The Blind Leading The Blindfolded

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We are grateful, once again , for the following submission from another of our regular followers and contributors , Mr Nigel ‘Highbrow’ Hobro.

Hobro brings his forensic eye to Wirral Council’s  failings in relation to funding which they were responsible for administering. What Hobro dissects may be esoteric to some but the failings he identifies will be familiar to Wirral Leaks readers – a failure of due diligence , a failure of openness and transparency , a failure of accountability and , damn it, a failure to do things ‘properly’ – and all in the name of reputation management (and no doubt other base motives) . We invite you to open your eyes before they take us all over the precipice:

The public are blinded as to the workings within Wirral Borough Council as the corporation seeks to keep its failings from open view. The issue regarding ISUS and BIG seems hackneyed except if one considers that the revelations have deliberately been kept in deep-freeze by the Council Leader and by top officers. They are as new as the date of release of data, usually forced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under threat of contempt of court. Certainly I asked for the names of companies in receipt of BIG funding that were liquidated as early as 2013, to be refused, even though liquidated companies have no protection under the Data Protection Act. The latter was conclusively attested to in summer last year with a ruling from the ICO, and most surely had been known all along by the Council’s monitoring Officer, Mr Surjit Tour.

Those who have been blind seem reluctant to accept criticism from the illuminati despite thin vows of transparency and of accountability. When Grant Thornton reported on the multi-fold failings in the BIG process vis -a -vis 6 files nevertheless despite a disclaimer from Grant Thornton of the Councils italicized statement, the Council claimed no wrong-doing and pointed out that only Lockwood Engineering had gone bust. On forced release of the Executive Summary re BIG in July 2013 the Leader of the Council issued a press release stating the success of the program and that of all Big fund recipients (sic) only one had gone bust. Yet time and erosion of the whitewash reveal that in fact two companies further had entered into liquidation with connexions to the Leader even at that early date. The council chief executive blatantly lied on 8th October 2014 saying only three were bust whereas the true total was eleven by then. I am not sure that Braille can distinguish between entering liquidation and finally being liquidated though these blinders did insist on a difference that to all intents and purposes is valueless. When the sexton prepares the grave there are very few lazarus’ indeed.

I do claim that the BIG process was so flawed in its arrangements that it opened a clear vista for fraud. Due diligence would not involve a coach and blinkered horses being driven through the benevolent intentions of the grants.

Last week I received data re Corrin Kenny Limited a company that received £13,250 of BIG money sometime soon after 4th May 2011 when Councillor Andrew Hodgson approved the award. The file given me contained no accounts later than 31st March 2010 which represents a poor basis indeed for processing future projections.

The friar Pacioli who invented double entry intended that all debits and credits equate to zero otherwise his system collapses applying to historic and equally to projected accounts. Due diligence compelled me to reconstruct from the entries in the projections an opening Balance Sheet. It proved impossible to do leaving a creditor of £7,000 which clearly had not been run through the projected cash flow. Surely any business applying for £20,000 of free money should at the very least offer up a clear set of projections, and any civil servant intending to give out public money should expect a clear Business Plan budget. Without the budget being sound the reins of the coach are fraying.
BLIND, Wilfully blind or just complaisant officers?

The officer who produced a short page of recommendations for the “Independent Panel” to consider was a Mr Stone of the Regeneration Department. He did not look for a balanced model ( in Cashflows that do not balance as to Cash flow, Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet one can always find errors that invalidate the proposal) and did not remark on the £26,600 cost that was not included in the Total for Cost of Sales. This was plain as a pikestaff for any but the purblind. I imagine therefore that Mr Stone did not attempt to analyse the formulae within the Excel model-I did, unpaid!, and with my having to reconstitute the Excel from a Adobe Acrobat file. I observed with my clear vision that, to check the validity of the assumptions, I would need to recreate the file. If I had been paid it would have been 2 hours of WBC time . Mr Stone may have had the benefit of the original Excel file in which case half an hours work would have sufficed. They have eyes to see but do not wish to see!

Mr Stone or Gemma Henry had access to a reporting suite from Companies House. They might have discovered that the Company Secretary whose name headed the application was involved already with seven companies of which three at that contemporaneous time were entered into the London Gazette to be dissolved. This was not a chequered flag to go ahead with the grant but a chequered past to prompt more questions.

I checked the full accounts for March 2010 and noted from a minds eye memory going back 6 years that the requirement to produce accounts not less than 6 months old had not been enforced, or perhaps in April 2011 the officers did not see that accounts to 31st March 2010 were more than a year old. I noted as a kestrel hovering at several hundred feet the balance of Other Debtors at £52,989 and wondered if Ms Gemma Henry quartered in Invest Wirral’s offices in Egerton House asked of Mr Kenny, giving his address as Egerton House, of what that was composed. Could it be an illegal Directors Current account because it most definitely was not a Trade Debtor, and if it were that, then what business has WBC advancing money to a company that was already sitting on an unrecognised liability of up to £30,000 of PAYE/NI? I began to see into the future (see below.)

COACH AND HORSES

Then to the Minutes of the Meeting at 9:30am of 21st April 2011 (with next meeting at foot of page for 27th May 2010(sic)) attended by the blind Invest Wirral who blind-folded the independents from Business Link and from the Federation of Small Business by, per Grant Thornton, giving them no accounts, and just the précis by Mr Stone, Finance Manager. The précis ran to just 320 words which recommended that only £20,000 would do the job. After a discussion “in great detail” all voted save one independent to award the grant. Dissension was met by the compromise of awarding just £13,250 even though Mr Stone had written only £20,000 would do. Blind, blind, blind or perhaps the diligence drivers ( an 18th century coach) whipping through what they could for an individual close indeed to the Regeneration Manager, Mr Kevin Adderley.

All seemed unconcerned that the award would be the same contravention of rules as was the award – that never should have been given per Grant Thornton-to The Edge magazine of Lets Go Publishing ltd. Both sought to advertise in the Wirral just as had Thinklocal and indeed Wirral View in direct competition with non-funded newspapers. The blindfolded independents would not know only the wilfully blind officers knew.

THAT WHICH WAS VISIBLE TO THE DISCERNING EYE THEN AND CAME TO PASS

Hindsight reveals that far from Corrin Kenny having £93,266 reserves in March 2012, by July 2013 the Liquidator reported a deficiency of (£75,000 ) which for four years he has been trying to recoup from the director who had had an overdrawn current account (see above and £52,000).

HM Tax Inspectorate began calling in its debt in March 2012 .The officers did not see at March 2010 that the debt to Taxes had been £40,481. The did nt see the warnings from the filings at Companies House where the figures quoted as prior year balance sheet in the 31st March 2010 accounts were different from the 2009 Balance sheet as filed. It is the business of Local Authorities to ensure before parting with our taxes that the grantees have paid their dues and observe laws and regulations and not to encourage tax defaulters! The debt to the Revenue finally was recognised as being £70,646 and the Liquidator (see above) noted the debt owed by the director to the company. To this date the Liquidation is open five years later as the Revenue seek to enforce the debt. So the ‘diligence’ reached the river and unloaded £13,250 of tax-payers money to sail down the Swanee to the accompaniment of the blind harmonica players from the Council.

OBFUSCATION AFTER THE EVENT

What we can see is that Mr P Davies Councillor was not anxious that these details be released on Corrin Kenny Ltd since he did accompany Mr B Kenny on trade missions to the Isle of Man and, though I have not seen the photograph, allegedly to Reno. I guess the sad story of New Concept Gaming Ltd, some £845,000 of public money including some BIG, going down the same river was another musical score that the blind players did not want you to read. Of “all BIG recipients” these two were certainly in liquidation when Mr P Davies issued his press release in July 2013.

SOURCES
The sources for my article are Companies House, data which is now free and at the time would only have cost Invest Wirral a maximum of £5 to see; and What do they know.com at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/corrin_kenny_ltd_big_fund_award?nocache=incoming-948560#incoming-948560

Blotto?

Smarmy Blott

Spot the dot ! :  Blott or not?

After yesterday’s blog post we had a most curious reply sent very early today.

Allegedly it was sent by Joe Blott – Wirral Council’s Managing Director for Delivery aka ‘The Man Who Never Gets Angry’ and read as follows :

Joe Blott on March 9, 2017 at 4:56 am said:

Get the facts right before spouting off about how Wirral does business; you can write all you like on here about past & present employees but take a second to think about how much harm this does to the families of these people and how this may impact them about dis tasteful comments about how people go about making a living. Your blog is a joke and you hide behind your keyboard due to the fact you probably haven’t got a real job and you vent your frustrations out due to being turned down for a role here at Wirral

So here is that fulsome and considered response. Firstly, can we say that after the Wirral Council’s Head of Communications Kevin MacCallum had a Friday night entanglement with yours truly we’d’ve thought that senior managers from Wirral Council would exercise some caution when contacting us.Communicating with Kev-Continued.

However the curious aspect of the ‘Blotto’ response is that it seems so very out of character. Say what you want about this non-entity but he does know how to play the local government game. So we’re led to conclude that either we’ve really got under his skin or he didn’t send that email.

It is particularly curious as the message was sent from a wirral.gov.uk address.However the address is joe.blott@wirral.gov.uk  and we were led to believe his email address was joeblott@wirral.gov.uk

A dot can make a lot of difference and you have to get up very early to get anything past us and 4.56 am just isn’t early enough!

So we can only conclude that Blotto has  a) acquired a new email address (along with a scrotum) or b) someone is masquerading as him using a wirral.gov.uk address

Curiouser and curiouser!

So let’s break down the response from whoever it is as follows :

Get the facts right before spouting off about how Wirral does business

So tell us the facts ; We understand that ‘facts’ is an abstract concept as far as Wirral Council goes – but give it a go!

you can write all you like on here about past & present employees but take a second to think about how much harm this does to the families of these people and how this may impact them about dis tasteful comments about how people go about making a living

Yes, we can write what we like on here. And Wirral Council hate that don’t they? ,because they have absolutely no control over it . We could write Liptrot – approved puff -pieces but that would make us Wirral View – and ain’t nobody got time for that. Oh ,and when you talk about ‘past employees’ do you mean those currently taking a particular interest in our blog from their holiday home in Portugal? The stats don’t lie!

As for ‘dis tasteful’ – all we can say is that it must be a curse to be burdened with a delicate middle class sensibility! Just be thankful you don’t work for Bristol City Council under the leadership of Anna ‘Big Wedge’ Klonowski . Our equivalent there –‘ The Bristolian’ has a few choice words for your equivalents including the wonderful Anglo -Saxon expression ‘Whiny T**t’ and as for the Mayor of Bristol – let’s not go there!

https://thebristolian.net/2017/03/03/whiny-twat-seeks-private-sector-move/

We’ve got news for you – that deferential nonsense died a horrible death for many us a long time ago. Oh and don’t do that ‘think about the kiddiewinks’ malarkey. We’re totally immune to such manipulative shit , especially when the likes of you are earning a very good living for doing what exactly? We’d be happy to publish a list of your achievements so the people of Wirral know exactly what they’re getting for their £123K pa.

Your blog is a joke 

Which is why you get up at silly o’clock to respond to our joke of a blog when you could just be checking your bank statements and who’s arse you need to kiss today!

you hide behind your keyboard due to the fact you probably haven’t got a real job and you vent your frustrations out due to being turned down for a role here at Wirral

We love the way you kept the best ’til last. Nothing , but nothing would compel us and our increasing number of aggrieved ex-Wirral Council employees to subjugate ourselves like a brain dead wage slave before the likes of you and your ilk for a ‘role here at Wirral’ . Delusional doesn’t come close. Wirral Council is a sick organisation. Keep taking the tablets (or cashing the cheque),whatever works for you (if not for us).

If you feel the need to respond – whoever you are –  you know where we are : wirralleaks@gmail.com  – that’s wirralleaks and not wirral.leaks obviously.

A View To A Kill

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Oh the irony! – good job all those unread copies of Wirral View are next to the Twister Bin!

Of the many complaints we get about Wirral View , they appear to be split 50/50 between people who have never received a copy and those who have received one and told us that they felt their IQ had immediately halved.

Examples cited from the latest edition included advice about how to get kids involved in making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday – among the 10 tips was the indispensable ‘Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking’ and ‘Don’t cook after drinking alcohol’. Oh please!, the frozen pizza industry would be decimated if the latter were ever the case!

We were also gratified to read that the description ‘ look injured, are very small, or lethargic’ did not apply to some Wirral Council senior managers we could name , but to lost hedgehogs.

As you know we’ve reported on problems with Wirral View’s distribution from the word get go :

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/distribution-deficit/

However Wirral Council’s own lost hedgehog , head of communications Kev MacCallum, appears to be still in denial about the ongoing situation.

A Freedom of Information request made by the wonderfully named Birgitta Kuhlmann-Muller following the publication of the first edition of Wirral View, asked the following pertinent questions:

1. How you make sure to fulfil your statement on your own website that
“The publication will reach every household and business in Wirral “?
2. Which kind of distribution method did you use for the first edition?
3. How many households were directly served with a publication through the letter box in each ward ( please list each ward in Wirral)
4. What were the distribution costs for each ward and in total?
5. How much income was generated from adverts?
6. What were the overall expenses for printing, design etc.?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wirral_view_publication#outgoing-623857

As you can see from the subsequent response from Wirral Council and further annotations by Ms Kuhlmann -Muller the problems with distribution persist:

‘Contrary to your statement that 8 of 10 households got the Wirral view delivered through their letter boxes, I have heard of not a single household in West Kirby who had received theirs.
The Wirral view was stacked in libraries but not delivered to households.’

And therein lies the problem. When Wirral Council make a hyperbolic claim that Wirral View ‘will reach every household and business in Wirral’ they (and the company from Liverpool they’ve hired) need to DELIVER -in both senses of the word. No wonder they can’t get any advertising when local businesses must know that an advert would be a waste of money as the newspaper’s reach seems to be variable at best and negligible at worst.

It is not good enough (as the above picture sent in by one of our readers illustrates) that the distribution company is just dumping thousands of copies of Wirral View in libraries,shops and public venues and hoping that someone has an urgent need to read about pancakes and hedgehogs (and whilst at Leaky Towers we love them both – believe us they don’t do anything for our so called ‘information deficit’!)

And so with threats of government intervention and calls to cull the rag we at Leaky Towers say it’s time to put Wirral View out of its (and our) misery. Perhaps then the council can spend the money on something more useful like yet more overpaid and incompetent policy wonks!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15123108.Minister_leafs_through_Wirral_Council_s_controversial_newspaper___then_issues_another_warning/

Alternative Facts in a Parallel Universe

Not for the first time when it comes to the ruling administration at Wirral Council we find ourselves asking : “Is it us or are we missing something?” and then we realise we are now living in the age of of ‘alternative facts’. The current epicentre of this parallel universe when it comes to local government has to be our dear own local council.

Of course the main Wirral Council conduit for alternative facts is Wirral View –and halleluljah and praise be , as for the first time Leaky Towers actually received a printed copy of what is known variously to our sources as Liprot’s Journal/ Lost Kev’s Chronicle/Pip’s Post-Truth News .

Was it worth the wait? – hardly ! However the front page caught our attention as it demonstrates to us as to why, once and for all , the tawdry rag should be halted in its tedious tracks. Here we have the now infamous ‘Spot the Muff’ photo-op and the declaration that ‘Proposals to bring in new charges at on-street car parks across the borough have been withdrawn, following feedback from Wirral residents and businesses.’

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Oh ! it was all about Wirral Council listening to ‘feedback’ was it ?. Nothing to do with protests, petitions and the highly suspect legality of most of the proposals. Feedback ?- yeah right!

The Witless, Pip and Mr Muff picture turned up again on our Facebook page due to some weird algorithm which suggests that we’d ‘like’ Wirral Labour News. We suppose it makes a change from promos for incontinence and mobility aids and ‘Superman’ pyjamas but let us state for the record it was as equally unwelcome !

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Then there was further message from ‘Wirral Labour News’ which made us think it must surely be a parody account :

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Keep Wirral Green ? Huh?  Fernbank Farm?, the Saughall Massie Fire Station ? and the Hoylake Golf Resort?  Our heads started to hurt at Leaky Towers as to how the increasingly self righteous Labour administration could reconcile these development plans with their new found love for the Green Belt.

How ironic that Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies talked about “protecting our precious Green Belt” at  yesterday’s Cabinet meeting whilst  we understand that all the seats in the public gallery had the following flyer on them :

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However the ne plus ultra of this week’s alternative facts emanating from Wirral Council is the controversial appointment of the increasingly divisive Martin Liptrot to the post of ‘ Interim Investment Lead’ which we not only predicted but exclusively revealed on this blog:

Pip’s Pay Pal – THAT Liptrot Appointment

The Uncanny and the Corrupt

According to a spokesperson for Wirral Council ( we assume that’ll be Liptrot’s acolyte   Kevin MacCallum)

“The post was advertised and an open recruitment process was held with external support.The panel selected the best person for the job and that person has been appointed.”

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15103854.Fury_as_Wirral_Council_hires_Labour_s_policy_adviser_to_be_their_new_investment_chief___on___350_a_day/

Really ? – so you’re going with that ‘alternative fact’ are you ? Perhaps one of the interview panel chaired by Alan Evans and including the council’s Strategic Development Manager; Stephen Butterworth, Head of Transformation ( there’s that word again  !) ; Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce  (a surprising late replacement for a curiously unenthusiastic Asif Hamid) and Ellen Cutler, Director of Inward Investment at Liverpool Vision could publicly endorse this statement .

Alternatively they could tell the people who fund this post exactly what went on behind the scenes and whether they decided not to appoint Liptrot (or indeed anyone) but the decision was taken out of their hands and made by an increasingly desperate Power Boy Pip and the increasingly sinister Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson.

We’re led to speculate what exactly is the Rasputin-like hold that Liptrotsky  has over Power Boy Pip? All we can say is look what happened to Rasputin and the Imperial Royal Family of Wirral, sorry , Russia.  Just sayin’ !

 

 

 

Picture Gallery

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Our thanks go one of our spotters who sent us this picture taken yesterday outside Wallasey Town Hall. We were asked if we could throw any light on the matter as to why a mahoosive shredding vehicle was parked there ( we do hope they were charged by the way) .

We welcome suggestions from our readers – but our top 3 guesses are a) There’s an investigation going on – but hey! isn’t there always?! b) Wirral Council need to deal with all those returned, unwanted copies of Wirral View  – but hey! every little helps when it comes to recycling trash targets ! and c) They’ve finally got round  to disposing of discarded undergarments of past Wirral Council senior managers – but hey! let’s hope the shredders were equipped with surgical gloves!

Our second picture comes courtesy of Twitter. Now we know we have a Twitter account but to be honest we try not to go there. It’s a bit like Grange Road, Birkenhead – 140 characters and they’re usually mindless.

However it is very kind of Wirral Council to keep us informed of their hi (sic) street cleaning schedule. For future reference : the only cleaning we’re interested in is when they fumigate Wallasey Town Hall and remove the vermin currently inhabiting the place.

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We know that the next one is a bad picture  – but it’s deliberate and a case of a picture painting a thousand words. It’s details of Wirral Council’s plans to charge you for basically parking anywhere on Wirral except your own driveway – although we suspect that a Super-Duper Director has been sent off to drum up a dastardly plan to enable them to do that too! – especially when none of them actually live here !

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And finally we have a heartwarming closing picture of Cllr Steve Foulkes so you go to bed all warm and fuzzy. So here’s Foulkesy stroking a pussy – what’s not to love?

Foulkesy and pussy

 

Year of the Chicken

foghorn-leghorn

A special Chinese New Year of the Chicken message to Power Boy Pip from Looney Tunes legend Foghorn Leghorn

Chinese New Year isn’t until February but you won’t be surprised to hear that Stella Shiu won’t be around to wish Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies : ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’  as we enter the Year of the Chicken.

It should come as no surprise to Wirral Leaks watchers and anyone with an IQ that reaches double figures that Shiu will not be appearing on the shores of the River Mersey laden with fortune cookies – not this year, Chinese New Year or any other year.

And so after all the photo-ops , press statements, Liverpool Echo exclusives, artist’s impressions , false promises , foreign delegations and the portrait of Stella hanging up in the waiting room next to the Wirral Council Chief Executive’s office it’s finally time to put this seemingly elaborate – if not particularly convincing – hoax to (the river) bed.

You may remember that after the failure to secure investors for the International Trade Centre at Wirral Waters  that Shiu was invited to move operations down river to some Godforsaken wasteland  (attractively described as former Ministry of Defence land situated on ‘a surburban industrial estate behind Port Sunlight Tennis Club’ ). We exclusively reported this locally in November 2015 after a story appeared in the Financial Times and presciently asked the question   : So we’d like to know whether this is a suitable site for an International Trade Centre or merely a very expensive and financially risky way to save face over the Stella Shiu affair?”

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/chinese-takeaway-1st-dibs-2nd-course/

Now it would appear we finally have the answer courtesy of yet another question , this time asked at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December by Cllr Phil Gilchrist:

pg-question-014

We wonder whether we’ll see the news that ‘ The International Trade Centre is not progressing because the project sponsor cannot confirm funding for the project at this time’ on the front page of Wirral View or with a centre spread in the Liverpool Echo under the headline  ‘ Shiu’d off ! – Stella Dupes Wirral Fellas’ or ‘ Due Diligence? – Don’t Make Us Laugh!’ accompanied by a picture of Power Boy Pip looking like a sad-faced emoji ?

Don’t hold your breath people of Wirral – this is the kind of ‘information deficit’ that Wirral Council have no intention of ever addressing because it doesn’t fit with their bogus ,happy-clappy narrative. Especially when Power Boy Pip and his political ilk of all parties are chicken – with an inability to say they’d been had, never admit when they are wrong or acknowledge that they’re big on promises and short on delivery .

And before we finish let’s remember it wasn’t just Pip that Shiu strung along. Here’s Stella  with Lindsey Ashworth from the Peel Group and Wirral Council Tory group leader Jeff Green wishing us a suitable Looney Tunes farewell:

green-shiu-ashworth

That’s all folks!

The Leaky Awards 2016

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No disrespect to the local worthies who voluntarily undertake good deeds ,  but we have a natural aversion at Leaky Towers to honours and awards given to people who either have :  a)  made a lot of money ( well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money… if what you want to do is make a lot of money….) or b) achieved riches and recognition for doing something they love ( while everyone else tediously toils away in jobs they hate with people they loathe just so they don’t end up living on the street).

Patronage for peerages has brought the awards system into total disrepute and we doff our hereditary ermine trimmed coronet to the increasing number who have turned down the tawdry badge of dishonour that the New Year’s Honours List has become.

We have three words on the subject of honours: “Sir” Jimmy Savile.

We have three words on the subject of awards : Most Improved Council.

Therefore we consider the annual Leaky Awards the natural antidote to the sordid status quo and rejoice in the fact that the awards that we bestow at Wirral Leaks are much more representative of the charlatans who run the show than the complicit smiley celebrities and their gleaming gewgaws.

Awards Award – ….and the winner is the Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Awards ceremonies appear to be the entire rationale for this empire building, family-run organisation. Whilst it appears to be a mere excuse for pouting Paula Basnett to buy another frock and flaunt the spray tan we need to remember the public grants and public properties that come their way and ask ourselves do we really want the non-elected personal empire building Basnett clan running a never-ending awards show at public expense?

Labour Councillor of the Year – This is obviously an inaugural award as in previous years this would be an oxymoron (or in some cases – just moron) . However this year we’d like to offer the award jointly to  Cllr Anita Leech and Cllr Christina Muspratt for annoying  fellow Labour councillors Foulkesy and Matron McLaughlin respectively. The former did so by casting the deciding vote at a recent Planning Committee whilst a clearly agitated Foulkesy laid the foundation for a potential appeal by questioning the planning process (see Campaign of the Year below). This is staggering hypocrisy coming from someone who has regularly circumvented due process in the name of managing his (bad) reputation.But then Foulkesy has built an entire political  career on being hardfaced and shameless so this should come as no surprise to anyone. Meanwhile Muspratt was the inspiration behind a tetchy display from McLaughlin as the latter tried to shut down Muspratt for trying to hold council officers to account over their failure to appraise staff. However as we know this is not how the Matron rolls – personal loyalties to officers will always take precedence over public accountability.

Quote of the year  – “From the brink of intervention, to the pinnacle of local government” (Eric Robinson CEO Wirral Council). Now we don’t know whether Stressed Eric has been buying some powerful hallucinogenics with his megabucks salary but this can surely be the only explanation for this ludicrous claim that Wirral Council is the pinnacle of local government. When it comes to public service peak performance we’re talking more Moel Famau than Mount Everest!

Runner-up : ” It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first …….” (Eric Robinson talking about Wirral Council’s decision to publish Wirral View ) “Until I was told to get back under my desk ….”  he might of added to prove once again why he’s the perfect CEO for Wirral Council.

Publication of the year –  Wirral Council  yawn-fest Wirral View . Having seemingly failed to a) attract advertisers  b) sort out its distribution problems or c) address anyone’s ‘information deficit’ this award is in recognition of the fact that Wirral View could soon become a collector’s item .We advise those who’ve actually received a copy should retrieve it from the cat’s litter tray or the budgie’s cage , as with the threat of central government intervention hanging over it it may not be around for  much longer!

Runner up – Cllr Tony Jones’ (aka Tones) election publication which broke election rules by failing to show name of agent, candidate or printer on the leaflet.  As one of our eagle-eyed readers has pointed out Tones does not seem to have learned any lessons from this faux pas as strangely he is the only one of Wirral Council’s 66 councillors whose council email contact details are not included with the Council mugshots in Wirral View. Campaign Fail  

Campaign of the Year –  ‘Save our Greenbelt – Say NO to the Firestation’  campaign may, thanks ultimately to the casting vote of  Cllr Leech than the campaigning local Conservatives , halted plans to build a fire station on green belt land in Saughall Massie.

However it will be interesting to see if Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service submit an appeal whether this continuing fight ends up being thwarted by powerful interests as was the ill fated Save Girtell Court campaign.

Similar can be said of the Stop Hoylake Golf Resort campaign who are arguably up against even more powerful interests as Wirral Council attempt a ‘money no object’ bid to ensure even more Wirral green belt is sacrificed to enable a housing development in the guise of a ‘golf resort’ to go ahead.

We’ll be following both campaigns in 2017 with great interest.

Picture of the year

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There is so much going on in this picture than ‘Jezza Makes Pizza For Starving Mites’. The supporting cast – Frank Field MP , Cllr McLaughlin, Cllr Meaden , Margaret Greenwood MP makes for fascinating viewing if we consider the various political intrigues,allegiances and betrayals that occurred throughout 2016 . However what intrigues us most on the right of the picture , ‘recording’ events for posterity, is the presence of ‘Person C’ . Adding further intrigue to the local political scene we understand the former political editor of the Liverpool Echo and reluctant witness in the Wirralgate saga has, for reasons unknown, apparently ceased working for the council’s favoured external publication ……….

 

A Dim View

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Despite the publication of the third issue of Wirral View we have yet to see a copy of Wirral Council’s limp organ at Leaky Towers – and from correspondence we’ve been receiving we’re not the only ones.

Meanwhile we’ve had to content ourselves with reading the online version. As it remains a particularly dreary read we ended up quickly clicking through the pages to count the number of Santa hats that appeared in the latest edition. Sadly whilst we anticipated that Wirral View would present us with endless opportunities for satire  , each issue has proved to be so anodyne we’ve been given nothing to work with.

Although for quite different reasons  , also taking a dim view of Wirral View is Marcus Jones , the Minister for Local Government. A sabre-rattling warning letter from the MP to Council leader Cllr Phil  ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies about non-compliance with the Publicity Code for councils apparently went unread for 9 days , allegedly because of ‘a post-room mix up’.   

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14969048.Post_room_mix_up_caused_Minister_s_crucial_warning_letter_about_Wirral_Council_s_newspaper_to_go_unread/

So do we believe that boys and girls ? Remember this is an organisation that has dishonesty running through it like a stick of rock . As former council leader and ex- Mayor Foulkesy proves persistent lying is no hindrance to high office. Indeed a series of council scandals have over the years proven that this culture of mendacity extends to senior officers and indeed was once endorsed by a veteran senior councillor with the words : ” We pay our Chief Officers to be slippery”.

The Wirral Globe article provided us with moments of both comedy and tragedy. The former inevitably is provided by class clown Kev aka Wirral Council’s supposed head of communications or more accurately ‘Policy Advisor’ Martin Liptrotsky’s patsy. The Globe  reports Mr McCallum ‘remained defiant’ or more accurately was shoved into the firing line to defend the indefensible . Having said that we feel he is a bit harsh on himself and his team when he says  : “It was clear from the research we have completed and the feedback we get on an ongoing basis, that the communications tools we were using were not getting this job done….”

The tragedy is provided by one of the the comments made by Paddy Cleary who declares himself UNISON branch secretary as if this gives his post some kind of extra credibility. Talk about deluded! Cleary suggested that the solution to the post room mix up would be to address staff cuts. It’s a comment which for us not only characterised either his naivete or complicity but explains why the local branch has an ever diminishing number of members.

Memo to Mr Cleary from Leaky Towers : believe us you could have had a flock of pigeonholers in that post-room and the Marcus Jones missive still wouldn’t have been answered promptly ! Might we suggest you might serve your remaining members better if you turn your attention to the continuing outsourcing of their jobs….

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Things To Do With Wirral View

Put out the flags! Strike up the band !  – not that it was delivered to Leaky Towers but we’ve finally got our hands on an actual paper copy of the second issue of the Wirral Council newspaper Wirral View .  

And was it worth the wait we hear you cry ? – “not so much”  we reply ! . Seemingly in an attempt to avert the attention of  Department of Communities and Local Government minister Marcus Jones who takes a dim view of such publications  Wirral Council seem to to have reversed the old Daily Mail ad slogan and made Wirral View – ” A snoozepaper  , not a newspaper” . Dear Lord but it’s dull.

http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2016/news/tax-boost-for-local-press-as-minister-launches-council-paper-crackdown/

The tone is set on the front page  with an exclusive story about road gritters. Now we’re sure the guys in the picture are lovely chaps and they do a wonderful job but it’s a bit of a literal and metaphorical fall back down to earth after the fireworks on the front page of the first issue .  The partly obscured word “SPREADING” (no laughing at the back) seems to a subliminal message as even by issue 2 Wirral View seems to spreading itself too thin ( down to 28 pages from 32 and no advertising!) . Her Ladyship was most disappointed there wasn’t even a follow up recipe to the spicy lentil & tomato soup recipe from the first issue.

Therefore  to avoid that empty feeling for those who feel their information deficit has yet to be filled we’ve come up with five festive fun things to do with your copy of Wirral View.  And so with a cry of  : ” Mummy dearest pass me my superman pyjamas I’m going to the spare room to crank one out for Wirral Leaks ....” here dear reader is the list we cranked out just for you ! : 

  1. RETURN TO SENDER

Buy some extra stamps from the Wirral Scout & Guide Charity Post and return the unwanted gift back .

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2. PARTY BUNTING

Make your own party bunting – or better still your own party political bunting by personalising it with pictures of your favourite local politicians !

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   3. CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

Do as Wirral View suggest and recycle card and paper from around your home! Forget health and safety regulations (or should that be elf and safety !- geddit?) and craft your own crackers from an empty loo roll. Add some glitter to bring a bit of sparkle to your mundane existence!

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4. PARTY HATS

What better accessory to go with the wacky Christmas jumper than a Wirral View party hat ! You can surprise everyone  at the Wirral Council office party by showing what a funster you really are under that dour exterior . But remember ! – no photocopying your bottom or subsidising your festivities by raiding the petty cash tin!- or Internal Audit will be after you. Oops! no sorry they missed that particular party trick didn’t they?

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5.  HAVE YOURSELF A VINTAGE CHRISTMAS

After a trip to the local foodbank to pick up a slightly dented tin of Spam for Christmas dinner why not go the whole hog and get  into the austerity spirit of rationing and make do and mend. Relive those post-war , pre-Izal days of yore and get all nostalgic about outside lavs and using strips of old newspaper for loo roll!

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Distribution Deficit

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KEV SHARES PUBLIC FEEDBACK ABOUT WIRRAL VIEW WITH THE COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Wirral View may not have reached us yet but news has reached us that Wirral Council Communications front man Kev is in a bit of a kerfuffle that distribution of the first edition didn’t go quite to plan.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14914863.Wirral_Council_s_controversial_newspaper_gets_off_to_a_stumbling_start/

Kev claims that 30,000 copies of Wirral View failed to reach their intended destination. However judging by our bulging inbox complaining about the non-arrival of Wirral View we’d suggest that vast swathes of Wirralians have missed out on this life-enhancing experience. Perhaps Councillors Abbey, Stapleton and Sullivan might be advised keep their own counsel about the distribution of newspapers before publicly lambasting other local publications!. Just sayin’….

Nevertheless as we already know  Kev is a veritable Little Mr.Sunshine and is ever ready to put a positive spin on a negative situation. We can almost guarantee he has  “A Smile Is A Frown Turned Upside Down” fridge magnet. Kev tells us that  : “We have had really positive feedback from communities across Wirral after the first edition of Wirral View……”

Indeed Wirral Leaks is privileged and honoured to be privy to the type of positive feedback that Kev and his team have received :

Dear Kev

I was once lost like you. I had an ” information deficit” shaped hole in my life. Then you came along and filled my hole. Thanks to you I’m purring like an Atomic Kitten. I’m “Whole Again”.

I now know that if an event is heralded on your front page it is probably best avoided. I also now know how to make Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup!. As far as I’m concerned now that I have Wirral View in my life “Take A Break” can take a hike! and in the words of my other favourite trash mags I need to tell you I “Love it!”,  it’s a real “Pick Me Up!” . Indeed my only suggestion for improvement would be to include an exclamation mark in your title and add a catchy  strapline such as  :”Who needs Prozac when you’ve got Wirral View!”

I shall be eagerly eyeing my letterbox waiting for the next edition of Wirral View to arrive whilst chanting “come to mama” .

Yours expectantly ,  Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)

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