Courted and Feted

FOUKSLEYS

Unfortunately our invitation must have got lost in the post so Lord and Lady W missed the opportunity to mix with the hoi polloi at Foulksey’s mayor-making bash at the Floral Pavilion.And we use the term “bash” advisedly as we understand that also in attendance on the front row was our other favourite Steve  – “Mad Dog” Maddox.With Foulksey at the forefront it must have felt as though the Bully Convention was in town having had a former Wirral Council Officer inform us that Maddox wasn’t averse to swearing at him in meetings.Just the kind of role model to whom the Freedom of the Borough should be awarded don’t you think?.

As an aside does anyone know whether the Ladies of Hebden Bridge were in attendance, as we know they and Foulkesy went back a long way – all the way back to Hebden Bridge in fact and with most of Wirral Council’s senior officers in tow!

However lets not get away from the fact that this was the Prince of Belligerence’s big night and supported  by his consort and fiancee, the lovely Elaine,Foulksey conceded that he “wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea” as 15 dissenters ( 5 nay-sayers and 10 abstentions) decided to register their protest at his appointment.

Power Boy Pip bleated :”It’s a shame because, obviously, Steve’s family and friends were here, so it should have been a nice night and council should have been unanimous in its support.It’s left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth.”

We presume he wasn’t talking about Foulkesy’s cup of tea!

However if this statement proves anything it is this:
POWER BOY PIP DOES JUST NOT GET IT AT ALL!
But then he’s learned at the past master’s knee as Foulksey managed to show him just how insensitivity, lack of awareness and sheer ignorance should really be done.

Commenting on the fact that Wirral Foodbank would be one of the Mayor’s chosen charities Foulksey went into full Mother Theresa mode

“Wirral Foodbank is run by genuinely caring people who are in crisis. It takes steps to stop them getting deeper in crisisAs I said in my speech, we are only a few wage packets away, or a very serious accident away, from being in a situation of crisis. There, but by the grace of God go I, which is why I’m also pleased to support the charity.”

So tell us Foulksey how many people have Wirral Council made redundant or bullied out of their jobs are now reliant on such handouts whilst you snort noisily in the trough of plenty whilst being “courted and feted” wherever you go ?………..

Fatprince

 

When The Sweet Smell of Success Stinks Like A Brown Bin

LGABullshit-Stamp

At first we didn’t know quite what to make of the Local Government Association (LGA) report titled ” Self-Serving or Self-Centred?” (or something like that anyway). It was recently published without any fanfare, no doubt in the hope was that it would pass under the radar without any further comment. This is especially surprising as Wirral Council is described as a “success” story. SEE HERE

Thankfully it was picked up by Wirral Globe who reveal how startlingly close that Wirral Council came to being taken over by government commissioners just like that other local government basket case Doncaster Council. SEE HERE

We also note from the Globe article that veteran whistleblower Morton still hasn’t run out of breath (oh how the Council must wish that gag was tied a bit tighter so that he was permanently deprived of oxygen).

What troubles us here at Leaky Towers is not so much the revelation about the Council near- takeover by outsiders but the bullshit industry that seems to have flourished in the wake of abject failure and the Council’s so-called “turnaround”. Talking of which does anybody know what happened to the Council’s  topnotch “Turnaround Team”?.

From reading the report we have a sense of a group of consultants performing a PR exercise on behalf of the LGA with the message :

Don’t send in commissioners to a Council in crisis , send in the crack LGA team and based on no evidence whatsoever they’ll pretend everything’s tickety-boo in no time. Their competitive  daily rate includes their own “no case to answer” rubber stamp and an unparalleled collection of patronising  platitudes such as “you’re doing jolly well – now keep it up chaps and chapesses”
 
The authors of this LGA promotional pamphlet concludes that : “We have already recorded that after close to two years, Wirral has made a significant recovery. Although our brief is not to conduct a detailed evaluation, there was a consistency and honesty in the interviews that gives us confidence in reaching this conclusion.”

This conclusion of course flies in the face of the evidence that we report week in,week out on this blog that Wirral Council has not returned to anything like resembling normality. It appears the fanciful conclusion was reached by interviewing no-doubt handpicked “stakeholders” guaranteed to be “on message”.
We can only assume the responses went something like this:

” The constant threat of redundancy ensures I keep my nose to the grindstone and say whatever I’m told to say to visiting consultants…”

” Power Boy Pip visited our office the other day.I felt as though I was in the presence of greatness and he left me feeling treasured and with a warm fuzzy glow .”

” I’m just so grateful I longer have to manage a team as they’ve all been made redundant…being a team player is so much easier when you’re the only one in the team”

” My working conditions have improved for the better now that I know that in the unfortunate event of a fire I can waltz town the shiny new staircase like a fairytale princess”.

Meanwhile back in the real world and not the LGA – fantasy version we have further examples that seems to indicate that the basket case’s return to full recovery may be somewhat premature.

First there is the news that nearly £400K has been squandered – SEE HERE
on what we identified was a hopelessly misconceived and ridiculously -named proposal called Co-Socious. SEE HERE

This proposal was meant to lead to sharing services with the 2 Cheshire Councils – which of course was promptly ditched when Power Boy Pip  espied a more compatible and prestigious hook-up with the Peoples Republic of Merseyside. SEE HERE

Meanwhile  more pungent example of continuing concern about how the Council conducts it’s business arrives in the form of a Brown Bin.

Apparently those experiencing delay in receiving their garden waste tag have been advised that because of the backlog of applications BIFFA have been told to empty all garden waste bins ( even if people have not paid) for the first collection in June! This apparently is because  the Council doesn’t have enough staff to handle the applications due to cutbacks in Streetscene. So Wirral Leaks advises, at the height of the grass cutting season, that everyone fills their boots and fills their brown bins……….after all it’s an ill-(smelling) wind that blows nobody some good.

We were also told that as Pest Control have had a 50% reduction in staff that if you find yourself singing: “There’s a rat in my kitchen what ‘amma gonna do” that as you are likely to wait another 2 weeks for any assistance. This is unfortunate as when Wirral Council are deemed to be a “success” many people automatically smell a rat !……

Whatever Foulkesy Wants Foulkesy Gets?

2014-Vauxhall-MAYOR

“Recline yourself, resign yourself, you’re through
I always get what I aim for…..” (Whatever Lola Wants)

Ullo Foulksey got a new motor?

They’re certainly pulling out all the stops for Foulkesy’s Mayoral reign at Wirral Council aren’t they?  Firstly news arrives that he has a new motor  – a shiny new silver/blue Vauxhall Insignia replacing the Jag.

However it is with a wry smile we note the comments of David Armstrong ,a Director of Something or Other, who’s main role seems to be making press statements so that none of the flak gets back to Burgesski. Armstrong pre-empts any criticism of the purchasing of a brand new vehicle just before Foulksey’s triumphant ascendancy to first citizenry by emphasising Wirral’s proximity to Vauxhall motors in Ellesmere Port and claiming that Council vehicles are “replaced on the basis of age,condition and reliability.”

We think they should have stuck with the Jag  – as frankly we think Foulksey is well suited to a clapped out guzzler that’s no longer fit for purpose.

SEE HERE

Secondly one would assume that Wallasey Town Hall having had an expensive makeover would be fit for a  Mayor making ceremony.

However we understand that the sickening,sorry … glittering event will break with Council tradition and be held at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion.

The questions have to be asked as to why there has been a change in this tradition? who’s idea was it ? and who is picking up the tab for the new venue when Wallasey Town Hall would have been free?

We can only assume that one long-running Wirral Council tradition remains intact as like a low rent Lola it would seem  “whatever Foulksey wants Foulksey gets”  …….well, almost whatever he wants anyway!

Notes On The Notorious

DDD

Doggone Dodd’s Gone

Curiously, apologies were received for ex- Councillor Darren “Dazzler” Dodd at the last meeting of the Council – until it was brought to the attention of the meeting that he’d actually resigned in November 2013.  Have his constituents noticed?  Do they care?

However, his unheralded departure means we will miss his dogged determination to diss the opposition in his uniquely “creative” way – And no Darren that’s not a great big kiss!

 Steve’s Peeves

For the heinous crime of stating that he didn’t think that Foulkesy was fit to be the next Mayor  Cllr.Chris ” Bulldog” Blakeley has had to endure the tedium of a 10-month investigation into this terrible slur upon the good name of the blameless future first citizen (costing what exactly?)

Needless to say, this led to the inevitable conclusion of “no case to answer” mainly based on the incontrovertible fact that this isn’t North Korea (yet) and you are allowed to have an opinion even when it pisses off some powerful people.

Of course, we know that feigning victimhood is classic tactic of any bully and anyone who can recall Foulksey’s less than statesmanlike volcanic temper tantrum last July will be aware he seemed to be a tad touchy at the time.

DDlibel

However piecing together the information we’ve received it would appear that behind the Punch & Judy politics this particular spat could have been the catalyst for what was to happen the following month (August 2013) namely Wirralgate!

SEE HERE

If the Wirralgate saga is ever investigated properly (and breath holding is not advised) then we’re calculating roughly that it’ll be 2020 before we find out whether our suspicions are correct.

  Wirral Council Vacancy: Assassin wanted

Facetiously we recently asked whether whistleblower Martin Morton was gagged and bound in Wallasey Town Hall basement .Well apparently not, as it would appear he has been in Foulksey’s words  “courted, feted even ”  by the National Audit Office who have referenced the notorious  case in a report going before the  Public Accounts Committee in the House Of Commons next Monday.

SEE HERE

However, still no mention of a possible return by the pesky party-pooper- all very curious. One wonders where this will all end?  – Badly probably….  But for who?

SEE HERE

“There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip…..”

COMRADE-FOUKUP

And so Wirral Council’s Cabinet in their infinitesimal wisdom confirmed this week Steve ‘ Vote of no confidence’ Foulkesy’s ascendancy to Wirral’s official first citizen for the forthcoming year. Really?  This is the best we have ? They do say we get the public figures we deserve, but  this is surely taking the pith ?

SEE HERE

Hmmmm….might we suggest there’s at least one person sitting round the table at Cabinet who knowing what they know might live to regret this ringing endorsement.

Of course the Cabinet decision is yet to be ratified by full Council in June – and they do say that a week is a long time in politics so let’s see what the next couple of months brings shall we?…..

Tread Softly …..

LDale

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Having pledged to protect the most vulnerable people on Wirral the Council seem to have the usual “abnormal” way of going about it. Saying goodnight to Moreton Day Centre, puncturing meals on wheels,enforcing a 22% Council Tax hike on unemployed people (compared to Liverpool Council’s 5% ).

It seems to us they much prefer to pretend they’re more big business than a public service and so we see representatives jetting off to China and helping to set up the plush offices of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile the pupils ,parents, carers and staff of Lyndale are fighting to keep Lyndale School open. Wirral Globe reported : ” The heart-wrenching pleas of parents and teaching staff of a Wirral special needs  were not enough to convince councillors who tonight backed plans to consult on the school’s closure.”

SEE HERE

Following the meeting, Lyndale parent Zoe Anderson displaying a firm grasp of how Wirral Council conduct such matters told the Globe she was not surprised with the decision.

She said: “We have always believed it is a foregone conclusion but we are glad that we got to say our bit and give our opinions in public.

“We are also pleased that the concerns we had about the consultation being open and transparent have actually been received and reassurances given to ensure that is the case.”

And who exactly gave Ms.Anderson reassurances about openness and transparency?.
Why none other than the chair of the meeting – Councillor Steve Foulkes aka “Foulksey” – the former Leader of the Council whose commitment to openness and transparency is there for all to see in a series of damning reports ( well actually you can’t see because they’re redacted to incomprehensibility) but let’s just say there’s a good reason he was ousted from the leadership in a vote of no confidence.

However we have to say we have to admire the sheer gall of the future Mayor – as earlier in the meeting he expressed the hope that the forum wouldn’t be used for “political points scoring.”

Knowing what we know might we suggest that “Foulksey” needs to tread very,very carefully on the matter of “political points scoring” ….

And talking again of treading carefully you will notice in the picture of Lyndale School pupils and their supporters taken before the Council meeting published in the Globe that the stair treads behind them are bereft of carpets.

Indeed we hjave been reliably informed that the stairs,landing and round room are being re-carpeted at a not inconsiderable cost of £11,000**. How fortuitous that the ongoing gentrification of Wallasey Town Hall comes just in time for Foulksey’s  tenure as Mayor.

Meanwhile can we appeal to Councillors to carefully consider the consultation on the closure of Lyndale School to tread softly because they are treading on peoples dreams.

**UPDATE – According to the Globe the figure is even higher – over double our sources estimate in fact ? STORY HERE  –  Deep shag perhaps ? After all the resident’s and town hall footsoldiers of Wirral have been feeling screwed for years !

Wallasey councillor Leah Fraser said: “This must be some kind of joke” (and no, she wasn’t talking about Foukseys rent -a tent mayoral robes.)

“The council preaches austerity and belt-tightening for taxpayers, while at the same time squandering their hard-earned cash on sprucing up the town hall.“It is actually offensive.”

LEST WE FORGET ….TO HAVE A FEW JARS AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE

DREBBIN

After the toe-curling Nuremberg rally-like address last week by Colonel Burgesski to Wirral Council staff – that all was now well, there is no longer anything to see here, so please move along; Frank Drebin, eat your heart out – it was a relief to see business has returned to abnormal today.

It is only, after all, the most poignant day of the year, so let’s dunk our heads as deep into the trough as we possibly can, eh?

Lord and Lady Leaks sat appalled today as we witnessed the mutual love in at Birkenhead Town Hall, where the not-at-all-great and the not-even-slightly-good milled around with the decent, the honest, and the friends and family of the injured, fallen, and serving military personnel who collectively put the Brighton Street weasels to shame.

Burgesski was on coffee, we noted. But it was knees-up Mother Brown for council leader Phil Davies, a somewhat subdued George Davies (can’t imagine why, *cough*), mayor-to-be-if-he-really-still-thinks-that-ho-ho-ho Steve Foulkes, and his winsome cohorts Moira McLaughlin, Anna McLaughlin (another cough) and thirsty ex-mayor John Cocker.

All of it paid for by YOU dear Wirral Council taxpayer, too!

Yep, it was a freebie that only last year ol’ Burgesski deemed a bad use of public funds. But this year he changed his mind on opening the bar to all and sundry. Maybe he needs some pals?

“Who is Wirral Leaks?” they murmured and fidgeted, as the lady pianist played in the background in the main reception room, and also as the Scotsman piper played prior to service outside the town hall.

But they soon forgot that as the bun fight began for the free drinks, served in the “old” mayor’s parlour.

Beer on tap, every spirit you could think of. And all free. In a refurbished parlour (Foulkes is coming after all, huge and red like the Coca Cola Christmas truck) that surely cost thousands.

What they forgot to do, of course, was to think about the day itself. Rather than a barney for our Brighton Street brethren, this was supposed to be a day of reflection.

But the lift at Birkenhead Town Hall was too jittery, so Lady Leaks was horrified to see old soldiers having to climb four sets of stairs.

Missing, though, on such an auspicious day, were Spinders and Addled. Why? Prior appointment? Lady Leaks thinks she should be told…

Frank Field – “The Operation Of Wirral Borough Council”

http://assets.tumblr.com/swf/audio_player.swf?audio_file=http://www.tumblr.com/audio_file/17208094823/tumblr_lz0yfor2w91qf5d71&color=FFFFFF

Frank Field discusses “The Operation Of Wirral Council.“  We can’t help but feel this was something of a missed opportunity whilst the government adopted The Pontius Pilate Defence-

However Frankie did mention “Martin Morton – a damning report about the “Quality and judgements made by WBC officers ” and the ‘Crass inefficiency of Chief Officers” whilst Esther McVey stated that this was just “the tip of the iceberg”

 

Meanwhile…Over At Clown Hall…

The link HERE  will take you to “Wirral Councils Super Smashing New Plan.” Well, it might as well be called that such is the euphemistic language, which we can only assume is part of the minimisation “healing” process which will enable us all to all move along the road of reconciliation together, ruefully mumbling “lessons learned.”

 The Department of spin will release nonsensical statements intended to paint a picture of an organisation undergoing radical change ie/ 

WBC is comprised of many organisational elements with a single purpose: to enable, support and expedite the mission-critical objectives of the AKA Report and we will implement it with Bible-like zeal’

Until of course, the dust has settled and it’s safe to resume “business as usual.” Because you will note there is no talk of personnel change in this document, no mention of disciplinary action and no mention of “abuse.”

“Councillors Say The Funniest Things”

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Today’s daft quote (which we suspect could be the first of many) is from Rev Steve Foulkes and his Edward Lear-esque assertion that he has “been absolutely bible-like in sticking to the report’s recommendations. We have made some progress and told members of staff that we will be more open to criticism.” 

Sounding like a Netto John Prescott, Steve’s incomprehensible jibber-jabber left Lord and Lady Wirral-Leaks well and truly baffled!!   ……But don’t be too hard on old Steve, for to quote Rev. Harry Powell: “Salvation is a last-minute business, boy. “  Come into the light Steve….Inspector Knacker is waiting.

More here