Friday, May 28, 2010

Sick & Twisted

This blog's estimation of Warren "War Zones" Bradley has long been at gutter level. However, I now realise that was wrong, it should be sewer level ( ).
Bradley has rushed to the defence of Sharon Green, newly elected Lib Dem councillor for the St Michaels ward in Aigburth over a photograph of disabled people posted on Cllr Green's Facebook page, describing them in these charming words, "Hmmmm 'The Oppposition' ", referring to the Labour group on the city council. Green even went so far as to name Labour councillors below the photograph to underline her "joke".
Bradley claimed that Green "could not be held responsible" for the picture. However, as Marc Waddington pointed out, "the picture appeared to have been placed in an online 'album' called 'the opposition by Sharon Green', which could not be created or accessed by anyone but the owner of the Facebook page."
Anyone familiar with Facebook will know that to be the case. Bradley, however, displayed his customary bluster, mendacity & subterranean stupidity, yapping all too defensively, "This picture was posted via an external source to her profile by another, which subsequently downloads automatically into your photo file......
"It was completely out of her hands."
There's a pithy one-word description of Bradley's argument which is Anglo-Saxon in origin & rhymes with "wit". If he really expects us to believe "an external source" can post a picture to someone's Facebook page, Bradley truly deserves to go down as the most pathetic liar in the history of Liverpool politics, &, as we all know, there is no shortage of candidates for that dubious accolade.
Bradley remarked that he "considered the matter closed". Oh no, it isn't. This disgraceful case should be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman & disciplinary measures should be taken at that level against both Bradley & Green, who, as is commonly known in the city, are "an item". We shouldn't expect any sanctions against the contemptible couple from the city's Lib Dems, seeing as they re-elected Bradley as their leader recently.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


David Moores' bleatings to the Times about Hicks & Gillett ( ) are as pathetic as they are risible. Moores weeps crocodile tears over the financial mess the two liars have caused at Liverpool Football Club. It shouldn't be forgotten that Moores made £90m from the sale of the club in 2007.
Thompson does something of a PR job for Moores, arguing that he always had the club's best interests at heart. Feel free to insert your own sarcastic rejoinder here. Thompson also outrageously claims:
"Moores has joined the cries from fans' groups like the Spirit of Shankly and Share Liverpool. He has added his weight to the ECHO's continued calls for Hicks and Gillett to go."
Firstly, Moores repeatedly declined invitations from the Spirit of Shankly group to address their meetings when the true scale of the liars' intentions began to transpire. Not just that, he also refused to even acknowledge SoS's invitations.
Secondly, what's this effluence Thompson comes out with about "the ECHO's continued calls for Hicks and Gillett to go"? Continued? The reality is that Oldham Hall Street was, unsurprisingly, way behind the curve in seeing through the owners. The only thing "continued" with the Oldham Echo's coverage of the affair is its attempt to obfuscate matters for as long as possible before admitting what has long been known.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cuts & Culture

Phil Redmond appeared on Newsnight yesterday evening in a discussion with John O'Farrell & Paxman on the cultural fall-out from the ConDem cuts. Both agreed that there was an air of Back to the 80s about the straightened times that await ( ).
However, Redmond was almost sanguine about what it would mean; whereas O'Farrell spelt out the gruesome implications in everyday terms, Redmond waxed lyrical about culture year (irrelevant to the subject) & even ventured to suggest that a new round of cuts on Merseyside would give rise to a cultural renaissance for the area. Redmond appears to inhabit the same parallel universe as Warren "War Zones" Bradley.
The discussion takes place in the last 10 minutes or so of the programme.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Took You So Long?

The Oldham Echo has finally realised that the ruinous reign of the two lying shysters at Anfield has resulted in terminal decline for Liverpool Football Club ( ).
Well done, guys, but, as more than a few commenters pointedly ask, what took you so long?
It'll be interesting to see whether the paper still enjoys "access" to players at Anfield next season. Indeed, it may just be that Hicks & Gillett retaliate by barring Oldham Hall Street from Anfield on match days.
Still, at least the Oldham Echo has seen through the liars....long after everyone else.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Home Truth That's A Little Too Close To Home

Not everyone's been singing from the same hymn sheet on Oldham Hall Street about the Shanghai Expo & the city's presence there. Rex Makin, widely believed to own shares in Trinity Mirror ( ), was anxious to get things off his chest in his regular Friday column. Oh to have been a fly on the wall as Big Al Machray scanned the piece prior to publication ( ):
"Put aside for a moment the Chinese Whispers. Some people will find Expo is a vanity fair mainly for ordinary Chinese folk, it's not a business fair at all. Liverpool does not have its own pavilion, but has its own corner in a pavilion dealing with urban matters.
"It's also on the wrong side of the river - away from the big national and international pavilions.
"Expo opened last week and within days Liverpool Vision was forced to reassess expected visitor numbers. Only around 2,000 a day or less. People here deserve to be told this and how many people actually visited the Liverpool stand at Expo.
"At any rate, don't expect a full page feature extolling the wonders of Liverpool to appear any time soon in that leading Chinese newspaper The People's Daily."
To which one can only add, don't expect a full page feature admitting the reality of Liverpool's presence at Expo any time soon in that leading "local" paper, the Oldham Echo.

The Toxic Legacy Of Hicks & Gillett

It wasn't until last week that the Oldham Echo finally confirmed what most other national media outlets have long said about the finances at Liverpool Football Club. Indeed, some comments on the Echo website made that point in no uncertain terms. David Conn, whose work on the general subject of football clubs' finances has been exemplary, & who was one of the first journalists to notice the black hole that Hicks & Gillett had created in the Anfield accounts, took a cold, hard look at each Premier League club in today's Guardian ( ).
Conn had a one-word description for Liverpool's position, "Appalling."

About That Assurance, Warren

The local ramifications of the ConDem cuts are starting to sink in ( ), leading Joe Anderson to declare that a concerted lobbying campaign is needed for the city to avoid the axe.
However, he need look no further than Warren "War Zones" Bradley after his claim that Nick Clegg had given him assurances about the city's prospects.
Yet it seems there may be a slight problem. Should Warren pick up the phone, he may find the line engaged, or his call unanswered, as Jonathan Freedland disclosed on the Guardian's Comment is Free website yesterday ( ): "[The Lib Dems] have won the right to share the blame for the coming cuts, dipping their hands in all that spilled blood. More than that, Lib Dem David Laws has, as chief secretary to the Treasury, been cast as the public face of the cuts, a role the millionaire ex-banker seems oddly eager to take on. As the first flush of their new intimacy fades, Clegg may wonder if he's signed a deal that gives him the worst of both worlds: not much power but a hell of a lot of responsibility. For Cameron, it's a win-win. He gets some pleasant Lib Dem window dressing, buffing up his image as a new, kinder, gentler Tory - and ensures that when the public gets angry, it won't be the Conservatives alone who are in their sights. Nice work."
Don't bother making that phone call, Warren.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making A Stand

Elvis Costello returns to what he calls "the nearest thing I have to a home town" late next month for a sell-out concert at the Phil. It's part of his world tour, although two dates have already been deleted from the itinerary, two concerts he was due to play in Israel ( ).
"It is a matter of instinct and conscience," Costello asserts in explaining that the situation in the Palestinian territories makes it impossible for him to perform in Israel.
It's encouraging to see Costello resume his willingness to speak out on contentious & controversial subjects. The reality in the Palestinian territories is that a state of de facto apartheid exists, imposed & enforced by the Israeli authorities; the chasm in living standards, health & education provision, unrestricted travel & many other aspects of daily life between the Palestinians & the Israeli settlers is grotesquely reminiscent of South Africa before institutional racism bit the dust.

He's Still There, You Know

Warren "War Zones" Bradley won't take the hint, nor, it seems, will just over half of the remaining Fib Dem councillors in Liverpool ( ).
Bradley survived a leadership challenge from Grassendale councillor Paula Keaveney by 20 votes to 17 & Cllr Keaveney was anxious to put a brave face on her defeat this morning ( ).
As for the Fib Dem leader himself, he was in bullish mood after the vote, supplying the pliant Echo hack with a few gems:
"[Bradley] said it was important the party got back to basics.
"He said he had been encouraged to carry on as leader not just by members of the Lib Dem group but also by others outside."
Somewhere down the corridor Joe Anderson could be heard sniggering like a schoolboy.
However, that laughter will stop before long. Oh yes, it will; you see, Warren has friends in high places, despite the city's verdict on his reign of ruin, & he's determined to use such friendships in the interests of the city:
"He said Liverpool should not expect savage cuts from the Tories like it suffered in the 1980s. And he added: '(Deputy Prime Minister) Nick Clegg has given me assurances that will not happen.
" 'Social justice that Liberal Democrats believe in will be a golden vein that runs through the coalition government.' "
So there we have it. In contrast to the rest of the UK, Liverpool will be spared the swingeing cuts that Cameron & his mate Clegg have lined up. Nick's told him.
And if Warren claims that Nick's told him, we believe it. Don't we?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trinity Mirror's Idea Of Success

Life at the Oldham Echo isn't a barrel of laughs for those hacks instructed to churn out the bilge that masquerades as journalism. Indeed, it can't be made any easier when they're aware of the good life enjoyed by Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity "Smoking Mirrors", as the Grey Cardigan column in the Press Gazette yesterday revealed ( ):
"At Trinity Mirror, chief executive Sly Bailey received a 'package' of £1.68 million in 2009, an increase of 66 per cent compared with the previous year. And yet in 2009 Trinity Mirror reported a 41 per cent fall in pre-tax profits while sacking 1,700 people and closing or selling 30 newspapers. One can only envy such success."
Indeed, one can only marvel at the business-savvy technique employed by Ms Bailey, guaranteeing this novel form of "success" as it percolates down to the harmonious offices patrolled by Big Al Machray & his minion Mark.

In Passing

There's an interesting piece on the US-based Daily Beast website about Gillian Tett, who has moved from a senior editorial position with the Financial Times in London to take up the post of the FT's US editor ( ).
Tett spoke at the Bluecoat in October, last year at the launch of her book about the banking crisis, Fool's Gold (Little, Brown, 2009) ( ). Despite its complex subject, the book provided a lucid & accessible account of the steps that led to the crisis, & an insight into the mindset of the bankers who considered themselves to be brave pioneers on the international markets.
Unlike many financial journalists, Tett demonstrated her knowledge of the key developments in the crash as well as an ability to tell it as simply as possible, something reflected in the Daily Beast's piece: "Tett, who talks with her hands and a lisp, covet the attention. She dismisses honors, like being named Journalist of the Year by the British press in 2009 and winning the Spears Award for Financial Book of the Year for Fool's Gold, as 'guilt awards' bestowed on her by a discredited media trying to clear its collective conscience for missing the financial crisis' warning signs."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Little Candour Over The Airwaves

One of the founding producers at CNN, Ed Madison, has penned a thought-provoking & welcome piece on the Huffington Post website about the need for every US town & city to have its own Jon Stewart contributing a few less than respectful thoughts on the local TV stations, given the dire output of the US broadcast media ( ).
It would be nice to extend the idea to this side of the pond. Just imagine having someone on, say, Radio Merseyside or Radio City really telling it like it is about Warren's War Zones, or the Bread & Circus debacle that was culture year. How about it, Professor?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Bad To Worse For Local Lib Dems

Long faces displayed by Liverpool's Liberal Democrats this evening. Why? You'd think they'd be cock-a-hoop at Clegg becoming deputy Prime Minister imminently ( ).
At least you'd think that if you knew nothing about the general view in the city on Cameron's party. Local Lib Dems, currently trying to contact Warren "War Zones" Bradley in order to dump him, know all too well the contempt felt by most voters in Liverpool for the Tories. Hence their despair this evening, despite hoping yesterday that Clegg could be dissuaded from supporting Cameron ( ).
The local Lib Dems said a Lib Dem/Tory coalition was "inconceivable", given that the Tories "decimated the city". It's not inconceivable now. They should prepare for electoral nemesis.

10.30 BST UPDATE: Lib Dem councillor for Grassendale Paula Keaveney dissents from her colleagues & signs up to electoral wipe-out for the Lib Dems in Liverpool next year ( ).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rebuilding The War Zones

As Wayne noted earlier today ( ), Joe Anderson has made the right noises about Warren Bradley's ruinous reign in Liverpool; he is spot-on in observing that certain areas benefited from the Fib Dems' rule while others, Warren's War Zones, were left to rot. It's a point that Wayne, the Professor & myself have consistently made & it's nice to see Cllr Anderson repeat it. However, you're judged by deeds, not words, & his comment that he won't shirk from "difficult decisions" sounds ominous. We'll be watching, Joe.
Bradley, of course, retained power by one vote after the 2008 local elections after the last-minute defection of Croxteth Labour councillor Nadia Stewart ( ), prompting him to declare, "It's onward and upward" to anyone who would listen. Alas, if anything, the city went backward & downward as the Bread & Circus model of running a major UK city intensified.
In the hours after Bradley's rejection by the voters, he unwittingly provided his own political epitaph with the remark, "My four and a half year record speaks for itself." ( ).
Yes, Warren it certainly does.

Murdoch Minion Has Meltdown

I hold no brief for Alastair Campbell. In fact, I once crossed swords with him back in the 80s. That he became New Labour's supreme spin doctor didn't surprise me. However, his appearance on Sky News earlier this evening ( ) tells us far more about its political editor Adam Boulton. For most of the six-minute clip, it's routine, robust stuff. However, four-and-a-half minutes into the clip, Boulton loses it completely, ranting in such a way that you suspect he had a rather good lunch, as they say.
Owned by Murdoch, Sky News was itching for a Cameron-led government to neuter Ofcom & allow the network to emulate Fox News, its sister network in the US. The hung parliament has clearly infuriated Murdoch's empire & perhaps that fury finally broke cover in tonight's spat.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

On a morning when proper journalism is almost entirely replaced by spin, guesswork, what-ifs & soundbites, it's difficult to dig out from the political manure heap any nuggets. However, Paul Owen provides one with the observation he made at 11.38 this morning on the Guardian's live election blog ( ):
"The deficit is a lose-lose issue: the public wants you to deal with it, but they won't thank you when the measures meant to do that affect their own jobs or taxes. Cameron will probably never be more popular than he is now -- and he's not even that popular now."
Precisely. Last week I had a conversation with an acquaintance who works in the civil service. He endorsed Cameron's aim to make deep cuts in the public sector. When I pointed out to him that this meant his job would be on the line he looked bewildered.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Perils Of Predictions

As the smoke-filled rooms of Westminster bear witness to horse-trading, ego-massaging, discarded pledges & furtive text messages ( ), it's worth revisiting what was predicted or posited during the election campaign.
A week and a half prior to polling day Ian Hernon rushed off a piece for the Oldham Echo, claiming that the Tories hoped to do well in a handful of local seats ( ).
To be fair, Hernon didn't claim that the Tories realistically expected to win the seats mentioned (Liverpool Riverside, Sefton Central, Wallasey & Garston & Halewood). However, the piece talked-up Tory prospects without any supporting quotes or statistics.
For the record:
Riverside:- Labour: 22,998, Lib Dem: 8,825, Tory: 4,243, Green: 1,355, BNP: 706, UKIP: 674.
Sefton Central:- Labour: 20,307, Tory: 16,445, Lib Dem: 9,656, UKIP: 2,055.
Wallasey:-Labour: 21,578, Tory: 13,071, Lib Dem: 5,693, UKIP: 1,205, Independent: 107.
Garston & Halewood:- Labour: 25,493, Lib Dem: 8,616, Tory: 6,908, UKIP: 1,540, Respect: 268.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

He's Usually Such A Sweet Thing, You Know

It's a frenetic time for candidates right now, knocking on doors, arranging lifts to the polling station for elderly & housebound voters, anxiously scanning partially ticked-off lists.
My commiserations, therefore, to Joe Benton, Labour candidate & long-serving MP for Bootle, who had the tip of a finger bitten off by a dog as he pushed a leaflet through a letterbox earlier today ( ).
The injuries he sustained in the incident prevent him from attending tonight's count in the constituency.
Rumours that the dog is a reader of this blog ( ) have not yet been confirmed.

A Wrong Turn At Switch Island

In today's Daily Ghost, David Bartlett breathlessly relates an account of Brown's flying visit to Skelmersdale yesterday. All very dutiful, all very fawning. Just one snag, though: Skelmersdale is NOT in Merseyside ( ).
Haven't you got an A-Z, David?

Vote For Change?

So anxious have the Tories been to de-toxify their brand that they've appointed their very own Shadow minister for Merseyside, Chris Grayling. However, the term "brand" is telling. Cameron is a former public relations executive &, in that context, the spin is transparent. Don't forget the comment made by the then Tory Chancellor Geoffrey Howe in the wake of the Toxteth riots that the policy on areas such as Merseyside should be one of "managed decline". A leopard doesn't change its spots. Neither do the Tories.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Party Political

If you're in the city centre tomorrow evening, you could do worse than wander up to Hannah's Bar on Leece Street. The upstairs section of Hannah's will host an election party night. They even promise wi-fi access to tempt any bloggers in the vicinity ( ).
Might be worth a visit, especially if any scribes from Oldham Hall Street turn up.

Taken For Granted

Almost all the areas visited by Brown, Cameron & Clegg during the election campaign have been marginal constituencies. The safer seats have been left undisturbed. The rock-solid seats have been treated like embarrassing relatives; it's already been noted elsewhere that the Liverpool Walton seat, bequeathed by Peter Kilfoyle to Steve Rotheram, has seen vitually no leaflets or posters. Apathy goes both ways. The parties can be just as dismissive of the whole business as the voters.
Another seat long taken for granted is neighbouring Bootle. A solid Labour seat since anyone can remember, the local party assumes nothing will change tomorrow, as does its MP, Joe Benton. Which may explain his decision not to attend a meeting of the candidates called in the constituency on Tuesday of last week ( ).
Also absent was the Tory candidate, Sohail Quershi. However, given that the Tories' chances in Bootle are minimal, his decision not to turn up could be understood.
Benton knows that as Labour MP for the seat (Cherie Blair was approached about succeeding Benton last year, but turned it down), his position won't be seriously challenged by any other party. Such certainty morphed into arrogance long ago & it goes some way to explaining why he presumably felt a public meeting in the seat he's supposed to represent was beneath him.
Walton, Bootle & other such constituencies are the 21st century versions of rotten boroughs.


There must be a glitch in the system, as the Cameron video doesn't appear to be loading. Tip: go to the YouTube homepage & type "Common People-David Cameron".

An Upper Class Hero Is Something To Be

Anyone who tells you that class doesn't matter anymore should be treated with the disdain they warrant; as the comfortably-off middle class entrench their position, social mobility is consigned to the history books. In the context of this sour, yet salient fact, it's to be welcomed that some enterprising scamps on YouTube have adopted the Pulp classic Common People & used it to highlight the privileges & opportunities accorded to Tory leader David Cameron ( )
"What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?" Paul Weller, Eton Rifles.