Worms and Woodwork

If nothing else, the Caller report on Liverpool City Council has shaken the worms out of the woodwork of the city.  Settling down to some late evening television, I was dismayed to see that Echo “political editor” (a title I concede hesitantly) Liam Thorp pontificating on the daily headlines on Sky television.  This man, who ignored all of the evidence of the corruption rife in LCC, coincidentally published an interview with academic Stuart Wilks-Heeg.  He is yet another who has had nothing to do or say about Liverpool’s sickness these past ten years, along with another of Thorp’s “expert” academics, Michael Parkinson, remembered for his panegyrics to Joe on behalf of the Heseltine Institute. Talk about the three wise monkeys… The only local academic who has said anything sensible on our travails is Professor Jon Tonge.

Ah, well – they are not alone in belatedly seeing the blindingly obvious.  I note that the city solicitor for these past ten years is to depart.  I am sure that she will be cheered by the Law Society Gazette report, showering support for LCC’s legal beagles.  What humbug to exonerate them from any culpability because of pressure.  They must have seen what was happening, but they still signed off on a catalogue of dodgy deals.  Refusal to sign, or resignation, was surely the proper (dare I say ethical?) course to follow.

The district auditors have not been left behind in issuing a “not me, guv” statement.  Their spokesman, Mr Andrew Smith, claimed that there was no flagging up of issues prior to the arrival of chief executive, Tony Reeves.  His actual reported words were “no red flags to us of these issues until … the arrests”.  This is absolutely untrue.  I went to meet with Grant Thornton at their waterfront offices, and highlighted what was happening in the city council.  This was as LCC sold Millennium House about seven years ago!

Meanwhile, within the council’s political arm, I was intrigued to read that Cllr Leon Tootle – chair of the audit and governance committee – was leaving.  Apparently, he did so with a heavy heart, but worn down by the abuse he has suffered.  Is this the same Cllr Tootle who abused me for taking the council to task over the hugely wasteful – and empty – Parklands School in Speke?  Good riddance, many will say.

Still, as Cllr Simon – acting mayor – still insists that she saw nothing untoward in her years alongside Mayor Anderson as his deputy, another councillor has shown his true colours.  Cllr Kennedy is councillor for Kirkdale, and has been living in Spain for over a year.  His term of office does not end until May 2022, and he fully intends to stay in his new home until then.  He continues to draw his council allowances, and will do so until his term is up.  What does that say to the people in his ward?  It is bad enough that there is a war being waged between his fellow councillor, Joe Hanson, and residents.  It does not augur well for future Labour prospects thereabouts.

The ex-wife of Cllr Kennedy is the infamously low profile Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner.  Like her ex-consort, she too has an overseas home.  Many believe that she spends far more time in France than on Merseyside.  She was elected under the Labour banner, although she left Labour in accord with the trumped up charges of anti-Semitism in the local party.  Nevertheless, her poor performance will reflect badly on Labour as she is still associated with Labour in the minds of the voters.

Finally, it has been announced that the job creation project for ex-councillor Frank Hont, known as Liverpool Foundation Homes, is to be wound up, with losses of over £700,000.  I am sure that there is more to come.  Meanwhile, the national Labour Party has appointed Deeside MP, David Hanson, and former Leeds City Council Leader, Dame Judith Blake, to carry out a root and branch reform of Liverpool Labour.  Where will they begin?  Do they understand what they are letting themselves in for?

Over three years ago, Lancashire Police handed their conclusions resulting from their long-running and expensive Operation Sheridan to the Crown Prosecution Service.  This investigation, although Lancashire based, leads into the very heart of Liverpool City Council.  To date, the CPS has launched no prosecutions.  The moral of this legal saga is to wait and see what, if any, prosecutions eventuate from the murky chaos of the city council.  Until there are prosecutions and convictions, nothing much will change.

4 thoughts on “Worms and Woodwork

  1. Yet we hear nothing from the naional Labour Party leadership, more silent than Trappist monks. Many once Labour supporters are looking to vote for the independent Stephen Yip as an unsullied candidate in this farago.

    Kemp is whittering that he is the only viable candidate in the election compared to what Labour and the other parties and independents are offering in the election. I do wonder how his principle of abolishing the mayorality when gaining it if by some mischance there is a Labour majority council again. He has advocated returning to a leader/cabinet system of local governance, who he give up the mayorality to let Labour take charge again.

    Where has Rotherham been, five years ago he was MP for Walton, how much did he know what was happening inside LCC?

    Has Liam Throp fallen out of love with LCC or has the Echo moved him away from reporting on LCC business?

    Inview of the Echo report regarding openness and transparency, should Max Caller and his team move into Bootle and look at Sefton council and their dealings?

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  2. Outstanding Peter they don’t get it do they as for Labour investigation there won’t be a whitewash in the Cunnard it’s the Tories Mantra and narrative

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  3. Hi Peter, excellent analysis as always. Found your blog last year and have been enjoying every word since.

    Would you happen to know how to get hold of the minutes for the “Fractional-Led Investment Committee”?

    Chair and local Cllr Jane Corbett didn’t have the past few years meetings up on the website until recently (coincidence? I think not) and I would love to go over every single word considering the awful failed developments that happened here right under her nose.

    Kind regards

    Dan

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  4. Living down South I’ve been following the reports regarding LCC with dismay. How could these councillors and officials betray the people of Liverpool in this way? How could the legal and financial officials betray every professional ethic and standard and enable this level of corruption?

    Those with a long memory will recall the Tempest/Leatherbarrow corruption in Kirkby during the mid 70’s. This is on a far greater scale and we haven’t reached the bottom of it yet.

    I would urge all voters to abandon official Labour candidates – especially the current standing councillors and vote for independent candidates in the coming elections. Labour has clearly treated Liverpool as their personal cash machine for years and look where we have needed up. Shame on the lot of them.

    And when will the CPS act on the file handed to them in 2018 by Lancashire Police regarding the Operation Sheridan investigation into all edged corruption involving LCC officials?

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