Wednesday, August 22, 2007

FARFROMINDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION: NO-ONE TO BLAME SHOCK FINDINGS, EXCLUSIVE

COLIN COVER UP was told about problems with the Mathew Street festival months before it was scrapped.
The Harbarrowboy regularly gave him updates on the worries over Europe's biggest street festival.
Yet the £220,000-a-year Hilton failed to raise the alarm until it was too late.
This has all emerged from the city council's Municipal Buildings where Harbarrowboy, as the Executive Director for Culture, made regular visits from the Millennium House Fun Palace.
He reported regularly to Hilton, as his boss and chief executive of the city council.
Yet Cover Up did nothing about it (no change there, then, eds).
The word amongst senior officers - some of whom witnessed the Harbarrowboy actually briefing Hilton - is that Jase may have to walk the plank to protect his boss's job.
No doubt Hilton will be able to ensure there is a lucrative leaving package to make Jase's ignominious exit more palatable.
The revelation that Hilton was intimately connected with the Mathew Street debacle comes as no surprise to insiders at the city council.
But it makes a mockery of the fireman Bradley's protestations that he has every confidence in Hilton's farfromindependent 'investigation' into who knew what, when, and who did what about it.
So Hilton is in it up to his neck.
So too is the Harbarrowboy - he knew about the problems, but did nothing about them.
He also created the Mathew St mess in the first place - by demanding swinging cuts, forcing Lee Forde's departure.
And what about the fireman Bradley?
He personally employed both the Harbarrowboy and Cover Up in their lucrative jobs.
He has only himself to blame when their failures are now revealed for all to see.
And like any other political Leader in the known universe he must also take personal responsibility for the mess his organisation has created.
As Joe Anderson has thankfully pointed out: all this happened on Bradley's watch. He is the Captain of the Ship. He must take responsibility.
Of course if any one of the gang of three had an ounce of integrity in them, they would do the honourable thing and resign now, rather than allow this pantomime to continue.
That would at least draw a line under a fiasco which all three have personally allowed to drag on for the last four weeks.
Of course none of them do (have any integrity or honour, eds)
They don't care about the reputation of the city which is being made a laughing stock every day in the public prints.
The fireman is more concerned about his political position.
Cover Up is more concerned about his money and disappearing repuatation.
The Harbarrowboy is more concerned about the dosh he will lose and his property interests in Spain.
None of them, of course, are the slightest bothered about the looming outcome of Cover Up's farfromindependent 'investigation'.
They know that no council official has the bottle to point the finger at Cover Up, The Harbarrowboy or The Fireman.
So here is our exclusive report about the farfromindependent investigation's shock conclusions:

  • No individual can be blamed (with the possible exception of the entirely innocent Lee Forde, but certainly not the esteemed chief exec, eds)
  • The Mathew Street fiasco happened because of serious breakdowns in organisational communication between the city council and the Culture Company (this is an inevitable consequence of two huge organisations working together on a major project, eds)
  • The fiasco also happened because of some fundamental systemic failures within the Culture Company (but no names and no pack drill, it would not be fair to release the report in its entirety would it? eds)
  • The Culture Company obviously needs more experienced staff brought in for 2008 (a licence for the influx of an army of new consultants, eds)
  • The council is deteremined to tighten up some of the Culture Company's internal procedures and reporting regimes to ensure there is no repeat in 2008 (this failure is understandable with such a new organisation which has had a comparatively short history of running major events and is a little inexperienced, eds)
  • The Mathew Street festival will go ahead next year and be bigger and better than ever before and we will seriously listen to all concerned, including Joe Reilly and Rex Makin (a clumsy attempt at a reassuring sop, eds)
  • At least we have got our major mistakes out of the way before 2008 (if you believe that, you will believe anything, eds)
  • Don't worry abvout 2008 now - it's safe in our hands (cut to carefully-staged photo of The Fireman shaking hands with The Harbarrowboy, while Cover Up looks on benevolently, eds).
  • Quotes from The Fireman: "lessons learned, blah-blah; shock to the system but great the way we all pulled together, blah-blah; harsh things said on both sides, blah-blah; shows how we all care, blah-blah; investigation left no stone unturned, blah-blah; open and transparent, blah-blah; Anderson just running the city down, blah-blah; cheap political point-scoring, blah-blah; i'm only a fireman, blah-blah; trust Colin with my life, blah-blah; me and Jase have professional relationship, blah-blah; working together, blah-blah; determined to make 2008 a fantastic success, blah-blah.")

And that, dear readers, will be that. Unless you do something about it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

GOING...GOING....



WHY LEE FORDE REALLY QUIT THE CULTURE COMPANY...

EVENTS MANAGER Lee Forde quit the Culture Company because the Mathew Street budget had been slashed - threatening public safety.
The Harbarrowboy unilaterally halved the amount of money being spent on events such as Mathew Street, the Hub Festival, the Lord Mayor's Parade and the Christmas Lights switch-on. Harbarrowboy was under pressure from Cover Up to reduce the amount of public money being used by the Culture Company after squandering millions on consultants, astonomical wages and pie in the sky schemes.
He was told to reign-in the Culture Company's mounting expenditure in the run-up to 2008.
But he also personally decided to save up some money for next year's events so that 2008 would not turn into the damp squib we have all feared.
Jase planned to splurge it all on public events next year so that he could go out in a blaze of "glory" having delivered an apparently successful Capital of Culture.
Forde expressed his concern at the implications of the sweeping cuts and refused to keep quiet. (Good for him, eds) He warned the Harbarrowboy that such draconian cuts would put public safety at risk and contravene strict health and safety regulations.
But the Harbarrowboy told Forde: "I don't want any discussion about this - just get on with it."
Forde then submitted his resignation in disgust, telling the Harbarrowboy that it was impossible to deliver such events without compromising public safety.
The Culture Company tried to put a brave face on his shock departure, 'Jase' arrogantly telling the BBC in an interview that no-one was indispensable and that they would carry on as normal.
In fact, the opposite was true. (see TP's previous post about Forde's departure for an entirely accurate account of the likely impact, eds)
Forde's departure meant little work was done on Mathew Street, which was left to his deputy Eddy Grant to try and pick up.
The £150,000-a-year Harbarrowboy failed to adequately manage the resultant gap and then eventually decided to cancel a festival which was not even his to cancel.
The result?
Uproar.
Forde is now the victim of a disgraceful and all too typical attempt by the city council and the Culture Company to shoulder all the blame for the fiasco.
The Echo was told (apparently by Bradley) that Ford was on "gardening leave" - a sickening and disgusting attempt to smear him.
His deputy Grant is now on long term sickness absence, as a result of the mounting pressures he was put under.
This effectively means the Culture Company has lost its senior Events chiefs at a stroke - an amazing 'achievement'. This is likely to have further implications on events in the city.
One Culture Company insider said:" Lee has never been a 'yes' man and when Jason told him to implement the cuts, he couldn't keep quiet any longer.
"He refused to put up with the incompetence. And no-one took control of the situation or did anything significant about it. It's a classic case of management failure."
Meanwhile, we can also reveal that the Harbarrowboy has been sent on 'gardening leave'. Cover Up told him to go and take a week off while the dust settled over the Mathew Street debacle.
He is due to return to the Fun Palace tomorrow (Tuesday) - but is unlikely to get a quiet reception.
(All will soon be revealed....eds)

WHY LEE FORDE QUIT THE CULTURE COMPANY...

EVENTS MANAGER Lee Forde quit the Culture Company because the Mathew Street budget had been slashed - threatening public safety.

The Harbarrowboy unilaterally halved the amount of money being spent on events such as Mathew Street, the Hub Festival, the Lord Mayor's Parade and the Christmas Lights switch-on.

Harbarrowboy was under pressure from Cover Up to reduce the amount of public money being used by the Culture Company after squandering millions on consultants, astonomical wages and pie in the sky schemes.

He was told to reign-in the Culture Company's mounting expenditure in the run-up to 2008.

But he also personally decided to save up some money for next year's events so that 2008 would not turn into the damp squib we have all feared.

Jase planned to splurge it all on public events next year so that he could go out in a blaze of "glory" having delivered an apparently successful Capital of Culture.

Forde expressed his concern at the implications of the sweeping cuts and refused to keep quiet. (Good for him, eds)

He warned the Harbarrowboy that such draconian cuts would put public safety at risk and contravene strict health and safety regulations.

But the Harbarrowboy told Forde: "I don't want any discussion about this - just get on with it."

Forde then submitted his resignation in disgust, telling the Harbarrowboy that it was impossible to deliver such events without compromising public safety.

The Culture Company tried to put a brave face on his shock departure, 'Jase' arrogantly telling the BBC in an interview that no-one was indispensable and that they would carry on as normal.

In fact, the opposite was true. (see TP's previous post about Forde's departure for an entirely accurate account of the likely impact, eds)

Forde's departure meant little work was done on Mathew Street, which was left to his deputy Eddy Grant to try and pick up.

The £150,000-a-year Harbarrowboy failed to adequately manage the resultant gap and then eventually decided to cancel a festival which was not even his to cancel.

The result?

Uproar.

Forde is now the victim of a disgraceful and all too typical attempt by the city council and the Culture Company to shoulder all the blame for the fiasco.

The Echo was told (apparently by Bradley) that Ford was on "gardening leave" - a sickening and disgusting attempt to smear him.

His deputy Grant is now on long term sickness absence, as a result of the mounting pressures he was put under.

This effectively means the Culture Company has lost its senior Events chiefs at a stroke - an amazing 'achievement'. This is likely to have further implications on events in the city.

One Culture Company insider said:" Lee has never been a 'yes' man and when Jason told him to implement the cuts, he couldn't keep quiet any longer.

"He refused to put up with the incompetence. And no-one took control of the situation or did anything significant about it. It's a classic case of management failure."

Meanwhile, we can also reveal that the Harbarrowboy has been sent on 'gardening leave'. Cover Up told him to go and take a week off while the dust settled over the Mathew Street debacle.

He is due to return to the Fun Palace tomorrow (Tuesday) - but is unlikely to get a quiet reception.

(All will soon be revealed....eds)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WHAT A STUNNING IDEA FROM THE CULTURE COMPANY!

We know this is swimming against the tide of public opinion, but we must congratulate the Culture Company on their latest brainwave.

They plan to drain Liverpool's historic Salthouse Dock to create a 20,000 seater venue for a televised BBC charity concert.

Then they want to stun the fish who swim in the dock before safely transporting them to a temporary new home.

A giant goldfish bowl will then be created in the centre of Liverpool where people will pay a fiver to splash around with the rescued fish for the world premiere of an exciting performance art concept.

(We've made this last bit up, eds. The rest is totally true, unbelievably. )

If this madcap, crazed and crazy scheme ever sees the light of day, we will kiss Sir David Henshaw's personal wad, take Colin Cover Up and his mum for dinner (humble pie on the menu, eds) and buy the Harbarrowboy his very own sun lamp.

(So there's a huge incentive for you to actually try and deliver something, lads)

We know Tony Parrish has made much of there being something very fishy about the evil cabal, the city council and the Culture Company. But this is ridiculous.

The woman who put Brian May on top of Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Jubilee concert is apparently behind this bonkers scheme - forced by the lack of major concert venues in Liverpool. The Culture Comp have enthusiastically taken the bait.

Computer generated images have already been shown as part of a glossy presentation to senior officers of the city council, who were apparently left gasping for breath, stunned as a proverbial salty fish and open-mouthed. (No change there then, eds)

The Beeb are all very excited about this unusual use of licence fee payers money.

How much developing this scheme has cost the city's council tax payers so far, is anyone's guess.

How much it will actually cost to stage is astronomical - and rumoured to put £250 on council tax bills for every single home in Liverpool.

Nice to know your hard-earned money is being spent so sensibly, isn't it?

Of course, the Culture Company could be making yet another rod for their own backs.
Or they may be fishing for badly-needed compliments.

The Harbarrowboy could, true to form, prove as slippery as an eel and be spinning us another line. (Although the Daily Post earnestly repeated details of this bizarre plan today, apparently completely straight-faced, eds)

It could also, very obviously, be the one that got away. (Sorry about that, couldn't resist, eds)

In the meantime, if anyone would like to phone the RSPCA to protest about cruelty to the poor fish being stunned, please be our guests.

And if anyone would like to form a Capital of Culture Fish Fanciers Society, please contact us asap.

Meanwhile, we are inviting suggestions for the bands who are likely to appear at the 2008 Fish Festival in Salthouse Dock. (Of course, no one has been booked yet, eds)

Some artist suggestions:

Seal

The Sharks

Shirley Bass-ey
Eels

Kylie Minnow
Groove Armada
Cod Creole

Roachford

The Four Roll Mops
Bob Marlin and the Whalers

Songs to be sung include:

There's A Plaice For Us

Yellow Submarine

It Could Salmon to You
I Cod Have Danced All Night
You Don't Send Me Flounders Anymore
If I Cod Be With You
In The Eel Small Hours Of The Morning
Sea Eeled With A Kiss
That's a Moray
Clam Every Mountain
It Haddock Be You
When You Fish Upon A Star
I Am the Walrus
Shark! the Herald Angels Sing
You Walrus Hurt The One You Love
Sole Train
Zing! Went the Strings of My Carp
Salmon Janet Evening
Nearer My Cod To Thee
Roe, Roe, Roe Your Boat
Mackerel The Knife
Crocodile Rock

Stingray (der der der der)

Water Way To End It All

POSTCARD TO THE CULTURE COMPANY FROM THE HARBARROWBOY



Dear all,

I couldn't get any answer from Liverpool Direct, so I decided to send you a postcard instead. Probably a lot quicker.
I am having a lovely time here on the Costa Del Tanningmybacksideoff, sipping Pina Coladas.
I gather from that skinny fella who is our Communications Director - I've forgotten his name - that the Daily Post would like to interview me this week about the forthcoming 'Not the Mathew Street Festival.'
Can you just tell them that I have nipped out of the office for a quick sandwich and will be back soon?
Please don't let them find out that i have gone off on my jollies, just as everything is going pear-shaped.
If the Post are really desperate for some answers, can you get two of the girls to get off their arses and give the Post an exclusive interview about the programme for next year.
They don't need to say anything new - just the usual vague and empty promises will do.
Something along the lines of "world-beating....stunning events....Jase working his socks off...worth every penny, etc, etc." The usual bollocks.
We could even mention Pete Postlethwaite again, if we are really desperate.
Also can we slip in somewhere that the announcement about the 2008 programme will be in November, rather than next month as we originally promised?
No-one will notice and it will give me a bit more time to try and get Maccas phone number from someone who met him when he last came to Lipa.
By the way, has anyone seen the forgetful fireman recently? I hear he wants to be known as Hawkeye from now on because he will be keeping a beady watch on us all.


He may be watching us like a hawk, but he is still parrotting the same platitudes.
Perhaps he should be called The Parrott instead?

Have internal audit finished going through all my emails yet as part of their so-called "investigation"?

I wonder if they will find the emails I sent to Warren about the problems with Mathew Street? He now appears to have conveniently forgotten them - perhaps he doesn't look at his emails anymore after what happened to Storey-teller?

Anyway, I'm sure 'Cover Up' will make sure Bradley sees only what he wants him to see.

I hope all the fuss has finally died down now about that little Beatles event that we cancelled? It was crap anyway.

I imagine the Echo will have gone back to its daily diet of crime and second rate celebrities - I'm sure we could suggest a few names who could help them out on that if they need any more?

Anyway, time to go - I've got to have a look at some new property.

See you for the birthday party - Storey will be back from his jollies then too!

lots of love,

Jase xxx
- Pass the sun oil can you, darling?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

With apologies to E.J.Thribb, aged 17

So, farewell then

Mathew Street.

'And the beat goes on',

You used to sing.

Then the council

Cancelled you.

Was it a Barrowboy?

Or a fireman?

We shall never know

It will be Covered Up.

Meanwhile the empty city streets

Will Echo to the sound

Of laughter.

WHY DID WARREN BRADLEY LEAK HIS EMAILS TO DRUMMOND BONE HEAD TO THE DAILY POST?

Answers on a postcard here....
(read about the emails here...)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

ADVICE TO WARREN BRADLEY ON MATHEW STREET FESTIVAL: STOP PICKING AT AN OPEN WOUND

Dear Councillor Bradley,
You are making matters worse. Stop picking at the open wound you have created over Mathew Street.
Your chief executive Cover Up and your Culture boss the Harbarrowboy have created a god-awful gaping wound in Liverpool's self-esteem and cultural reputation, which you can't cure or cover up with a cobbled together rescue plan made of sticking plaster.
Stop parading your stupidity in public, in full view of the TV cameras.
You are only drawing further attention to your crass incompetence and lack of control over the fools at the council and the Culture Company.
Worse, the nightly updates on the telly and in the papers just pile on the agony for Liverpool.
You are making things worse for the city.
Stop it now. And instead, take tough action against those responsible.

Tony's Parrishioners

Monday, August 06, 2007

IT'S OFFICIAL: AUDIT COMMISSION'S DAMNING VERDICT ON CULTURE COMPANY: 'POOR PROSPECTS FOR IMPROVEMENT'

EXTRACT FROM 2006 AUDIT COMMISSION REPORT ON CAPITAL OF CULTURE

SUMMARY....
.....6 The Council does not adequately monitor or measure value for money within cultural services. It has some information on costs but does not routinely evaluate the relationship between service quality or service outcomes and the cost.

7 There are a number of reasons why future improvement is uncertain. There is a lack of clarity around what the Council's wider ambitions for cultural provision in Liverpool will mean for local people and how it will be delivered. Planning is dominated by the Capital of Culture and it is not clear what legacy will remain after the main festival year in 2008.

8 Although improving, performance management in cultural services has been weak and the Council's performance management framework has not been effective in measuring the impact of cultural services on local people. This means that the Council cannot always judge whether its investment is having the desired effect on improving quality of life.

9 Whilst much of the funding required to deliver Capital of Culture is already in place, the Council overall has significant financial pressures and whilst medium and longer-term financial plans are being developed, this has been slow. The Council is aware that it will not be able to sustain high levels of funding for culture and through the Culture Company is looking at future funding opportunities to ensure that plans are sustainable.

-------------------------

13 The service has uncertain prospects for improvement because:
* other than for Capital of Culture, there is a lack of clarity around what the Council's ambition and vision for cultural services will mean for local people and how it will be delivered;
* there is little recognition within high level corporate plans of the role of culture in delivering strategic priorities;
* although improving, performance management in cultural services has been weak and the Council's performance management framework has not been effective in monitoring the impact of cultural services on local people; and
* the Council has significant financial pressures in other areas which may impact on its ability to finance its cultural ambitions.

WE TOLD YOU SO!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

TONY'S BLOG UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: PITY THE CULTURE COMPANY ISN'T!

Dear loyal readers,

We have missed you.

That's why we have persuaded the legendary Tony Parrish (alive and well and living in clover, somewhere across the water, surrounded by a bevy of gorgeous followers catering to his every whim, ed) to hand over his blog to his fans (that's us, ed) so that we can carry on his good work.

And there has been no better time for a new, tougher, more uncompromising broom to sweep through Liverpool subculture than now - when the dunderheads at the Culture Company appear to have finally gone bonkers/insane/committed hara kiri - by cancelling the Mathew Street festival.

As we speak, our favourite organ, the Echo is launching a last ditch bid to hold Europe's biggest outdoor music festival (what about Glastonbury? ed) in a pub somewhere off Old Hall Street.

Our current council leader Warren Bradley has flown back from the Canary Islands, muttering "crisis, what crisis" under his breath and has also revealed his own personal 'no booze' rescue plan to save the festival.

At any moment, we are expecting Gordon Brown to divert his attention from boring foot and mouth disease and form a four piece combo with Blair, Prescott and Campbell called "the Spinners" to make a guest appearance in someone's back yard in Kensington and save the Festival.

Oh what fun we are having.

What is clear from this monumental cock-up is that the remnants of the cabal are still in control of Culture.

Bradley has allowed them to take control without the slightest effort at holding them to account.

Arrogant, unaccountable, undemocratic and a law unto themselves, Colin Cover Up and The Harbarrowboy appear to have decided amongst themselves to cancel the Mathew Street Festival.

Just like that. ("Or it could be like that" - Tommy Cooper)


Warren Bradley has professed total ignorance (no surprise there then, ed).

Which makes us wonder why anybody would want to vote Liberal Democract ever again when their leader doesn't have a clue what is going on in the city.

What's the point in voting for him then?

It seems we would be better off abolishing inconvenient elections all together and just letting Cover Up and his band of incompetents run the show forever (and award themselves huge pay rises every month, no doubt, ed)

In the meantime, Liverpool will be left to become even more of a music hall joke, scores of businesses will go to the wall, thousands of visitors will be left with nothing to do and the city will lose one of its genuinely international events.

Whats more, hard-faced Harbarrowboy and Hilton appear to have been a bit surprised by the universal outrage which has greeted their bungling decision.

Which shows how lacking in judgment they are and how little they understand the city of Liverpool.

It's a bit like the Town Clerk of Rio de Janeiro cancelling Mardi Gras and being a bit surprised that people have got just a teentsy weentsy bit upset.

What cast-iron fools we have in charge of our city.

Bradley should resign - the Mathew Street debacle happened on his watch. Professing ignorance compounds his error.

As the senior politician he must take full responsibility.

But before he goes, he should demand the resignations of both Harbarrowboy and Hilton who are complicit in the worst Public Relations disaster for Liverpool since Degsy decided to become a full-time member of the Tendency.

They are clearly incompetent and out of their depth. Their arrogance in thinking that they could get away with such a decision is typical of the cabalist rule.

They treat the people of Liverpool with utter contempt and have no respect for the city's culture, its history or how it is viewed by the outside world.
That is the only conclusion to be drawn from what Bradley himself has admitted is 'a fiasco' which now appears to be the subject of a full-scale, sadly not independent, investigation.
Even the Echo agrees and certainly the people of Liverpool must be in despair at this monumental cultural cock-up.

Time for a clear-out and a clean-up.

And time we had politicians in charge who could get a firm grip of the shower of greedy wasters at the Culture Company and the city council (preferably around the neck, ed). No one would notice any difference if the Harbarrowboy was sacked.

Either that or we could always get Warren to give Chas Cole a ring and see if he can save the day ?

Perhaps we can hold the Mathew Street Festival in Sefton, instead?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(What do you think of that for a first effort then? Not bad, though I think we could have been a bit more direct and uncompromising. Yeah, I know, i pulled a few punches didn't I? Never mind, you will get the hang of it before too long - - and there will obviously be lots more opportunities to have a go. That's true. Do you think Bradley will really sack Harbarrow? No chance, if he did he would be admitting he was in charge of a catastrophe - they will all hang on to their jobs and we will lurch on to another crisis. Suppose your right....)

COMING SOON:

REVEALED: THE HARBARROWBOY'S SECRET PROPERTY BUSINESS IN SPAIN or

"Why I go missing every Friday and have such a fetching tan" or

"No wonder the Culture Company is in such a mess when the guy in charge fucks off to the sunshine every weekend to pursue other private business interests...." (allegedly, ed)
ps you can get in touch with us at tonysparrishioners@hotmail.co.uk

How the council use Ripa to spy on you....

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