133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool

133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool


Yesterday I was in Liverpool for the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations. This year it’s the Year of the Monkey.

I’ll start off by making clear what connection it has to Liverpool City Council (as this blog is about public bodies) and first state the role that Liverpool City Council played in the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations.

Firstly, there are a series of road closures that they have to get right as a lot of Chinatown in Liverpool and the surrounding roads around it are closed to traffic. There are also extra litter pickers going round.

As you can see from what’s in the background photos below of Great George Square, there are banners up about the City of Liverpool and the Mayor.

There are large crowds that attend, so Merseyside Police have police officers patrolling the crowds.

Transport wise major events like these require a lot of planning too.

The public sector has a huge role in making sure major events like these run smoothly.

I took 133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year festivities in Liverpool which you can view below. The photos below have been resized to 500 pixels wide so they display properly on this blog, but you can view the original high-resolution photos in this Flickr album.

Chinese New Year Liverpool 2016 Black-E 7th February 2016 photo 1
Chinese New Year Liverpool 2016 Black-E 7th February 2016 photo 1

Continue reading “133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool”

Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?

Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?

Who were the 108 organisations & people (not councillors) that Wirral Council invited to the Open Golf?


Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Previously I reported on this blog about the Chief Executive’s email to councillors inviting them to the recent Open Golf tournament. It was a slow news day then and I really didn’t think there would be the interest in it there was.

Since then, a number of people have made various Freedom of Information requests as there was scepticism from some people that the stated reasons given by Wirral Council’s press office applied to everyone that Wirral Council invited. In case you missed it here’s a transcript of what was said back then and Cllr Walter “I must say I enjoyed lavish hospitality” Smith’s take on it.

A partial list of those invited by Wirral Council has been released, however they’re holding some names back because of commercial negotiations.

The original response from Wirral Council stated was the purpose of inviting these organisations was “to attend key business days, which are aiming to attract significant inward investment into the area.”

Firstly, I am puzzled as to why Wirral Council have invited the local press (no Leonora and I weren’t invited so we happily report on this without any conflict of interest) as the local press could’ve applied for press passes for the tournament from the Open Golf’s organisers. The press in the list are the Daily Mirror (for three days), Sky, Liverpool Echo, Wirral Globe, Radio Merseyside and an entry just mysteriously put down as “press”. Why pay for tickets for these organisations when the conference organisers could’ve quite easily given them tickets instead as they were press?

Wirral Council also invited the Bishop of Birkenhead, High Sheriff of Merseyside, Esther McVey MP and guest and Jacqueline Foster MEP and guest.

Yes, a Labour Council using public money to invite Esther McVey to the golf (who let’s face it can afford to pay for her own ticket) isn’t likely to go down well with the unions, who were outside the very same tournament conducting a high profile protest calling for Esther McVey to be sacked (accompanied with a seven foot inflatable rat).

Other names on the list are Weightmans Lawyers and Grant Thornton. Weightmans Lawyers are a form of solicitors that Wirral Council spent £198,043.55 with in the last financial year, Grant Thornton are Wirral Council’s auditors and are paid large sums of money by Wirral Council too.

Neither of those two seem likely to suddenly decide to create hundreds of jobs on the Wirral and they already do nicely enough out of the taxpayer to afford their own tickets to the golf!

Sainsburys was also invited along to the golf too. Yes Sainsburys do employ people on the Wirral, but I’ve heard nothing about a flurry of new stores being opened providing new jobs, have you?

Nearby councils such as Knowsley, Chester West and Chester as well as the Department for Communities and Local Government were also invited. So were Lord and Lady Hunt of Wirral and the Isle of Man Government.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some names on the list DONG Energy (involved in offshore wind farms), General Motors (UK & Ireland) and organisations such as these, Wirral Council are obviously trying to persuade to make inward investment on the Wirral to create jobs. Employment is needed on the Wirral and I’m sure not many would criticise Wirral Council for making genuine attempts to increase local employment.

However there are also a bunch of organisations on the list that it is difficult to ascertain why they were there such as “Future of the North Conference” (that puzzles me perhaps as much as it puzzles you) and “Mere Brook House” (a B&B on the Wirral).

At this time, when Wirral Council is planning on shedding about five hundred staff, there’s a meeting coming up to discuss the possible closure of Lyndale School and Wirral Council spent at least £754,783.18 on its own councillors this is money spent on hospitality for many individuals and organisations that could have easily afforded to pay for themselves. This is at the same time that Wirral Council is dragging the poor through the Magistrates Court for unpaid council tax, when people are evicted because they can’t afford the bedroom tax*/spare room subsidy* (*delete as applicable depending on political preference) and is this really what the public expect of a Labour administration who proudly state on their election leaflets they are socialists?

Or would “champagne socialist” be the way that those more critical of Wirral Council’s political class would describe it? In case you missed it here’s the link to the list of councillors and organisations/people that went to the golf. And doesn’t it just sum it all up when the “open and transparent” Council state “Some organisations have not been included on these lists due to ongoing commercial negotiations between Wirral Council and the organisations in question”. Oh really! So that implies Wirral Council are giving out gifts and expecting something in return!?

As usual your comments on this are much appreciated. Below is the list of 108 people/organisations that Wirral Council invited (if you want to see the list of councillors just follow the link above). Some I’ve never heard of so if you have any further information on who or what they are, please leave a comment.

Bibby Marine Ltd
British Chamber of Commerce
British Slovenian Chamber
Caldy Golf Club
Contact Group
CPL Training
Daily Mirror
Helms Briscoe
International Festival of Business
Sun Valley
KMGC Golf Consultancy  
Liverpool Chamber
Mere Brook House
Mersey Rural Leader
Merseyside Convention Bureau
Neptune Developments
Osiris Projects
Oxygen 8
PNH Consultancy
Regen Europe.
River Rich Media LLP
Saudi British Joint Business Council
Solar Consulting Australia
Stonegate Pub Company
UK Regeneration
Weightmans Laywers
Wirral Food Drink Partnership
World Corporate Games
All Our Bars
Beeline Ltd
Cammell Laird
Clear Edge Filtration Ltd.
Coca Cola UK
CPL Training
Daily Mirror
DONG Energy
Future of The North Conference
Grant Thornton
Havas Lynx
IoM Government
Keel Toys
Land & Marine
Osiris Projects
River Island
TecnoForm Associates‎ Ltd
Thorley Taverns
Wainwright and Gibson
Weightmans Lawyers
Aberdeen Asset Management
Bentley Motors
Briggs Automotive Company
Contact Company
Daily Mirror
DC Consulting
General Motors UK & Ireland
Havas Lynx
Hotel Bookings.com
Liverpool Echo
Marketing Liverpool
Music Magpie
Oxygen 8
Pageant of Power
Palmer and Harvey
Programme Direct UTV
Shannon Airport
Wirral Chamber
Bentley Motors
Bishop of Birkenhead
Consul General of China
Dept for Communities
General Motors UK & Ireland
High Sheriff of Merseyside
Lord and Lady Hunt of Wirral
Knowsley Council
Cheshire West & Chester Council
Liverpool Echo
Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside
Mayoress of Wirral
Jacqueline Foster MEP and guest
Esther McVey MP and guest
Radio Merseyside
St Helens Council
Wirral Globe
Wirral Met College

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Looking back over the last 12 months

Looking back over the last half-year or so since this blog started, what were the stories and pages on this blog that have captured the public’s attention and brought them to this blog?

There was the story about the 2011 Census, which many people had questions about ranging from why was there no question 17 (it was a question asking if you understand, speak, read or write Welsh).

The About John Brace” page was popular and attracted a number of comments. It’ll be updated soon.

This Cabinet meeting about the Conservative-Lib Dem budget and Labour not being happy was read over a hundred times.

Merseytravel’s response on Mersey Tunnel’s issues also aroused interest.

The pages about protest outside Birkenhead County Court regarding Council Tax and the Save our Forests campaign were read just a bit more than stories about the Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool, HMS Campbeltown, ID Cards being scrapped or the Labour Chair of Merseytravel using his casting vote to increase Mersey Tunnel tolls.

More local issues also aroused interest such as the Lib Dem plan to invest £1.8 million in Cathcart Street primary school as a result of the closure of Cole Street primary school and the relocation of the Children’s Centre across the road to Cathcart Street Primary School, how much councillors are paid (which was used by some parties during the election to show how some councillors were getting £50,000+/year), Arriva not stopping its buses at the new bus stop near Tesco, the Lib Dem Mayor at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, Flaybrick cemetery flytipping and the Corsair in Bidston Village being demolished.

Over the Winter the issue of gritting and bin collections was on resident’s minds. The street level crime website and minimum price proposals for alcohol were also topics the public were interested in.

In total there have been 5,557 views of pages on this website and it has been read keenly by certain councillors and others. Yet who knows what the public will be wanting from its elected representatives in the next 12 months?

Chinese New Year celebrations 2011, Berry Street, Chinatown, Liverpool

I went to Liverpool today to see the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown. There were many crowds there to watch the entertainment, firecrackers as well as a fun fair and market. Roads such as Berry Street and Great George Street were closed off giving it a carnival feel. Below is a video I recorded of the dragon in Berry Street.

The crowd was nice and friendly. There were plenty of families there. Children were being handed out red envelopes by a guy in costume (see below for a picture). Certainly the Chinese know how to celebrate the New Year in style!


Chinese Arch and crowd during Chinese New Year celebrations 2011, Liverpool, England

Person handing out red envelopes during Chinese New Year celebrations 2011, Liverpool, England
Chinese New Year celebrations