No Kingdom for Two Mayors

kingdom Anderson

Our thanks again to ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’ for capturing  footage of  Kingdom protestor , Metro Mayor  Steve ‘The Brickie ‘ Rotheram and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson prior to  yesterday’s Merseytravel meeting.

As you can see both a rather tetchy Rotheram and a somewhat more relaxed  Anderson  make their feelings clear on the subject of Wirral Council’s continued use of Kingdom Security. However it remains in the hands of Wirral councillors and specifically the ruling Labour administration to address what is beginning to look more and more like a punitive tax on the poor and vulnerable and very little to do with  litter enforcement or environmental concerns.

 

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Christmas Cheer for Cammell Laird Workers

Casualisation

Pic : Ross Quinn, Unite

 

Very welcome news that the 291 planned redundancies for Cammell Laird workers have been rescinded just before Christmas.

However the fact that a ‘task force’ has been set up by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to save shipyard jobs raises yet more questions about the role of Birkenhead MP Frank Field and his failure to publicly support the recent strike action. It is interesting to note that also on the ‘task force’ is Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. We understand Pip even made an appearance on the picket line although  it was in the aftermath of high profile political and public support for strikers.

We have to say as an observer of local politics and local media that recent events have been a PR disaster for Cammell Laird’s current management and particularly CEO John Syvret who had to publicly apologise for claiming that strikers were  “pandering to negative stereotypes of Merseyside” . But then Syvret was given the platform to make such claims in the local media without initially any discussion of why strike action was considered to be necessary by unions. This was not just about redundancies but about the ongoing spectre of ‘casualisation’ which is something that the local media seems to have  belatedly acknowledged in the wake of widespread public and political support.

There may have been a Christmas truce declared in this particular battle but the war against employment practices which undermine workers rights continues…

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #4

WW1

WW1 : Artist’s impression # 256

                                                                   WW1

As far as ‘Wirral Waters’ press releases goes this really is the best one yet. You can almost smell the desperation.  Note how the quietly abandoned ‘Wirral Waters’ scheme has suddenly and mysteriously been ‘transformed’ into ‘Wirral Waters One’ . Whoever thought of that new branding needs shooting – say it out loud , it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? Can we also point out that when it comes to acronyms WW1 has already been taken? Just sayin’

Apparently Wirral Council’s Cabinet will announce tomorrow that a massive (! )£100,000 will ‘kick start’ a £90,000,000 residential development in ‘Wirral Waters One’ !

The proposal is a joint venture between the council and landowners Peel Holdings, and includes the Legacy Foundation – an investment fund established by former Tranmere Rovers player Aaron Cresswell………..The Legacy Foundation will provide £100,000 of funding in the first year to be invested in community activities. Full story : Wirral Waters One

We don’t get a breakdown of the total investment between Peel Holdings/ Wirral Council/Legacy Foundation but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be Wirral Council (or more accurately Wirral council taxpayers) who will be putting their hands the deepest into their pockets when it comes to ‘kick starting’ this proposal. Nor do we get an explanation as to what is meant by ‘community activities’

Instead stepping up to take credit for the momentous investment was Birkenhead MP Frank Field  (huh?)

“An idea bringing the largest programme of new housing to Wirral in living memory, announced today, is the brainchild of Andrew Forsey who is the head of my Parliamentary office.Through his work in making contact with footballers interested in making long term investments from their pensions. Andrew helped to persuade a crop of current and former Premier League players – including Aaron Cresswell, who was a Tranmere Rovers player and now plays for West Ham – to see whether it would be possible for his investment fund to begin work in Wirral Waters.”

Is it just us ? – or is is there something vaguely nauseating about poverty tourist Frank Field’s parliamentary office brainstorming about the ‘loadsamonies’ who they can approach with the begging bowl without considering whether it’s morally right that footballers and the like can earn such huge sums of money or question as to whether as a society we’ve got our values all wrong? Nevertheless it is interesting to discover that Wirral’s ‘largest programme of new housing’ is somehow the responsibility of Frank Field’s Parliamentary office isn’t it?!

NUMBER – CRUNCHING   – Aaron Cresswell’s  current fortnightly salary at West Ham Utd  = £100,000 ! (well fancy that!)  See here : West Ham Utd Salaries 2018

So what we’d like tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting to do is finally come clean and announce that ‘Wirral Waters One’ and indeed the ‘ Hoylake Golf Resort’ proposal are merely opportunistic housing developments and quit the soft soap.

 

                                                              Vexatious , Moi?

Wirral Council seemed to have backed off the desperate claim that Wirral Council taxpayer Charles Nunn is ‘vexatious’ for asking pertinent questions about the continuing employment of highly paid consultant Stewart Halliday . See their latest response here : Halliday FOI

Mr Nunn comments :

At last a part reply to my F.of Information request.
Halliday has had his contract extended for a further SIX MONTHS from 1st. January, 2018.
Another £90,000 odd from the Wirral Council Tax payer.
It may be worth a mention in your esteemed publication.
Charles

                           

                                           CGL:  “……and nobody seemed to care “

Many thanks to those who keep us appraised of national charity Change,Grow Live who are the grateful recipient of Wirral’s largest ( £7 million +) Public Health contract. Their latest mishap involves them in a massive data breach involving abandoned files found in an empty Tameside office  containing highly personal details about the lives of vulnerable young people – including abuse survivors. Once again we fear we have seen the future of health and social care. Be afraid, be very afraid.

CGL- Tameside

 

                                                     Posted Truth

A source writes :

By way of obscure and tenuous response to you excellent ‘Post Truth’ contribution/blog

… I am sending you this ‘Posted Truth’ image… I reckon you could say it is both a statement of fact…. and a protest. (Which I obviously feel to be a good thing).

Posted Truth

 

 

                                                       De-Stressed Eric 

A local barfly informs us :

Eric (Robinson) was recently seen in a pub in Liverpool when he should have been working – the pub being ‘Brew Dog’ dressed in casuals.
The council is no better than when we had the other 3 – it’s probably worse.

Now we can’t confirm whether Stressed Eric was on council duty or not whilst allegedly quaffing the craft ale – but we have to ask as to whether anyone would notice the difference ? Plus we simply don’t want to think about him dressed in his ‘casuals’.

Having said that we don’t need convincing that Wirral Council is worse than ever under his , ahem, ‘leadership’  As for ‘the other 3’ – whoever could they mean?!

       

                                               A Cautionary Tale

In Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2 we commented on recent developments where Mayor Joe Anderson was interviewed  by Merseyside Police ‘under caution’ in relation to the ongoing fraud probe involving Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others. We now hear of someone closer to home who it is alleged was also interviewed under caution by Merseyside Police in relation to an altogether different matter. However such are the extreme sensitivities surrounding this particular case we are precluded from reporting any further. Nevertheless we will be following developments with interest….

The Uncanny and the Corrupt

transparency-014

Lib Dem councillor Stuart Kelly called it correctly last night when he posted the above tweet.

Of course what he didn’t do was go into detail – so as ever it’s up to us to fill in the blanks.

The blank space in this case being the appointment of Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies personal hand-holder Martin Liptrot (aka Liptrotsky) to the post of ‘Investment Development Manager’ on approximately £127K  pa (and not the previously reported £80K) . So the just-so-happens appointment comes just in time for Pip’s cheerleader to accompany him on a jaunt to Cannes – at our expense. Quelle surprise!

An Extraordinary Council

Needless to say (and what Cllr Kelly alludes to) is that we predicted this appointment way back in January when we reported:

Wirral Leaks regulars Wirral Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive  ‘ Princess’ Paula Basnett and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies clearly see themselves as local power brokers. Unfortunately we’ve been around too long and seen too much that troubles us  and which leads us to conclude they’re more aptly described as power abusers.

This view is reinforced by  a couple of stories that have come our way over the weekend. Firstly the frightening news that Pip ‘urgently’ needs to appoint an ‘Investor Development Manager’ on £80K  – like you do when it appears you can do what the bloody hell you like with public money . Talk about out of the blue and into the red!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022687.Wirral_Council_in_rush_to_create_new___80k_management_job___with_no_questions_asked_/

So what’s the problem with this we hear you cry ?  – well , firstly the fact that opposition councillors are being prevented from asking any awkward questions (or in Wirral Council – speak ‘the call in’ procedure should be waived) and more significantly from what we hear that the main name in the frame for this personal appointment is current ‘policy advisor’ Martin Liptrot aka Liptrotsky . This would make sense as Liptrotsky  now needs to supplement his measly £45K for two days ‘work’ at Wirral Council after Mayor Joe Anderson failed to get the Metro Mayor gig . We ‘ll be particularly interested  to see how this ‘politically restricted post’ plays out and whether this insider tip -off actually comes to pass.

The Power Abusers

Inevitably it transpires that once again that what we predicted did come to pass. Now we’ve reported on some appalling Wirral Council machinations over the years but we can’t tell you how much we think this is absolutely disgusting – beyond nepotism and into the realms of corruption . Perhaps Power Boy Pip could explain the recruitment process to the people who fund his personal appointments ? But then we have to accept that this is Wirral – so what do you expect? It’s how things work round here!

PS – Oh by the way Cllr Kelly if we did have the lotto numbers the first thing we’d do is cash the cheque and get out of Wirral as fast as we could and we’d advise all decent, honest people to do the same.

LIPROT

The Power Abusers

secrecy-is-the-linchpin-of-abuse-of-power-its-enabling-force-transparency-is-the-only-real-antidote-quote-1

 

Wirral Leaks regulars Wirral Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive  ‘ Princess’ Paula Basnett and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies clearly see themselves as local power brokers. Unfortunately we’ve been around too long and seen too much that troubles us  and which leads us to conclude they’re more aptly described as power abusers.

This view is reinforced by  a couple of stories that have come our way over the weekend. Firstly the frightening news that Pip ‘urgently’ needs to appoint an ‘Investor Development Manager’ on £80K  – like you do when it appears you can do what the bloody hell you like with public money . Talk about out of the blue and into the red!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022687.Wirral_Council_in_rush_to_create_new___80k_management_job___with_no_questions_asked_/

So what’s the problem with this we hear you cry ?  – well , firstly the fact that opposition councillors are being prevented from asking any awkward questions (or in Wirral Council – speak ‘the call in’ procedure should be waived) and more significantly from what we hear that the main name in the frame for this personal appointment is current ‘policy advisor’ Martin Liptrot aka Liptrotsky . This would make sense as Liptrotsky  now needs to supplement his measly £45K for two days ‘work’ at Wirral Council after Mayor Joe Anderson failed to get the Metro Mayor gig . We ‘ll be particularly interested  to see how this ‘politically restricted post’ plays out and whether this insider tip -off actually comes to pass.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50038434/Delivering%20Growth%20in%2Wirral%20-%20Securing%20Investment.pdf

Meanwhile over at the Wirral Chamber of Commerce – although let’s be honest Wirral Council /Wirral Chamber of Commerce are virtually indivisible – there has been some troubling developments with what are described as ‘Sheriff of Nottingham tax gathering methods’.

A request for not for profit/charitable organisations to be exempt from the ‘Birkenhead Improvement District’ (BID)  levy has hit a brick wall . This is a 1.5% levy on top of business rates for local businesses to fund what we think is an expensive window dressing exercise administered by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

However it seems charitable organisations who do not pay the levy face a summons with extra £100 in charges added. The legality and validity of this alleged summons is highly questionable along with the fact that  Wirral Council are acting as the ‘collecting agent’ in this matter using all powers available to them to secure payments . Apparently whilst Wirral Council agree it is a civil matter they are issuing summonses in the Magistrates Court which is a criminal court. These summonses are batch processed and cost an estimated £6 maximum but then they want to charge circa £100 in costs! So it’s win/win for both Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber of Commerce! What is even more bizarre is that  Wirral Council have previously agreed 100% rate relief to qualifying not for profit organisations whilst at the same time they are prepared  to act as collection and enforcing agent for the BID.

Petitions to Wirral Chamber / Birkenhead First to exempt charitable organisations or to access a robust appeal procedure have not been successful. Charitable organisations which should be exempt and very small businesses who should be able to appeal are being denied the opportunity to opt out. Apparently a vote was taken of all affected businesses in the BID area and whilst the majority voted of introducing a BID those who voted against still have to pay the levy.

Attempts to get to the bottom of decision making on the imposition of the BID levy and arrangements between Wirral Chamber of Commerce/ Wirral Council via Freedom of Information requests have faltered on the grounds that Wirral Chamber of Commerce claim to be exempt from FOI legislation.

So whilst Wirral Chamber of Commerce  seem quite happy to take public money and acquire public property they’re not quite so keen on public accountability…… somewhat like Wirral Council !

 

The Pain of Failure

pain

 

Now that we’ve had time to fully absorb Ofsted’s less than flattering  inspection report of Wirral’s Children’s Services we thought we’d wade in with our thoughts.

The horrorshow of a report speaks for itself :

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/wirral/051_Single%20inspection%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20and%20review%20of%20the%20LSCB%20as%20pdf.pdf

So having last week made our position on the latest Wirral Council car crash clear we’d particularly like to concentrate on the debris .

Inevitably Frank Field has melodramatically (if belatedly)  entered the fray saying that the report is “simply devastating” . However for a man who in the past has been quick to condemn he’s treating those responsible for the manifest failings in the report with kid gloves (no pun intended).

“Now is not the time for scapegoating”  he magisterially declares taking time out from calling for public accountability and monstering panto villains like former BHS boss “Sir” Philip Green. Which is a bit of a surprise from someone who makes such a public show of his deep concern about Wirral’s kiddiewinks. Although it’s perhaps not so surprising when you consider that one of the main people who should be driven into the desert is People Overview and Scrutiny Committee chair and long-time  Frankenfield acolyte Cllr Moira “Matron” McLaughlin , who having failed spectacularly when she steered a totally out of control adult social services department has been given the opportunity  to fall asleep at the wheel again and fail to ensure the proper scrutiny of children’s services under the  stewardship of Labour cabinet lead  Cllr Tony Smith . That’s quite a track record – it can only be a matter of time before she’s awarded an OBE.

But then what constantly perplexes us at Leaky Towers is that the people who are responsible for Council failures are given the responsibility to clear it up. We are not re-assured by the fact that Wirral Council Chief Executive Eric “Feeble” Robinson has informed us that will be holding Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall’s hand whilst they clear up a mess partially of their own making. Stressed Eric described the Ofsted report as “painful” – but then we’re sure that the  near £300,000 per annum of public money that Eric and Julia earn between them must go some way to easing that pain.

Has anyone noticed that Clare Fish the Strategic Director for Families & Wellbeing has been conspicuous by her absence from the public eye?. Whilst we always considered Fish to be out of her depth we wouldn’t like to think that this particular Super Duper Director has become yet another big fish who’s been let off the hook and been rewarded for their failure.

However it’s not all bad news as we’re particularly gratified, alongside a former Wirral Council head of safeguarding, that the current incumbent of the post – simpering Simon Garner – has been rumbled.

And finally  with reference to the Ofsted report we think that whoever thought up the acronym MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) needs to be put out of their misery.

children-fail

Memo to Frank Field

 

Private Ambition and Political Alliances

 

Private and Public

Before we return to dissecting the Wirralgate saga we couldn’t help commenting on a couple of developments on Planet Wirral.

Firstly we were delighted to hear that ‘Mayor’ Joe Anderson was ‘heartbroken’ (snigger) not to get the Labour nomination for the Metro Mayor election . The nomination went to Walton MP Steve Rotheram . Of course we were backing Luciana Berger – but it would appear that when it comes to Metro Mayors – the progressive Labour Party prefers all their candidates across the country to have a penis and just like the Liverpool City Region leaders it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit limp.

Northern Outhouse

We were especially delighted that Mayor Joe’s ambitions come unstuck as we suspect that there were others on this side of the River Mersey who were anticipating riding on the coat tails of his mayoral robes.

Gleeful sources are commenting to us that Martin Liptrot’s masterplan to be the power behind the throne and Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies exit strategy to be Mayor Joe’s Deputy Mayor have sunk in the River Mersey. Once again we note how “The Curse of Pip” comes into play  – a ringing endorsement from him – as Pip did for Joe’s Metro Mayor nomination – is invariably the kiss of death.

Oh well never mind Liptrotsky ( the self proclaimed”cross river power broker”) will have to be content with being the de facto Chief Executive of Wirral Council as further demonstrated by the fact that supposed  CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson is left to front the justification for yet another appointment to Liptrotsky’s growing public relations empire . The new appointment of a ‘Public Affairs Manager’ (it has been reliably estimated that there are currently 14 – yes 14 Wirral Council  officers already involved in aspects of this work) is justified by Stressed Eric thus:

“The  Public Affairs Manager will support the delivery of the Wirral Plan through leading the development and delivery of a public affairs and outreach strategy for the organisation. In addition they will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective connections with policymakers and key influencers regionally, nationally and internationally to help shape policies, decisions and legislation for the benefit of Wirral.”

This appointment will leave Liptrotsky more time to run Wirral Council and tells you everything you need to know about Wirral Council’s priorities – less public services, more public relations.

We asked our faithful factotum Verity Snoop whether she was going to apply , she told us she was suffering from severe personal integrity and therefore didn’t meet the essential criteria of being a complete and utter professional arselicker.

 

Fury Cross The Mersey

angry-get-it-right

We’ve commented before that the battle for the soul of the local Wirral Labour Party will be down to grass-roots activists throwing off the shackles of the amoral political careerists and the corrupt bullies that have brought the party so low in recent years.

Following the ousting of Jim ” Crabby”Crabtree from the Bidston & St.James ward there are further encouraging signs that the party faithful are not prepared to do as their told by their “betters” (Orwell’s Animal Farm springs to mind).

We say this as news reaches us that Mayor Joe Anderson’s nomination for Metro Mayor isn’t going down too well this side of the Mersey. Indeed we understand that there was a distinct lack of support at a recent meeting of the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party . …and Mayor Joe is not happy as his nomination could now be in jeopardy!.

Local Labour Party members have been in touch to tell us they’re perplexed by Wirral Labour “Leader” Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies’ steadfast support for Mayor Joe’s nomination which you can see here :

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxrkIjRDgrB-cU51T2xCLTk5NXJuVkVueUU4akVnY1ZxelZN

Labour party members are telling us that they can only see this support in terms of a political career move and suggest that serial political wannabe Power Boy Pip  – who let’s remember lost the West Wirral seat to Esther McVey in the General Election in 2010 and was only made leader  of the local Labour Party because Steve Foulkes was ousted in a vote of no confidence in 2012 –  is angling to be Mayor Joe’s Deputy Mayor.

It’s just a shame that his local party members are having none of it! – especially as Pip is looking increasingly like a man in need of an exit strategy before the shit hits the fan!.

But then we should thank our lucky stars as Birkenhead MP Frankenfield recently commented on the Metro Mayor post  : ” If I was 20 years younger I’d be after it!” http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14528555.Another_Liverpool_politician_joins_race_to_be_our_first__metro_mayor_/

And if that doesn’t give you nightmares we don’t know what would!.

VOTE LUCIANA!

 

You’re The Only One, Joe

Hands across the Mersey

So Mayor Joe and Power Boy Pip kiss and make up as the gruesome twosome appear in another  Liptrotsky – controlled Liverpool Echo  PR stunt.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/child-bus-fares-to-reduced-11391364

The momentous occasion is Pip’s endorsement of Mayor Joe’s Metro Mayor campaign. In the accompanying video for the pisspoor puff piece Mayor Joe helpfully confirms for us that another mayoral candidate , Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger , is in fact a woman. Thanks for that Joe.  Could it be his riposte to our comment that this picture of the Liverpool City Region “leaders ” was hardly a model of diversity ?.

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

Northern Outhouse

We just wonder whether Mayor Joe realises that an endorsement from Pip is the kiss of death.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/king-midas-in-reverse/

Who can forget his ringing endorsement of Tranmere Rovers  FC as  Ambassadors  for Wirral just before they almost immediately lost their manager and then sadly slipped into non-league obscurity ?.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/wirral-leaks-updates-lowdowns/

We warn you all now that there will be much more of this PR BS  before the Metro Mayor election in 2017 – not that we’re complaining as it gives us the opportunity to run our famous caption  competitions.

Readers are invited to send in their captions for the above picture . The winner gets a LUCIANA BERGER FOR METRO MAYOR t-shirt.

A Fair Cop

 

Fair Cop

Don’t know about you guys but we’re lovin’ the run up to the local elections and now the Merseyside Police Commissioner election also to be held on May 5th  just got a whole lot more interesting.

The news arrives out of the blue (or should that be the boys in blue) that Wirral Councillor David Burgess -Joyce was allegedly sacked from his job with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) for gross misconduct in 2013.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/revealed-tory-who-wants-85k-11270594

Proving once again you really couldn’t make this shit up Cllr B-J is needless to say the Tory candidate for the Merseyside Police Commissioner election!.

Now whenever we’ve had an idle moment we try to catch up on Wirral Council proceedings from Wallasey Town Hall via John Brace’s video recordings and whenever we’ve watched them Her Ladyship and I have always asked each other who on earth was that preening, self -regarding pompous windbag  who with faux sincerity talked ever -so – slowly – and – in – a -way – that – made – you – think – that -what -he-was -saying – was – ever – so- important – and – profound – when -really – it -was – the – usual – mix -of -blather – and – BS.

And now we know – Mr B-J !!!

For us there are other interesting aspects to this story printed on Labour Day in the Liptrot Echo – not least that if  Cllr B-J was sacked in 2013 ( there’s a bit of difference between the National Crime Agency and B-J’s version of events) why is it being reported in the “public interest”  a few days before the 2016 Merseyside Police Commissioner election?.

Even more interestingly we have Liverpool Council’s Mayor Joe Anderson calling for B-J’s  resignation as a Wirral Councillor and surprisingly not Wirral Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies.

But then as we know Power Boy Pip is in no position to call for anyone’s resignation at the moment as he has more than a few skeletons of his own rattling round in the cupboard !.