Saturday, April 05, 2008


The mess surrounding the Paul McCartney concert at Anfield is even worse than we first feared.
As one of our commentators has already pointed out Macca’s appearance fee is £300,000 - which he is donating to LIPA.
Fair enough.
But far more obscure talents have already done far better at raking in the dosh than the millionaire ex-Beatle.
At the last count, and before Macca has even plucked a chord, the fees paid to consultants have so far reached more than half a million quid!
The army of get-rich-quick consultants includes ex-BBC producer Lorna Dickinson, who, astonishingly, was hired specifically for the McCartney gig way back in July 2006!
She has spent the last two years exciting the CoC dimwits by parroting breathtaking broadcasting blarney about global DVD and TV rights.
Dickinson, who commutes from London, conjured up visions of:

  • Arabs in the souk sitting in their tents watching their new Sony TV’s and marvelling at the new Liverpool.
  • The lads in Afghanistan would be pausing from lobbing stuff at the Taliban, to express their profound astonishment at the transformation which the Lib Dims had achieved.
  • Barack Obama would be booking a satellite link to Anfield so he could address the crowds gathered on the Kop to congratulate them on the regeneration they had achieved.

That was her story anyway.
The Lib Dim fells for all this of course and kept on signing her invoices.
The Harbarrowboy and Donald Bullshitter believed that they needed someone like Dickenson with “TV experience” – despite already paying ex-Beeb reporter, Paul ‘Randy’ Newman £75,000 a year for failing to communicate anything as CoC Director of Communications.
Dickinson’s first contribution to the planning for the Macca concert was indeed unforgettable – it was she who came up with the now infamous Salthouse Dock ‘stun the fish’ scheme.
She was promoting this bonkers idea for months, giving rise to strong suspicions that she had shares in a Grimsby fishmongers.
She wooed the na├»ve and impressionable Lib Dims - Storeyteller, the Fireman and Berni Turnip in particular - with tales of sensational camera angles; world-class river frontages illuminated behind Macca’s left shoulder; Oprah Winfrey outside the Town Hall talking to the Leader who had masterminded this global event; CNN, NBC, Al Jazeera and billions of satellite trucks turning up to film the Lib Dims who had made it all happen.
The Salthouse Dock scheme then went deservedly down the drain – taking £250,000 of council taxpayers money with it.
Dickinson has since been sensibly taking a back seat role – ie, buggering off to 'high-level' very important meetings - while still pocketing her, wait for it, £100,000-a-year consultancy fees.
The truth is no-one has any idea what she has actually done, except attend interminable planning meetings, go off to talk to more people and heap huge loads of bullshit all over the 3rd floor of the Fun Palace.
So, after almost two years, what has been the result?
No global DVD rights – Macca wouldn’t allow it.
No global TV audience.
And no 'cost neutral' scenario. The Lib Dim council have overspent by £2.5million already.
It is still unclear with less than two months to go, what the BBC are actually going to broadcast. The Beeb haven’t revealed their plans (no trailers or hype so far, eds) because they still don’t know who is appearing!

The genius Elvis Costello will be joining his mate Macca (good move, eds), but as for the rest of the international, world-class, global, solar system, Milky Way, superstar line-up, no-one has a clue.
There was talk by Donald Bullshitter – who has officially forbidden any mention of ‘cancellation’ a la Mathew Street - of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake and Muse and the Foo Fighters.
But none have materialised.
Our Lord Redmond is now talking about a simultaneous tele-cast event at the Arena.
All kinds of star names are still being bandied about, while the problems increase, the number of consultants rises, the budget goes out of control and the costs soar.
Meanwhile the Lib Dims are closing old people’s homes and slashing £62 million from council services.


Anonymous said...

They do have eight weeks to go so they could book a load of A Class artists as they are mostly sitting around doing nothing - NOT !!!

Capital of Cock ups rides again who will they blame when this goes tits up? Lorna Dickhead? or some unsuspecting council officer from the events team?

Is Lorna Dickhead the only consultant getting paid to do nothing on this show?

I bet there are a lot more!

Former Care Worker said...

Can anybody please tell me how I can become one of these lucky consultants for CoC? The more I read the more I realise that Ive got exactly the right skills and attitude for it. I never see these jobs advertised in the Echo, is there a specialist recruiter firm to approach or something?

nil desperandum said...

Dear Former Care Worker,

I fear you'd be unsuitable on several counts. To be a media consultant, you need:

* to be from London
* to be from a public school
* to have family in Hampshire
* to shop in Sloane Street
* to bray and hoot
* to say "fabulous, just fabulous" whenever your paymaster speaks
* to have the brains of a fish; the integrity of Phil Redmond; and above all, to know exactly how to avoid doing anything useful for any other human being

If you think this is you, let the Culture Co know soon

Anonymous said...

what does anyone know of common purpose and who is involved?

nil desperandum said...

Common Purpose is a business leaders' networking outfit. It seeks to train future leaders, and place them in positions of social responsibility. Some believe it is a shadowy organisation, akin to the Masons. But it isn't really. It is active in Liverpool.

Why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

I ask because if they are active, of influence and 'leading' this city and its quango's - it would be useful to know who is involved. Lets face it things aren't going well - hence this blog -be good to know if Common Purpose is helping or hindering?
Also they use "Chatham House Rule" "- which means everything is secret- and members have alligence to this above their own public role....Strange for a charity?
'Common Purpose' sounds like they are acting on behalf of something or someone - is it the people of Liverpool. Hopefully yes, so some answers re: members and activities and funding would be interesting?

Below a quote from their latest news update where they say their members are leading change in Liverpool?! And they are arranging a briefing for decision makers to challenge them with their controversial proposals??

Oh why do you say people believe it is shadowy? It does appear very mason like I must say.

""Liverpool City Region
Liverpool City Region is a distinctive urban area, internationally recognised through Liverpool's attack brand, and stimulated by its award of European Capital of Culture for 2008. It is of pivotal importance to the North West Region and the North of England, and has aspirations to become a world class City, and it is well on the way to achieving this goal. Led, it must be said, by Common Purpose graduates from all over Merseyside, and from all sectors and professional disciplines.

As part of this process, and under “The Northern Way” scheme, Liverpool will soon become the hub of the new Liverpool City Region. The putative boundaries of this new geographical, economic, and social region would encompass the existing area of Merseyside County, plus towns in North Wales, Chester, parts of Warrington, and areas of south Lancashire.

Naturally, the proposals are controversial and, in fact, I am holding a special briefing session for members of the local Common Purpose Graduate and Supporter Network, in the next few weeks, to clarify the position, and to give people and opportunity to learn more about the proposals, and to question the decision-makers.""

PM Swimmer said...

Anonymous, just to let you know liverpool is pretty miffed at the Northern Way at the moment and feel that they are being left out of this initiative which generally sings the praises of the Manchester and Leeds regions.

To be fair Northern way are trying to pretend that Merseyside/ Liverpool City Region doesn't exisit because they don't believe that they are going to be able to have so much as a quick chat about cooperating with disintegrating into an all out public civil war.

Oh and Chatham House Rule doesn't mean discussions should be secret its actually meant to do the opposite. The chatham house rule is meant to allow everyone to say what they want without fear because although it will be reported it won't be reported exactly who said what.
i.e. it won't say X from LCC said'.....'
but should say '...... was said'

Inn Cider said...

I think that the Macca gig even at 2.5 million is a good deal.
Dont agree with all the consultants but did people think that the Capital of Culture events would not cost anything?

The clipper race costs in excess of a million pounds and brings no benefit or worthwhile media coverage to the city yet Warren Bradley has personally insisted the city is to run it for the past three times.
Now that is a disgusting shamefull waste of money to a bunch of hooray henry tosspots, but it gives old comedy tits something to do.
Cilpper race for three years was 3.6 million pounds - shamefull.
Macca is worth 2.5 million to do a global televised show.
Put it in perspective - cut the crap like clipper and gives us the events that provide the required (promised) impact.
We are repositioning the city on the world stage for christ sake.

Anonymous said...

pm Common Purpose

I'm glad your take on Chatham House Rules is one of openness not secrecy. Perhaps you could point me the direction of some of this 'information' produced in 'meetings' and who are the 'members'? Its reassuring to know this will be in the public domain.....but where????

nil Common Purpose
You say a 'leaders' network for Liverpool - Is this elected leaders? And shouldn't 'leaders' be representative of someone as opposed to networking in secret, wielding unaccountable influence. Their website says they are preparing for a 'post-democratic era and seek to train to lead beyond authority' -odd to me.

Have either of you been involved with Common Purpose?

Anonymous said...

I suspect some of these overpaid consultants probably are part of some kind of cronie club. Never heard of Common Purpose so am surprised to hear of its significant involvement.

nil desperandum said...

Yes, I've been invited to Common Purpose meetings a while back, mainly to brief people on stuff I know about. What I had to say wasn't and isn't secret.

It was a bit like talking to the Chamber of Commerce - small businessmen, minor players. It felt like a benign version of the Rotary Club. It wasn't and isn't a conspiracy. To my knowledge, it is unattached politically. And as far as I'm able to tell, there's nothing secretive or hostile to democracy in it.

That said, I doubt Common Purpose will be leading the peoples' revolution any time soon.

My view: move on; this is a distraction

PM Swimmer said...

I don't knw about common purpose though it sounds like half a dozen other bulsh*t clubs / training networks that thrive because they make those that go feel like they are special and very important because they've been invited. I'd be more concerned about how much they cost rather than them being some kind of effective cabal. Lets face it if your recruiting your members from the likes of COC management your not going to be more Frank Spencer than SPECTRE.

Though frankly I have to say that the fact that daft stuff like common purpose, the Sirolli institute, downtown liverpool and the like seems to thrive in Liverpool surely should be a huge concern to us all. Why are those in management roles in Liverpool so in awe of these snake oil salesmen?

As for the Chatham House rule, I'm only explaining how it should be used not, I have no power to make others interpert the rule correctly, mores the pity. All I can say in the past is I've been in meetings where people were able to honestly criticise their own and other organisations very very forcefully because they knew that when the minutes were reported although their concerns would be reported they wouldn't be named as having raised the issue. Lets face it with the kind of petty leadership we have here steps need to be taken to protect those who would stick their head above the parapet. .

nil desperandum said...

Downtown Liverpool is simply a vehicle for promoting that 100% sleaze-bucket, Frank McKenna - a bigger pile of dog poo cannot be found in this city.

PM Swimmer is quite right about 'Chatham House' rules. They are essential if mature, honest and trusted discussions are to take place between people whose public positions may be, for many good reasons, politically opposed or organisationally constrained.

If participants feel their candid comments are going to be reported or attributed to them in public, they will simply stay silent. Then no dialogue is possible. That way lies ruin

Anonymous said...

From what I've read and my personal experience, Common Purpose should be open enough to report who is a 'member leader' and what their common purpose is doing or achieving.

I am not a believer in using public money (or private) to fund secret training and networks. If these Chatham House Rules are so useful what (or where) has been the output of such candid sharing??

You believe they are a distraction yet they believe they are significantly influencing the decisions within Liverpool. And with 100000 trained leaders across this country alone, I would hardly say inept? If profit is not their motive (a charity) what is- for the love of being secret networkers?

I'm sorry but if different people can't discuss issues that affect us all without telling us what they are talking about and with whom - then I have questions too!

The fact all the quangos, management, media, health, business , legal groups etc. have a connection with this group should raise a few eyebrows before complete dismissal.

Where is the interest in the people's voice in all this. Common Purpose are by their nature undemocratic, secretive, self-selecting and influential. Some-time they will need to be dealt with.

Stop Common Purpose said...

Common Purpose is a corrupt organisation which must be stopped:

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

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