Friday, November 30, 2007

MATHEW ST SENSATION: WORLD EXCLUSIVE: LEE FORDE BLOWS THE WHISTLE ON BRADLEY AND STOREY'S PLOT TO OUST THE HARBARROWBOY

MATHEW ST scapegoat Lee Forde has blown the whistle on a conspiracy by Fireman Bradley and Storeyteller to oust bungling Culture chief Jason Harbarrowboy.


Forde has compiled an astonishingly detailed and shocking dossier which reveals how:
  • Bradley emailed Forde a day after the Mathew Street report was published

  • After blaming Forde for the Mathew St debacle, a desperate Bradley had the gall to then beg him for a meeting to discuss 'next steps'

  • Bradley disowned his council's own offical Mathew Street report - after supporting it publicly

  • At a secret meeting on Sunday in Bradley's home in Wavertree, the council leader was joined by partner in crime, former council leader Mike Storey.

  • The pair of politicians then begged an astonished Forde to hand over to them confidential documents and emails to help them get rid of the Harbarrowboy!

  • A shocked and horrified Forde decided to expose the pathetic pair for their dishonest, unscrupulous and immoral plotting.

The Forde dossier - which runs to 15 extremely readable and gripping pages - has now been deposited with the Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo, whose heavily censored versions you will be able to read tomorrow (if you can be arsed, eds).

But the full, glorious text of the dossier is now being reproduced here in yet another World Exclusive for the Liverpool subCulture blog.

And, we can reveal, Labour Leader Joe Anderson has already reported Bradley and Storey to the Standards Board and demanded a full-scale investigation into their plot and their shocking behaviour. We believe the Lib Dem pair have shown, in their disgusting treatment of Forde and their attempt to manipulate him for their own ends, that they are unfit to govern the great city of Liverpool.

Lee Forde, on the other hand, has consistently shown tremendous strength of character, a formidable determination to clear his name and admirable honesty, principle and integrity.

The Harbarrowboy of course, may take temporary comfort from Bradley and Storey being shopped trying to do him in. But, rest assured dear readers, the Harbarrowboy's days are well and truly numbered - and will be over very quickly indeed.

Bradley's 'pissed-off' emails to Forde can be found on a separate post on the aptly-named City of the Dead blog.

Liverpool deserves better - why Lee Forde blew the whistle on Bradley and Storey is on your left.

Part 2 of the 15-page report, which includes new email evidence about Mathew Street, will follow shortly (well, we need a glass or two of bubbly first to celebrate, eds)

So pull up a seat, settle down and read, in Lee Forde's own words, how the city of Liverpool's Lib Dem leadership are a couple of lying, cheating, dishonest bastards....

The Background

“Out of the blue on Sunday afternoon (November 18th), I received five separate e-mails from Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool city council.
The emails, virtually identical, had all been sent on Saturday in the space of three minutes from his private email address. Each of the emails asked for a meeting with me regarding the Mathew Street report which had been published two days earlier.
I was absolutely stunned by this approach from the Leader of the Council - the last time I had seen him was two days before, as he gave numerous interviews to the press, radio and TV in support of the findings of the city council’s report into Mathew Street. I had not expected to ever hear again from someone who had publicly condemned me so unfairly.
I was still extremely angry both about the publication of the council report and the Leader of the Council’s own comments in support of the report, which had questioned both my professionalism and my integrity. I had been blamed for the cancellation of the Festival – even though I was innocent.
Since Friday, I had been attacked by the full weight of the council machine, which had deployed considerable staff and resources to try and trash my reputation.
Its report was a complete whitewash and a disgraceful cover-up of the true circumstances which had lead to the decision by the Culture Company chief executive, Jason Harborow and city council chief executive Colin Hilton to cancel the Mathew Street festival in early August 2007, almost three months after I had submitted my resignation as Events Manager with the city council.
I had done all within my power over a period of almost a year previously to repeatedly notify my superiors in the Culture Company of the problems in staging the Mathew Street festival in 2007, as a result of the loss of the Pier Head and big cuts in funding.
I knew too that Councillor Bradley had been aware of these difficulties and my strenuous attempts to try and save the Festival. This information was noticeably absent from the council report, which had taken almost three months to produce and which had been drastically amended at the Leader of the Council’s insistence.
As a former employee, I was a convenient scapegoat, while the real culprits escaped.
Once my shock and surprise at seeing the emails had subsided on the Sunday afternoon, I agreed to Councillor Bradley’s invitation to meet, although I informed a number of people in advance. I decided that I had nothing to lose from a meeting - I wanted to find out what ‘next steps’ referred to and what his motive was.
I also intended to use the opportunity to press my case for the council’s report to be retracted and for me to be given a public apology.
Through text messages, I arranged with Councillor Bradley to go to his home on Sunday evening.
Ironically, the first and last time I had been to his home was in early August, when he had asked me to put together a rescue plan for the cancelled Mathew Street Festival, while I was serving my notice.” (See later emails)

The Meeting

Date: Sunday 18th November, 2007 - two days after the publication of the city council’s Mathew Street Report.
Venue: Councillor Warren Bradley’s home in Wavertree.
Present: Lee Forde, former Events manager, Liverpool Culture Company; Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool city council; Councillor Mike Storey, Executive Member for Regeneration and Liverpool’s 800th Birthday celebrations.

“I arrived at Councillor Bradley’s house, slightly later than we had arranged, at about 8.20pm on 18th November. I must have been a bit agitated because I had got lost several times and had to phone him to get directions. I was feeling very nervous – I did not know what to expect, or what I was walking into.
I was greeted at the front door by Councillor Bradley who shook my hand, called me ‘mate’ and ushered me inside. He thanked me for coming and offered me a drink – tea, coffee or a beer. I told him I would feel better with a beer and he fetched me a bottle of Peroni.
When he returned, he told me he had also invited Councillor Storey to attend and asked if I “was alright with that?” I told him I had nothing to hide.
Councillor Bradley explained that his wife Pauline had already gone to fetch Councillor Storey in their car.
At this stage, although outwardly calm, I was confused and completely gob-smacked at the turn of events. I could not fathom Councillor Bradley’s motive for the meeting. Nor did he immediately explain the purpose of the meeting.
While my mind raced, I could not help observe to myself that the Leader of the Council had not yet had the good grace to apologise for his role in the publication of a biased council report which had caused me, my family, my friends and colleagues so much personal upset by trying to damage my professional reputation and integrity.
Councillor Bradley then asked me how I was and mentioned that he had ‘felt sorry’ for me on Friday when, as he was giving interviews to the media at Liverpool Town Hall, he had seen me standing outside.
I had been trying to defend my reputation and integrity to the media after he had helped attack them. Councillor Bradley said he really ‘felt’ for me. This was the closest he ever came to apologising for his conduct and for the council’s report.
Just as Councillor Bradley began to explain how ‘disappointed’ he was with the report’s findings – although he had not expressed this to the media at the time - Councillor Storey arrived.
Councillor Bradley invited Councillor Storey to join us in having a beer and left the room to fetch a bottle. I and other colleagues had been told that the two men had fallen out some months before, but they appeared to be on good terms. While Councillor Bradley was out of the room, Councillor Storey asked me how I was. I told him, with some understatement, that “I have felt better” and how disappointed I had been with the council’s report.
Councillor Bradley returned and explained to Councillor Storey that he had invited me around to discuss the report’s findings, as he was unhappy with them.
Again, I wondered why he had not expressed this unhappiness to the media when he had the opportunity?
Councillor Storey (now in terrified hiding below, eds) volunteered that he had spoken to me recently and understood that I still wanted to be involved in events in Liverpool. I was not sure of the relevance of this observation.
Councillor Storey then observed that it was “ironic” that I had been attacked in the council’s report as “Lee was responsible for transforming Mathew Street from a disorganised event to a national Festival.”
Councillor Bradley immediately agreed and observed that he felt the report identified the wrong people as being responsible for the cancellation of the Festival.
I was very angry. I told him that I felt the council’s report was “full of lies”, fatally flawed and fundamentally wrong. I had been scape-goated even though I had been a loyal servant of the city, had never played any political games and had done everything to the best of my ability.
Councillor Bradley asked me why I thought the event had been cancelled.
I thought this was a bizarre question for the Leader of the Council to suddenly ask - his own council had spent three months investigating what had happened and had just published its findings! To me, it showed he had no confidence in the report and was now effectively dis-owning it. This came too late for me of course - I had been publicly attacked by his council on Friday.
I told him that the Festival had been cancelled because of poor management by senior officers of the Culture Company who had failed to replace me when I had resigned three months earlier. They had never taken Mathew St seriously and didn’t realise the value of the event and how much people in Liverpool felt about it.
I also informed Councillor Bradley that, on at least two previous occasions, Culture Company Operations Director, Chris Green had told me and members of my Events team that he would be pleased if Mathew Street was cancelled as he could use the budget elsewhere.
I told Councillor Bradley that I had been shocked when I first heard Mathew Street had been cancelled. I had not expected it.
I reminded him that at his request in early August, I had tried to put together a rescue plan to get Mathew Street back on track but that the Chief Executive of the city council, Colin Hilton had abruptly refused to allow me to go ahead. I still did not understand why he had done this.
I pointed out the obvious - that far from being responsible for the cancellation of Mathew Street - I was the one who had done all in my power to try and save it.
I told him that I had been placed in ‘an impossible situation’ because of the battle between Culture Company chief exec, Jason Harborow and Councillor Storey over funding.
I was the ‘piggy in the middle’. There had been an attempt to ‘strip the budgets out’ – reduce the funding for Mathew Street - to prevent Councilllor Storey from getting what he wanted.
I also reminded both men that I had been replaced at meetings by Mr Harborow and that the Culture Company Steering Group regularly arranged pre-meetings in order, it seemed to me, to ensure only certain information was passed to Councillor Storey.
I said that during April, while trying to sort out the problems with Mathew St, I had also been producing the major Son et Lumiere event to celebrate Liverpool’s 8ooth birthday. This was a week-long event which Councillors Bradley and Storey had both wanted and which had forced an extremely damaging £100,000 cut in the Mathew St budget. Councillor Bradley asked me how many tickets had been sold for the Son et Lumiere shows. It had been a virtual sell-out - two shows a night for seven days, attracting between 5-6,000 people. Councillor Bradley asked where the proceeds had gone from ticket sales. I was surprised that he apparently did not know the established procedure for Culture Company ticket sales.
I explained that the tickets, which were priced at £2.50 each, had been sold through the 08 Place and Liverpool Direct (LDL). Originally LDL had wanted to charge the Culture Company an administration fee, per ticket, of £2.70. In other words, the cost of admin would have been higher than the ticket price itself.
The Culture Company had therefore agreed that LDL could take all the proceeds from ticket sales as their admin fee. Both Councillor Bradley and Councillor Storey appeared genuinely shocked. I was astonished that they appeared so out of touch and ignorant of what was going on.
Councillor Bradley then asked me if I had any information that would prove senior people in the Culture Company were involved in events leading up to the cancellation of Mathew Street.
He said: “Is there anything you can get us, to get rid of Harborow? To get him out? He must have been involved in it - although the report exonerates him.”
Councillor Bradley also asked if I could access Mr Harborow’s leave records – I assumed that he believed Mr Harborow was taking more holidays than he was entitled to.
I told Councillor Bradley that I had given a huge amount of information - in the form of emails and other documents - to the council’s inquiry, which had been ignored.
I had compiled a dossier as part of my claim for constructive dismissal which was now with my legal advisor. It would come out in public when a hearing took place.
I explained that I was also currently in negotiations with the council, through ACAS. If an out of court settlement was reached, the documents might be made available. I was non-committal about this – I needed to think it through – but told them I would consult my solicitor.
As I sat in Councillor Bradley’s living room sipping my beer, I remember being completely astonished that, two days after the council had tried to destroy my own reputation, the Leader of the Council and the former Leader of the Council were now trying to involve me in a conspiracy to remove the chief executive of the Culture Company.
I was shocked that such underhand dealings could go on. It seemed to be political skulduggery of the worst kind. I have never been involved in anything remotely like this at all before. Something was clearly seriously wrong and I felt extremely uncomfortable. I felt as though my integrity was being compromised and that undue pressure for information was now being placed upon me by people who had already once tried to destroy my reputation.
I did not have an axe to grind with anyone – I had resigned because I did not believe that Mathew Street could be delivered safely for the allocated budget and that the public were being put at risk. Now I was being drawn into something else - a conspiracy. I felt I was being used to try and get rid of someone and that there was a good chance that, if their plan ever went wrong, I would again be hung out to dry as the perpetrator. Neither Councillor Bradley nor Storey had been truthful and honest with me before – after Mathew St was cancelled, Councillor Bradley told me he was going to ensure that the council report would not blame me. He had not kept that promise, even though I had tried to rescue Mathew St.
On reflection now, I believe they must have both thought I was a complete ‘sucker’ and soft touch and that they could drag me into their conspiracy to get rid of Jason Harborow.
But at the time, I was a bit bewildered, totally confused and had extremely mixed emotions - I must have been in a state of profound shock.
Councillor Bradley then questioned me about a number of matters concerning Mr Harborow and Mathew Street and also asked what I knew about a company called Solutions and if Jason Harborow was involved with them.
I told him that Mr Harborow had told me that ‘Solutions’ – a merchandising company - were friends of his and that he had worked with them in the past.
I told the councillors that Solutions were now a preferred supplier to the city council. This meant that we had to use their services, even if we could get the same or similar goods cheaper from elsewhere – there was a general understanding about this within the Culture Company.
Councillor Storey remarked: “It’s just like Liverpool Direct.” I understood him to mean by this that he thought it was a corrupt or suspect arrangement, although I personally do not know of any evidence for this.
I finally agreed that I would look and see if I had any other documentation about Mr Harborow. I left the meeting after almost two hours and we tentatively agreed to meet again.
The following morning, Monday 19th November, I telephoned Councillor Bradley and informed him that I had consulted legal advice and was unable to release any documents to anyone unless and until my case was satisfactorily settled.
I the undersigned, Lee Forde, declare this to be a true and faithful account of my meeting on Sunday November 18th, 2007 with Liverpool Council leader Cllr Warren Bradley and Regeneration leader Cllr Mike Storey.

Lee Forde

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WORLD EXCLUSIVE - MATHEW ST EMAIL SENSATION : THEY ALL KNEW SIX MONTHS BEFORE!

CITY council leader Warren Bradley, birthday boy Mike Storey, chief executive Colin Hilton and Culture boss Jason Harborow all knew about the problems with Mathew Street at least SIX MONTHS before it was cancelled.

That is clear from a confidential email which, for some strange reason, was not included in the council's controversial and officially tampered-with report.

The email, written on February 28th, is by Culture Company Operations Director Chris Green to the Harbarrowboy.

It concerns the fateful meeting on February 21st when Green met with Fireman Bradley, Story-teller and CoverUp to update all three on Mathew Street.

Green explains to Harbarrowboy that the cost of the new outdoor event Storey wanted - Son et Lumiere - had risen to £160,000 and that the budget for Mathew Street would need to be cut by £100,000, as a result.

Green then tells the Harbarrowboy:
"Given that the closure of the Pier Head had already introduced logistical problems for operating Mathew Street at the same scale as previous years..."

So Harbarrow was obviously in the loop and knew that there were problems with staging Mathew Street again this year.
Green then outlines a re-vamped proposal for Mathew Street,which has been cut by £100,000.

Green says:

"This idea was presented to Warren Bradley, Colin Hilton and Mike Storey on 21 Feb and was not accepted. Warren and Mike felt strongly that we needed to find a way to run Mathew Street on Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday/Tuesday."

In other words, both Bradley and Storey were adamant that, despite the budget being cut by £100,000, Mathew Street should not be reduced from four days to a two day festival, as Green had proposed.

Fireman Bradley of course told the world that the first he knew of any problems with Mathew Street was when Hilton phoned him on holiday in July.

Not true Fireman.

Both CoverUp and the Fireman were at the same meeting in February when the problems were raised and proposals for reducing Mathew Street were put forward.

But according to Green's email, both the Fireman and Story-teller insisted that the Festival should go ahead as they wanted, despite them having cut the budget.

The email - which is reproduced in full below, demonstrates that both Bradley, Storey and Hilton too, have repeatedy and outrageously lied about their knowledge and involvement in the Mathew Street debacle.

The Harbarrowboy responds by promising Green that he will raise the issue at EMT - the city council's Executive Management Team which is chaired by Hilton, who reports to Bradley.

Perhaps Jase forgot to raise it?

Or perhaps Hilton was hiding under his desk with cotton wool stuffed into his ears?

Perhaps CoverUp had a severe attack of laryngitis and could not speak to Bradley about it for six months?

Perhaps someone could ask for the minutes of the EMT?

You may also find it strange, dear readers, that this email exchange is not included in the official report?

Why do you think it has not been included?

Perhaps the Gang of Four are suggesting that Green, who has since quit of course, is really the liar and that his email is a complete fabrication?


But what motive would he have to lie?

He wrote his email six months ago.

It is a contemporaneous account of what happened - as opposed to the convenenient memory loss apparently suffered now by Bradley, Storey, Hilton and Harbarrow.

This is the truth:

All four of them knew about the problems at least six months before Mathew Street was cancelled.

All four of them knew that the budget cuts had compounded the problems.

All four of them have repeatedly and consistently lied about their knowledge and involvement.

All four of them - because they are disgraceful , dishonourable and sickening cowards - have sought to blame Lee Forde for what went wrong.

Lee Forde is the one who has told the truth.

Lee Forde is the only man who has acted honourably.

And Lee Forde is the one who is now being scapegoated by these bastards.

Here is the email: Judge for yourselves.

-----Original Message-----

From: Harborow, Jason
Sent: 02 March 2007 00:06
To: Green, Chris
Cc: Forde, Lee
Subject: Re: MATHEW STREET FESTIVAL

I will raise at EMT

Jason Harborow
Chief Executive
Liverpool Culture Company
PO Box 2008
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
Tel: + 44 (0) 151 233 5441
Fax: + 44 (0) 151 233 6333

----- Original Message -----
From: Green, Chris
To: Harborow, Jason
Cc: Forde, Lee
Sent: Wed Feb 28 11:31:01 2007
Subject: MATHEW STREET FESTIVAL

Jas,

I've reviewed the overall events budget and the operational options with Lee and the following is a statement of where we stand.

Do you want this to be put to the Strategic Steering group this week?

In the planning for 'one off' events for 2007 in the second half of lastyear we started to look at the feasibility of a major public event duringthe week commencing 23 April. The steering group agreed that we should progress the idea of a week long 'Son et Lumiere' event, the initial cost for which was estimated at c £70k. This was not in the year's budgets.

A more accurate costing has since produced a budget need for £160k.

This wasreported to the Mike Storey and he asked us to try to find a way of re-allocating budgets so that we could pay for this event and an increase in the budgets for the Pageant and Squares activity on 28th August.

Following the budget review at the Culture Co Awayday on 14th Feb all of the Events Budgets for 2007 had been reviewed and where possible savings made.
However, the only substantial budgets where significant savings were feasible were:

Mathew St Festival £500k
August 28th Fireworks £375k
Police Costs £250k

Given that the closure of the Pier Head had already introduced logistical problems for operating Mathew Street at the same scale as previous years, it was provisionally agreed that for 2007 Mathew St Festival could consist of five stages in and around the City Centre on Monday 27th August, with two ofthose stages being retained for the 'party' on Tuesday 28th August.

This would produce an estimated saving of £100k, which together with smaller scale savings fro some other event budgets would fund the 'Son et Lumiere'event.

This idea was presented to Warren Bradley, Colin Hilton and Mike Storey on 21 Feb and was not accepted.

Warren and Mike felt strongly that we needed to find a way to run Mathew Street on Saturday and Sunday as well asMonday/Tuesday.

Lee and I believe that if Mathew St is to remain in the City Centre there are only two realistic options and with both of these options there will still be a significant number of other agencies required to approve this before we go ahead.

Option 1
Two stages on Mann Island/the Strand for Saturday Sunday and Monday,increasing to five with the addition of Derby Square, Dale St and Williamson Square for Monday and the retention of the Derby and Williamson Square stages for Tuesday.
The main logistical issue here is the closing of the Strand for three days,which the police have already intimated will be objected to - not least byGrosvenor.
This would not produce any cost saving on the budget of £500k.

Option 2
A stage on St George's Plateau for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,with additional stages on the Strand and Derby Square for the Monday; DerbySquare to be retained for the Tuesday as well.
The main logistical issue with this option is that the capacity of St George's Plateau would be limited and it may require the closure of Lime Street at some times - this was objected to by Merseytravel last year.
This is unlikely to produce any saving on the budget of £500k.

We have looked at a third option where we operate MSF through indoor venues across the City on Saturday and Sunday and have the five stages as per Option 1 for the Monday, reducing to two on Tuesday 28th August.

However, this would require significant increase in admin effort to organise and ticket the events in venues and we do not believe the capacities exist in venues.

All bar venues already operate at full capacity and programme activity.

In terms of the major venues the only exception last year I think were the Royal Court and RLPO who in themselves would not produce enough capacity to deal with the expected crowds.

Conclusion
We have not been able to identify an option which would allow the festival to operate for 3 days and produce the saving needed to cover the costs of the Son et Lumiere event.
The only option therefore appears to be to reduce the budget for fireworks on the 28th August. However, this would undoubtedly create a serious PR issue if we were not seen to undertake a decent display.

Chris Green
Operations Director
Liverpool Culture Company
PO Box 2008
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
Tel: +44 (0) 151 233 1106
Fax: +44 (0) 151 233 6333
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7841 295 254

Liverpool - European Capital of Culture 2008

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. Thank you

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MATHEW STREET COVER UP CAPTION COMPETITION


Our picture shows the Four Tops - a defiant Lee Forde, a supportive Matt Finnegan, an astonished David Bartlett (DPost) and a world-weary Larry Neild (DPost/Radio City Talk) outside the Town Hall after the city council's sensational cover-up.

A ticket to the Mathew Street Festival 2008 for the best picture caption...

Friday, November 16, 2007

DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH: AN ASTONISHING SPECTACLE

And so it came to pass....

Congratulations firstly to Lee Forde for a brave and principled stand in the great traditions of David versus Goliath.

The shocked and angry expression on the face of Fireman Bradley today, as the media clustered around the city's former Events chief, was truly a delight to behold.

For some obscure reason, the Fireman and his accomplices, Story-teller and Cover Up, seemed to have forgotten that Lee Forde is a true son of the city.

Ie: he will take no shit from anyone.

These three powerful men resorted to secrecy, smears and lies to try and trash the reputation of one of the city's decent public servants.

They failed.

Mr Forde's reputation is today intact - because he employed weapons of truth, honesty and courage to defend himself.

A guilty man does not stand outside Liverpool Town Hall inviting the media to interrogate him.

A guilty man acts like Warren Bradley, hiding in the Town Hall and hurriedly scuttling away from the scene of his crimes.

(Or a guilty man swings in his hammock, munching ice creams and murmuring 'manana', eds)

Storey-teller, who has a streak of cowardice a foot wide running down the entire length of his missing spine, was, of course, nowhere to be seen at today's festivities.

Even though it was his £100,000 cut in the budget which prompted the entire Mathew Street debacle in the first place. Disgraceful.

Colin CoverUp, meekly cowering behind his desk in the MO like a third rate bureaucrat, was protesting that the Mathew Street Inquiry Report was "the Leader's report, not the city councils." What a weasel.

In a sense, however, CoverUp is correct. The inquiry report was not an official city council report at all.


In terms of the extraordinarily inappropriate language used, its juvenile sniping tone, disgraceful manipulation of the facts and wholsesale misrepresentation of the evidence, it owed more to a dog-eared airport paperback, than an official report on behalf of Merseyside's biggest public body.

Of course, the report had been delayed for three months partly to allow Fireman Bradley and the Storyteller to hire hands from the PR world to re-write and spin it.

Contemptible.

It was an exercise in wholesale character assassination and scapegoating the like of which we have never seen in Liverpool before.

Neither Bradley, Storey, Hilton or the Harbarrowboy (laughing all the way to the bank in his Spanish hacienda, eds) were to blame for Mathew Street. It was all little Lee Forde's fault.

So outside Liverpool Town Hall today, it was, literally, David versus Goliath.

When is the great city of Liverpool ever going to have a civic leadership which is prepared to step forward and take responsibility for its actions?

With this gutless shower of Lib Dems? Never.

And now a word or two about our friends in the media....

(Here we go, eds)

The cancellation of Mathew Street was one of the worst public relations disasters - and most costly blunders - experienced by Liverpool for a generation.

But it was also the visible culmination of a catalogue of mismanagement, incompetence and stupidity from the Culture Company.

This organisation has been a shambles for the city ever since Sir Diddy hatched its misbegotten birth.

Nothing new here for the papers, then.

We simply ask of the media, especially our friends at the craven Echo: "Why did you not focus on the little man, the David battling the city council Goliath with all its huge resources, power and corruption?

"Why did you lazily and meekly reproduce the discredited conclusions of an obviously tampered report -and not give equal space to the accused?

"Why are you so far up yourselves, that you cannot see what is being done in the name, unbelievably, of local democracy in your own city?"

Timewasters.

What was news today was the truly shocking spectacle of Liverpool's current political and managerial leadership openly and cynically trying to shift the blame for Mathew Street onto the innocent.

These men have no shame. No conscience. No integrity.

Morally bankrupt. Emotionally vacant. Politically inept.

And, we vow, you won't escape that easily....

Monday, November 12, 2007

MATHEW STREET SENSATION: STORYTELLER THREATENS TO SUE CITY IF SECRET REPORT IS PUBLISHED


FORMER city council leader Mike Storey is threatening legal action to prevent the secret Mathew Street report being published.

Storey-teller has told the city council he will sue if they make the report available.

Why?

Because it is Storey who has been fingered by the report for giving the go-ahead for £150,000 to be cut from the Mathew Street budget.

The finger is also pointing at him for being present at a meeting with the Harbarrowboy when he was told the event would have to be cancelled.

Labour Leader Joe Anderson has already established that as far back as last November, Storey was warning that the Mathew Street Festival might need to be moved from the city centre to Sefton Park.

He was the least surprised person in the city when the Harbarrowboy gave Mathew Street the chop.

The secret report is amazingly now in the hands of an incredibly expensive top QC at Fireman Bradley's insistence.

It apparently makes it clear that Storey is ultimately responsible for cancelling Mathew Street.

So now the great Cover-up by Colin has become crystal clear (shome mistake, shurely? eds)

Chief executive Hilton has been protecting the Lib Dems from another monumental political disaster.

If the report is published it will immediately become clear that Storey-teller is heavily implicated in the Mathew Street debacle.

Storey would have to resign both as the city's regeneration boss and 700th Birthday Boy.

It would be a second political humiliation from which he could never recover.

And he would probably have to also go as a city councillor (Sir Diddy must be loving this, eds)

His resignation would be a hammer blow to the Fireman's credibility - Bradley has given constant preferment to Storey, who has always been his political mentor.

And it would be another astonishing political defeat for the deflated Lib Dems.

To misquote the immortal Oscar Wilde, losing Storey once may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose him a second time looks like carelessness....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

WHAT PRICE A LEGACY FOR 2008? WELL, £60,000 WILL DO VERY NICELY FOR ME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH....

LIVERPOOL 'Phil' boss Mick Elliott has trousered an extra £60,000 for spending two days a week with the Culture Company.

Astonishingly, Elliott is supposed to have been building a legacy for 2008!

But evidence of the "lasting legacy" which has been developed by energetic Elliott, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic , has so far proved extremely difficult to find.

He is known instead for popping into the Fun Palace now and again, sitting dumbly in a few meetings and failing to make any creative contribution to proceedings.

So negligible has been been his impact, that one senior Culture Company official was recently overheard to ask in all seriousness "who is that grey man sitting in the corner who never says anything?"

Culture watchers have been astonished to learn that for his miserable and increasingly obscure 'efforts', Elliott has been rewarded with 60 grand of council taxpayer's money.


Fireman Bradley then gave him direct responsibility for ensuring there was a legacy post 2008.

Council taxpayers already heavily subsidise the Phil of course - and Elliott's rumoured £200,000-a-year salary - to the tune of more than £1.3million every year.
So an extra £60,000 in Elliott's back pocket for not doing very much is neither here nor there really.

Just a drop in the ocean.

Meanwhile, the Culture Company has long since stopped talking about the 14,000 new jobs for Liverpool that were promised from 2008.

Nor does it mention the £1 billion worth of extra investment that it used to confidently forecast would be attracted to Liverpool.

Nor, especially after the Mathew Street debacle, does the Culture Company brag anymore about the millions of extra tourists who will supposedly be attracted to Liverpool by the 'best ever' Capital of Culture.

Indeed, the only eye-watering numbers that the Culture Company is now associated with is the millions of pounds in salaries which have been paid out like confetti to fat cats, failed PR agencies and cashing-in consultants.

Not to mention the tens of millions of pounds which have been wasted by the Harbarrowboy and Donald Bullshitter's mismanagement and incompetence.

Can any readers - or Mr Elliott's friends or supporters - please explain exactly what he has been doing to build a lasting legacy for Liverpool which has earned him such a princely sum?

We will be delighted to make the blog available for any further revelations....

Monday, November 05, 2007

THE CULTURE COMPANY: BACK TO THE FUTURE

Correction to e-blast information‏
From: 08 Ambassadors (register@liverpool08.com)

Sent: 05 November 2007 14:47:18
Reply-to: register@liverpool08.com
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Ambassadors,

Please note that the date for the Garden Party featured in yesterday's e-blast is incorrect. The correct date for this event is Saturday November 3, 2pm to 7pm.
We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.
For further information please visit Liverpool08.com

Kind regards

Liverpool08

Friday, November 02, 2007

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE HARBARROWBOY....


The following is an amazingly funny interview with the Harbarrowboy in the city council's magazine, Council People. The ironies are delicious. So make yourself a brew, pull up a chair and enjoy. Our comments, are of course, in red....

Driving ambition
Council People may have met Jason Harborow out on the road on the 08 bus but his own ambitions - for the city and for himself - are more sky-high than just getting from A to B.
The Liverpool Culture Company chief tells us why this city is on a roll and how after a great 2008, 2009 and beyond will be just fine too! (Doesn't make sense, but let that pass)


For you where did the road to the Culture Company start? (ditto)
I left school at 16 and went on a Youth Training Scheme and began working as a lifeguard in a sports centre, so right from the start I have always worked in sport and leisure. I came to this part of the world to work for Wirral Borough Council and settled here. To be given a chance to be involved with what I consider to be my home city (despite the fact that I have a wooly back accent and wouldn't know one end of the city from another) was an opportunity too good to be missed.
I love work and I love what I am involved in now. (especially the huge dosh and the freebies)
Tell us about your school days. Were you a swot or a skiver?!
Neither really! (I was just a hairy-arsed blagger) I was good at sports and got through school being the best rugby player and the best sprinter and that enabled me to get round teachers in a way that I might otherwise not have been able to! I loved school and threw myself into school life in a big way. (Then I got excluded for trying to sell the other kids bikes at break-time)
I'm one of those sad parents who tells their children their school days are the best days of their lives! [Jason has a six-year old daughter as well as two stepchildren]. (although the Culture Company has been like a bloody kids playground ever since I was put in charge)
What's it like working in Liverpool?
Very challenging. Everyone knows everyone, (except we don't know who that Tony Parrish fella is) everybody's got an opinion on everything. These are all things that can conspire against you if you don't approach them in a positive way but if you do, it can also be your greatest strength. (and I can always fuck off to Spain with the proceeds anyway)
All eyes are on the Culture Company. How do you cope with some of the press coverage?
There's no other local organisation that has the scrutiny the Culture Company has. (This is me talking utter bollocks of course, but she is still writing it all down - we have got away with absolute murder. No one knows where all the money has gone. Lets keep it that way).That does come with its pressures and there are times when we feel that the criticism is not as fair as it could be but I have to keep the team motivated and keep them well informed so they don't find out things through the papers. (I am taking the piss here - staff get the mushroom treatment from me)
Generally, the media is very kind to us (especially since we have bought off the Echo, Post, Radio City and Murkeyside) and we have always got to take it on the chin. You're always going to have a mixture of good and bad and it's a question of being able to deal with it, of being mature. (So when things like Mathew Street happen, I won't go running away from the TV cameras like an overgrown schoolboy and then hide away in Spain counting my loot and pretending I have done nothing wrong.)
What has been the highlight since you've joined the Culture Company?
The way in which the perception of Liverpool has clearly changed. When I used to go down to London in 2004 you still used to hear all the old stereotypical jokes and comments whereas now we are looked upon as a serious operator, a grown-up city and are asked for advice and guidance. (I am really taking the piss now. We have, of course set back Liverpool's image for decades because of our mishandling and incompetence. No-one listens to us in Whitehall or Westminster. We have spent a fortune on personal PR for me and my mates in the Culture Company and it still hasn't worked. And we have betrayed the city and thrown away its best chance in a generation. But I am laughing all the way to the bank, suckers!)
Come 1 January 2009, what will Liverpool be left with, other than a sore head?!
08's main legacy will be confidence. (Did I really say that? And they have put it in the paper too! Gullible fools!) We need to be proud of what we have here and get used to talking it up like other cities which have undergone a big change like Manchester.
Also, I don't think we really understand yet the impact the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool will have. (Chas will get very rich from it and will look after his mates)
You're now heading up the Culture, Media and Sport portfolio, what excites you about that?
I am lucky really, I've got the fun portfolio! (and £150 grand a year with 10 per cent Performance Related bonus every year. Its fookin fantastic. And I don't have to do a dickey bird except cock things up! The fireman and his fools have fallen for me getting a job with the council hook, line and sinker!) It's very high profile in that everything we do is public-facing. Coming up, we've got the new 50-metre pool opening and the refurbishment of Central Library. But our main job when 2009 arrives is that we don't slip into the situation where there's not as much happening as before. (This is meaningless gibberish, but she is writing down every fucking word I say, I can't believe it!! I hope she doesn't ask how many jobs will have been created, how many lives have been changed for the better, or how many deprived communites in Liverpool have been given new hope and investment. Because its a big, fat zero - unlike my bank balance. Bloody hell, what a great life I've got. Pass me a raspberry ripple, someone.)
Any ambitions left?
To get my pilot's licence. (And to fly away from here as fast as possible)
Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?
Happy! And spending more time with my family. (Chillin' in the hacienda)

MATHEW ST/MTV/'SONG FOR LIVERPOOL'....AND THE HITS GO ON!


WHILE we're on the subject of hits....

There were almost 5,000 hits on Liverpool subCulture last month - the highest monthly total for 2007.

Exactly 4,775 hits were recorded during October, the highest number on record (geddit?eds).

Visitors included the Audit Commission (regulars, eds), the BBC, unholy Trinity Mirror (virtually full-time on line, eds), JMU, Knowsley, The Mersey Partnership (loyal readers, eds), LIPA, FACT and the usual suspects - Liverpool Direct, the Palace of Westminster, various PR companies in Liverpool and London and other interesting passers-by.

Sir Diddy has been logging on regularly from Hawarden Golf Club - one of his favourite clubs -and the smiling assassin Hasitall is a regular reader out in Formby.

Of course we have also had the same visitor, but with different IP addresses, from sunny Spain (hiya Jase! - You don't have to keep on moving to internet cafes, unless the Rottweiller is after you! eds).

But there have also been visitors to our little Liverpool on-line community from the Netherlands, USA and South America (buenos dias senors and senoritas, eds)

On a daily basis, about 200 people log into Liverpool subCulture regularly - but on Tuesday, for example, 308 logged on to read all about the trio's exciting trip to MTV in Munich.

In total, Liverpool subCulture has had 38,400 hits in its short but eventful life, Gossip has had 18,166 rumour-mongers and City of the Dead has had 17,640 serious-minded devotees of the machinations of Liverpool's local government scene. Henshaw and the evil cabal has chalked up a creditable and extremely devoted anti-cabalist audience of 13, 047.

And we love you all !!!!!!! (toss of hair, blowing of kisses, fluttering of eyelashes, eds)

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

Random Photos