanks to Mr F. Field , Oxton for the biblical quote )
We’ve found some time to catch up with our beloved John Brace’s footage of Monday’s last full Wirral Council meeting of 2017. We’ve attached part one of the meeting below (you can do the rest if you’re interested).
First thing to say is that it confirms that our sources were spot on with the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) story (part 3 of Brace’s footage)…..and secondly we were interested to see Mr Brace himself ask a question about Wirral Council’s forthcoming plans to film council meetings themselves. We just hope John keeps on filming as knowing Wirral Council if the rehearsed and scripted exchanges are anything to go by their footage is bound to be selectively edited.
So what else happened ? Hats off to young Peter Shield from the Wirral Needs campaign who spoke most eloquently whilst accompanied by the Momentum Choir in the public gallery who chanted at regular intervals :
LABOUR COUNCIL LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC
Good luck with that one guys and guyesses! Although you’re singing our song – we would have added a few whistles. We’ve been at it for 7 years and they only listen to what they want to ( i.e what Frank Field tells them) . The battle for the soul of the local Labour group was clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Corbynistas applauded Tory leader Cllr Ian Lewis more than Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. These are strange times indeed.
Looking at the agenda ( well we didn’t – life’s too short) but our faithful factotum Verity told us to look out for a question about why the Highways contract , which is currently with BAM Nuttall, is suddenly being brought back in house. Unfortunately there were endless questions about the Hoylake Golf Resort which came with the same scripted answers and added nothing to the debate and so we never discovered the rationale or details of the business case for doing so. But then the question would have been answered by Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham so it is highly likely we would be none the wiser if he’d had the chance to clarify this curious volte-face anyway!
Finally we publish a statement from Defend Our NHS on their take on Monday’s meeting if only to reinforce it’s not just us who are concerned about how the Wirral Council leadership conduct their business. Wake up people!:
Massive deception of Wirral public by Council leadership
A statement from Defend Our NHS.
12th December 2017.
For immediate release.
At Monday’s (11th December 2017) Wirral Council meeting it was agreed to press ahead with changes to local health and care services.
Council leader Phil Davies told the meeting that the Council was implementing Labour national NHS policy by working with local NHS colleagues to integrate health and social care services.
There were angry protests as Davies refused the suggestion of meeting local anti-cuts campaigners and accused them (falsely) of advocating an ‘illegal’ budget.
The health and care changes involve deception on an industrial scale.
At the weekend Davies had emailed every single Wirral member of his party to say, “In addition, Labour Party policy nationally is to halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STPs), which are looking at closing health services across England, and this is fully supported by the Labour Group in Wirral. It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre after its closure.”
His statement and the changes bulldozed through last night are based on deceit, half-truths and worse:
1. “To halt and review”? NO! At its annual conference this year the Labour Party agreed: “This Conference Calls on our Party to restore our NHS by reversing all privatisation and permanently halting STPs and ACSs.” No mention of a ‘review’. The policy is ‘permanently halting’. STPs and ACSs are acknowledged to be the government’s way to “slash, trash and privatise” the NHS with over £900 millions of cuts planned for Cheshire and Merseyside alone.
2. Davies and all but one of his misinformed councillors have been unable to answer an unequivocal ‘yes’ to this simple question put to them by Defend Our NHS: “Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts?”
3. In fact and unbelievably the leaked policy of Wirral in league with the local Clinical Commissioning Group is now “the development of a single ‘Accountable Care System’”, while:
4. “The STP will operate at Cheshire and Merseyside level, commissioning some specialist services. Primarily operating on the basis of a Strategic Health Authority – holding the local Wirral system to account…”
5. In other words they are planning the very things which Davies claims to oppose.
6. It comes as no surprise. To give just one example from recent years (there are sundry others), what was the Wirral Council Leader doing at the 9th March 2016 (yes, 2016) Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board?
7. He has never replied to a single communication from Defend Our NHS – including a question (asked twice) in relation to the Vanguard project. In April 2015 (yes, 2015) we asked him, “Why has Wirral granted enhanced entry to our local health services to major US and/or US-owned corporations, especially one representing the ACO model? Surely this and “testing of a capitated budget approach” are the logical precursors to a health insurance scheme?”
8. And, by the way, to say that, “It is the Wirral Labour Group who have already led the fight to reinstate Eastham Walk-In centre” somewhat spins the reality.
Campaigners from across the entire Cheshire and Merseyside STP ‘footprint’ have been meeting to plan their response. Davies and his like who say one thing to their members but plan the exact opposite behind closed doors – and then push it through a Council meeting – will be in for a few shocks after Christmas.