Hasta La Vista Esther
The big news here on Wirral was the ousting of Employment Minister Esther McVague from the Wirral West seat. Although it must be said this wasn’t exactly shocking considering “Detesting Esther ” had recently become a local pastime and plus the fact that the national Labour Party threw everything they could at this key marginal including sending in pugnacious “Lord” Prescott who posed awkwardly in West Kirby bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “we’ll fight them on the beaches”.
It was clear from pictures from the election count that a frozen-faced McVague and her political agent Wirral Councillor Chris Blakeley , who was following her around like a depressed bulldog , knew the writing was on the wall (and we’re not talking about that unsightly graffiti in Hoylake). For all the gung-ho triumphalism of local Labour apparatchiks, we have to say it seems as though it was the UKIP vote that won it for them in the end as McVague’s vote astonishingly actually increased !!!
However, as our pre-election profile predicted – HERE
it’ll take more than an election defeat to keep McVague out of the political limelight. Back to her true calling of being in front of a camera with a microphone she announced: ” I’ll be back” like a Tiny Tory Terminator.
And of course she will be – she’ll land safely on her kitten heels thanks to the patronage of some powerful political friends.We predict that like a ruthless killing machine it will be some time before she’ll be terminating her lofty political ambitions.
Stu Kelly’s Blues
Locally it was the usual Labour and Conservative shoe-ins determined by the great Wirral East/West divide (and never the twain shall meet) . Shamefully Foulkesy was re-elected largely unopposed as were most of his Labour colleagues – although there was a spirited fight from the Greens in Council leader Power Boy Pip’s Birkenhead & Tranmere ward.Of course Pip benefited as usual from “The Field Factor” as locals voted in droves for anything wearing a red rosette even if the wearer of that red rosette resides in a less deprived and more salubrious and leafy part of Wirral. That is, of course, their prerogative – we just think they’re deserving of someone so much better.
However, credit, where it’s due the Labour group, pulled off a massive coup as Paul “Danceaway” Doughty ousted Lib Dem councillor Stuart Kelly from the Oxton ward. Kelly was one of the few opposition councillors who seemed ready, willing or able to mount a coherent challenge to dubious council practices so this seems to represent another victory for secrecy over scrutiny.
Stressed Eric Knows His Place
The election results provided the opportunity for new Wirral Council Chief Executive Eric Robinson to make his mark in his first public appearance as Returning Officer. However, it was apparent that Stressed Eric learned a salutory lesson about Wirral Council and where he stands (or rather kneels) as he was ousted from reading the General Election results by Mayor Foulkesy! Seems to us that Stressed Eric’s next job will involve meeting Frankenfield’s “demands” and having a cheque book thrust in front of him with the instruction: “sign here”!
And so in the week following the local and Euro elections we at Leaky Towers make some observations and reflect on some of the feedback we’ve received……
“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet…….”
One of the most depressing aspects of the local elections (other than the calibre of some of the candidates) was the appallingly low turnout. In reverse order , the percentage figures for some of our most deprived wards were Seacombe (26.7 %) Bidston & St.James (26.6 %) and the lowest of the low – Rock Ferry (26.5%) where the duly elected Councillor was Moira McLaughlin – upon which we make absolutely no comment.
Compare these figures with the high turnout in some of our most affluent areas – Greasby,Frankby,& Irby (43%) West Kirby & Thurstaston (42.2%) and Clatterbridge (40.5%).
No prizes for guessing which are Labour and which are Tory wards.
And right there you have a graphic illustration of the great east/west Wirral divide which typifies the fractious and divisive politics on this peninsula.
Returning a Nice Little Earner
After the assembled throng at the Bidston Tennis Centre had stifled their guffaws at the sight of another PR fail where Comrade Burgesski stood next to a very symbolic and decidedly phallic Moreton lighthouse there was the dawning realisation that as Returning Officer and at 2012 rates Wirral Council’s CEO was raking in £233 per ward for announcing the results of the elections. SEE HERE
I’m sure you’ll all agree that two and a half grand for channelling Miss World MC Eric Morley for the day is a nice little earner. Of course we’re sure that Comrade Burgesski will be donating his fee to a local foodbank or the Unison fighting fund and not dreaming of a leisurely fortnight in the Algarve…..
Also benefiting from the election bonanza and receiving half of Burgesski’s fee was Monitoring Officer Surjit “Not” Poor – which mustn’t have gone down well with certain politicians who we know are not exactly enamoured of the Council’s Official Number Two.
……And the local election largesse didn’t stop there as we hear that many staff employed by WC were paid extra for election duties as well as having ‘special paid leave’
We understand Wirral Council’s notoriously renowned nepotism ensured that one person had her whole family on election duties and they raked in a tidy sum between them working Wednesday, Thursday & Friday and then Sunday!
Trebles all round on the electoral gravy train !!!