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Posted by: John Brace | 9th January 2016

5 different versions of one political cover up but which one will you choose?

5 different versions of one political cover up but which one will you choose?

                                                                 

ICO Information Commissioner's Office logo

ICO Information Commissioner’s Office logo

Wirral Leaks has awarded me Director of the Year in their 500th post. Although to be clear that’s really for this Youtube channel rather than this blog.

To be honest I shouldn’t really say the award is to myself as it isn’t entirely my work. I need to thank my long-suffering helper, my wife Leonora who supplies me with batteries when politicians waffle on for a long time.

Unlike Wirral Leaks who have just reached a mere 500 posts, this will be the 1,509th post on this blog. However unlike Wirral Leaks I’m not going to indulge any further in blowing my own trumpet, I might not go in for fancy graphics like they do, I just plod on. So on with the story.

This is a story with a number of options to it. Remember those books in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which gave you options and depending on the option you turned to a different page? Well this is your chance. You have an option of five different versions depending on your choice. Just click on the relevant link (or read all five if you like).

Are you a:

a) Conservative supporter
b) Labour supporter
c) Lib Dem supporter
d) UKIP supporter
e) None of the above

Conservative supporter

Hi. Congratulations on winning the 2015 General Election. However now you’re in charge you’ve got to accept responsibility. Once of your MPs, a Mr. James Wharton MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse) has decided to cover up a FOI request involving Labour-run Wirral Council. No I didn’t make the request, someone else did.

Not only have ICO found (decision notice FS50594521) that DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) broke the law in responding to this request, but Mr. James Wharton MP refused to release an audit report about business grants at Wirral Council because it would cause "prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs".

Unlike one of his predecessors The Rt Hon Sir Eric Pickles MP (who was never short of a few things to say about local government), he’s chosen to cover things up instead. Really, what were you (and Mr. Wharton) thinking?

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Labour supporter

Hi. Congratulations on keeping control of Wirral Council in 2015. One of the more embarrassing episodes that’s been rumbling on for a while has been the BIG/ISUS issues, but this next bit will make you laugh. Someone made a FOI request to DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) for the Government Internal Audit Agency report about Wirral Council.

And guess what, the Conservative Minister, Mr. James Wharton MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse (or Northern Poorhouse as some of the witty people in your party have renamed it)) decided to keep it a secret!

Yes doesn’t it make you laugh when the Conservatives are helping you?

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Lib Dem supporter

Hi. Didn’t know there were many of you left to be honest. Former Cllr Stuart Kelly sniffed a scandal over the whole BIG/ISUS issue at Wirral Council when he was a councillor. However Graham Burgess and Kevin Adderley denied there was anything wrong.

Probably the Europeans will ask for their money back so central government will ask Wirral Council for money back. Either way it’ll be embarrassing, but not for you!

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UKIP supporter

Yes, we all know you want to get out of Europe. This is another scandal involving European money, that was mismanaged. Seriously though you have no councillors on Wirral Council and despite 3.8 million votes only one MP. Life’s not fair eh? But look on the bright side the British National Party have been struck off the register of UK political parties! Plus if the Conservatives stick to their word there’ll be an IN/OUT (but no shake it all about) referendum on Europe.

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None of the above

You are the vast majority of people. Wirral Council mismanaged a business grants program involving European money. The Europeans are asking national government for it back. National government are asking Wirral Council for it back. Oh and everyone’s trying to cover it all up as it’s embarrassing.

I’d love to tell you all the details, but they’re in a report the government minister is desperately trying to keep a lid on. Covers ups never work or do they?

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Responses

  1. Adderley, Burgess, Degg, Davies, Jones the whistleblowers’ friend, et al. must be delighted “the party opposite” is covering up for them. With friends like these who needs enemies?

    In fact, how could you unite with your powerful local government friends and challenge central government cuts when you’re reliant upon favours that stop you being dropped in the sh1t from a very great height?

    Can we all see how this works yet? The public interest rules, but this ain’t it.

    • This report was finished by the investigator and written and sent to superiors by March 2014. Somehow wbc is still exercising its Right of Reply as at January 2015.
      To stop the utter complacency a claw back does need to be levied..it will be cheaper in the long run as it will prevent the wholesale waste of our money.
      Mr Alderney publicly referred to it as not being our money a comment met with absolute silence. A grimacing Mr Burgess who had made a false start by nodding quickly altered rapidly and sheepishly to a disapproving sh
      ake. And ultimately a rebuke from Ron Abbey councillor. Watch Mr Braces video of the 8 October 2014

  2. On the same subject, i.e. the syphoning off of large amounts of European cash intended to better the lives of citizens, word came to me a few weeks back that a local organisation which presents itself as ‘charitable’, but I prefer to regard as thrusting, hard-nosed and business-minded to the core, got itself into a spot of bother.

    I’ve no idea whether this news has gone public, but I doubt it. There are too many VIPs hovering around, watching; on stonking salaries, who know all about it, but are now rendered ‘vulnerable’ for want of a better word, and need to protect the reputation of the organisation.

    Because that’s the way these things are set up. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, which I am of course, cover ups DO work John, to answer your question, as long as everybody shows willing and remains true to the cause, that of not letting so much as a gnat’s crack appear in the public facing side of the mighty corporate edifice.

    What would you say about £200,000+ of European funding intended for ‘good and noble causes’ diverted instead towards the upkeep / enhancement of a company director’s gaff?

    It stinks doesn’t it?

    But these are the times we occupy, the times in which we sink or swim. Nearly everybody’s at it to varying degrees – be it active or just passive and keeping shtum. There are a lot of honest and hardworking people – even at senior level – with principles, but their hard slog is regularly undone by greed, envy, even hatred of their fellow man, by socio or psychopaths, with a compelling urge to make themself look just a smidgeon better than the bloke living next door.

    But what trumps it all is the gathering together of those with the power, the arriving at a decision, and the subsequent desperate desire to hold the fort; not say a word and to thereby let the bastard get away with it.

    By which time it’s too late. He stays, or he moves onto the next opportunity that presents itself. And WE, yes that’s you and me…. we suffer.

    • I’ve no idea as you’re not being specific.

      Certainly European money isn’t supposed to be used to do up a private dwelling.

      However there are organisations that receive European grants, then pay their staff large salaries (which can then be spent how they wish).

      • I can’t be specific. And that’s how it always works in their favour. The man in the street can’t hope to win legal battles against private money that’s propped up by large EU grants, and a rabid desire to present a clean face to the world.

  3. The whole model is based upon ‘crowding the Dock’. Whether it’s this issue or Gagging Payments it’s all the same and until someone falls it’ll continue unabated.
    ‘Crowding The Dock’ is as effective a tool as anything produced that stops the Police and other investigative agencies from daring to lift up a stone and seeing what lies beneath.
    You simply involve as many good upstanding officials in the deception so that they’ve got the same chance of ending up in the Dock charged with obtaining a pecuniary advantage and turn the real problem, which is crime, into a cultural and social problem that we all become responsible for after a retired Judge tells the watching public that his enquiry reveals some faults in the whole business of caring for and caring about public money.
    And that’s it! Crowd The Dock. Drag in as many as it’s possible to do, give them gagging payments or another job associated with an Arms Length Council Company and before not to long its perfectly possible to make a prosecution nigh on impossible because no Dock ever constructed by a Carpenter is big enough to house the defendants.
    And round and round it goes and while we continue to tap out our vowels and consonants, which strung together in a sequence that read, ‘lying cheating scumbags’, the game continues and the Crowding grows ensuring that nobody is ever held to task for taking a huge chunk of public money or getting paid off and then landing on their feet in some other job that was created just for them with the blind and obedient publics money.

    • The last time I sued anyone Bobby47 was 2011. OK it was a civil case, not a criminal case as frankly civil cases are easier to win. Civil cases are won on balance of probabilities whereas criminal has to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

      There were two defendants in that case and I’ll name them both here (as both defendants were found to have broken the law).

      1) Cllr Alan Brighouse on behalf of Birkenhead Liberal Democrats
      2) Liberal Democrats (the Federal Party) on behalf of the Liberal Democrats

      In other words the second defendant was an entire political party (which at the time of the hearing in 2012 had 42,501 members).

      Admittedly court room 1 at the Birkenhead County Court can’t hold 42,501 people and only two party members turned up to the hearing in April 2012.

      If that isn’t “crowding the dock” as you put it bobby, I don’t know what is!

      In other words if you’re made like me to think that politicians should answer to a judge for what they’ve done (or haven’t done), in a court case you go after both the individual/s and their organisation.

      I sued an organisation of 42,501 people and won and let’s face it only two are going to show up to the hearing.

      Just thought I’d add my thoughts to your interesting comment.

  4. Al Capone ran Chicago in a similar way . all city officials inculpated and it took an incorruptible from outta town to clear it all up

    • I was born in Birkenhead (so I’m not out of town).

      A few years back when things were really bad at Wirral Council and the Improvement Board came in to try to turn things around there were calls for the government to send in Commissioners to run things instead (as has happened elsewhere in the country).

      My job is really to observe and report. It’s then up to other people what they want to do with the information.

      • The “improvement” board was the same as inviting Count Dracula in to the blood bank to do an audit.

        • Very much so . Their performance in November 2013 at the Public Meeting to discuss wrapping them up was abysmal. Really one wondered what was the point of one set of bureaucrats , tarred with the same brush, being invited in to make polite comments and laud the new administration headed by one of their own number!
          What was needed was a stiff brush to sweep away those who had been complicit in the cover-ups and obfuscation of gross negligence that had preceded the PIB’s arrival.

          Very far from people’s justice indeed.


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