Tales from the Chamber : Food for thought…

Woodside Food & Ferry

Pic: Woodside Food & Ferry

Next week we will be making information appeals for some ‘Special Reports’ that we’ve been working on .However before that we thought we’d catch up on Wirral Chamber of Commerce which will be one of our forthcoming areas of investigation.
However we understand it’s been an interesting past few weeks at the Chamber. An insider tell us :
Gemma Nichols, who was brought into the chamber to be Head of Visitor Economy and BID has left quietly although through no fault of her own. She signed up to one thing, was moved onto another and then was put under the ‘former model’ Kate (Eugeni). It was the usual Paula process.
Kate was appointed as Director of Visitor Economy and over saw the BID (Birkenhead Improvement District)  –  (Wirral) council refused to pay Kate’s salary to Princess P(aula Basnett) and so now that there’s no money in the pot…what’s a girl to do?! 
Well, spoiler alert!
Their bright idea is to set up a Marketing and PR firm….and Kate is leading it. It’s due to launch in April……Just like the visitor economy she led for a few months, she has loads of experience in doing just that. She couldn’t write a press release to save her life…but then it’s not like she’ll actually do any of the work…is it?
I wonder what the PR and Marketing businesses who are members think of this? 
If the Woodside Ferry Village is anything to go by: they have nothing to be worried about.It’s worth having a right good rummage of the Woodside Ferry Village though…could one of the directors be  due to resign his position? Can accounts from WFV had to pay some of the BID’s bills to help balance the books because the BID money has been loaned to the WFV to set it up ?- and with Kate getting paid out of that pot…could there’ be nothing left to pay the bills?  
So: Gemma – good luck and well done for getting out. When the BID is up for vote with Birkenhead businesses – it was not you who let them down … 
Meanwhile an unquestioning local press is willing to publish overheated souffles about the ‘food concept venue’ Woodside Ferry Village which we’ve previously ridiculed here
Following the newly established pattern of publishing a  Wirral Chamber of Commerce/Wirral Council press release in the Liverpool Echo before exactly the same story is re-heated by the same journo in the Wirral Globe we get news that there are  Plans revealed for’next Baltic Market’ with shipping container shops and stunning River Mersey Views
Needless to say there are the compulsory artist’s impressions and quotes from, no!, not Chief Executive ‘Princess” Paula Basnett but the ‘Interim Managing Director’ of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce  , Sharon Stanton, who happens to be ,er, Princess Paula’s sister!
Our Shaz provides some unintended hilarity by saying:

“We have been looking at it for some time. We applied for the lease, and luckily enough, we got it and it went from there…”

 

Well I never! Funny how that happens isn’t it ? Some organisations have all the luck! A building here, a building there! Another fortuitous acquisition for Nepotism Central !

With one of our incredulous sources stating : “I can’t believe they keep getting away with it…”  we asked our Chamber insider who would be likely to challenge Princess Paula and the Chamber of Cronyism

Eric Robinson: his son is currently there…and Eric HATES confrontation and difficult conversations…so he won’t challenge the ‘norm’.
Phil Davies: he’s going and equally never stood up to her.
Alan Evans: he’s sown up in the Chamber, the Woodside Food Village, and the council. 
And Jesus wept, don’t get me started on the little **** who’s currently up Paula’s arse… Warren Ward.
Back to Woodside Ferry Village – they’re talking Baltic Triangle, we’re saying Bermuda Triangle , they ‘re talking Las Ramblas, we’re saying ramshackle .And before we get accused of pissing on the barbeque we do so in the knowledge that as long as cronyism, and nepotism are the guiding the way the true Wirral innovators and visionaries won’t get a look in and Wirral (and particularly Birkenhead) will continue to depend on the sorry shower who are currently running the show…and look where that’s got us!

Tales From The Chamber : Chapter 2 – Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

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Wirral Chamber CEO Princess Paula and new Chair Sandra Kirkham

As the late,great David Bowie once sang ‘Ch-ch-ch-ch -changes…’ have been afoot at Wirral Chamber of Commerce (WCoC) this week. We’ll leave you to judge whether they’re for the better.

First of all there’s the news that Kate Eugeni has been appointed as the new WCoC ‘Visitor Economy lead’ ( and if someone can tell us WTAF that means we’d be grateful)

Gorgeous pouting Eugeni
A WCoC insider has contacted Wirral Leaks to comment on this particular appointment and commented as follows:
Because of course Kate has a background in the Visitor Economy. Ffs.
Headline states she’s ‘new visitor lead’ when she’s been appointed as Director of Visitor Economy.
Who’s budget is she being paid from? How many members in the visitor economy exist in Wirral, is it enough to pay her salary and deliver outputs?!
Has the council given money to the chamber to deliver on these outputs? And isn’t Lucy Barrow the lead for Visitor Economy in Wirral?
All valid questions but they need to be put in the context that the poor love once had to return from a Christmas break skiing in France with her father only to find that a treasured sculpture had disappeared from her garden . Can we please just imagine the sheer horror of that situation for a moment? #prayforsuperlambanana
Did we mention that Ms Eugeni’s father is, of course , former Parks hamper magnate,Tranmere Rovers owner and current tax exile Peter Johnson. We don’t have to tell you how this insular peninsula nepotism shit works again once again do we?
Meanwhile another source tells us :
Worth noting that another chamber member left this week. ‘An agreement’ was reached and she left straight away. Lisa Furlong was the only person on the Enterprise team who actually had any knowledge of running a business and who was credible to offer business advice. 
Good luck Warren Ward
But the big announcement was the appointment of Sandra Kirkham as the new Chair of WCoC following on from Asif ‘Massive’ Hamid, who having squeezed every bit of financial advantage out of the role, has moved on to pastures even more lucrative as Chair of Liverpool Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
We’ve a bulging file on the previous exploits of Ms Kirkham but her profile hasn’t been big enough . But as this promo video shows it is now :
Now as you know we try not to judge at Wirral Leaks but the most interesting aspect we gleaned from the promo, amid the corporate BS,was the fact that ‘Our San’ is a Kylie Minogue fan. But then, let’s face it ,she would be wouldn’t she?
As we can exclusively reveal here are ‘Our San’s Top Five Inspirational Kylie Minogue Tunes’ for Wirral’s business community :
Theme tune : Better The Devil You Know  (even if it’s Kevin Adderley)
I Should Be So Lucky ( to be ‘best buds’ or related to Princess Paula) 
Especially For You ( Duet with Cllr Phil Davies) (but mainly for us)
Spinning Around (spin is what we do – get over it)
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (but if you sign a non-disclosure agreement it would help) 
 

The Revolutionary Spirit

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OK it might be a bit of hyperbole on our part but do you sense the revolutionary spirit pervading the air ?  We suppose we need to clarify what we mean by that. We don’t mean storming the barricades and sitting at a guillotine with your knitting  – after all this is sleepy,complacent Wirral where political apathy has ,until recently, been the order of the day . However never before have we experienced such a willingness of local people to challenge the powers that be – whether it be litter enforcement fines,parking charges, NHS cuts ,threats to the Green Belt and the latest campaign by Wallasey Hands Off Our Fire Station (WHOOFS) which led to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority postponing closure proposals allowing the Fire Brigades Union and WHOOFS more time to campaign – and we say good luck to them!

We admit that we’re pushing it by claiming that Jo Bird being elected as Bromborough councillor to replace teen sensation Warren Ward with a 14% reduction in majority is also a sign of disaffection and mistrust of local politicians as it could equally be the aforementioned political apathy (as a 22.7% voter turnout is absolutely woeful) . However it does give us the opportunity to publish the Wirral Globe picture announcing the election result which looks like a still from a low budget remake of the political mind-control conspiracy thriller ‘The Manchurian Candidate’  which has been renamed ‘The Wirralian Candidate’.

Jo Bird

Here we see, centre of picture,  Jo ‘Lady in Red’ Bird herself, overdressed and overdoing it with the red (yes,yes we get it! – you’re a ‘passionate’ Labour supporter!) Then to the right we have a sighting of that rare bird ,Wirral CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson, lurking in the background trousering yet another substantial cheque for his onerous Returning Officer role ( i.e reading out the election results). Why do we get this strange urge to photoshop a little moustache on his face? Her Ladyship observed that he reminds her of an historical figure who also headed up an evil regime that thrived on fear and propaganda. Who could she possibly mean? Having said that, after viewing the still from CCTV footage we published last week, we think it’s fair to say Stressed Eric is still far down the pecking order when it comes to representing  ‘The Ugly Face of Wirral Council’ . However the most bizarre aspect of this shot is the Lib Dem (?) on the left and the candidate’s jumper which appears to have the subliminal message ‘KILL’ subtly stitched on it – which if you ask us is taking the ‘revolutionary spirit’ a tad too far!

However the feature photo (and the photo below ) is what we believe to be conclusive evidence of the mood that is sweeping the peninsula and shows former leader/mayor/political opportunist Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes demonstrating on social media his deep understanding of the revolutionary spirit by dressing up as a sans-culottes French revolutionary and brandishing a bottle of gin.

Foulkesy is 40% proof positive of the revolutionary spirit…

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The Wirral Chamber of Commerce Comedy Show

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When it comes to Wirral Chamber of Commerce we’re waiting for someone to let us in on the joke… or tell us what they actually achieve other than holding awards ceremonies, acquiring public buildings and the relentless self promoting.

The Chamber of Horrors are, of course, better known as ‘Nepotism Central’ – the leading repository for Wirral Council rejects . CEO Paula Basnett has found more positions for ex-public servants than she has for her own family and friends – and that’s really saying something!

However we at least owe them for the endless comedic opportunities they provide us. They are truly beyond parody. A case in point and a cause of much hilarity for some of our readers was this press release on their website titled :

Woodside Ferry Village Set To Turn Wirral Waterfront Into Major Visitor Attraction

Woodside Ferry Village? – huh? Yeah, you know that well known cultural and historical landmark. And it gets better :

Located in the heart of Birkenhead’s waterfront, the food concept venue will take residence within the terminal, inspired by the success and rising trend for food-markets in a number of cosmopolitan locations, which includes Lisbon, Barcelona, Brixton, Liverpool, London and Altrincham.

Food concept venue??  What’s one of those when its at home? A foodbank with falafels and ‘artisan’ bread? And since when has been Altrincham been a ‘cosmopolitan location’? Has Man Utd’s latest signing moved in?

And on it goes :

The Woodside Ferry Village project, which is looking to open for business during Autumn 2018, is already gaining support from leading figures in Wirral, including Head of Business Improvement District (BID), Gemma Nichols who said: “This project is both exciting and adventurous…”

Apparently Gemma Nichols is one of the leading figures in Wirral – who knew??? Well if Woodside Ferry Village has Gemma’s support it’s bound to be the gastronomic centre of the universe. A leading figure in Wirral ? what an accolade for cashing the cheque each month for heading up another hapless and misconceived Chamber ‘initiative’ under the BID banner.

However no joke is complete without a punchline and who better to provide that than Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , who must have a hotline bling to Basnett’s Swarovski crystal-encrusted phone (she looks the type doesn’t she?) asking for favours (and not just about off- loading Wirral Council waste) .

“We have exciting plans coming forward from Wirral Growth Company to redevelop Birkenhead and to create a real destination here on our Mersey waterfront. It is important to make people ‘think again’ about Birkenhead and initiatives and temporary attractions like Woodside Ferry Village will help attract curious visitors and residents from across Liverpool City Region and beyond to come and see what is going on in Birkenhead.”

Curious visitors…to come and see what is going on in Birkenhead???? Presumably those who always wanted to be an extra in a zombie movie!

However the Chamber’s latest appointment is truly inspirational. Via the medium of a selfie (what else?) we see ex Wirral councillor Warren Ward introducing himself and asking you to book a 1:1 with a member.

So now Ward will be imparting his wisdom of being a ‘Decision Maker’ in the Civil Service to advise people on how to start up their own business. So where exactly was this gig advertised? In the window of one of the few businesses still open in New Ferry?

However cyncism aside we accept that Ward must’ve been the only man for the job  – after all he’s worked his way up from the bottom…