Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #12

Sunny 007

WHAT A WASTE

We’d like to thank the Wirral Leaks reader who sent us the above snapshot which is supposed to represent what Wirral life is like after you’ve made an additional payment over and above your council tax for Wirral Council to deal with your waste . It made us ask ourselves why we ever left Wirral and then we remembered amongst many other things that nepotism , undue deference and general subservience wasn’t for us.

Whilst it seems to be a case of ‘another week, another advertisement feature’ in Wirral Globe it really makes us wonder what made Wirral Globe so popular with Wirral Council all of a sudden – especially when they’ve got their own sewage outlet with Wirral View. Perhaps someone can enlighten us. Oh , wait a minute , they already have!

What’s more we were told :

It’s US-sourced stock photo library time again in Wallasey. This scene of glamorous young people at a barbecue in Tranmere is so typical of life round here.

https://mailchi.mp/wirral/wirrals-garden-waste-club-11th-april?e=c5e90571ae

Ain’t it just! We thought it was just us who didn’t buy the happy,shiny, ethnically diverse people malarkey! Lazy,unimaginative,insensitive and out of touch with reality – yes, that’s Wirral Council folks!

As for the comment on the right of our picture which reads ‘paper is inside’ shouldn’t that be ‘ paper is on the inside’ …….of the ‘Inner Ring’ that is. What a difference a tape makes! Just sayin’ !

SPRIGGS HAS SPRUNG

Keeping the seasonal theme it would appear that not only has spring has sprung so has Cllr Christine Spriggs – sprung into action that is after last week’s post where we questioned the lack of activity when it came to Wirral Council’s  Imagine Wirral programme. Subsequently a Wirral Leaks observer wrote to us to say :

Further strange odd coincidences… you will recall my email to you when I mentioned that there had been nil activity on the Imagine Wirral twitter account since its Feb 18th launch date….

And then of course (yesterday?) you posted a comment about Imagine Wirral – and asked a question to Cllr Christine Spriggs….

But then guess what? The Imagine Wirral Twitter account suddenly appears to have lots of activity on it… and guess who’s ‘tweets’ are very prominent?

Of course just an ‘odd’ coincidence…                            .

And here is another photo from elsewhere…from a couple of ‘election’ days ago.Haha

 

FROM A BANG TO A WHIMPER

We’ve been asked what questions you should ask those smiley people with rosettes (do they still wear rosettes?) currently interrupting your favourite TV programme. That’s up to you and what you feel is important to you ,your family and community – potholes? dog crap? litter? incompetence,dishonesty and corruption? However one reader has made the following suggestion :

My dear Lordship,

In this time of local elections I have been confused by silence. Only a week ago it was reported that the government were allocating a million pounds to the businesses of central Salisbury following the alleged Russian poisoning scandal. This was to support the local shopkeepers who had lost trade due to the tourists and locals steering a wide berth from the town centre.

I seem to remember there is another centre of a town on the Wirral that people are currently steering a wide berth from due to the fact, “It no longer exists, having been blown to bits”.

The good people of New Ferry are probably too shocked following the explosive nature of the incident to ask the question.

And what is the question you may ask?

Why is there no indignation from the local MP’s and councillors in regard to this matter. Or as in the case of a certain former Eastham school, is the land earmarked for a super housing development. Just asking your Lordship?

Regards

AND FINALLY…….. FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE TO DEMENTIA CARE VILLAGE

Meanwhile it’s a case of another week, another artist’s impression!

East Germany

We still haven’t had a grovelling apology from Wirral Council about Wirral Waters and how they were duped by a Hong Kong bankrupt by the name of Stella Shiu and wasted thousands of £££££’s on far eastern jaunts in the hope of financing an ‘International Trade Centre’ . Instead it would appear we’re getting a ‘Dementia Care Village’ that is reminiscent of East German brutalist architecture from the 1970’s !

Whilst there is still a prize to be had for the person who tells us whatever happened to the portrait of Shiu that hung adjacent to the Wirral Council CEO’s office ,perhaps the Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Cllr George Davies can finally admit that Shiu was “ bloody useless….” . Or perhaps not!

 

 

 

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Come To Sunny Birkenhead

Grafitti 016

We understand that it was a typical Bank Holiday Monday back in Blighty. Bleak,wet and miserable. Indeed we’ve been sent the above picture which not only seemed to reflect the general  mood but also served as an antidote to all the idealised artist’s impressions of Birkenhead we’ve been seeing all over the press lately.

Apparently the picture was taken at the bottom of Holt Hill , Birkenhead – ironically the scene for  one of the most famous pictures ever taken on Wirral when Cammell Laird was an industrial powerhouse and the town’s main employer.

Holt Hill 2

Although it ain’t Bansky we think the graffiti speaks volumes about post-industrial nihilism and the challenge that faces those who optimistically seek to transform Birkenhead . Meanwhile what a dispiriting and depressing experience this must be for those who have to pass this vulgar ugliness every day.

The obscene scene also reminded us of the Philip Larkin poem ‘Sunny Prestatyn’  which presents a bleak picture of the harsh realities juxtaposed with the false promises of glossy advertising. Just don’t expect to see this picture reproduced in Wirral View or in a wraparound advertising feature paid for by Wirral Council.

Come To Sunny Prestatyn
Laughed the girl on the poster,
Kneeling up on the sand   
In tautened white satin.   
Behind her, a hunk of coast, a
Hotel with palms
Seemed to expand from her thighs and   
Spread breast-lifting arms.
She was slapped up one day in March.   
A couple of weeks, and her face
Was snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed;   
Huge tits and a fissured crotch
Were scored well in, and the space   
Between her legs held scrawls
That set her fairly astride
A tuberous cock and balls
Autographed Titch Thomas, while   
Someone had used a knife
Or something to stab right through   
The moustached lips of her smile.   
She was too good for this life.   
Very soon, a great transverse tear   
Left only a hand and some blue.   
Now Fight Cancer is there.
Philip Larkin, “Sunny Prestatyn ” from Whitsun Weddings. Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin. 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9

Javid letter 354

Mail on Sunday 25/3/18

LOCAL PLANS,WEDDING PLANS – IT’S ALL THE SAME TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT (NO F*CKS ARE GIVEN)  

We think it’s fair to say it’s been a bad week for Wirral Council’s planning department. Just to cap it off there was a High Court ruling on the long running Thornton Manor story  A Thornton Huff : Where once again ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to the Green Belt . You won’t be surprised to hear that Mr Justice Kerr ruled that Wirral Council had allowed Thornton Manor to flout planning laws and erect three marquees on the Green Belt by mistakenly making the permission to do so ‘unconditional’. The council only spotted the blunder in March 2017  – SIX YEARS  after permission was granted – like you do. In an unprecedented move Wirral Council apparently “confessed to its error “(!) which prompted the owners of  nearby rival and Mayor’s Ball venue , Thornton Hall Hotel, to make a legal challenge. Press reports say that as Thornton Manor has made wedding bookings up until 2020 that up to 50,000 guests could be affected by the ruling. Mr Justice Kerr stated ” I do not think that the existence of these bookings should override the public interest in the integrity of the planning process”. Little does he know that the public interest and integrity of the planning process seem to be alien concepts to Wirral Council!

We have to say the story reduced Her Ladyship to tears……..tears of laughter that is – as she read that blushing brides had been tempted to hire one of the marquees for their big day with a ‘Say I Do In Choo’ promo, where if they spent £3,950 – which struck us as a bit of a random figure – they would be entitled to a £500 voucher for Jimmy Choo shoes.  Her Ladyship composed herself after her bout of schadenfreude and rather pointedly sniffed : ” I think that prospective brides will find that being Choo-less is the first of many disappointments when it comes to married life “

“DON’T LET THE S*N GO DOWN ON FRANK” PLEADS MATRON

Oo-er Matron! Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin tries to come to the rescue of her adored Frank Field as he came under fire at Friday night’s Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting for continuing to write for The S*n .

The Skwawkbox blog reports that a strongly-worded motion of censure was proposed by Birkenhead CLP’s Prenton branch which stated as follows :

Prenton Branch condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Frank Field to write for Murdoch’s S*n. This not only flies in the face of Birkenhead public opinion and a Wirral Labour Council boycott, it rides roughshod over the memory of those who died or survived the Hillsborough tragedy and were smeared by that rag. It also causes upset to friends and family of victims and survivors.

One Prenton member has cancelled his membership due to Frank’s involvement in the gutter press. The branch feels that this is a clear case of bringing our Party into disrepute.

We call on Frank, to give a clear, unambiguous, public apology, for the hurt caused and to provide an undertaking not to contribute in any way, in future.

field-s_n-clp

“The writing was almost literally on the wall beyond him” –  pic and caption courtesy The Skwawkbox

A Labour Party member who was present at the meeting told Skwawkbox :

Frank said that he would not be muzzled. He refused to give the requested commitment not to repeat the offence caused and stated that if members didn’t like it, they could deselect him.

He flounced out of the meeting, claiming that he was continuing his surgery at nearby Birkenhead Town Hall. Nobody believed that, as it was nearly 8 pm and his surgery started at 5 pm!

His parting shot was some snide comment about Jeremy Corbyn, but members shouted back at him “thanks for nominating him”, as Field provided the deciding vote, which secured JC’s place on the original ballot!

We remind him of that frequently. If he thought he was being clever at the time, and JC had no chance of winning, look how that turned out.

Read full story here : Labour MP Field censured by Birkenhead CLP for S*n columns

The flouncing , arrogance and snide comments of Frankenfield will be familiar to those who happen to get on the wrong side of the Birkenhead MP . All you have to do is simply not to agree that he is 100% right on EVERYTHING and fail to prostrate yourself in adoration before him and you’re a wild-eyed Trotskyite and/or a mad malcontent. Which brings us round to Matron who gallantly (and unusually) writes in support of her hero in the comments section (Frankenfield had himself had declined to comment to The Skwawkbox) . There’s an interesting spat with local blogger Wirral In It Together. Matron loses – badly (and inevitably). One comment that particularly caught our eye was from Ian Campbell who wrote : “1984 N Wales Euro election Frank FIELDS (sic)  signed a half page in all the 10 constituency newspapers to warn against Ian Campbell the official Labour Candidate LP general Secretary wrote to me to apologise adding Fields has the backing of the Catholic Church and is untouchable.”

This reminded us that we really must get round to that story about Anglican Field’s extensive local connections with the Catholic Church………

ALL WRAPPED UP

You’re telling us that the Wirral Growth Company news emanating from its PR arm Wirral Well Made is absolutely relentless. We understand that this week’s Wirral Globe featured yet another 4 page  wrap around ‘advertising feature’ (costing  £4K +). Why Wirral Council’s ruling Labour administration continues to publish their Wirral View and duplicate spending on exactly the same content in a local newspaper we can only assume is down to arrogance and contempt for council tax payers. Wirral Well Made ‘s Martin Liptrot must be Wirral well made up that having wanting to put the Wirral Globe out of business he now has the financial means to use it as just another Wirral Council media outlet  Indeed Wirral Council now appear to have the local mainstream media all wrapped up. Indeed one reader has kindly sent us an artful representation of what it feels like to be subject to the ongoing media bombardment :

Javid letter 361

And what’s more it would appear that local opposition parties are not able to do anything about it. Whilst we understand the local Conservatives took out their own pre-purdah page in this week’s Wirral Globe (presumably paid for by local Tories and not by local council tax payers) to rerun the usual fare of complaints about consultants, Wirral View , Hoylake Golf Resort , bins and loans it seems to us that despite the high costs these are , politically-speaking , low ticket items :

Javid letter 360

The problem that opposition parties on Wirral now have (and particularly the Tories) is that as a result of their misplaced politesse the big ticket item of institutional corruption involving a small cabal of  Labour councillors has allowed the latter to act with impunity . Consequently this cabal have grown in strength, increased their power and are now acting, somewhat like their mentor and spiritual leader Frankenfield , as though they are “untouchable” . And with a perpetually impotent opposition with few new ideas things can only get worse.

AND FINALLY….

There were a few notable absentees ( including Cllr Louise Reecejones) and the announcement of a couple of retirements at this week’s full Wirral Council meeting. The latter included Cllr John Hale , a former Wirral Council leader from the last century (or was it the century before that?) and outgoing Mayor and former Deputy Leader of  Wirral Council  Cllr Ann ‘Moving Forward’ McLachlan.  Cllr McLachlan always appeared to us to be in a permanent state of denial about the appalling conduct of some of her contemporaries be they Wirral councillors or council officers . Her mantra was always about ‘moving forward’ as if it made all that ‘unpleasantness’ suddenly disappear. Now that Cllr McLachlan is ‘moving forward’ into retirement from politics perhaps she will take time to reflect that sometimes silence is compliance.

 

 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #7

THE FREE PRESS

free 024

If nothing else Wirral is well served by free media – mainstream or otherwise . From Wirral Leaks  to Wirral Globe to Wirral View to Wirral Life – all along the news spectrum from the grime to the gloss.

However did you spot the deliberate mistake? We’ve been asked what part of  the word ‘free’ doesn’t Wirral Council understand . Those of our readers who have miraculously received their first ever print edition of Wirral View have been asking us how can it have ‘FREE’ emblazoned on the front cover when the print and distribution costs and presumably the wages of the cut and paste mob who are responsible for compiling the unwanted rag runs into hundreds of thousands of £££ each year and is paid for by council tax payers ?

For those who had the honour and privilege of finally receiving a copy of Wirral View the most frequently asked question is : “Are there elections due ?  In probably the last edition before purdah we understand it was rammed with Wirral Growth Company/Muse Developments/Wirral Waters articles replete with the obligatory artist’s impressions. There wasn’t even room for any healthy, cheap and nourishing recipes! We are sure a peep at the online edition would confirm the veracity of these claims but as the saying goes you don’t have to go to the Arctic to know it’s cold…

free 027

Another reader was a bit alarmed by the Wirral View headline above . At first they thought it was members of the Wirral Council cabal getting a vigilante posse together and taking time out from next week’s MIPIM conference in Cannes to track down ‘His Lordship’ and give him a good pasting . That was until they read the article , which was about how not to upset the kiddiewinks with stories about all the nasty things going on in the world. Although we think telling them to get a good education, not to do drugs and get away from Wirral as fast as you can is the best advice that any Wirral parent could give to their child.

THE ART OF DOING BUSINESS ON THE GOLF COURSE

From the glitz and glamour of Cannes we glide seamlessly to the latest glossy, glamorous, aspirational edition of Wirral Life . Inexplicably the cover star is hasbeen chanteuse / gardener Kim Wilde. So is Kim –  best known for that annoying racket ‘Kids in America’  – coming to Wirral as part of her UK tour ? Er,no. She’s going to Wrexham ( oh the glamour of it all) . We couldn’t work out a Wirral connection even though the exclusive and highly insightful interview revealed that Ms Wilde only has “2 handbags and less than 10 pairs of shoes (not counting trainers) “. Now if the interviewer had asked her about what trackie she would wear to visit The Pound Bakery we might have understood why Wirral Life was plugging her tour and giving her front cover status.

However less of this celebrity flummery what did interest us was finding out about the inevitable Wirral Chamber of Commerce section. There was news of Wirral Waters ( don’t they know it’s had a re-brand to Wirral Waters One?) and the Wirral Chamber Corporate Cup as the Chamber  ‘host prestigious corporate golf day at Caldy’  . What is it with these people and bloody golf?  We’ve long known that much of Wirral Council business is conducted at Wallasey Golf Club and of course there’s that  Hoylake housing development proposal masquerading as a ‘golf resort’ but we’re definitely with Mark Twain on this one – “golf is a good walk spoiled”. The point of this anti-golf tirade (and we do have one) is that one of the 2018 teams is Morgan Sindall . Muse Developments are part of the Morgan Sindall group of companies .  Is anyone other than us joining the dots? Read more here : Morgan Sindall

free 021

 

WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL : #PROUD  – The Musical 

Following our  Wirral University Teaching Hospital : #Proud ?  story we’ve been sent a video of the opening of Arrowe Park Hospital entrance from 2014 involving a ‘flashmob’ performing the song ‘Proud’. It brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye – but for reasons that probably means that we’re best walking away from the keyboard. Disgraced former WUTH CEO David Allison can be seen at the start of the video doing the difficult job of encouraging someone to cut the ribbon. So David tell us what did YOU do since this was filmed to make you feel proud?

AND FINALLY…….

We have some very observant and tuned-in readers who look at the world in the same slightly skewiff way that we do . Accordingly we are grateful for both the picture taken from a Channel 4 ident along with the following comment :

My daughter has forwarded me this image today explaining that this giant monster is actually a deconstructed number 4 (as in C4).

So, not only is it a good New Brighton image but it is also, I guess, some kind of metaphor for what Wirral Leaks is trying to do – deconstructing Wirral?

(or, like those blokes in wheelchairs…maybe I am pushing it)

Ident

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #6

Hey! people of Wirral – we’re supposed to be semi-retired here! But in the mean time keep ’em comin’……

CONDUCT UNBECOMING 

This is a postscript to our Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life post where earlier this week we witnessed Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin desperately querying whether a particular website was intimidatory. Hey , Matron – we pay for your taxis , it would appear you now want us to pay for your phone. As Her Ladyship said : ” It’ll be bad dye jobs and manicures next !” Can we just pitch in that we agree with a recent Guardian report (that’s a first for us) where ex- Tory minister Sir Eric ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ Pickles gets a deserved kicking (or this being the Guardian – a mild riposte). It was Frank Field’s mate who dismantled the external scrutiny of Councils with the abolishment of the Audit Commission and Standards For England and my goodness haven’t councillors at Wirral Council taken advantage of the fact since? For more read here : Blame Eric Pickles for councillors guzzling high on the hog

It is apparent that electors on Wirral don’t or at least don’t in any coherent way police the conduct of councillors. So we try to instead – and if that’s ‘intimidatory’ Matron we make no apologies! Just sayin’

HUBWATCH  

Maritime_Knowledge_Hub

Her Ladyship turned to me the other day and said :

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
It’s the only thing
That there’s just too little of
What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
No not just for some – but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need
Another mountain
There are mountains
And hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans
And rivers enough to cross
Enough to last – ’til the end of time

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs

And who was I to disagree? So in honour of Her Ladyship we are introducing a new Wirral Leaks feature – Hubwatch. This week’s hub is the ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’ exclusively featured in Wirral Council’s favourite website Insider Media Ltd. 

The ‘Digital Staff Writer’ for this exclusive for this is one Matthew Ord. Now we’re not being rude here Matthew but your profile pic makes you look slightly deranged. We suppose that’s what happens when you have to cut and paste press statements from various interested parties into a vaguely coherent article so that it doesn’t read like complete BS for a living. Just sayin’

WIRRAL WINDFALL 

The latest contribution from regular Wirral Leaks contributor ‘The Prof ‘ may be a bit controversial but we’re a broad church and we like to encourage debate and dispute

It was good to read in the February Wirral View that according to Cllr. Phil Davies Wirral is now the centre for ‘Offshore Renewable Engineering’! Orsted’s new ‘flagship’ site for windmill maintenance is apparently the best thing since sliced bread ! Phil must have read the piece in Renewable Energy News, etc, which reported that several hundred offshore windmills supplied by Siemens, including those of Orsted, have suffered unexpected problems including severe blade erosion requiring expensive repair or replacement. That should keep Orsted’s base busy in the short term. But, as to the medium term,  did Phil not also read the Financial Times piece (23.02.18) :’Global Renewable Energy Sector Faces Enron Style Collapse’. With the end of cheap money and subsidies and the US shale gas revolution ,the ‘windmill era’ may be ending again just as it did when coal and oil arrived in the 19th century. If Phil wants economic renewal for Wirral he should forget politically correct fantasy, embrace reality and talk to Cuadrilla.                                                                        Professor D P Gregg (retired)

 

Juergen Maier is Siemens CEO and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) Chairman

Emma Degg (ex Wirral Council, Wirral Leaks passim) is CEO of NWBLT

Oh and DLA Piper, Grant Thornton, Orsted and Unilever have representatives on the NWBLT board. Have you all worked out how this shit works yet?

NWBLT Members

Just sayin’

STIR IT UP
Marley's E-cigs
Now you know we don’t judge here at Wirral Leaks and we fully support local businesses and recognise you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living these days. However from time to time who question the appropriateness of some sponsorship deals . We say this as we’ve been sent these pics and comment from a local resident :
Good to see Somerville Medical Centre being sponsored by the cheapest e cig shop on Merseyside……sponsored by Marley’s where (if you zoom in on this photo) you will also see that you can buy ‘spliff boxes’, ‘bongs’, and associated drug taking paraphernalia ……. ha ha
Spliff box
Perhaps Julie Webster Head of Public Health at Wirral Council could comment on the matter and at the same time confirm she has an MSc and therefore has the authority to do so. Just sayin’
AND FINALLY 
We’ve been sent this picture and asked  ” What does this former party political leader and his partner have in common with a Wirral political power couple?”
Henry & Jo
We were stumped – perhaps Wirral Leaks readers can enlighten us………

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #5

More Money, More Troubles

This week’s Cabinet announcement concerning a council tax of 5.99% came as no surprise to anyone. Nor did Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies inevitably blaming ‘Tory cuts’ for such a hike. However where Pip outdid himself in his budget proposals was suddenly finding £20 million down the back of the metaphorical Town Hall settee  “to prevent Wirral’s young people becoming victims of Tory policies.”

Now whilst we readily acknowledge that cutting off funding streams to local authorities is very much part of a shameful central government strategy to dismantle public services – and which the Labour administration at Wirral Council seem more than happy to go along with – we baulked at the rewriting history that was going on here . The playing of party politics with children’s lives and taking no responsibility whatsoever for the dire state of Children’s Services on Wirral was a new low even for Pip . But then it’s so much easier for a Council leader, who is in a permanent state of denial, to lay bad management,  poor decision making , laziness, and incompetence on the part of public servants and poor governance on the part of local councillors at the door of  ‘Tory cuts’. It was all very reminiscent of the first edition of the Town Hall propaganda sheet Wirral View turning the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services into a good news item. We had the foresight to write : “The article on the damning Ofsted Inspection report is given more spin than Rapunzel on speed and has the title ” Children’s services to get major investment” ! Which we suspect will be the distorted shape of things to come. Full article here : First Glance at Wirral View

The October 2016 announcement of this ‘investment’ to recruit additional social workers ,improve training and management and provide more experienced, long-term leadership for children’s social care amounted to £2 million . Could it be a measure of just how much trouble Children’s Services are really in is that the required investment has increased TENFOLD ? ! 

The Emperor’s New Impose

However we do have a good news item to report and that is the retirement of Birkenhead MP Frank Field.  Well, that got your attention didn’t it! Unfortunately it’s not imminent , which is a shame – as anyone who witnessed his tetchy performance discussing Brexit on today’s Sunday Politics TV programme will testify . There he was all flush-faced and flapping hands as Stella Creasy the Labour MP for Walthamstow accused Frankenfield of “driving the Boris bus” . Which we can only hope wasn’t a lewd euphemism. Stella stood her ground and wasn’t having any of Frank’s passive aggressive nonsense telling him ” You can talk over me all you like Frank” . Full coverage here :  Frank v Stella

During the clash of handbags Frankenfield maintained that the public should have ” the right to every bit of information going”. Which is a change of tune from someone who once objected on Radio Merseyside about the Wirral public making Freedom of Information requests to Wirral Council . We just wonder whether this new found fondness for openness and transparency extends to persuading Wirral Council to finally publish a much heralded report dating back to 2015 which was written by Frank’s mate , Nick Warren. Frankenfield was whining to the local press as far back as July 2015 as to why the report hadn’t yet been published.  Now everyone involved -including Field – apparently wants to bury the report. What’s that all about?

However let’s get back to the matter of who Frankenfield thinks should inherit his kingdom. Apparently Upton councillor Matthew Patrick (aka Matty Patty) is the nice young man that Field would like to succeed him as the MP for one of the safest parliamentary seats in the land. But then we suppose there isn’t a deep pool of talent to draw upon in Birkenhead is there? But what about Foulkesy? Georgie? Crabby?, Doughty? we hear you cry. All we can assume is that Frank would like someone more in keeping with the aspirational artist’s impressions of a future Birkenhead that have been knocking about all over the local press this week.

Matty Patty 002

Artist’s impression of a possible future MP for Birkenhead

Speer’ of Destiny 

Talking of these artist’s impressions …..there were a slew of pretty pictures accompanying such headlines as Stunning new images of how Birkenhead could look in future as billion-pound deal is agreed’  concerning the Wirral Council/Muse Developments Joint Venture which includes potential plans for glossy new Council offices. Somehow a cheeky Wirral Leaks reader was suddenly minded to recall the work of the Third Reich’s architect , Albert Speer. 

We’re sure they’re not making comparisons with a power-crazed, progaganda-obsessed regime but rather just reminding us that the self-aggrandizing plans for a People’s Hall/Great Hall/Hall of Glory were never realized.

 

The Leaky Awards 2017 – the Grand Finale

Fireworks

And so we finally reach the grand finale of the Leaky Awards 2017 and taking our cue from the #TimesUp  contingent at the Golden Globes we’ll be wearing black. The clock may been ticking down for us but may it also do the same on the abuse of power – wherever it takes place and in whatever form.

Times Up

However we’ll spare you the dreary , self-righteous speeches – it’s on with the show and our first award of the evening…….

Campaign of the Year

Winner – Defend Our NHS (Wirral)

The local branch of the DONHS have throughout the year provided us with information about future plans for the NHS  and particularly about Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) that should concern us all  , especially as Wirral Council are a key strategic player via the Clinical Commissioning Group.

davies

Runner Up – Wirral Needs

If only for the chant ” Labour Council listen to the people”. Our advice to them after  7 years of banging our head against a brick wall is that they won’t so you’ll  have to make them ! The only way they will be forced to listen is at your local constituency party meetings and in the run up to the local elections this May.  After that it’ll be the same old,same old – personal interest and political ambition taking precedence over the public interest. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!

Wirral Needs

Campaign Fail of the Year

Winner – Wirral Labour ‘Keep Wirral Green’ campaign

alternative-facts-3-013

How Wirral Labour reconciled this campaign with proposals and developments for assaults on the Green Belt at Saughall Massie, Hoylake and Thornton Hough etc; we can only hazard a guess but full marks for the sheer PR chutzpah .

Runner up  – Frank Field/Wirral Globe nurses car parking charges at Arrowe Park Hospital (aka Wirral University Teaching Hospital – WUTH )

Whilst it was undoubtedly a worthy campaign we noted how  WUTH CEO David Allison received the petition from Field, gave some bland assurances and then promptly disappeared in a cloud of controversy.We suspect that any incoming CEO will have their work cut-out just keeping WUTH afloat and car parking charges won’t be a priority . Meanwhile  we note that Field is strangely silent about more wide reaching proposals for car parking charges across Wirral that are set to be introduced by Wirral Council. And once again we have to ask is this the only income generation scheme that Wirral Council can come up with and is it even legal?

 

Allison field

David Allison : Yeah whatevs Frank I don’t need this right now. But love your tank top .

Comeback of the Year

Winner Esther McVey, MP for Tatton

Back from the dead

The former MP for Wirral West returns to high office as Work and Pensions Secretary in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle . Somehow this cat on a hot tin roof always manages to land on her kitten heels . And for all her talk of female empowerment we think that McVey is the quintessential beneficiary of modern day political nepotism , where ambition exceeds talent .  The only contribution of note to the local political scene when she was a Wirral West MP was when she hijacked the Martin Morton whistleblowing case for personal and political advantage at Prime Minister’s Questions (apparently Morton knew nothing about it) . What happened after she raised the issue with David Cameron is a particularly worrying episode but alas we won’t be able to do it justice here. Perhaps one day the full shameful tale will be told. 

Runner Up  Stewart Halliday – the economic migrant/consultant from York who crossed the Pennines escaping infamy to make his fortune on Wirral with his two consultancy stints earning him circa £200K. So will Wirral Council kindly tell us whether he’s still around and what exactly we got for our money?

smug-halliday

This man can do a powerpoint presentation and bullshit at the same time ! Therefore Wirral Council must give him as much money as they can.

Comrades of the Year – Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) and Cllr Steve Foulkes (Foulkesy)

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Were LRJ and Foulkesy separated at birth? Whilst they share so many characteristics none of them can be found in the Nolan Principles! See for yourself :

LRJ Standards Panel investigation report : The  Panel found the evidence of Cllr Louise Reecejones to be inconsistent,vague and misleading. The Panel did not therefore find Cllr Reecejones to be credible.

Foulkesy Standards Panel investigation report : I found it difficult to get Cllr Foulkes to be precise or detailed . His responses were vague,inclined to be evasive and I found them ‘economical with the truth ‘ and unconvincing. 

Yes, just the kind of low lifes we want making decisions about our lives,eh?

Accessories of the Year  –

Winner – Paula Basnett ,CEO Wirral Chamber of Commerce for those shoes.

Shoes

These understated little numbers were considered suitable daywear to shortlist nominees for yet another awards ceremony and did not in anyway reinforce our perception that Ms Basnett and her organisation are all about flash presentation and very little else.

Runner up All Wirral councillors wielding ‘Show Racism the Red Card’placards as a virtue signalling accessory. But especially the local Labour group who tolerate  racists in their midst. But can anyone spot Deputy Leader Cllr George Davies in the picture?

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Best Picture of Unwanted Copies of Wirral View

Winner 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Runner Up

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Whilst appropriately enough both pictures position copies of woeful Wirral View next to their final destination –  a bin – we’d like to think the winner of this category contributed to the dumping (no pun intended) of the original Liverpool -based distributor of Wirral View. Unfortunately a £750,000 3 year print deal with Trinity Mirror means we’re burdened with this lumbering white elephant for the forseeable future. Compare and contrast with Wirral Leaks which has cost council taxpayers of Wirral £0 and we would argue has been more effective in addressing the ‘information deficit’ of local people, particularly when we’ve been providing information that Wirral Council don’t want you to know about!

Wirral’s annual entry in Rotten Boroughs Awards 2017

Winner  Ex- Wirral councillor Jim Crabtree

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Crabtree PE 009

Included in Private Eye’s  Rotten Boroughs 2017 ‘Quotes of the Year’ is this fine example of ‘doublespeak’ from former Wirral Councillor Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree. It’s a year to the day that Crabtree pleading guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 and it’s frightening to think that his well deserved fall from grace might never have happened if his increasingly appalling conduct hadn’t been reported on Wirral Leaks. As a quote from one of our Labour sources testifies when they raised concerns about Crabtree’s fitness to be a councillor    – “The comment from George Davies was ‘better the devil you know’ while Frank (Field) thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread” –  the local Labour group were reluctant to rein him in . Furthermore we understand that they failed to address allegations made by a whistleblower about grant monies which Crabtree allegedly should have paid back to Wirral Council.

Leaky awards   Leaky awardsLeaky awards

 

Advent Farewell 17 – Talking Turkey

Foulkesy Turkey trot

Please indulge us whilst we return to the subject of Wirral View. If you must! we hear you cry.

Now that the putrid publication is down from 32 to 24 pages we predict that at this rate it’ll be down to a two-sided leaflet (mostly filled with pictures) by this time next year. We also note from this puny edition that Wirral View is still failing to attract advertisers . But then wouldn’t any self-respecting business wish to avoid being associated with a toxic brand like Wirral Council?

However as you know Wirral Leaks is a public-spirited enterprise and as a parting  Christmas gift we’d like to offer some advice on how to attract more interest from readers and potential advertisers alike.

Primarily we suggest ditching the grubby articles about grub such as that contained in the latest edition which offers tips on how to make the most of our festive food –

BREAD SAUCE , No Christmas dinner would be complete without bread sauce. It’s a classic dish , which we also classically make too much of. Fear not,just freeze it!

Who knew?

TURKEY …..after your five-hundredth turkey sandwich you might want a change … From pasties to soups and stroganoff to stir fry there are countless turkey-based leftover recipes on line

Again- who knew?

Exactly who’s ‘information deficit’ is being filled with this filler is anyone’s guess.  So what we’d like to suggest is that Kev MacCallum’s communications crew need to ‘celebritise’ a bit more. How about featuring a prominent guest local political celebrity ? Perhaps starting with everyone’s favourite ex- this,that and t’other and Wirral Leaks favourite Cllr Steve Foulkes aka Foulkesy

A Christmas Q&A with Foulkesy might go something like this :

Q: So tell us about your Christmas 

A: Well, after we’ve been chucked out of Houlihan’s we go back to ours and ‘ave an apertif  and some nibbles. Now I used to think an aperitif was what French people called their dentures but no, it’s not, it’s a posh drink from abroad,like. So I’ll usually have a pint of creme de menthe and Lainey has a drop of Limoncello which is something she picked up duty free from our dead sound holiday in Sorrento. We have a few nibbles on the go  –  cheesy wotsits, pickled eggs, pork scratchings,the works. I have to admit that this kind of drink and food can sometimes create a, er , rich atmosphere !

Now if the stepson is around we have to play a traditional Christmas party game of hide the cutlery. Which makes it a bit difficult when it comes to Christmas dinner – so we just hope there’s a chippy open somewhere !

Q: Do you have a Christmas message for our readers?

Yeah ! don’t over do it or you might end up with the turkey trots !

Q :  And finally what would you say to your critics who say you’ve been winging it for years and have somehow managed to evade accountability or proper sanction because you’ll implicate powerful political friends? 

A: Get stuffed !

 

 

 

 

Advent Farewell 16 – A View of Christmas

Wendy Clements Wirral View (2)

“OK Wendy love, give us your best angry face…”

The bumper Christmas edition of Wirral View has landed .  A bumper edition consisting of 24 particularly pisspoor pages .

We can’t help feeling that articles titled “ Drink Less, Enjoy More”  and ” Tips To Avoid Scammers” should be directed towards a certain Labour councillor and his spouse and the ‘leader’ of Wirral Council respectively.

We have to say that the Wirral Conservatives picture to accompany the posting on their website decrying the Christmas edition of Wirral View is pure comedy gold

The full article reads :

Residents are now being asked to sign for receipt of Wirral Council’s controversial newspaper, ‘Wirral View’, when it is delivered.

As a further sign of the troubled delivery of the newspaper, the Town Hall has also compiled a list of ‘VIPs’ who must receive it and sign for it, including councilors.

One of the Councillors who was told she is on the ‘VIP List’ is Councillor Wendy Clements, in Greasby.

Councillor Clements said: “Wirral View gets more ridiculous as time goes on. To have a ‘VIP List’ of people who the Town Hall think are important and must receive it, whatever the weather, is a sign of how out of touch they have become.

“The only ‘very important people’ as far as this newspaper is concerned are the people who are paying £270,000 a year for it – the residents and taxpayers. Half the Borough doesn’t receive it and many of the rest don’t want it. The best Christmas present that the Labour Council could give us would be to scrap it.” Wirral View Goes VIP

As you can see from the picture above Cllr Wendy Clements has got her glum face on – and who can blame her ? It’s straight out of popular Facebook page Angry People in Local Newspapers  only in this particular case it’s more People Angry About Local Newspapers.

And finally (as once again they say on the telly) to follow up last week’s Wirral View story here’s a response from our regular commentator ‘ The Prof’ which was not published by the Wirral Globe following the letter from a certain Chris Noble asking for suggestions for alternative uses for the wretched rag.  Deja View

I agree with Mr. Noble in the last Globe: we should find positive usesfor ‘Wirral View’. I have found two. Firstly it is fun to spot and test all the false performance claims made by the council. The October / November issue claimed that ‘closer working [Safer Wirral initiative] has already led to an 11% reduction in anti-social behaviour across Wirral’. Using a Freedom of Information Act request I obtained the ASB incident data from 2012 to 2017.

The improved ‘working together’ period covered 2016 onwards. ASB fell during
this period but it had been falling steadily since 2013.’Working together’ did not
affect the rate of fall. This is not surprising since the list of  12 ‘actions’ provided
is purely administrative not street focused.
Wirral View also claimed a £50,000 saving on emergency services in 2017 from
these anti-ASB actions. Surely a good result? But the savings related to stopping
high numbers of emergency calls from just TWO people. One was demented and
put in a care home! The other was mentally ill and they changed his medicine!
This was about sick, vulnerable, people seeking help, not ASB and crime reduction.
Wirral View is full of such amusing alternative facts …it is surely a treasure.
Secondly Mr. Noble suggests using Wirral View to wrap fish and chips. Here is another thought. When I was a kid in Liverpool we could not afford toilet paper and used the Echo.The paper quality of Wirral View is far superior to the Echo and in these days of austerity it can be pressed into use instead. Thank you Wirral Council and keep up the crap work.
                                                                                    Professor D P Gregg (retired)
P.S. On 04.09.17 the Globe reported a 38% fall in ASB ‘across Wirral’ due to the above  activities. My FOI request answer was that this was ‘incorrect data’ in the press release you quoted. Apparently the note implies, the Globe should have realised this so it was  your fault really for publishing false information! By the way the 38% applied to Frank Field’s (Beirut) Birkenhead but it is also based on flawed statistical data.

 

 

Advent Farewell 6 – Deja View

There’s an interesting lead letter in the printed edition of this week’s Wirral Globe written by a certain Chris Noble asking for our views on what to do with the Wirral View. You can read the online version here : Your Views?

Mr Noble tells us he wraps his fish and chips in it. How very droll! But dare we suggest that Mr Noble is a bit late to the Christmas Party? We made the following suggestions a year ago in our Things To Do With Wirral View  post where we wrote:

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 .

Do_This-Return-to-Sender

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!

Newspaper loo