“Wow! – just wow” gasped Her Ladyship as she picked up a copy of Wirral Life from a better class of supermarket “….all that advertising space for the Wirral Chamber of Commerce seems to have paid off as Princess Paula is this month’s cover star! “
Bleached , bobbed and Botoxed(?) to the max the CEO of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce must feel thoroughly at home – glossy, bright and shiny against a stormy background . The interview can be found here:
As you can read all the key words are there – transformation, vision, partnership, empowering, small business ecosystem (eh?) , passionate (obvs!) and nepotism (oh sorry – our bad she didn’t mention that did she Sharon?)
Minus points for no mention of ‘ Hub’ though ! – oh and btw why are you still banging on about ‘Wirral Waters’ ?
Unfortunately what isn’t asked in the article is the question that was put to us about the Wirral Chamber of Commerce earlier this week :
If ever you needed confirmation of how things work round here look no further than the inexorable rise of Asif ‘Massive’ Hamid. Of course we’ve reported regularly on his ability to attract public monies in the pursuit of his personal business empire by exerting influence over local politicians via his chairing of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.
Now it appear the modus operandi has been repeated over the River Mersey as his chairing of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has seemingly enabled him to secure the final remaining plot on the iconic Liverpool waterfront.
Needless to say the ultimate cynic Mayor Joe Anderson called the King’s Dock deal with his LEP colleague “brilliant news for Liverpool” and said it “could ultimately lead to the creation of a new riverside destination, boosting our visitor economy and creating jobs for local people.”
We’d prefer to stick with our original analysis that call centres are the ” dark satanic mills of the 21st century”
If Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site was under threat before now this cynical philistine decision should finally seal the deal. The Liverpool Preservation Trust must be hanging their heads in despair.
Meanwhile we’re left wondering just how long it will be before Hamid’s , ahem, “hands on” management practices will hit the headlines. But hey! – he’s been awarded an MBE and so is obviously beyond reproach. And confirms that it’s not just the way works round here but how things work nationally.
Time to emigrate.
So farewell then Wirral News. As reported in the press trade papers it now finds itself in the gutter :
As we predicted a while ago , the writing was on the wall for this woeful rag a long time ago. Never more so than when Wirral Council launched the print edition of Wirral View. Whilst it won’t be missed , mainly because it appeared to have given up being a credible news outlet a loooooong time ago , it is a worrying development for Wirral’s independent press when publishers Trinity Mirror consider :
“The Wirral marketplace has become increasingly crowded with free print products with now even Wirral Borough Council producing a monthly free print publication themselves.
“We believe that there is no longer a viable, scalable or long-term future for free/giveaway print products within the Wirral marketplace….. “
What made us want to snort with derision and shake our head in disbelief was the quote in the Press Gazette article from Wirral Council’s head of communications Kev ‘Lost Boy’ MacCallum :
“We are disappointed to see a well-loved local title like the Wirral News close.“For many years, we have seen its circulation reduce significantly and frequency fluctuate between weekly, monthly and recently bi-weekly.“It’s been clear throughout this time that the title has been trying and struggling to find an effective place in the market where it could be competitive.“We must make it clear however, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest Wirral View had any commercial impact on the Wirral News.“We have deliberately not sought to compete with the local media for advertising revenue, and we have ensured Wirral View is a completely different product to the existing local free-sheets…..”
Have you ever spent any time on the Wirral, what do you think of it? He replies:I haven’t spent a lot of time on the Wirral but I think it’s beautiful – especially around Parkgate and Caldy.
We had previously questioned whether the cancellation of the Special Meeting of Wirral Cabinet on 22 May had something to with purdah during the run up to the General Election.
As you can also see we asked whether there would be a surprise waiting for us when the interminable electioneering period was over . We anticipated that council “leader” Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and the rest of the burgeoning Billionaire’s Boy Club that went to the MIPIM event in Cannes earlier this year would reveal to us all the international trade deals that had been expertly negotiated during their spring break.
And sure enough this morning there was a launch of a ‘£1 billion Wirral regeneration plan’ . Although Power Boy Pip shared his Wirralian hallucinations in Cannes it would appear there weren’t any takers and so deploying that old maxim ‘if you want something doing – do it yourself’ the council-led ‘Wirral Growth Company ‘ has been set up. Sadly what we have is not £1 billion of investment but ‘a shared our vision for £1bn worth of development opportunities’ .
So it would seem we’re back in the realms of ‘possible new look Tower Gardens’ and ‘possible redevelopment in Brighton Street Wallasey, and Hamilton Square’. All very much a case of dream the impossible dream and absolutely no mention of the Wirral Waters International Trade Centre. That particular fantasy seems to have been assigned to a watery grave as judging by the pictures in the Wirral Globe we now have a new set of artist’s impressions to laugh at and which suggest to us that someone has been let loose with the watercolours whilst under the influenceand some serious mind -altering drugs.
We have undertaken an Ipsos MORI inspired vox pop of Wirral Council’s new shared vision at Leaky Towers. This may just have involved asking Her Ladyship, Eldritch and Verity what they think – might we suggest their respective responses of : “Yeah! whatevs!” , ” Here we f*cking go again” and “Srsly?” is a more valid representation of public opinion than most pollsters have come up with lately!
Needless to say among the audience at today’s launch held at Woodside was ‘ Princess’ Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce.
She announced : ” We have been awarded the business engagement and support contract for Wirral….”
Yes , of course you have Paula. And we’re sure it was a rigorous, open and transparent process! We are therefore led to conclude from today’s historic announcement that there are 4 growth industries on Wirral – artist’s impressions , foodbanks , the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and whoever supplies their CEO with the frocks for the never-ending cycle of press launches and awards ceremonies! It’s as simple as ABC….
I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
Say Mr. Whispers! Here come the click of dice
Roulette and blackjacks – gonna build us a paradise
Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me
Maybe these luxuries can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate
So tell me
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire!
Millionaire! Billionaire! Trillionaire!
Hardly surprising if you might consider
Loyalties go to the highest of bidders
What’s my opinion? I’d give you ten to one
Give me a million, a franchise on fun
But there are millions who often get nowhere
And there’s just one secret I think you should share
Maybe these luxuries can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate
So tell me
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire!
Who wants to be millionaire?
I do! – I don’t! – I do!
Who wants to be millionaire?
I do! – I don’t!
I’ve seen the future and I can’t afford it
The Curse of Pip (Part 1)
Our commiserations go to Tranmere Rovers as their hopes of promotion to the Football League were dashed today in their clash with Forest Green Rovers at Wembley.
As much as we would have liked to see our local team reach the lofty heights of League Two football we have to say that defeat was seemingly inevitable as it would seem the dreaded ‘Curse of Pip’ has struck again.
By which we mean anything council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies touches turns to sh*t.
As we’ve said before he appears to be King Midas in reverse.
As we all know he has previous form when it comes to endorsing Tranmere Rovers. Who can forget when he held a reception at Wallasey Town Hall to promote Tranmere Rovers unofficial role as ambassadors of Wirral and then, hey presto ,their then manager Ronnie Moore was suspended by the Football Association for alleged breach of betting rules ( of which he was later cleared). Then the next thing you know Tranmere are relegated to non-league football .
We reiterate this as we understand Pip’s toxic touch continued today as a well placed source informed us prior to today’s sporting event that :
Paula (Basnett) is going ! On a coach with ‘Councillors’ paid for by the Chamber and The Merseyside Maritime Museum!! All very strange…… , So xxxx councillors and no idea about Maritime Museum guests………So these ‘hand picked ‘ councillors are getting the VIP treatment. But who actually pays for this ‘perk!! Well if it’s the Chamber no doubt Power Boy Pip and his beloved Paula will have that covered.
Also I am told that certain Councillors Anita Leech, Foulkes, Comb over Davies and their personal ‘friends’ are also afforded complimentary tickets at TRFC, (all matches) for EVERY GAME. Is that a perk they declare on ‘members interest! Of course not!!
And more to the point why do they get these perks?
Can we suggest that if TRFC want to ascend the football ladder they need to distance themselves from the snakes who want to make political capital out of other people’s sporting achievements particularly during an election campaign. Just sayin’
The Curse of Pip (Part 2)
We were delighted to read that long time Mayor Joe Anderson was rejected by the Labour Party as their prospective MP for Walton – now that current incumbent Steve Rotheram has gone on to greater things as Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region.
(And boy, did Martin Liptrot’s plans to be the power behind the throne when Mayor Joe was elected as Metro Mayor come back and splatter him all over his deeply unappealing face – no wonder he sailed the gravy boat back over the Mersey).
Apparently perennial bad loser Joe has now refused to work with freshfaced Daniel Carden, the guy that Labour parachuted in over Joe to serve the people in the safe seat of Walton. Keepin’ it classy as ever Joe!
Once again we have to say we’re tempted to attribute this demise to ‘The Curse of Pip’. We state this as we are grateful to John Brace for his recording of Pip indulging in world class sphincter licking action at the last City Region meeting in the vain hope that Joe will end up as a Member of Parliament . Just think about that for a moment-Mayor Joe as an MP !
Pip’s eulogy to perhaps the most repellent politician on Merseyside outside of Frank Field is so toe-curling it’s almost like watching Diane Abbott reading her times tables. If you can bear to watch Pip starts flexing his tongue at approximately 13.48.
We don’t know what PM Theresa May thought she was doing this week by endorsing fox-hunting. We know we’re members of the landed gentry here at Leaky Towers but even we know that fox-hunting with hounds is barbaric and what’s more, a vote-loser.
Now if she endorsed the hunting of ‘The Crafty Foxes’ that would be another matter. As you may have noticed it’s our favourite pastime!
You may remember an excellent report which we published earlier this year which questioned Wirral tourist figures which were being bandied about.
Our knowledgeable contributor has undertaken further analysis and apparently according to the figures Wirral has the same lure for tourists as Barcelona (hence our picture and comments above).
Therefore the moral of this story is , as we’ve often said : question everything !
Wirral Tourist Figures – Fake News?
As a rule I hate banging on about things, but, in this case I’m going to make an exception and bang on about the Wirral Tourism figures!
I apologise for the length of this item but I am truly dumbfounded that the people who are supposed to be running this Borough believe the figures.
Power Boy Pip and our very own tourism champ Tony ‘The Hoff’ Jones have both quoted the figures.
Wirral Chamber of Horrors, Wirral View, the Liverpool Echo, VisitWirral.com and various other outlets have fallen foul of the scourge of the internet age, copy and paste (ad infinitum). Nobody questions the figures because they are on the internet, therefore they must be true! Everybody believes them.
Well after contacting Lord Leaky a few months ago I got to thinking about the figures and did some deeper digging. I have come to the conclusion they are a load of spin. Should I be surprised? Probably not.
Were they used to ‘woo the Shiu’? Or are they to reinforce the case for a golf complex? Maybe they are just to say what a wonderful job the council and our esteemed Chamber of Horrors are doing in promoting this green and pleasant peninsula? Whatever the reason, they’re rubbish!
Its difficult to present the full picture succinctly so I shall use round figures and as few as possible.
Links to the documents are scattered around if you really want to read them???
The figures quoted for Wirral are:
8 Million visitors
Over 5000 jobs
That equates to 22,000 visitors per day each spending £48 each! Do you believe that?
Lets put this into perspective. Barcelona is introducing legislation to limit tourism as they are overwhelmed. They had 8.3m tourists in 2015. (About the same as Wirral. Ha Ha Ha Ha)
Now at this point dear reader you are probably thinking ‘I’ve read this before’ but please bear with me. (You don’t need to read all the figures below, just look at the total.)
Figures from North West Research, Tourism Data Summary published July 2016.
Top Events Attendance 2015
Top Free Events
Three Queens – 1.2m
Mersey River Festival – 220,000
Transatlantic 175 – 200,000
International Music Festival – 161,000
Africa Oye – 80,000
Top Paid Events
Grand National – 142,500
Southport Air Show – 80,000
Creamfields – 70,000
Southport Flower Show – 54,000
Musical Fireworks – 35,000
Top Free Attractions
Museum of Liverpool – 747,000
Merseyside Maritime Museum – 662,000
World Museum – 658,000
Tate Liverpool – 626,000
International Slavery Museum – 460,000
Top Paid Attractions
Mersey Ferries – 607,500
Pleasure land Southport – 500,000
Beatles Story – 250,000
Haydock Racecourse – 203,000
Aintree Racecourse – 173,500
Total attendance for all these events held in the Liverpool City region 5,395,500!!!
That means more people visited Wirral than went to all of the above attractions and events (and some). Yeh!
Are you starting to see where I’m coming from with this?
The World Tourism Organization defines tourism as people “travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”
The figures are compiled using the STEAM model, (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) by http://www.globaltourismsolutions.co.uk on behalf of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
Well, I don’t know how they do things in Scarborough but it don’t work in this neck of the woods!
And this document gives the game away. https://www.liverpoollep.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/wpid-digest-of-tourism-statistics-12-2013.pdf
Section 1.5 tells us that:
A key component of the way in which STEAM works is its definition of ‘day visitors’; this is
defined as a person travelling to a district other than that in which they live, for a non-
routine purpose, with a stay of over 3 hours. Thus, someone making a trip to Southport Pier from Liverpool could be classed as a day visitor, but not someone making a
similar trip who lived in Formby.
Now I understand. These aren’t visitors to the Wirral, they are visits within the Wirral by people who live here. Hardly tourism or even visitor numbers.
Do you now see how useless these figures are?
So there you have it. Fake news!!
And yes, I did lose my bet on The Wro winning bar of the year 2017. They weren’t even nominated so I suspect they were asked to withdraw this year to give someone else a chance!
Live from Leaky Towers we proudly present an important press statement from His Lordship :
‘After serious consideration and stumping up the £500 election deposit by selling some of the family silver I have resolved to stand as the Leaky Party candidate at the next General Election.
Of course this will mean I will have to relinquish my title and forego the afternoon snoozes in the House of Lords – not to mention the expenses.
Newly appointed Wirral Leaks Press Officer Ms. McCalamity whispers in ear : ‘ I thought we agreed it would be best if you didn’t actually mention your expenses at all ! Remember that little problem you had explaining the gold-plated trouser press and the appointment of your own personal nobbler, sorry ,cobbler claiming you were only trying to emulate the incumbent MP for Birkenhead ?’ – https://order-order.com/2009/10/19/is-frank-field-really-so-saintly/
However from now I will be a commoner and appropriately enough I will be standing in the Birkenhead Constituency. For the duration of my campaign I will be known simply as Julian ( McCalamity whispers in ear) . Oh yes , we’ve agreed on a bit of rebranding and that to maximise the youth vote I will be going by name ‘Joolz’ and my election tagline will be ‘Joolz 4 Birko’ .
Her Ladyship is already busily preparing to become Birkenhead’s First Lady – as opposed to Wirral Chamber of Commerce CEO Paula Basnett who is Birkenhead First’s Lady . Because as everyone knows behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes and running the show!
The Leaky Party will be standing on a platform of investing and supporting public services , promoting openness,transparency and accountability, refusing to reward failure with public money, preventing the appointment of overpaid consultants, promoting meritocracy and rejecting cronyism , barring BS and spurning spin. Oh and whilst we’re at it stopping ‘Returning Officer’ payments at elections – if ever there is case of the undeserving rich it is Eric ‘ Feeble’ Robinson pocketing another 15 grand just before the summer hols. C’mon Eric – do as one of your predecessors once did and donate this unwarranted perk to charity . Might we suggest adding this election windfall to fundraising efforts for victims of the New Ferry gas explosion. Put OUR money where the need is!
So in conclusion as I launch our campaign I say to the people of Wirral ( and particularly Birkenhead) – let’s all rise up together and be something more than pitiers of the poor and do something more than promote ourselves,our friends and our own personal agendas.
Let the political games begin……’
Apologies for the disrespectful Easter title – but it’s what we do best. Iconoclastic and sarcastic at the same time.
This post is a follow up to one of our most popular recent stories
Continuing the Biblical theme , readers will remember this was the David v Goliath story of charity boss Jim Barrington taking on the might of Wirral Chamber of Commerce (or rather their enforcers Wirral Council).
Gallant Wirral Councillor Lib Dem Stuart Kelly followed up our story , asking pertinent questions of Wirral Council CEO Eric’ Feeble’ Robinson who in time honoured tradition passed it on to some highly paid underling who passed it on to a less than highly paid underling.
The answers to the questions that Cllr Kelly posed are as follows . Needless to say it starts with apologies, because apparently this is what we do , we pay public servants to apologise profusely and at regular intervals
Apologies for the delay in responding to you. Please find below my response.
1.Is it the case that Birkenhead First have the ability under regulations to exempt not for profit charitable business from the levy ?
Schedule 1, Paragraph 1 (e) of the Business Improvement Districts (England ) Regulations 2004 provide that BID proposals shall include “a statement of the specified class of non domestic ratepayer (if any) for which and the level at which any relief from the BID levy is to apply”. This could include charitable rate relief. The Birkenhead BID proposal did not include this optional relief. The BID levy of 1.5% applies to all hereditaments located within the Birkenhead BID boundary area. Businesses with a rateable value that is below £6000 are not liable to pay the BID levy.
2. Is it the case that the BID Levy is being collected on behalf of Wirral Chamber of Commerce by Wirral Council.
Yes we bill and collect on behalf of the BID.
3. Is it the case that none payment is being pursued through the magistrates courts when the liability is a civil matter which are usually dealt with in County Court, if so what is the reason for using magistrates court?
Schedule 4 of the 2004 Regulations deals with enforcement and application for liability orders if the levy is not paid. It applies Part 3 of the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) Regulations 1989. Regulation 12 (2) provides that:-
“The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding.”
The correct jurisdiction for enforcement is the magistrates court.
4. Is it the case that Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber of Commerce are adding £95.00 in court fees before liability has been established in court, is there a breakdown of how these costs have been arrived at.
No costs are awarded by the Court upon application by the Council. They are shown on the summons document. The cost make up is shown on the attached. The costs are the Council’s and not passed on to the Chamber.
5. What is the relationship between Wirral Council and the Chamber with regard to the BID.
The chamber pays for the Council to administer the Billing and Collection of the BID.
Thankfully our original source Jim Barrington was able to breakdown this BS response as follows :
When we first heard that a disused bank in Hamilton Square had been taken over to house and feed the homeless we naively thought that Wirral Chamber of Commerce under the guise of a ‘Birkenhead First ‘ initiative were behind it.
We weren’t just convinced because the former bank was a Barclay’s – which let’s face it has to be the Chamber’s bank of choice! No! -we also found out the ‘Love Activists’ were involved . We assumed this was an offshoot of the Chamber’s ‘Fantastic Festival of Beautiful Things’ . All very touchy-feely, hippy -drippy and vaguely nauseating.
Plus the fact it all seemed to encompass two headlining modern themes : ‘pop ups’ and ‘homelessness’ – which all of a sudden are ‘sexy’. As we know the Chamber of Horrors CEO Paula Basnett can’t open her mouth without using the term ‘pop- ups’ but when it comes to homelessness were not talking about vagrant love we’re talking about how homelessness (like foodbanks) have suddenly become a fashionable issue to be seen to support . Something which shames us all.
Now we hesitate to use the term virtue-signalling because as Aesop said : ” No act of kindness ,no matter how small, is ever wasted” . However there appears to have been a worrying shift from preventing homelessness to sustaining the homeless on the street. Dare we suggest this approach only exacerbates the homelessness situation. There are sandwiches, hot drinks, blankets and even haircuts dispensed by commendable volunteers but no money for support services and a lack of affordable housing which would prevent vulnerable people ending up on the street in the first place!
As far as we’re concerned this is David Cameron’s nightmare vision for a ‘ Big Society’ made flesh . A community of volunteers providing what were essential public services to the vulnerable as there is no other option because public money has been diverted to pay inflated salaries to high level ‘public’ servants who frankly don’t care if the homeless (or any of us) live or die.
Now of course we know that Wirral Chamber of Commerce have nothing whatsoever to do with this particular ‘pop up’ we are warming to the ‘Love Activists’. They even offered our photographer a cup of tea. They seem to understand that life is is rough out there for rough sleepers especially when it isn’t for our rapacious leaders .