Election Selection : Week 8

Red Braces

Labour groupies Cllr Chris Meaden and Cllr Janette Williamson admire Frankenfield’s red braces and his homage to 1980’s wankers, sorry, bankers and the glory days of Thatcherism. Pic courtesy of Wirral Globe 

We don’t know how you feel but this has seemed to be the longest 8 weeks of our lives. At last we can get back to moaning about the weather and Wirral Council.

Our interest in national politics only extends to how it affects the local political landscape. By which we mean Frank Field  – obvs. For as we know Frankenfield is the de facto political leader on Wirral. Let’s face it –  McGovern , Eagle and Greenwood are mere also-rans in Wirral’s political stakes.

With Merseyside totally in the red  when it comes to local politics – from the Metro Mayor and his cabinet to all council leaders and constituency MPs and the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy there is an unprecedented concentration of  power invested in one party. Whilst that is the democratic right of the people, it scares us to death, not only because it suggests there is no effective opposition but primarily that some of the people who wield power are just so bloody awful.

But it’s not all bad news – with a hung parliament and with fox-hunting enthusiast Theresa May now experiencing what it’s like to be hunted by the ruthless and privileged ( i.e her own party) it would appear that there could be another general election on the horizon (*sighs* all round at Leaky Towers).

This of course would mean another bumper pay day for Wirral Council’s Returning Officer Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson who as we know must be struggling on his £180K + salary which is supplemented by the bumper pay outs amounting to tens of thousands of pounds he receives for declaring the seemingly never ending round of elections.

Hey Eric – any more thoughts on donating your bonus to supporting local charities or foodbanks or the New Ferry explosion fundraising efforts like a former Wirral Council Chief Executive used to do?

No – thought not!

 

Fronting For The Lord

fronting

The Scene : Leaky Towers. Her Ladyship is checking out Wirral Leaks correspondence  and alights upon an email from Wirral Council titled ‘Restorative justice – join the conversation’ . Intrigued to find Wirral Council associated with the word ‘justice’ she reads on and turning to His Lordship the following conversation ensues : 

I see Cllr George Davies is fronting again

Are you referring to his comb forward again , dearest?

No , Lordy McLordface I’ve been advised by our butler Eldritch that fronting is an expression that young folks use and means to put on airs , to put up a facade , to act fake or phony or to misrepresent oneself. Eldritch tells me it is the opposite of “keeping it real”

With his penchant for vulgarities and obscenities I can only hope that these are the only expressions that Eldritch has been teaching you . So pray tell me my precious ,why is dear Georgie , er,’fronting’?

Well apparently he’s telling us the Wirral Neighbourhood Justice Scheme is being taken over by a charity called Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) and there’s a launch next week to be held at the Wirral Christian Centre. George has issued a press statement which has obviously been written by some poor council hack who of course manages to squeeze in the obligatory reference to 2020 

Interesting , isn’t redemption the act of buying something back…….like recorded telephone conversations which reveal you’re a racist  co- conspirator in a plot to smear a political opponent in return for public money to settle a groundless legal claim against the Council? . However do they give any examples of this marvellous scheme at work?

Well they cite a case  of a woman  with noisy dogs who posted something upsetting on social media about her neighbour’s noisy kids . Apparently it was all settled amicably over a cup of tea and a chat.

Tell me does Ban Ki-moon know about this ground-breaking talking to each other over a cuppa approach? , it might work wonders in the  Middle East. Are you telling me they couldn’t have found a better example than that ?. Sounds like a Twitterstorm in a teacup rather than my understanding of restorative justice which is about someone who has been grievously wronged seeking an apology and atonement from the person who wronged them. However I have to say ‘Redeeming Our Communities’ sounds a bit pious to me.

You’re not wrong my sweet Lord – although the ROC  website  does say their ‘projects/Centres do not engage in proselytising. Many of the volunteers have a faith but find actions speak louder than words. ROC projects are Christian-led and provide opportunities for Christian volunteers to develop new relationships with local people by demonstrating the love and reality of God in action.’

Oh dearie me – I think we can all tell who’s dead hand and fingerprints are all over this don’t we?  . The faintly sinister moralising Victorian philosophy that salvation from poverty and criminality is via a life of Christian obedience. On Wirral this often means obedience to a group of well -connected hypocritical politicians. For example it has long been believed by some that to help your political career at Wirral Council it helps if you have a particular religious/social/football affiliation. I have to ask myself do these people ever consider whether they are  worthy to be our moral guardians? , or realise that life for some people on Wirral is unremittingly grim  and that anti-social behaviour and criminality is symptomatic of a chronic lack of opportunity which has been exacerbated  by their dishonesty ,incompetence and cronyism?.

Clearly not ! Now do you understand why I said George is fronting ?

Restorative justice – join the conversation

A scheme which brings victims and offenders together to agree appropriate punishment and reparation is set to be re-launched in Wirral this month.

The Wirral Neighbourhood Justice Scheme is being taken over by the national charity, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) and is being re-launched as a ROC Restore restorative justice at an event in Birkenhead next week.

The scheme has already proved effective in dealing with low level crime, anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes through a process called restorative justice. Through this process, victims and perpetrators are brought together in a meeting where volunteers use restorative approaches to agree on a course of action for those involved.

Cllr George Davies, Wirral’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement, said: “The restorative justice approach is proven to reduce offenders committing further offences, stop conflict from escalating and reduce the harm caused to victims. It also gives victims of crime or on the receiving end of anti-social behaviour a sense of closure.This works in tandem with existing enforcement processes, helping resolve issues and preventing reoccurrence. We are delighted with how the Neighbourhood Justice Scheme has been running in Wirral and with ROC on board we are confident it will continue playing a vital role in helping the council achieve a couple of its stated aims by 2020 to deal with anti-social behaviour and improve residents’ quality of life.”

More than 40 referrals have been made into the Neighbourhood Justice Scheme in Wirral to date, of which 25 have been successfully resolved.

One of these was a dispute between neighbours, one lady struggling to adjust to the noises of a young family who had recently moved in next door, and the family affected by the noise of her dogs. The Police were brought in when the lady expressed her frustration on social media and made a comment which the couple found extremely distressing.

At the face to face meeting, each side was able to explain their feelings and perceptions about the situation. The lady apologised unconditionally for her social media posting, which was accepted by the couple, who in turn recognised how the changes had affected her and offered to make some adjustments themselves. By the end, both sides felt they understood each other, were happy to reach an agreement and even shared a cup to tea before leaving together quite amicably.

Redeeming Our Communities has been working towards safer, kinder communities in partnership with other agencies and faith groups since 2004. It has a number of different types of social action projects, one of which is the ROC Restore restorative justice project.

This will be the ninth ROC Restore project nationally and will be undertaken in partnership with Safer Wirral and the Police. The opportunity is now being given to join the team of volunteer facilitators by undertaking training on three Saturdays in November and more details will be given at the ROC Conversation event.

The ROC Conversation is to be held on Thursday 13th October 7 – 9pm at the Wirral Christian Centre Woodchurch Road in Birkenhead CH41 2UE. It is open to everyone from the Wirral and will draw together those from the local community, including Police and Fire services, the local Council and churches, to discuss ways of working together for the good of the community.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Pat and Elaine Hackett, Chief Superintendent Ian Hassall, as well as Merseyside’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, will be among those attending.

Please contact Andy Bell at ROC for further information on 0161 393 4511, or book in on Eventbrite on the following link: roc.uk.com/wirral.

Gross Is The Word

Strong Leader face

“If I pull this face do I look more like a strong leader?”

As the controversy over the candidacy of Wirral Councillor David  Burgess -Joyce to be Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner continues we understand that Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies has now chimed in to raise “some important questions” with Jeff Green – leader of  Wirral Council’s Tory group.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14465674.Updated__Wirral_Council_leader_demands_answers_as_storm_rages_over_Tory_police_commissioner_candidate/

There are indeed some important questions that need to be answered about Cllr B -J , not least whether indeed he was or was not sacked for gross misconduct when he worked for the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) ,  but it’s just that we’re not sure that Power Boy Pip is the right person to be asking them !.

In his letter Pip opens up with the truly astonishing line:

I am sure you will agree it’s essential for elected members to uphold the highest ethical standards.

Seriously?

This from a man who listened to the Wirralgate tape in July 2013 which exposed the misconduct of senior Labour councillors and stated ” I can’t defend that”  and yet has spent approaching nearly three years and untold amounts of council taxpayers money doing exactly that!!

Moreover we’ve also been given an insight into how allegations of misconduct are dealt with from a Labour insider :

“It’s prob worth noting that if I did as I was told over this case Labour would not of took it any further and I would not of been suspended. I was given an ultimatum and they were willing to brush over the accusation. I knew 100% I had done nothing so refused the offer with no hesitation.” 
Indeed the so called man with the “strong leader powers” seems averse to the notion of dealing with misconduct altogether. We need to remember he chaired the “disciplinary” hearing that allowed 2 senior social services managers to return to their posts with an unblemished record. Subsequent events showed that this was a grave error of judgement when the same two managers  were  heavily implicated in a series of damning reports exposing bullying, dishonesty , incompetence and financial mismanagement on an industrial scale . This is without the subsequent consideration of the circumstances of how exactly one of them managed to wangle their son a job at the council which was worthy of a gross misconduct charge on its own.
What’s worse ?-  being sacked for misconduct or rewarding people who should have been sacked for misconduct with a cheque for £100,000+ of public money?
Our advice to Power Boy Pip is if he wants to start asking questions about potential misconduct issues “in the interests of openness and transparency ” it’s always best to consider whether you have the moral authority to do so otherwise it looks like gross hypocrisy.