Well, oh, well. As my old mother used to say, as she gave me a good old scolding: “The truth hurts”. And it did, as she was invariably spot on the money with her comments. Her admonition came to mind when tweets by Liverpool Echo staff were brought to my attention. Simply put, those tweets consisted of abuse and threats (I believe that this is called trolling) to those who had questioned press award nominations of Echo staff which claimed that they had pioneered the exposure of the development scams which plagued (and continue to plague) the city of Liverpool.
Such press awards tend to be a ritualised ego massage by the press of its own. Like many such awards in so many walks of life, they bear little relevance to reality. One “Scoop of the Year” listing proposes an award for Echo staff for their investigation “into Liverpool’s stalled developments” – a total joke. Those of us who have been monitoring these scandals for years know that it has been next to impossible to get the Echo and its “reporters” to publicise what has been going on. On the contrary, despite being repeatedly briefed, the local comic has continually promoted schemes run by the scam artists and gangsters who have given the city such a dirty name with so many investors.
The next round of “awards” will be the Echo Regional Business Awards. The judging panel will be chaired by Alistair Houghton of the Echo, one of those who has consistently failed to see the wood for the trees. A potential recipient of one of these worthless accolades is MSB solicitors. Yet MSB were involved in the sales of the failed Metalworks project, one of the dodgy “developments” currently under scrutiny. How does that qualify them for anything other than a loud raspberry ? Even to shortlist them is akin to asking Phillip Green for advice on good pension practice!
Meanwhile, we now discover that, eighteen months after a final decision on a new location for Merseyside Police was taken, the sum total of progress is zero. The Police and Crime Commissioner says that this has already added £500,000 to the cost (I would double that), and puts it down to the failure of Liverpool City Council to deliver the site to the Merseyside Police. In turn, Liverpool City Council puts the problem onto the shoulders of an awkward leaseholder who has refused to move to date. It would be interesting to know which leaseholder this is, and their reasons for delaying. Is it, I wonder, one of the protégés of new councillor, George Knibb, who have dominated the site hitherto?
Speaking of Merseyside Police, I notice that they have come in for some stick recently from Cllr Ann O’Byrne, a woman whose ambition is not matched by her talent. She is still in the frame over her involvement in the Chinatown debacle, and recently failed in her attempt to move the Liverpool Council Labour Group against the post of elected mayor. She also lost her position as deputy leader of the group for her pains. You may also recall how she was forced to resign her lucrative position as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner when it transpired that she had done a runner after hitting another car with her own.
She has now accused the police of assault as she was forcibly removed from a demonstration against the presence in Bootle of neo-Fascist, Tommy Robinson. I have no problem with legal demos against such malign influences; but presumably something triggered the police into carrying Cllr O’Byrne off the highway, a formidable feat in itself. The Chief Constable says that he has received messages of praise from various councillors for the exemplary conduct of his officers on the day. It will be interesting to see if Cllr O’Byrne formally complains about the alleged assault; and – if so – what success she has.