No news really… just another Wirral Councillor alienating an inconvenient citizen

2nd August 2013

I sent an email today to my local councillors, Adrian Jones, John Salter and Chris Jones (wife of Adrian) about fracking – and the threat to the environment that the process holds, asking what the Council’s official position was.

Dear John Salter,

I’m very concerned about the prospect of fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – in our area.

Fracking has been linked to contamination of water supplies and atmospheric pollution, as well as increased traffic to construction sites. The government has promised lower energy bills if gas and oil from fracking is produced, but even the fracking companies admit this is unlikely to happen.

I would like to know if any companies are planning to carry out fracking in this area and whether any relevant licences have been sold. If so, I would be grateful if you could let me know your position on the matter and what steps I can take to register my objections.

If there are no current plans or licences, I would be grateful if you could keep me informed of any future developments.

Sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Originally, this was one of those Greenpeace automated campaigns, where you receive an email, follow the link, then type in your postcode.  Your local councillors are then located automatically.  The next page is a letter they prepared earlier – all expertly written and no need to add or change anything really – so the button gets pressed and the message is fired off to your local councillors.

I had a very quick response from Councillor John Salter, which I really appreciated – he didn’t address all the points, but his answer was short and positive:

Mr Cardin, there have been no licenses issued by the Wirral Borough Council to allow fracking on the Wirral.

Best Regards

John Salter

Councillor for Seacombe and Poulton.

Sent from my iPad.

The contents of this e-mail are the personal view of the author and should not, in any way, be considered the official view of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.”.

So that was a good enough start.  But amongst other things, the original message asked him to keep me in touch with any future developments (one of the points not addressed), so I responded as follows:

On 2 Aug 2013, at 19:15, “paul.cardin” wrote:

Thanks. Please keep me informed of any future developments, 

Regards

Paul Cardin

I was then a little startled to get the following, a much longer message than the original response, in which he’d taken the time to spell out some of his own concerns:

Mr Cardin, it is not possible to for me to  remember all enquiries, nor to keep a record as I would need a massive computer, may I suggest that you contact me on this matter in the future, as you are the fifth person I have answered today on the same enquiry, a with very similar words.  

Best Regards

John Salter

Councillor for Seacombe and Poulton.

Sent from my iPad.

The contents of this e-mail are the personal view of the author and should not, in any way, be considered the official view of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.”.

Well, it was now becoming clear that Councillor Salter was not impressed at all by being asked to keep one of his constituents informed, nor by receiving five emails, all with broadly the same message.  He appears to have felt it was an inconvenience to be asked repeatedly about an issue that is becoming a major concern in the minds of people all over the country – mainly in the north, and not just here on Wirral.

In other words…  begrudging – which is not the kind of service you’d expect from a public servant – particularly one of those who from time to time relies on the good will of people known as ‘voters’ or ‘the electorate’.

My response:

From: “paul.cardin”
Date: 2 Aug 2013
To: john salter
Subject: Re: Please say no to fracking

Thanks Councillor Salter. In a correctly politically engaged world, you’d be answering 100s of these enquiries a day…

…and hopefully not complaining about the inconvenience of doing so 🙂

I’m afraid it’s also my opinion that Councillor Salter’s original message, the positive one, was missing one word – a three letter one that should have been appended right at the very end…..

yet.

If Wirral’s Frack record is anything to go by, they’ll be in ‘Phase One’ – playing hard to get, banging the table, and posturing in front of concerned voters, while fully expecting their fracking suitors to approach and initiate ‘Phase Two’, contacting them privately with better proposals…

…but all in good time.

There’s a long way to go before ‘Phase Three’, where the fracking frenzy finally flourishes financially.

3rd July 2013

I woke up to the following email from Councillor Salter:

From: John Salter
Sent: 03 August 2013 06:15
To: paul.cardin
Subject: Re: Please say no to fracking

Mr Cardin, if that was the case I would be unable to carry out my duties as a councillor.

Please be practical.

Best Regards

John Salter

Councillor for Seacombe and Poulton.

Sent from my iPad.

I responded:

From: Paul C
Sent: 03 August 2013 10:32
To: ‘John Salter’
Subject: RE: Please say no to fracking

Dear Councillor Salter,

As a member of a council that’s been found to be bullying and abusive, you’re defending a set up that has been exposed as failing, not to mention shirking its civic duties for well over a decade.

If local citizens had a system that worked democratically on behalf of local residents, rather than the broken basket case we’ve been lumbered with, your comments would be quickly rendered redundant.

I’d suggest it’s you and the majority of your councillor colleagues who need to be practical and proactive.  Either move with the times, or  be swept aside…

Regards,

Paul Cardin

I had a fantastic day out in Liverpool with my two young daughters today, and returned in the evening to the Salter response:

From: John Salter
Sent: 03 August 2013 11:13
To: Paul C
Subject: Re: Please say no to fracking

Mr Cardin, I have never been a bully nor have I ever been involved with any bullying.

As for being proactive I have personally been involved in bringing  a multi million pound order to the Wirral ,  which took me best part of eighteen months.

Best Regards

John Salter

Councillor for Seacombe and Poulton.

Sent from my iPad.

To which I fired back:

From: Paul C
Sent: 03 August 2013 19:33
To: ‘John Salter’
Subject: FW: Please say no to fracking

Dear Councillor Salter,

Thanks for your response.

Actually, the Martin Smith report found that the council had corporately bullied whistleblower Martin Morton – which is what I effectively said in the last email – the email also said nothing about any bullying behaviour perpetrated by individuals such as yourself.  This situation was created through a failure of wider, corporate governance.

Now cast your mind back to the first resolution to remove the leader of the corporately bullying council, Councillor Steve Foulkes.  This was defeated…  “thanks” to you and your party colleagues voting as one to retain and defend the exposed leader of the corporately bullying council.

You are therefore sadly mistaken to suggest you’ve “never been involved in [any] bullying”.  Your vote was cast.  Your vote was counted.  Cause and effect dictates:  you and your colleagues were involved in failing to address corporate bullying by voting to keep the leader and therefore helped corporate bullying to endure.  What a relief that Councillor Foulkes was eventually removed, despite you and your colleagues’ failed attempts to shore up his position – and all against Mr Smith’s clear finding of the corporate bullying of a member of staff.  The removal of Councillor Foulkes at least gave everybody breathing space, addressed corporate bullying and created a chance for things to begin to improve.  Wouldn’t you agree?  Or would you and your party prefer to pick and choose, and discard the findings you don’t like, when presented with an expert’s independent report, paid for with our money?

I’m afraid what’s happened has now gone down in history, and despite seeking to rewrite that history, your party’s legacy is one of failure.  When presented with the first opportunity to put corporate bullying behind you, you and your colleagues failed…  miserably.

On the subject of multi-million pound contracts that you brought up, the council’s track record has not been too good on these has it?  Remember  HESPE?

When a good opportunity to make progress falls into the laps of the members of an abusive, corporately bullying council, which was even found to have overlooked at least £27 million pound in toxic debt, perversely counting much of it as assets, it’s not necessarily a positive development is it?

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

 

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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9 Responses to No news really… just another Wirral Councillor alienating an inconvenient citizen

  1. Karl Mercer says:

    As a local councillor and also my local councillor he should be answering questions and keeping people in his area informed of changes and news going on in the area. This is a bad way to respond to questions from local people as a councillor. I hope Fracking does not come to Wirral.

  2. Ron says:

    Cllr Salter’s claim that ” there have been no licenses issued by the Wirral Borough Council to allow fracking on the Wirral.” is somewhat disingenuous.

    WBC controls only part of “the Wirral” – i.e., the term used to define the peninsula as a whole, as opposed to “Wirral” minus the definite article, which is WBC’s part of the peninsula, the rest, of course, being in Cheshire, not Merseyside, and over which WBC has no control at all when it comes to fracking licences or anything else.

    Just a thought . . . (Apologies if that point has been addressed – I didn’t have time to read it all.)

    And I, too, have no desire to see fracking either in Wirral or on the Wirral.

    • Karl Mercer says:

      Will be good to see his response to this as I’m thinking of running as an independent councillor for Seacombe as I don’t like the way its being done by others in any area, so lets see if a member of the public can become councillor and make a change to the the way this council do things.

  3. Martin says:

    Let me get this straight. You sent your councillors a message written by someone else without altering a word through the Greenpeace web site even though you know the links to the councillor sites and hence their email addresses so you could have written a letter reflecting your own thoughts and views direct to them. If you are so passionate, wouldn’t it have been better to do the latter?
    Then you expect your busy councillors to remember to tell you about any fracking plans when you can find out these yourself? Again, if you are so passionate about the issue, wouldn’t you be doing that?

    • Wirral In It Together says:

      No need Martin. The original message, written by Greenpeace, perfectly encapsulated my own thoughts, and contained all the queries I wanted to put to my local councillor (a public servant) regarding the council’s position on fracking. This pre-written message ended with a request to be kept updated by the councillor in the future, as changes occurred. So it was ideal. There was no need to change it, OR to write separately.

      The councillor, hopefully with his finger on the pulse of these issues, and the owner of an iPad, would then be expected to set up an automated method of responding to his constituents (easily configured on an iPad).

      However the councillor replied very briefly, so I reminded him that I’d like to be kept updated.

      At this, he responded by getting all uptight and appeared not to value either my input or the 5 fellow constituents who’d sent him a similarly worded message. You appear not to have noticed his poor attitude as the messages progressed, which I found all a bit concerning and not becoming of a public servant.

      You’re wide of the mark on another thing, Martin. I’m not really passionate about this issue. It appears further down my list of priorities… behind the following:

      1. Proven long-term abuse of vulnerable people, which breached the council’s statutory obligation towards them

      2. The theft of £700,000 plus from the bank accounts of 16 learning disabled tenants over a 9 year period

      3. The ongoing retention of most of the above money, while the council affects a newly-found “concern” for the welfare of these people. Several have died. Are the council waiting for ‘nature to take its course’?

      4. The council’s introduction of a 4 week delay in care, done in order to save money, while people suffered, and at least one person may have died

      5. The council’s disability discrimination towards vulnerable people as found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission a couple of years ago, but ignored by the Council and whitewashed by its signed up, on message, paid up law company

      6. The long-term bullying, mobbing and harassment of whistleblower Martin Morton, to the point that his health was badly-damaged

      7. The accreditation of gangsters in order that they could provide “care” services

      8. The council’s failure to act when informed of millions upon millions of pounds of toxic debt, ran up mainly by the Social Services Department, going back years. They were initially told about this by whistleblower Martin Morton but did absolutely nothing

      9. Er…

      10. That’s not it…

      There’s a helluva lot more, but it’s getting late. I might finish this list tomorrow, or I might not… I’ll see how things go…

  4. Wirral In It Together says:

    Reblogged this on Wirral In It Together.

  5. Jack says:

    I believe you asked him the question in the way that you did, to start a lengthy waste of his time by you babbling on – Get a grip!

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