The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Seven – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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PAST : It was with breathtaking cynicism that on Christmas Eve 6 years ago Wirral Council shut up shop and published a report by Richard Penn which investigated a minor case of alleged ‘whistleblowing’ which nevertheless managed to get some airtime on Radio Merseyside on Christmas Day 2012. We won’t go into the details as apparently to do so could potentially cause ‘damage and distress ‘ to those named in the report. As you can see from our report The Penn Is Mightier Than The Sword  such was the secrecy and subterfuge it was a week later (and six years to the day) before we  got around to  covering the story –  and let’s face it like most of you probably under the influence of a hangover.

PRESENT : So you might be wondering why are we bringing up the matter of on the sixth anniversary of the publication of  ‘The Penn Report’ now? Well ,dear readers  ‘The Penn Report’ featured as evidence this year in a significant legal case which ended up in the Upper Tribunal in London, far from prying eyes and inquisitive ears and which demonstrated what can happen when low friends in high places pull a few strings who want to avoid the publication of ‘The Warren Report’ covering  the same issues as the ‘The Penn Report’ but allegedly penned (no pun intended) by close friend of Frank Field who describes the author of the unpublished report as a ‘stunning lawyer’ . We prefer the term ‘compromised ex-Judge in a conflict of interest clusterfuck’ and we’re confident with all his legal knowledge Nicholas Warren isn’t going to sue us for expressing that reasonably held belief even when Warren himself was indemnified by you, dear readers, to write whatever he wants about whoever he likes even though his report can’t ever be published.

Morton v 1.Information Commissioner 2. Wirral Metropolitan Council : (2018) UKUT 295 (AAC)

FUTURE : We predict – no, we promise – both reports will feature significantly in future 2019 Wirral Leaks posts as we finally put to bed the biggest scandal in Wirral Council history and reveal just how deep the corruption goes in our most revered and venerated UK institutions and which extends far beyond the insular peninsula…

 

Case Dismissed : The Truth Will NOT Out

Wirralgate -Anatomy of A Cover Up

We understand that a most extraordinary court case involving veteran whistleblower and self-styled public accountability campaigner Martin Morton against Wirral Council and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ended with Morton’s case being dismissed. Wirral Council have known about the ruling for a month but there has been no public announcement and the judgment is strangely not publicly available – cover up much? But then the course of this legal challenge has been very strange indeed. A hearing was originally supposed to be held in Liverpool in November 2017 only for the case to be mysteriously transferred to London – far from the prying eyes of the people of Wirral.The case was transferred by Justice Peter Lane who was the then President of the General Regulatory Chamber.

A hearing was eventually held in April 2018 and nearly 5 MONTHS LATER we haven’t had official notice of the Upper Tribunal’s decision.

So what was the case about and what was Morton after? Apparently he was after a report written by close Frank Field associate , Nick Warren, that was supposed to be the final word on the long running Wirral Council highways whistleblowing case dating all the way back to 2008 (!) Please note Nick Warren was the President of the General Regulatory Chamber prior to Justice Peter Lane , to which we can only add are you people beginning to realise how this shit works yet? – establishment cover up much?

Although the Warren Report was completed in 2015 it has never been published. Well that’s not strictly true Morton managed to get the ICO to force Wirral Council to publish part of the Warren Report which we reviewed at the time. We think the technical term for what we read was ‘pisspoor’ .  Read full story here : ‘Ask not what the whistleblowers have done for themselves – ask what they have done for Wirral…’

We haven’t as yet read the ruling but we are led to believe that the reason that the Wirral public are not allowed to see the Warren Report is that it would  cause ‘damage and distress’ to those named in the report. We think the technical term for this is ‘bollocks’.

Isn’t it funny how people are happy to take public money but not happy to subject to public accountability? What’s more it must be the first time in the history of whistleblowing that the so-called ‘whistleblowers’ didn’t want a report about what they’d reported and what they’d been through as a result to be published. Surely genuine whistleblowers would want to act in the public interest and DEMAND the Warren Report was published.

Anyway we don’t think the judgment has anything to do with preventing damage or distress to whistleblowers or former Wirral Council senior officers trekking around India and enjoying their retirement funded by Wirral council taxpayers. It’s all about preventing damage and distress to Nicholas Warren who appears to have been prepared to sacrifice his esteemed standing in the legal profession to help out his old mucker Frank Field by agreeing to play a dubious role in the utterly corrupt clusterfuck known as ‘Wirralgate’.

We have to be uncharacteristically circumspect from here on in as a)  we don’t know whether Morton intends to appeal this seemingly ridiculous decision and b) we haven’t yet read the ruling in full. However from our perspective it would seem an approach to the Court of Appeal would be highly unlikely as ,unlike Wirral Council, Morton doesn’t have a bottomless pit of public money to hire top notch barristers to help get the most senior politicians on Wirral out of a hole of their own making. If Morton were to lose an appeal he would have to pick up the tab for a legal bill that would run into tens of thousands.  Equity before the law? Don’t make us laugh!

However perhaps all is not lost. Could Morton draw upon the support of Frank Field?, who should be equally disappointed in the judgment as all of us who are interested in public accountability . As we have previously reported Field stated in his blog dated 23 June 2018 :

The next stage in establishing that truth will come, I guess, with the publication of the Nick Warren report. The whistle-blowers agreed with the council that this stunning lawyer should carry out an inquiry into their case. The report will be made public, I’m sure, as a freedom of information claim has been lodged.

Slowly but surely the truth will out. The citizens of Wirral owe the whistle-blowers, including X, such a debt for shifting officers that were found wanting in respect of the public good.

Read full story here : Frank Field – ‘The Truth Will Out’

Perhaps ‘stunning lawyer’ Nick Warren can pull a few strings like he appears to have done already and finally get the report he allegedly wrote published in the public interest? Indeed if he doesn’t questions will continue to be asked as to what he was doing getting involved in the biggest scandal in Wirral’s political history whilst he was still a Judge.

Currently it would appear the only way the  truth ,the whole truth and nothing but the truth will ever be revealed about ‘Wirralgate’ will be via Wirral Leaks  – the collusion, the corruption the conspiracy of silence and the cover up (other c words are available) -involving an MP, councillors, council officers past and present , Merseyside Police , the Judiciary and the local press has yet to be told. One day we hope to dissect in forensic detail the ‘Anatomy of A Cover Up’. Until then we’d like to applaud all those involved so far…

Joker applaud

 

Frank Field – ‘ The Truth Will Out’…

FRANKY-KNOWS

First of all – thanks to our stand ins who I’m sure you’ll agree did a sterling job in our absence. A few editorial points and one-liners from us and they got the house – or Leaky Towers – style down to a tee. Thankfully some of the more contentious and controversial matters have been left for our return. This included a tip-off to check out a particular post from June 2018 on Frank Field’s Westminster blog which ,if you wish,you can find on his website…

Out of respect for the dead we won’t provide a link to the post especially as it names someone who’s anonymity had been carefully preserved for the best part of a decade. Field’s strange tribute seems to us to be less a eulogy and more a rewriting of history. We reproduce the post omitting the initial naming of the deceased and adding the bold type :

…the power that he put into trying to ensure that the truth that underpinned the case for the group that I call ‘the whistle-blowers’ should be made known.

There is this small group of whistle-blowers who were concerned over the Colas highways contract in Wirral. Wrongdoings were alleged by the whistle-blowers and their case resulted in a clutch of cheating officers leaving the council. Cleverly drawn contracts and powerful legal representation resulted in Wirral having to pay compensation monies to these individuals over the contract – tens of thousands of pounds or more that each of them have had to walk the plank.

What an injustice that Wirral ratepayers had to pay these sums by law to people whose position was untenable in the council once the whistle-blowers had completed their work.

Contrast that with the treatment of the whistle-blowers. These were the agents by which less than proper doing was unmasked. The package of compensation for them, of their careers being blighted, and one of their names being published “by accident” on the council website, was around £5,000.

The injustice to these noble citizens has still to be countered. X died before that day arrived but that day assuredly will come as truth is on their side.

It often takes so long in this country which I love to get this elemental truth established. The inquiry, for example, to establish full the truth about BHS goes on and on, and Parliament won’t give up until it has that truth.

Likewise in the Wirral. Now diminished by X’’s death, the whistle-blowers will go on and on, with my support, until truth is established.

The next stage in establishing that truth will come, I guess, with the publication of the Nick Warren report. The whistle-blowers agreed with the council that this stunning lawyer should carry out an inquiry into their case. The report will be made public, I’m sure, as a freedom of information claim has been lodged.

Slowly but surely the truth will out. The citizens of Wirral owe the whistle-blowers, including X, such a debt for shifting officers that were found wanting in respect of the public good.

We really don’t know where to start with this one. But perhaps we’ll concentrate on the tortuous language and why Field feels the need to use the word ‘truth’ 8 times (count’em). It’s as if he’s trying to convince himself of his version of the ‘truth’.

Furthermore the reference to the publication of the Nick Warren report as a means of establishing ‘truth’ is both puzzling and intriguing . Is this the same report that Wirral Council have kept secret for nearly 3 years and is the subject on ongoing legal proceedings which have lasted 2 years? You’d think that Field and the ‘stunning lawyer’ behind the report would have the power,influence and legal knowledge to have the report published before now wouldn’t you? How does Field know that the Warren Report will be made public? Does he know something that we don’t or is he interfering with ongoing legal proceedings ? What’s more can Field tell us who lodged the ‘freedom of information claim’? So many questions and all of them seemingly so far,far away from the truth.

Wouldn’t it be ironic, when we understand Field’s broken arm was a result of tripping over a pavement stone in Hamilton Square ,that it could be the guys from highways who might be responsible for his ultimate downfall.

However on reflection we don’t think that it will be these ‘noble citizens’ or even the Birkenhead CLP  that will be his undoing . It will be Frank Field’s own hubris.

The truth will out …

The Importance of Being Frank Ernest Field

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Something stinks in Birkenhead : is it the stink of skunk or the stench of corruption?

Once again we ask ourselves is there a bandwagon that headline -grabbing media whore Frank Field won’t shamelessly leap on?

We refer to a couple of  further examples from this week . First is the case of 6 year old Alfie Dingley who had been denied cannabis oil to treat his severe epilepsy. After a prolonged campaign by his family and following 12-year-old Billy Caldwell being granted a limited licence this week for a 20-day supply of medical cannabis to also alleviate the life-threatening effects of his seizures Bromsgrove MP and Home Secretary Sajid Javid granted the UK’s first ever ‘life-changing’ permanent medical licence for cannabis.

However prior to this welcome news we were treated to this melodramatic performance by Birkenhead MP in the House of Commons :

Alfie met the Prime Minister eight weeks ago and she instructed the Home Office to act; on Saturday, he had 30 seizures. Will the Home Office give  the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning)—who is seeking to catch your eye, Mr Speaker—Lady Meacher and I the authority to go through border control with the drugs that Alfie needs? If the Minister will not act, may we?

See here: Medicinal Cannabis

We can’t help thinking that Sir Mike Penning and Lady Meacher sound like characters out of an Oscar Wilde play. Whilst Frankenfield sounds like a latter day Lady Bracknell with that strangulated, superior-sounding syntax. However we would have paid a lot of money to see this unlikely trio being frisked at border control and Frank in particular being asked by a customs officer : ” Is that a spliff in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?” (yes, we know it’s cannabis oil which is at the centre of the debate but you get our drift.)

Obviously we’re not suggesting that the great Victorian moraliser personally partakes of the devil’s lettuce and that his offer of drug smuggling was purely a selfless act but who better to source cannabis (in any form) than the Right Honourable Member for Birkenhead? Walking round what’s left of the Pyramid shopping centre – and let’s face it the pyramids in Egypt are in better shape –  brings a whole new meaning to the phrase  ‘a trip to the town centre’ as the of the pungent stench of weed assaults your nostrils whether you want it to or not.

The second example of dubious and desperate attention seeking is his long running and frankly tedious feud with ‘tax-efficient’ tycoon ‘Sir’ Philip Green . In the latest episode Frank Field asks what Sir Philip Green “has got to hide” in BHS report   

Sir Philip Green’s most public and staunch critic Frank Field has questioned his attempts to cover up a report exposing his business dealings prior to the downfall of BHS.

Last week it was revealed that Green’s company Taveta had attempted to secure an injunction preventing the findings of an investigation into BHS’s finances prior to its collapse form being published.

“Well, what has he got to hide?,” Field told the Press Association.

“I am writing to the body to ask them about each draft of the report underlining their decision, who had access to those drafts, and what changes did they request.”

Once again we think something stinks to high heaven. Wirral Leaks readers may recall  Frankenfield making a similar song and dance about a Wirral Council report written by his old mucker , ex- judge Nicholas Warren, way back in July 2015 when the headline read : Storm as MP accuses council chiefs of ‘abusing power’ over Wirral whistleblower inquiry delay

Field  said:  “I am deeply troubled by this delay.

“It is almost ten weeks since the report was completed and filed, and we are clearly getting nowhere.

“Officers within the council need to face up to their moral responsibilities and realise that these delaying manoeuvres are an abuse of their power.

“It is an insult to the whistleblowers and to the people of Wirral, who have a right to know what has been going on.

Astonishingly it is 3 years later and the report still hasn’t been published – yet Frankenfield has been strangely silent on the subject of the public’s right to know exactly what went on and what has gone on since. To which we can only use his own words and ask :

” Well, what has he got to hide?”………….

 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #5

More Money, More Troubles

This week’s Cabinet announcement concerning a council tax of 5.99% came as no surprise to anyone. Nor did Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies inevitably blaming ‘Tory cuts’ for such a hike. However where Pip outdid himself in his budget proposals was suddenly finding £20 million down the back of the metaphorical Town Hall settee  “to prevent Wirral’s young people becoming victims of Tory policies.”

Now whilst we readily acknowledge that cutting off funding streams to local authorities is very much part of a shameful central government strategy to dismantle public services – and which the Labour administration at Wirral Council seem more than happy to go along with – we baulked at the rewriting history that was going on here . The playing of party politics with children’s lives and taking no responsibility whatsoever for the dire state of Children’s Services on Wirral was a new low even for Pip . But then it’s so much easier for a Council leader, who is in a permanent state of denial, to lay bad management,  poor decision making , laziness, and incompetence on the part of public servants and poor governance on the part of local councillors at the door of  ‘Tory cuts’. It was all very reminiscent of the first edition of the Town Hall propaganda sheet Wirral View turning the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services into a good news item. We had the foresight to write : “The article on the damning Ofsted Inspection report is given more spin than Rapunzel on speed and has the title ” Children’s services to get major investment” ! Which we suspect will be the distorted shape of things to come. Full article here : First Glance at Wirral View

The October 2016 announcement of this ‘investment’ to recruit additional social workers ,improve training and management and provide more experienced, long-term leadership for children’s social care amounted to £2 million . Could it be a measure of just how much trouble Children’s Services are really in is that the required investment has increased TENFOLD ? ! 

The Emperor’s New Impose

However we do have a good news item to report and that is the retirement of Birkenhead MP Frank Field.  Well, that got your attention didn’t it! Unfortunately it’s not imminent , which is a shame – as anyone who witnessed his tetchy performance discussing Brexit on today’s Sunday Politics TV programme will testify . There he was all flush-faced and flapping hands as Stella Creasy the Labour MP for Walthamstow accused Frankenfield of “driving the Boris bus” . Which we can only hope wasn’t a lewd euphemism. Stella stood her ground and wasn’t having any of Frank’s passive aggressive nonsense telling him ” You can talk over me all you like Frank” . Full coverage here :  Frank v Stella

During the clash of handbags Frankenfield maintained that the public should have ” the right to every bit of information going”. Which is a change of tune from someone who once objected on Radio Merseyside about the Wirral public making Freedom of Information requests to Wirral Council . We just wonder whether this new found fondness for openness and transparency extends to persuading Wirral Council to finally publish a much heralded report dating back to 2015 which was written by Frank’s mate , Nick Warren. Frankenfield was whining to the local press as far back as July 2015 as to why the report hadn’t yet been published.  Now everyone involved -including Field – apparently wants to bury the report. What’s that all about?

However let’s get back to the matter of who Frankenfield thinks should inherit his kingdom. Apparently Upton councillor Matthew Patrick (aka Matty Patty) is the nice young man that Field would like to succeed him as the MP for one of the safest parliamentary seats in the land. But then we suppose there isn’t a deep pool of talent to draw upon in Birkenhead is there? But what about Foulkesy? Georgie? Crabby?, Doughty? we hear you cry. All we can assume is that Frank would like someone more in keeping with the aspirational artist’s impressions of a future Birkenhead that have been knocking about all over the local press this week.

Matty Patty 002

Artist’s impression of a possible future MP for Birkenhead

Speer’ of Destiny 

Talking of these artist’s impressions …..there were a slew of pretty pictures accompanying such headlines as Stunning new images of how Birkenhead could look in future as billion-pound deal is agreed’  concerning the Wirral Council/Muse Developments Joint Venture which includes potential plans for glossy new Council offices. Somehow a cheeky Wirral Leaks reader was suddenly minded to recall the work of the Third Reich’s architect , Albert Speer. 

We’re sure they’re not making comparisons with a power-crazed, progaganda-obsessed regime but rather just reminding us that the self-aggrandizing plans for a People’s Hall/Great Hall/Hall of Glory were never realized.

 

An Eternal Haunting

Honest People

We find Halloween frightful (and not in a good way) so we’ve pulled up the drawbridge at Leaky Towers and are now settling down before a log fire to recall our All Hallow’s Eve stories of yore.

We decided we couldn’t outdo our 2015 story below as it is as pertinent then as it is now.  Wirral Leaks is playing the part of Catherine Earnshaw’s ghost  in Emily Bronte’s classic gothic novel  Wuthering Heights – scratching at the window and haunting the guilty in their sleep…………………for eternity!

Although reporting Wirral Council horror stories is our stock in trade our fiendish readers realise we always like to make a special effort on Halloween.

Halloween Special – House of Horrors – keeping it clean

Halloween Special – You Only Moved The Headstones

Tricked or Treat – where the Abnorman is Normal

So reporting (almost) live from the gothic monstrosity that is Leaky Towers we bring you the leading mischief makers in the Wirralgate scandal that haunts Wirral Council. This is the scandal which the local poltergeist politicians want to keep hidden in the basement like the body of Norman Bates’s mother.Frank-N-Field

The Rt.Hon Frankenfield has like Dr. Frankenstein created a monster.That monster has been cobbled together from a small group of obedient halfwits and an amoral wannabe.

This monster has been running amok for years always knowing that Frankenfield will defend his unco-ordinated , incoherent and clumsy creation.

However by setting up the call which ended in a fateful recorded conversation he effectively created the Wirralgate scandal.

 

Mental-PowerBoyThe eternal wannabe council leader Power Boy Pip Davies – always in denial and forever deluded. In his own words he said The Ghouls ,sorry The Group were using “the content of the phone conversation to pressurise him into settling their claim ” ( page 7 – Report of Investigation Into allegation of Breach Code of Conduct for Councillors – Patricia Thynne June 2014).……and then meekly obeys when Frankenfield steps in and “demands” a compensation for The Group!. Frankenfield then gets close friend “Old Nick” Warren to cobble together some kind of justification for compensation when there is no legal basis for such a claim.     

admin-ajaxIt was the feckless and reckless Foulkesy who instigated the Wirralgate scandal.However there are only so many people’s lives and careers he can destroy before they begin to emerge from his curse. Here he is pictured above with the person who we believe may prove to be his nemesis.

George Comb Forward

If a picture paints a thousand words then no photoshopping is required. Frankenfield’s factotum – the runaround,the go-between,the fixer.Just like Igor obediently acting on his master’s instructions Cllr George Davies had in his own words a “relaxed and unguarded way of talking” to The Group (Page 11 –  Report of Investigation Into allegation of Breach Code of Conduct for Councillors – Patricia Thynne June 2014).This “relaxed and unguarded way of talking” apparently included casual racism , smears and illegal sweetheart deals….all of which was recorded by a member of The Group.

And so like a recurring nightmare Wirral Leaks seeks to be a constant reminder that what is seemingly dead and buried will sometimes come come back and haunt those named and shamed above during their long dark night of the soul*.

*Disclaimer – Wirral Leaks realises the people described above sold their soul a long time ago and any resemblance to a fit and proper person to hold public office is entirely coincidental. 

‘Ask not what the whistleblowers have done for themselves – ask what they have done for Wirral ….’

Nick Warren 017

The ‘whistleblowers’ in this particular case being those curious specimens who seem to be ‘courted and feted’ by the most powerful political figures on Wirral and still don’t seem to be able to cut themselves a lucrative deal . What’s that about?

Nick Warren 017

We say this as an even more curious Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has been brought to or attention.

We note that Wirral Council’s nemesis Martin Morton is still – after all these years – on their case. We also note that Wirral Council have been forced to release parts of what seems to us to be the flimsiest report of all time.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nick_warren_investigation_report#incoming-985784

Nick Warren 017

Regular readers will know that the Nick Warren report (aka ‘The Warren Commission’) is the means by which Wirral Council (or more specifically the Labour administration) hope to extricate themselves from the most damning scandal in Wirral Council’s history.

Yes, just think about that for a moment.

Nick Warren 017

Whilst friend of Frankenfield , Nick Warren, invites us to consider what these particular whistleblowers have done for Wirral , we’re not allowed to find out what their magnificent achievements exactly are because it would appear that Morton ,in particular, and the people of Wirral in general, are not allowed to know. Apparently we’re just expected to shut up and stump up the shush money!

Nick Warren 017

So based on what we know if Warren is posing the question what these particular whistleblowers have done for Wirral we’d have to answer : ‘ FUCK ALL’ because as far as we’re concerned there is ‘FUCK ALL’ available in his report to base our answer on!

And so it would seem we’re a long way from the JFK ideal of selfless idealism. But then again he was a shady character wasn’t he? And let’s face it he was a politician!

We can only think that the ‘establishment’ must know that the publication of the Warren Report would lead to a metaphorical political assassination and therefore the cover up must continue . Where is our man on the ‘grassy knoll’ ?