Local Democracy in Peril : “…and here is some very late news…”

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we’re not seeking anyone’s approval, least of all that of a ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ serving the local main stream media , but really would it be a crumb of comfort if we said he’s really taken the biscuit this week?

First we published this on May 2nd:

Wirral Council – “The antithesis of good administration “

ONE WEEK  later we have this published in the Wirral Globe

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And then we rocked up with this on May 6th:

Birkenhead – A Prevalence for Depression

A mere 4 days later we had this from the lazy plagiarist :

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What we really loved though is that a virtually identical article appeared in the Liverpool Echo two days later. We’ve got to give it to the lanky scribbler he’s making a little talent go a long way as he earnestly asks:  What’s being done to tackle the town’s crippling mental health problem?

What is particularly chucklesome is that an article about why is Birkenhead such a depressing shithole is accompanied by a picture of our favourite Local Democracy Reporter chillaxin’ in Venice, which may stink like a shithole, but at least it doesn’t have Frank Field as it’s MP. Just sayin’…

Local Democracy In Peril

What differentiates the Echo/Globe articles from us is that the former gets quotes from the main man himself as Birkenhead’s MP Frank Field has called the reports  “horrifying”, and has this week tabled a parliamentary question, asking the Department of Health and Social Care to look into and act on the root causes behind them.

Mr Field added: “All too many people in Birkenhead are being pushed into the depths of poverty and despair. I’m seeking answers in Parliament around the difficulties that people often encounter when trying to access mental health services.I’m also pushing the Government on the need for firm action to address the root causes of depression and poor mental health in our town.”

Seeking answers in Parliament ?  We’re sure they’ve got bigger fish to fry right now and might we suggest Frank that you won’t find them there anyway. Have a good look around the constituency you have ill-served for 40 years – it’s the scum that run Wirral – including you – that are the problem and NOT the solution. Of course it would be impolite and impolitic for a Local Democracy Reporter, keen for a quote, to express such a view but at least he won’t be leeching off us as a news source for much longer. We’re clearing the decks for news features that you definitely won’t see featured in Wirral Globe/Liverpool Echo even when the biggest scoop in Wirral’s political history has been sitting on the Wirral Globe editor’s desk since July 7th 2017…

A Blott on the Wirral Political Landscape

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We had one of our wanting to bang our head against the wall moments when we’ve been reading, one year on from our Spot the Blott  and Blott’s Pension Pot stories, that mainstream media are suddenly outraged that last year former Wirral Council  Super Director turned Managing Director of Delivery Joe Blott bagged a cool half a million plus of Wirral council taxpayers money.

The outrage was sparked by Taxpayer’s Alliance annual report of highly paid public servants and this was the headline in the Daily Mail :

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Needless to say the local press also belatedly gegged in on the story although the Liverpool Echo studiously avoided mentioning Blott by name. We were alerted to the fact that Tom Houghton did a bit of shit-stirring and sent his cut and paste job for the Liverpool Echo to the Crimewatch Wirral Facebook  page:

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Of course we know that what lies behind the payment IS A CRIME and  we’d’ve thought an ambitious young journalist or local government basher the Daily Mail would want to investigate the matter further. Curiously neither want to question how a complete nonentity like Blott wheedles and schemes himself into a position where Wirral Council have no choice but to hand over massive wedges of public money.

Needless to say we have no qualms about joining the dots , making the connections and revealing how this truly appalling situation came about especially when ,for us, Blott has become the personification of the modern public servant  – where protecting the powerful takes precedence over protecting the public purse and the public interest…

 

Kingdom Consensus

The redoubtable Wirral Against The Litter Police (Kingdom Security) Facebook page is currently a meeting point/melting pot for interested parties seeking to expunge Kingdom Security from our shores and high streets and car parks and promenades and country parks and bus stations and …you get the drift …

All political denominations are there – look there’s the Lib Dems belatedly requisitioning a ‘Special Council meeting’…

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…and oh look over there , the 4 Labour CLPs are calling for Kingdom to be kicked to the kerb and elsewhere high flying Labour councillor Jo Bird offering her support…

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…and then there’s the Green Party reminding everyone that their sole councillor Pat Cleary  was the only one to vote against a motion where Wirral Council rejected criticism  of Kingdom’s conduct…

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…and of course there’s Tom ‘Media’ Houghton picking up the scraps promising write ups in the Echo and Globe (in that order obvs) and celebrity shop owners Sean Martin and Cathy Roberts brandishing their letters and sweet wrappers respectively and now mainstream media favourites. Ms Roberts also achieved what we consider the ultimate accolade in social media by appearing on the Angry People in Local Newspapers Facebook page.

Indeed we understand that the Fry’s Chocolate Orange wrapper , although not being the sweet wrapper that resulted in a threatened £300 fine, has its own agent and publicist and is in negotiations for a reality TV series.  Oh and there’s even  a link to Wirral Globe’s Granty’s Infernal column where there was no conflict of interest acknowledged but at least we got a passing mention…

Don’t get us wrong these are observations not criticisms .We’re celebrating both a growing political consensus and the tireless efforts of campaigners. Nor are we after bragging rights that Wirral Leaks first raised concerns about Kingdom way back in 2015. After all we are commentators not campaigners and our weapons of choice are sarcasm and satire.  However the point we want to make (and we do have one) is that much of Wirral  only get involved in local politics when something impacts on them directly – be it  being hassled on the street or issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice by Kingdom operatives. But remember whilst you may not always be interested in local politics ,  local politicians are always interested in you and involved in almost every aspect of your life…

Love ACTUALLY

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Here’s what’s ACTUALLY going to happen to the Vue cinema site bought by council for £7m

This is what’s ACTUALLY going to happento Vue cinema site bought by council for £7m

We continue our series of commenting further on this week’s news stories by asking you to spot the difference between these two reports published yesterday in the Liverpool Echo and the Wirral Globe  

Our first comment was that we loved the use of ACTUALLY ,  in UPPERCASE – the written equivalent on standing with your hands on your hips and saying we know better than you,ner,ner,ner,ner,ner…

Although ACTUALLY we don’t think ACTUALLY is the right word here as it refers to the truth and the facts of a situation not the usual Wirral Council pipedream.

However what we didn’t love was the further erosion of local press plurality as BBC funded ‘Local Democracy Reporter’, Tom ‘Media’ Houghton , provides an official BBC approved version of the local news which follows a familiar pattern of the same story being a big splash in the Liverpool Echo before becoming a little ripple in the  Wirral Globe .

Clearly this was Wirral’s finger-wagging riposte to the negative response from commentators and bloggers to the press announcement earlier in the week that Wirral Council had bought Vue cinema for £7 million and which we reported in our  Birkenhead – A Tomb with a Vue  post.

Luckily for Wirral Council there was a fearless ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ at hand ( or more accurately on the receiving the end of an email from the Wirral Council Press Office) to put the record straight ( or rather unquestioningly publish some quick copy and a picture from the photo library) .

The MSM message being : ‘Oh no you nay-sayers and doubters, cash -strapped Wirral Council, who are reknowned for their business acumen, haven’t spent £7 million on a fleapit ! Nay,nay and thrice nay we’ve paid £7 million to demolish it!…’

Well, that’s alright then!…and what’s more they’re going to replace it with artist’s impressions. Lots of ’em – and they’ll all be dutifully published in the Liverpool Globe and then the Wirral Echo or the the other way round  – we get confused!

As to whether these artist’s impressions ACTUALLY happen is open to question but we’re going to put this out there – and it may surprise you but we think they just might! However looking at some of the councillors who would be involved in making the decisions , particularly the Cabinet Member for Housing & Planning and the Chair of the Planning Committee, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was ACTUALLY as dodgy AF…

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Cllr Chris Meaden : Not so much a declaration of independence as an exercise in pointlessness

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We were alerted to the fact that Cllr Chris Meaden had changed the party status on the Wirral Council website and that she now classed herself as ‘Independent’.  This struck us as somewhat ironic as Cllr Meaden aways struck us as one of those councillors who did as they were told by the local Labour Party elite and was quite content to be swept along on Rock Ferry councillor Moira McLaughlin’s coat-tails as it was an easy ride. We were once again minded to recall that old joke  Q:   What’s the difference between a supermarket trolley and Cllr Chris Meaden ?  A:  A Supermarket trolley has a mind of its own.

The belated declaration of ‘independence’  was all very reminiscent of an adolescent flouncing off  Facebook when no-one is paying them any attention and hoping for a few ‘U OK Huns ?’

Despite the Liverpool Echo headline  Yet ANOTHER top Labour politician quits party -blaming ‘hard-left’ takeover  our initial reaction to such a political hasbeen was CBA.   However reading the local media coverage it is clear that Meaden  has taken her acting out her adolescent angst to another level and be seen a-bitchin’ and a-snipin’ and a-moanin’ all over the local papers (the story in the Wirral Globe written by the same ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ Tom Houghton is a barely disguised re-write ) . As washing your dirty linen in public goes, the soon to be ex- councillor Meaden seems to have dug out the skiddy undies from the bottom of the washing basket , talking of ‘verbal attacks’ , ‘public attacks’ and ‘double standards’ . Much of her bitterness is directed towards Yvonne Nolan , her successor as Labour Party candidate for the Rock Ferry ward.

I believe over the coming months more information about Ms Nolan`s past involvement with politics will emerge and I don’t believe she is fit to serve the people of Rock Ferry. With her term coming to an end this spring, Cllr Meaden was ousted at a selection meeting back in October. But she said some of those present had “never attended” a branch meeting, while others had “never so much as delivered a leaflet’.That makes me believe that the meeting was packed with the aim of removing me and replacing me with Yvonne Nolan and the intention is to bring her in to lead the group.

Now we can’t comment at this stage whether Nolan is fit to serve the people of Rock Ferry but we do know that there are a few current Labour councillors who are DEFINITELY unfit for public office but has Cllr Meaden ever publicly voiced her concerns about them?  No, she hasn’t ! – and it suggests to us that the Rock Ferry selection committee made the right decision in getting rid of someone who was quite happy to follow the orders of a PROVEN dishonest,bullying and controlling Labour cabal whilst it suited her which makes her  declaration of independence nothing more than an exercise in pointlessness.

 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #20

West Kirby Parking

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Wirral Leaks reader contacts us about the above parking signs in West Kirby and comments :

Hi
No doubt the incompetent company that erected this rubbish will be paid to correct it.
Mean while any parking restrictions will, I assume, be invalid.
Toot Toot

Perhaps local resident and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies can get on the phone to someone and rectify this latest parking malarkey asap. But be warned West Kirbyians that based on previous experience he’ll only do so if it is politically opportune.

SIGN OF THE TIMES 2

Sohool

You’ve probably all seen this by now but blimey this is yet another example of what happens when Wirral Council outsources to companies who don’t give a shit as Council-hired staff painted “SOHOOL” in yellow letters outside Woodslee Primary in Bromborough, Wirral.

A spokesman for Wirral Council said it trusts the worker had been given “a detention to work on his lines”.The spokesman added the contractor was given “top marks” for correcting the mistake on the same day it was made.

Ha! ha! bloody ha ! We’d like to remind Council spokesperson  (Lost Kev perchance?) about who pays for this incompetence . Yes , Wirral council taxpayers! Let’s hope they find it equally hilarious!

MEDIA HOUGHTON

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Now we’re sure Young Tom is a very nice chappy….. – for a journalist anyway ! However ,as we’ve alluded to before , we are deeply concerned about these so-called ‘Local Democracy Reporters’  which for us unfortunately translates as ‘homogeneous news on the cheap’ – where there is one story,one view,one truth across the local mainstream media . Needless to say Tom ‘Media’ Houghton (geddit?)  has not approached us for news stories – which is rather surprising considering our track record when it comes to local exclusives. Indeed when approached by a local resident with the comment ‘Hey Tom why don’t you start with WIRRALGATE!’  all he could come back with was a rather feeble  : “I’m just getting my head round your comments’ but feel free to comment on my author page.”  I think we’re safe to assume we’re not dealing with the next John Pilger.

AND FINALLY……. COMMUNITY TRANSPORT PETITION

Inspired by our Community Transport – Thrown Under The Bus ?     story a petition has been set up here . The post quotes our original post and ends with the comment : The following article was left on Wirral Leaks but Wirral Leaks is not enough. 

The petitioner is absolutely right – but then what options do local people have ? Perhaps the disaffected of Wirral can rely on a ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ to get their story heard – or perhaps not!

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #16

STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS 

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Desperate stuff from beleaguered Wirral Council leader  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies on the announcement that those French puppets on steroids will be visiting your shores in the autumn .

Wirral Council leader Phil Davies said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming the Giants across the Mersey for the first time.Wirral is thriving – we have huge regeneration schemes coming to fruition, thousands of jobs being created through our Wirral Growth Company, and a programme of incredibly exciting events taking place throughout the year as part of Imagine Wirral. Working with our colleagues in the Liverpool City Region to bring huge events like the Giants to our shores is exactly the kind of thing we should be doing.These events attract thousands of visitors to our region, boosting local businesses and helping local people and families create memories which will stay with them forever.”

Read full story here : Giants

Is anyone taken in by this ocean-going, international bullshit? Just you watch Power Boy Pip will be gegging in on the Tranmere Rovers ascendancy to the Football League next. However can we just remind everyone he’s talking about puppets.  They maybe bloody big puppets but the expression ‘Bread & Circuses’ comes to mind. We can admire the artistry and the technical skill involved but at the end of the day they’re just bloody big puppets.

And Lord knows Pip must know what that feels like! Let’s face it he (and others) have been Frank Field’s puppets for years!

BIRKENHEAD BID – DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO

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You may remember we’ve previously covered the hyperbole surrounding award-winning  Wirral Chamber of Commerce offshoot Birkenhead Business Improvement District (BID) who made a big deal about cleaning  up the town like Gary Cooper in ‘High Noon’  Read more here : Chamber of Horrors

So imagine our surprise ( not!) to receive this message and the accompanying  photo above:

Good to see the Birkenhead BID outfit who take money of businesses in Birkenhead to tidy the town up.Maybe they should sort their own shop out!

 

KINGDOM COME LATELY

We note with a certain amount of cynicism how suddenly everyone seems to be gegging in on the litter Hitlers known as Kingdom Security and how they are simply aghast at their practices.  The newest guest late to the party is ‘Local Democracy Reporter’ Tom  ‘Media’ Houghton . We’ll be returning to the matter of ‘Local Democracy Reporters’ at a later date but meanwhile here’s his Eye Watering Sums story which notes that  Kingdom began issuing fixed penalty notices on behalf of Wirral Council back in July 2015. Shame we started raising concerns about Kingdom within months of their appointment : Cash for Trash

As we said way back then ‘Fixed Penalty Notices’ are not about caring about the environment but about cold hard cash for a wasteful council.

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES

Another story covered by Young Tom was the announcement that a couple of Wirral pubs would be turned into a) flats and b) a restaurant and which informed us :

Paul Doughty, who is the agent involved in the proposals, said: “It’s a well-located building in a prominent position and we are hoping these plans will be approved.There’s been no objections to date. The client already has a successful restaurant in Prenton. There’s a shortage of good quality places to go and have a meal in Birkenhead generally, so we are hoping it will be a good addition to the local economy – creating jobs and providing a place for people to eat and socialise.”

Full story here : Changes

Could this be COUNCILLOR Paul ‘Danceaway’ Doughty we ask ourselves? If so Doughty seems to have become involved with a ‘colourful character’  by the name of ‘Michael’ Read more here : Wirral Life -But Not As We Know It!

It would certainly explain as to why a member of the public questioned the number of Labour election posters that were recently on display above the restaurant where ‘Michael’ is the manager.

Of course Doughty is not a stranger to such hook ups having previously been involved with another ‘colourful character ‘ – notorious flytipper Arthur Morgan. Read more here :  Architecture and Morality

Might we suggest that Mr Houghton would unearth a particularly rich seam if he cared to investigate these connections further.

POTHOLE OF THE WEEK 

King Street, Wallasey. Not so much a pothole as a ravine.

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AND FINALLY 

An outfit by the name of Angelfish Opinions are actually willing to pay you money to tell them what you think of Wirral Council. So are they paying you your own money back to tell them how Wirral Council waste your money in the first place? If so claim your rebate now! This is from their Facebook page : Angelfish Opinions Facebook

CALLING LOVELY PEOPLE FROM THE WIRRAL – WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We are looking for people who live in Wirral aged 20+ to attend an interactive 90 minute group workshop to share your ideas and views on the councils public services.

The workshop will take place on Thursday 24th May at either 6pm – 7:30pm or 8pm – 9:30pm and as a thank you for your time you will recieve £30 in cash at the venue.

To register your interest, please apply using the link below:
https://hubs.ly/H0c081-0

Don’t forget to refer friends and family for the chance to receive £10 Love2Shop per successful referral that takes part!

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Null and Void in New Brighton?

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We had been contacted by Paula Walters the UKIP candidate for the New Brighton ward in this week’s local elections prior to Wirral Globe updating  its original story from 23rd April about Ms Walter’s alleged ‘hate tweeting’ .  Today , a week after the article, Wirral Globe have also issued an apology to Ms Walters – see here
The upshot of all this hoo -ha is that depending on the outcome of the election that Ms Walters may well have to petition to have the  New Brighton election declared null and void (see below).
We won’t comment on Ms Walters’ statement to us other than to say that we fully concur with Ms Walters’ final line :
I was contacted by Liverpool Echo that Christine Spriggs accused me of hate tweeting and would I like to comment. I asked to see the article so that I could respond. They refused but did send the tweets which were from 2015. I responded to each and every one of them which to be fair was a bit like ‘War and Peace’. I was then advised by Tom Houghton from the Echo that he was unable to honour my right to reply and went ahead to publish – on April 22nd see here –  what in my opinion is an unfair,unjust article. The Globe reproduced the article in its entirety but went further in their headline that I am standing down. There has been no sign of an apology for trampling over my reputation (until today –  a week after the original article ) and the Police are now involved, also The Independent Press Standards Organisation. I often attack policies of other parties but would not attack other candidates as a way of point scoring. I find this abhorrent. Feel free to publish my statement
STATEMENT : It has been falsely alleged by Christine Spriggs, The Liverpool Echo and by the Wirral Globe that I have posted ‘hateful’ Tweets. These Tweets have not been reproduced by the paper. I tweeted that Halal slaughter, in which animals are conscious when their throats are cut, should not be allowed in this country. I tweeted that money should be given to those needing cancer treatment, pensioners and the homeless rather than illegal immigrants. I tweeted that illegal immigration jeopardises our security, as ISIS has pledged (again last week) to send jihadists into our societies. I tweeted that people who have multiple wives – a criminal offence in this country – should not be paid extra benefits for them. The Wirral Globe/Echo did not reproduce these Tweets, because they were aware that huge numbers of Wirral voters agree with them, wholeheartedly.
Instead, they have propagated the lie that they were ‘hateful’.  They have additionally now stated that I am standing down as a candidate in the forthcoming election. This is another lie, and an illegal interference with the election, contravening Section 106 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1983 I cannot now do anything to change that, so on the Town Hall’s advice I will be petitioning for the election to be declared null and void. I regret the cost and inconvenience this will cause, but if someone lies repeatedly and breaks the law to affect an election, it is the only proper course to take. These people will stop at nothing.
Paula Walters, UKIP candidate for New Brighton