17th November 2016
In this post from 14th November 2016 referring to an earlier October 2014 council meeting, we described how then Wirral CEO Graham Burgess and then Director of Regeneration Kevin Adderley had persuaded a committee of councillors that 2 or 3 companies at the most had gone bust from the total of 49 who’d received BIG Fund European public money grants of between £4,000 and £20,000.
Messrs Burgess and Adderley summarised positively in glowing terms, via bright-eyed, shining countenances, saying this was a good performance during a recession and that council officers involved were squeaky clean. We paraphrase, but the thrust of it was general bilge and bluster along those lines.
We summarised by stating this was clearly not true, that at least 7 companies went under, and that the council had always had access to the information now revealing that 10 companies – not 7 – had gone into liquidation prior to the crucial meeting of 8th October 2014, where the BIG lies were trotted out one after the other before assembled officials.
The Wirral public had never had access to the crucial information because the council would not release it.
This enabled a barrage of public-facing lies to be prepared and developed behind the scenes and to become protected under a shield of stubborn non-co-operation, all backed up by elaborate but non-existent ‘exemptions’ – to be wheeled out and erected against an ever growing list of righteous and reasonable public enquiry.
Conservative Councillor John Hale was so impressed with Graham Burgess’ grand, sweeping eulogies on the night of the committee that the poor chap became fully-convinced, and was not even prepared to entertain the tiniest suggestion that council officers had been dishonest, incompetent or actively corrupt.
Hale luxuriated in his own sage words, took plenty of time (in hindsight wasted) to pour forth in sombre tones, and to heap huge praise upon Wirral officers’ conduct, all the while blissfully digging a huge, yawning chasm for himself and his reputation as ‘a time-served scrutineer’.
You have to wonder whether, behind their appreciative and supportive expressions, the onlooking guilty officers were musing, “Good God, what a prize plonker we’ve got under our full control here.”
Hale’s contribution appears here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnF4S3XMLa4&index=8&list=PLLEv4URK6QbdTKArDe6tW_befB2TFvbyI starting at 20:34.
The depth of this deception eventually became clear to everybody including Councillor Hale last week when the Wirral fortress’ occupants were dragged kicking and screaming, before being forced into lowering the drawbridge by the Information Commissioner.
Luckily for us the public, the broader and very much uglier extent of their dishonesty became exposed for the first time – when the list of 49 made its first public appearance.
Since our last post, BIG Fund whistleblower and former WirralBiz employee Nigel Hobro has spoken out bravely and in public on Wirral Leaks, declaring that a total of 10 companies went under – and much more besides – which will always have been known to Wirral officers assuming they were doing their jobs correctly. We’re now left to assume they’d not been living up to Graham Burgess’ dazzling estimations, and instead were:
- serially and extensively incompetent or;
- serially and extensively dishonest or;
We’d helpfully suggest the latter, and give further assistance by saying no other possible scenarios exist.
Stand by for the next instalment, where we’ll undertake the sordid and unpleasant task of taking a lump hammer to the glossy, shining Wirral patina.
Once we’ve smashed our way through that, with pegs on noses, we’ll be digging down inch by inch into the stinking, black murk of what lies beneath.