The Man in the Mirror

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Portrait courtesy of Leaky Towers resident artist Tolose Letruth

Now we know there’s a call for Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies (and others) to resign in the light of the corporate failure to adequately safeguard vulnerable children.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037017/Conservative%20NoM.pdf

But of course it won’t happen. Not only is it a case of Tory grandstanding it’s also a truism that no-one takes responsibility for failure in public life these days – least of all at woebegone Wirral  Council.

However we do begin to wonder what Power Boy Pip sees when he looks in the mirror. If as they say “there is nothing worse for the lying soul than the mirror of reality”  we thought we’d hold up that mirror so he could take a close look at his ‘strong’ leadership.

This is the man who as far back as 2009 and as chair of a so-called disciplinary hearing allowed incompetent,bullying liars from social services off the hook and sent them back to the department to wreak further havoc  – only for the truth to be revealed 3 years later, resulting in Wirral Council having to pick up a £220,000 tab for their sly and deceitful departure ; This is the man who lamely declared “there’s nothing we can do” to hold senior officers to account after they’d landed Wirral Council with £31 million of toxic debt as ” they’d all left”. No , get it right Pip- you’d  paid them off to make all that unpleasantness go away; This is the man who got Michael Frater to do his dirty work when sending Director of Law Bill Norman off site ; This is the man who didn’t have the backbone to stay in the same room when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak at the final meeting of the  LGA Improvement Board in 2013; This is the man who doesn’t seek answers to difficult questions (see below) and does not suspend nor subsequently condemn the behaviour of dishonest councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies; This is the man who doesn’t take action but hides behind action plans; This is the man who more recently failed to hold errant senior officers to account for behaviour that should have seen them sacked and instead reaches for the chequebook ;This is a man who when the going gets tough jets off to China ; This is a man who appoints a personal policy adviser/control freak to create that illusory image in the mirror; This is the man who believes the strong leader model is a sign of strength when in fact the need to control everything from council committees to the local media is indicative of a lack of confidence and an insecurity about scrutiny ; This is not a strong leader. This is a flushed and fidgeting failure.

To reflect back even more we are grateful to a disillusioned local Labour Party member who has sent us a copy of an email asking :

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We’ve  copied the most pertinent parts of the email below underlining points of interest and added our comments (in red of course) . And again we must reiterate we aren’t anti-Labour we just want them to be better than they are or more specifically the small number of party members who abuse their power . But ultimately it’s up to local Labour Party members to decide whether they want to save the soul of their party and not impertinent blogs , opposition councillors or indeed the people of Wirral.

The Wirral Labour Party is in the process of selecting candidates to stand for election in May 2018.
                    Applications are now open until Monday 31st October 2016.

Halloween – how appropriate for this horrorshow!, no more killer clowns need apply! 

Winning the LGA award for Most Improved Council in Britain 2015 is testament to the hard work which has gone into improving Wirral Council by Labour, Council staff and partners.

Talk about Freudian slip !  – this discredited and increasingly ridiculous looking award was given by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and NOT the Local Government Association (LGA) . Although we are convinced it was the LGA who twisted LGC’s arm to invent this bogus endorsement and  enable Wirral Council to keep up the charade until further failures showed up what a sham the award was in the first place!. 

We must not become complacent though. It is a challenging time for Wirral and to be a Wirral Labour councillor. Wirral faces unprecedented budget challenges that will require Labour Councillors and candidates to be real community champions, seeking answers to difficult questions and engaging in the transformation process of the authority.

Not so much complacent as controlling . And as above demonstrates the difficult questions are never asked never mind answered!.  

Many of our Labour priorities can only be delivered through local action, and Labour’s core band of Councillors is the party’s front line and strong link with residents and local agencies.

The decisions made by councillors in Wirral affect people’s quality of life in countless ways, from education to housing and regeneration, community safety, environment, roads, care for older people, sport and culture, and helping local businesses to thrive.

This is what worries us ! – Labour appoint a councillor with a track record of dishonesty to the Planning Committee , a councillor who doesn’t acknowledge never mind address problems in Children’s Services as their Cabinet lead and the scrutiny of his area of responsibility is undertaken by a Chair who previously failed to safeguard vulnerable adults – what could possibly go wrong?. 

We need Labour councillors to reflect the communities they serve, empathise with local residents and communicate effectively with them. Only by ensuring there is a good range of councillors can we hope to do this.

Whilst we wholly endorse this approach – the end of fishing for councillors in the shallow end of the gene pool is only part of the solution. The other part is by throwing some unpalatable politicians over board. 

We want dynamic, committed members who welcome a challenge to stand for election to Wirral Council. You will need experience of party and community activity, campaigning, a commitment to Labour’s aims, values and policies, as well as enthusiasm to be part of effective service delivery and relationship building in Wirral.

We’d really love to know locally what are Labour’s aims values and policies – and please don’t point to the bloody 20 pledges. If someone was given a list of Labour’s actions – NOT words – the closure of services for vulnerable people, the lurch to privatisation, creating the illusion that Wirral Council is a business – a business that does not include public service , the courting of big business and private enterprise , the pursuit of mirages –  be it golf courses or international trade centres and ending up with foodbanks and call centres  ,selling off swathes of green belt  to property developers, a harsh approach to Council Tax reductions for the unemployed ,  they would all point to a Tory regime in all but name.

It’s all about finding people who are ordinary enough to be representative, but extraordinary enough to be representatives.

Extraordinary is the word – extraordinary that you’ve been getting away with what you have been up to  for years.

We want our candidates and councillors to be representative of the community they serve. Therefore, we are particularly keen to hear from women, young people and members of ethnic minorities who want to stand.

Are you sure ?- some of your leading politicians don’t seem keen on ethnic minorities in particular

Don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough about how the council works – we will provide training for all candidates and potential candidates.

Don’t worry if you don’t know enough about how the council works (!) – neither do we , we’ve been winging it for years !

What is expected of a Labour councillor?

The ability to abuse your power and if you don’t yet have power or influence – unquestioning compliance – in the hope that one day , you too can abuse your power?.

Support regular campaign and communications of the Labour Group
Raising the profile of Labour and its work for local residents
To be an ambassador for the Labour Party
To attend branch meetings and report and consult on all council activity
To campaign with Labour members on local issues
To recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action
To build a healthy party locally to do this you first have to get rid of the poison and that really does need some strong medicine . Sadly this is something  this ‘strong leader’ is seemingly not prepared to administer !

 

 

Suspension Suspense

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Following the time-honoured tradition of burying bad news it was announced (or rather it was dragged out of them) just prior to the elections ,that the North West Labour Party had suspended Wirral Labour Councillor Louise Reece Jones pending a further investigation.As you can see from the press report they are desperately trying to keep this one on media lockdown. HERE

Consequently, we have been asked whether we know why Cllr.Reecejones had been suspended – and needless to say – we do.

This is Wirral Council we’re talking about – where leaks are in direct proportion to secrets.

We publicly stated on Twitter that we wouldn’t want to jeopardise due process (an alien concept at Wallasey Town Hall) so we’ll keep a watching brief on this development for now.

We expect the usual – a report to be released on Christmas Eve stating how robustly Labour Party investigated the matter and there will be press release stating either a) there is no case to answer or b) appropriate sanction will be made as such misconduct will not be tolerated (unless you’re Cllr.Steve Foulkes or Cllr.George Davies).

Talking of which we were excited about new kid on the blog “The Morton Distortions” written by Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton but somewhat like Cllr.Reece jones that currently also seems to be in a state of suspended animation.

From what we’d read there were a couple of revelations about the Wirralgate scandal which we didn’t know about – but much of it we already knew and had already disclosed.

We’re just waiting information from a couple of sources and we’re ready to publish “The Definitive Guide to Wirralgate”.

Might we suggest that it might be useful to her if Cllr Reecejones reads the guide so as to understand what conduct the local Labour group think is or is not acceptable.

Failing that we think her only hope is to foster a friendship with Frankenfield very,very quickly or her days are numbered.

Election Reflection

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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 !!!