Windows for Dummies – August 2016

13th August 2016

 

WINDOWS FOR DUMMIES

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#Brickgate FOI request – A response is in from Merseyside Police

12th August 2016

We lodged the following FOI request on 2nd August 2016:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/alleged_brick_thrown_through_comhttps://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/alleged_brick_thrown_through_com

brickgate foi request to merseyside police

The police say they are not obliged to supply most of the information and have responded with exemptions under Section 30 (Criminal investigations and proceedings) and Section 21 (Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means).

Here’s the lowdown on these two exemptions from the regulator, the Information Commissioner:

Section 30

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1205/investigations-and-proceedings-foi-section-30.pdfhttps://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1205/investigations-and-proceedings-foi-section-30.pdf

Section 21

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1203/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdfhttps://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1203/information-reasonably-accessible-to-the-applicant-by-other-means-sec21.pdf#

Here is a link to Merseyside Police’s detailed response:

00.Response Table PIT DJ 2016 807 MERPOL

The only point they’ve addressed is the first one, answering ‘yes’ – they did visit Sherlock House, the site of the criminal damage incident.

We’re left none the wiser on everything else and it is necessary to ask the police to internally review their response.  Apologies to any reader who thinks we’re wasting public money by labouring the point, but at least 12 large circulation newspapers have been laced with foreseeable and avoidable inaccuracies since the original stories were published on 12th July and there seems to be no desire on the part of these newspapers to acknowledge the printing of falsehoods, to retract or to apologise.

The risk is that this false information – which links Corbyn supporters to the incident – will have unfairly influenced the minds of members of the public, some of whom will get a chance to cast their vote in the forthcoming Labour Party Leadership Ballot.

Given today’s Appeal Court decision, where 100,000 plus new Labour members will after all be prevented from voting, it’s possible that this false information – which needs publicly retracting – could swing the minds of enough voters and persuade them to crown Owen Smith – Angela Eagle’s successor – as the new leader, which will have been foreseeable, avoidable and be simply outrageous.

In support of their choice of Section 21 as an exemption, the police have pointed me to Viscount Rothermere’s The Daily Mail for the information.  For now at least, I reserve comment on this.

We still don’t know whether a brick was thrown and whether the police acknowledge that Angela Eagle’s office window was not broken, although they appear to have told Peter Hitchens that this was the case according to his recent article in the Mail on Sunday.

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Angela Eagle’s 17 whistleblowers – The Eagle 17 – Are they REAL?

7th August 2016

Angela Eagle, failed Labour leadership candidate, has referred publicly in the press to a group of 17 unnamed people she describes as ‘whistleblowers’.  This group have made allegations and are presumably at some point going to expand their case further with details of alleged instances of abuse, intimidation and homophobia.

Presumably, the accused persons involved will shortly receive full details of all the allegations along with dates and times and the identities of their accusers, in order to have an opportunity to mount a defence in accordance with due process.

Articles were put out in two newspapers, one local, one national, on 2nd August, with the allegations referred to arising much earlier.  Presumably this group of 17 are all connected to the Labour party and are supporters of Angela Eagle in some way.

Liverpool Echo

The Guardian

As a group, they appear to share the same objective, which is odd for so many people. The size of the group is also unusual.  Whistleblowers predominantly appear alone, or occasionally in small clusters of 3 or 4 at the most.

It takes courage to do this alone, and whistleblowers generally put their heads over the parapet and speak up – without malice aforethought – without regard for their own safety – when they hold concerns that there have been one or more failures, their employer is responsible, but has failed to act when they should have done.

Almost by default, up and down the UK, whistleblowers are encouraged to notify early, and follow internal procedures in order to keep the process manageable, and in order to work with their employer towards a mutually acceptable outcome.

That said, we’re having a spot of trouble with the case of the Eagle 17.

Our admittedly limited information tells us some of them are employees, some are Wirral councillors and the rest are of unknown, undeclared status.  Whether they have colluded in order to compare notes, share and collate their information remains unclear.

Another aspect to this is that should this group not be made up of genuine whistleblowers – which we don’t feel it is – it would damage the positions of real whistleblowers, i.e. real workers who have notified of serious issues in good faith and have taken the consequences square on.  To feign such good honour and integrity for one’s own advantage and thereby erode others’ cases is frankly shameful and despicable.

Whistleblowing, when seen to be done in good faith, is a ‘protected’ action under an Act of Parliament known as PIDA – the full name being the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  This Act was championed [horrible word, we know] and brought in by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1998 as an amendment to the Employment Act 1996, with the intention of protecting employees who had concerns that their employer was either conducting itself illegally, immorally, damaging the environment, or was deliberately covering up such conduct.

Anybody who’s made a ‘protected disclosure’ against an employer will know that it’s tough and unforgiving and will be aware that in response, they will be ignored, targeted and / or vilified, rather than being valued, celebrated and championed [horrible word, we know, again].  And many will experience further detriment, because suddenly they’ll find themselves unemployed and signing on the dole.  In truth, they never felt ‘protected’ under PIDA because the Act wasn’t up to the job of providing that protection, and didn’t do what it said on the tin.

This is a situation in which employers, by contrast, are at liberty to take full advantage. Employer organisations tend to manage, process and pack whistleblowers off to employment tribunals, where the whistleblower may suddenly find justice is out of reach – because they can’t afford the £1,300 fee that was introduced as one of a number of measures – by politicians (of all parties), with the long term intentions of reducing the caseload and watering down employee protections under the same Employment Act 1996.

Angela Eagle MP’s parliamentary voting record on such dilutions of the law would be interesting to view right now in light of all this.

Employers therefore continue to thrive directly from abuse, malpractice or even criminal malfeasance in public office in the absence of legislation written with the clear purpose of protecting employees and deterring foul employer conduct – because they know they enjoy carte blanche to get away with it again and again and again.

To qualify for the stated ‘protection’ under PIDA, whistleblowers need to fit the description of ‘worker’ under the Act, and this is where we will expand more on our misgivings; particularly the dubious idea that all of these 17 persons could be described as ‘workers’ let alone ‘whistleblowers’.

‘Protection’as a whistleblower would not arrive for members of a hotch-potch group of politically-motivated persons with a clear axe to grind.  Any suspicion of a collective, underhand desire to promote Angela Eagle – now Owen Smith – and diminish Jeremy Corbyn via nefarious means, regardless of the people involved, would not add value to any claim. 

This is important because we believe it is misguided and wrong for Angela Eagle MP, along with her sympathetic media, to publish a story which appears to claim the moral high ground on such serious allegations, yet is inaccurate because 17 complainants have not been described as such and have had their status unfairly enhanced and elevated to the more eye-catching ‘whistleblowers’, in the hope of attracting sympathy from the reading public.

We’ve already witnessed inaccurate content in the media where Angela Eagle is concerned – for example, the “Angela Eagle Office Window” that was never broken – with unretracted, unacknowledged, un-apologised for falsehoods now peppering a dozen large circulation newspapers.  We were hopeful that lessons had been learned.  Sadly this may never happen.

Furthermore, protection such as that afforded to genuine whistleblowers will not be granted to individuals or a group who’ve rushed to the media when the first opportunity came to publicise their ‘plight’.  Modern employers have in place policies and procedures, often drawn up in consultation with unions, which invariably state that complainants and whistleblowers should not expect to be able to approach the press early on, publishing ‘warts and all’, and must comply by exhausting all internal avenues of complaint.

It’s noticeable that Angela Eagle has remained aloof from the collective allegations and has not personally lodged any complaint herself.  If we were members of the group of complainants, we would be viewing such behaviour with suspicion.  After all, hard-nosed politicians are well-practised at standing back and using others to get what they want.  Are the Eagle 17 fully aware of what they may be involving themselves in here?

What level of loyalty is required to act as a guinea pig in the advancement of another person’s interests?  Blind faith, or just sheer naivete?  Will any misplaced trust be repaid if and when things go drastically wrong?

We have no reason to believe that the Labour Party isn’t a modern employer with fully-developed policies and procedures who will aim to deal with these allegations appropriately, but our misgivings about the rash conduct of Angela Eagle and that of the Eagle 17 – the alleged ‘whistleblowers’ – are growing by the day.

 

Further related reading

Timeline to Wallasey CLP Suspension

Angela Eagle’s supporters have been discovered telling lies about Wallasey CLP Vice Chair Paul Davies

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Angela Eagle supporters have been discovered telling lies about Wallasey CLP Vice Chair Paul Davies

5th August 2016

Please click the link here to the Politics Home website, where Josh May has written an article dated 1st August about a letter he’s seen which was penned by Wallasey resident and Labour party member Linda Keogh earlier that day.  Linda is a supporter of Angela Eagle MP.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/news/77834/labour-members-claim-data-illegally-procured

Crucially, what’s been omitted from this article is a date, i.e. the date when Paul Davies, Vice Chair of Wallasey Constituency Labour Party, was allegedly seen in Linda’s road, posting leaflets for the very well-attended TUC arranged meeting that took place on 2nd August at Wallasey Town Hall.

This is the key, concrete allegation, with the rest of them – regarding illegal use of data – being uncertain and  speculative.

The allegation itself, contained in Linda’s letter, which has not been retracted so far, relies upon the evidence of three witnesses; Linda Keogh and two of her neighbours.  Although Linda rounds off by advising that she’s sending the letter to ‘the media’, a number of different browser searches carried out by Wirral In It Together failed to track it down.  We’ll make the assumption that it has not yet been released into the online public domain.

For this reason, and with our ever watchful eye to general privacy and the sensitivity of personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998, we’ll be redacting the names of Linda’s neighbours and the name of the street that they live in.

Although Linda Keogh appears to have sent this letter containing personal information and addresses to ‘the media’, including Politics Home, we can’t be sure that she has taken the precaution of either gaining clearance from her neighbours to do so or redacting their personal data in order to comply with the UK Data Protection Act 1998 – because it’s not actually stated in her letter.

Unlike the Seacombe Labour Party, led by Labour Councillors Adrian Jones, Christine Jones and Paul Stuart – we, at Wirral In It Together will not play fast and loose with private citizens’ personal data.

Here is the letter in full for the first time:

 linda keogh letter

If we leave all the irrelevant material to one side, we can see in the text of the above letter that there is a date connected to the allegation concerning Paul Davies allegedly delivering leaflets at the address – the one we were careful to redact.

This date (omitted by Josh May of Politics Home) is Saturday 30th August 2016.  Now, in her eagerness to get the letter done and posted, Linda has put the wrong month.  She obviously meant to write Saturday 30th July 2016.

Readers will be interested to learn that Paul Davies, the Vice Chair of Wallasey CLP, was not in Wallasey on this date.  He was 231 miles away in London.

He also has cast iron proof of his movements for that whole weekend consisting of train tickets, hotel reservation, text message, credit card record of Oyster card top up and who knows, probably more e.g. mobile phone tracking data.

Which is lucky for Mr Davies.  If he hadn’t been out of town and these allegations had been believed and had held fast, this was grounds for expulsion.  Nasty stuff.

With this information in mind, when reading the mainstream press, we would ask readers to proceed very cautiously where some supporters of Angela Eagle are concerned.  A case in point would be recently elected Seacombe Labour Councillor Paul Stuart – copied in to the above letter – a person who we’re told is a major source of much of the dubious information that’s been referred to in the national media regarding abuse, intimidation and the like.

Paul Stuart was the councillor entrusted with forwarding Linda’s email on to Kathy Runswick, the chair of Wallasey CLP, yet he appears to have just waved it through, without taking time to check its veracity.

councillor paul stuart via John Brace

Councillor Paul Stuart – via http://www.johnbrace.com

In summary, upon reading this you are forced to ask yourself the question, if these people are seen to be either telling lies or helping to propagate lies about Paul Davies posting leaflets in xxxxxxxxxx street in Wallasey on 30th July 2016…

…what else are they lying about?


 

#InOurBritain – 7:00 pm 6th August 2016


 


 

Footnote: Link to further information re: Wirral councillors and the value and level of commitment they attach to Data Protection

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Exclusive – Wallasey Branch of Constituency Labour Party – Timeline to Wallasey CLP Suspension

they are not scared of jeremy corbyn they are scared of you - chunkymark

Watercolour by @ChunkyMark

3rd August 2016 ~date of publication on Wirral In It Together blog

Source – Mr Paul Davies, Vice Chair, Wallasey Constituency Labour Party

Timeline to Wallasey CLP Suspension


  • Total Unity in the Wallasey Labour Party until June 27th  2016

 

  • June 2015 Wallasey CLP nominate Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Angela Eagle as Deputy

 

  • CLP run by Angela Eagle’s closest supporters until June 24th 2016

 

  • No complaints about intimidation, entryism or homophobia before June 24th 2016

 

  • Friday 24th June  AGM; Angela Eagle sends her apologies to her CLP Annual General Meeting  which is the first meeting of her CLP since the EU Referendum and 3 days before she decides to resign and contemplate a leadership bid

 

  • The AGM  attendance is 44 delegates from a total membership of 1300. The vast majority are long-standing members and most were delegates the previous year

 

  • The meeting elects new Chair and Vice Chair to fill seats that had been vacant all year

 

  • There is a tie for the position of Secretary and incumbent, Bernie Mooney, a long time close supporter of Angela Eagle is replaced by long standing member Kathy Miller after the vote is tied twice and the result decided by drawing lots

 

  • Most other positions are filled by the current incumbents who are long time supporters of Angela Eagle including the post of Treasurer with Bridget Frear, who works for Angela Eagle, elected unopposed.  Helen Osgood [* here, quoted by a newspaper, but described elsewhere as a ‘whistleblower’.  To be recognised as such under the Employment Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Act, whistleblowers need to exhaust internal processes with their employer – in this case, the Labour Party – before going public on their complaint or issues related to it] who also works for Angela Eagle is elected unopposed to the position of Campaign Co-ordinator

*WIIT comment

  • The meeting agrees to send a letter to Angela Eagle congratulating her on her continued support for Jeremy Corbyn and asking her to continue this support

 

  • Angela Eagle’s closest supporters oppose the sending of the letter on the basis that it is not appropriate to discuss it at an AGM.  Around 5 of them vote against it

 

  • Saturday 25th June, a web domain is set up “www.angela4leader.org” just 24 hours before the plot to oust Corbyn is launched by Hilary Benn who provokes Corbyn into sacking him

 

  • The web site is set up by one of Tony Blair’s inner circle and previous Special Advisor Joe McRea who now works as a PR Executive

 

  • Monday 27th June, Eagle resigns from Shadow Cabinet and states she is contemplating standing as Leader.  Her reason is Jeremy Corbyn’s poor performance during the EU Referendum campaign

 

  • Monday 27th June Wallasey CLP Officers state that the official position of the CLP is to support Corbyn as Leader and Eagle as MP and that will be the position until such time as the CLP meets on 22nd July when all 1300 members will be invited to attend and vote on the issue. This gains widespread Media Coverage

 

  • Wednesday 29th June, members in Wallasey start getting phone calls claiming to be from Wallasey Labour. The callers ask members if they will support Angela’s Leadership Bid

 

“Jeremy is up and down the country pursuing an itinerary that would make a 25 year old tired. He has not stopped.”

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/06/30/angela-eagle-wants-labour-leader-might-want-avoid-repeating-mistakes-like-image/

  • Thursday 30th June, CLP Secretary emails all members to advise them that the calls are not from Wallasey Labour, that somebody must have got hold of the membership data and if called they should ask for the caller’s name, who they are ringing on behalf of  and their telephone number.  The calls stop.

 

The Secretary immediately reported the unauthorised use of membership data to the Labour Party Regional Office (as the rules state she must) and is told that these things happen and perhaps the members had forgotten that they had given their numbers to someone in the past.  Some members had noted the number down of their caller. If you rang the numbers there was an answer machine but no message as to whose phone it was.

The numbers reported were 0151 637 1976; 0151 630 5042; 0151 637 1979;

One member said that the person calling said she was Angela Eagle’s Assistant

On ringing 0151 637 1979 today you get an answer machine with the Voice of Helen Osgood , the case worker for Angela Eagle, and one of the people complaining about abuse at CLP meetings, saying, “you have reached the office of Angela Eagle”!

 

 

  • Sunday 2nd July Tessa Jowell goes on  Politics Today TV programme and states;

“I spoke to Angela about her meeting. She faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”

She went on to say that this was because Angela had resigned and was to challenge Jeremy Corbyn

This is followed by an article in the Pink News which claimed;

“Angela Eagle has been subjected to homophobic abuse since resigning from the Shadow cabinet and revealing her plans to challenge current Leader Jeremy Corbyn according to a senior Labour Politician”

 

Angela Eagle could not have “faced” abuse at the meeting as she was not there. Such abuse was most unlikely as everyone thought she was supporting Corbyn. Even if there was any abuse it could not have been because she was standing against Corbyn – as that was not announced until 3 days after the meeting

 

  • Monday 4th July Angela Eagle despite the Press being on standby says she is not making any decision but is still considering her position

 

  • Thursday 7th July  Notices go out to New Brighton Branch for meeting  on July 14th the following week.  Notice included motion to support Corbyn and Vote of No Confidence in Eagle

 

  • Thursday 7th July Wallasey branch of Wallasey CLP meets and votes to support Jeremy Corbyn. Motion forwarded to CLP for meeting on the 22nd  July

 

  • Thursday 7th July Bernie Mooney  a Wallasey Councillor , the Secretary of the Constituency until ousted at the recent AGM and former Trades Union Tutor appeared on BBC North West Tonight  on 7th July 2016 and said:

“There were homophobic gestures made to our newly-elected LGBT member. There was hostile names called at  Angela. At one point somebody called her a dyke. Now people will say that that didn’t happen, but there are people who will give evidence to that.  That’s the type of thing that  happened through this meeting”.

Bernie Mooney seems to suggest Angela was at the meeting  as “names called at Angela”. She was not there. She does not say if she, the other Councillors or experienced delegates made any protest about the alleged behaviour or why she is only raising it now.  She is not asked.

  • Friday 8th July The Chair and Secretary of Wallasey CLP go public that they have gay children and have always been involved in campaigns against Homophobia. The Chair States that her daughter was getting married the day after the AGM and that the father of the bride was also at the AGM.  All strenuously deny any homophobic behaviour at the meeting.

 

  • Other Angela Eagle supporters who voted against the sending of the letter start to appear in the Press and on TV making unspecified allegations about intimidation and homophobic comments

 

“This is not about splitting this is about re-uniting our Party” she said

  • Sunday 10th July in the Guardian Online Angela Eagle says the trouble in her Constituency is being caused by a “disruptive newly joined element, many of whom were thrown out in the 1990s, that are making a lot of noise.”  She does not quantify how many of these alleged disruptive element there are among the 700 new members nor what they had been doing wrong.

Sunday 10th July In the Liverpool Echo her claims are repeated that her problems in the CLP stem from the fact that there are “a tiny minority of people who were thrown out in the 1990s who have come back. I can cope with that.”

 

  • Monday 11th July Leadership campaign launched; Andrea Leadsom pulls out of Tory contest

 

  • Tuesday 12th July Luton Meeting and threats

Angela Eagle’s meeting is moved from the Leaside Hotel to a nearby library. Around 12 people turn up and part of it is filmed

In the Business Insider

“Helen Osgood a senior caseworker at Angela Eagle’s Office said ‘I’ve spoken to Angela and she’s also had threats and intimidation. She was supposed to go to a meeting in Luton today but the hotel managers had (received) threats all night so the meeting hasn’t been able to go ahead’”

 

“The level of abuse is disgraceful and we have asked the Police too look into it” local councillor Bernie Mooney added

 

Sophy Ridge of Sky tweeted: “Angela Eagle’s staff have confirmed a planned event in Luton had to be cancelled this morning because of threats.”

A local Solicitor  who was at the meeting and doubted her story of threats wrote to the Police and is informed that they have had no complaints about threats at the Hotel. The Hotel Manager says that he cancelled the meeting fearing there might be a larger turnout than his small meeting room could handle when he found out what the booking was all about.

It reinforces a manufactured image of violent behaviour in the ranks of Corbyn supporters when it is reported that her actual office has been attacked.  The Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, a close ally of Angela’s is on hand to be interviewed outside of the window which is boarded up with a Labour placard facing outwards.  The Police and Crime Commissioner has seldom if  ever been filmed at the scene of a crime on Merseyside before as she has always stated that she does not get involved in day to day policing.

Although the brick was not through Angela Eagle’s window, no-one was arrested over it and no-one knows who did it, Angela went on television saying, “Jeremy needs to call his people off.”

Tuesday 12th July Councillor Paul Stuart

The Vice Chair/membership Secretary Councillor Paul Stuart  was next to go on TV to  complain about intimidation at the CLP meetings. This interview was reported in the press.  He said:

“Over the past 12 months meetings had been getting more ‘hostile’ with members refusing to attend because of the bullying and intimidation taking place,” which he claimed was getting ‘nastier and nastier’.

With no Chair or Vice Chair during the year he of course was the person who should have chaired the meetings, and sometimes did, including the start of the AGM. It should have been him who members would expect to keep meetings in order .

No reporter asked why such behaviour would take place before  Angela resigned.

No reporter asked what the Eagle supporter and Vice Chair/Membership Secretary  (and who chaired the first part of the meeting )  was doing whilst this terrible behaviour was supposedly going on at the AGM nor what the many Eagle supporters, including  several Councillors, were doing.

  • Tuesday 12th July Leasowe and Moreton East Branch meets and votes to support Corbyn and to propose a Vote of no Confidence in Angela Eagle as MP

 

  • Tuesday 12th July NEC agrees Corbyn is on the Ballot paper

 

  • Wednesday 13th July Notice goes out to all 1300 members inviting them to attend an all members meeting on July 22nd at which the vote to support Corbyn and the vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle will be debated

 

  • Wednesday 13th July July New Brighton Branch, the largest with 350 members, due to meet with motions to support Corbyn and vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle

 

  • Wednesday 13th July Labour Party announces that any member who joined in 2016 will not be able to vote in the Leadership election even though the Labour Party website for joining states that as a member you will be able to vote for the Leader. NEC issues an instruction that all meetings suspended immediately and the only meetings that can be held until October will be the Leadership Husting meeting in each Constituency.  This prevents New Brighton branch from having an official meeting. These meetings would have been the first in many Constituencies since the mass resignations from the Shadow Cabinet and the suspension prevents CLPs from discussing that with their MPs

 

  • Wednesday 13th July 65 members who have not heard about the meetings  being suspended (many others had heard)  turn up for the New Brighton meeting.  They are told they cannot have a Labour Party Meeting but decide to stay and have a debate about what is going on. The motions are discussed with arguments for and against. Those present vote overwhelmingly to continue to support Corbyn and pass a vote of No Confidence in Eagle.  Unanimous vote that all members should be able to vote

 

  • Thursday 14th July  Labour Party website changed and no longer says that if you join you can vote in Leadership Elections

 

  • Friday 15th July Angela Eagle starts to talk about the dangers of Labour being a “nasty” Party with intimidation, misogyny, homophobia and anti Semitism affecting the Party. Misogyny and Anti Semitism are new claims from her.

She says she is launching her new campaign “Keep it Comradely”

She had never made such complaints before

She repeated her claim that members had been let down by the Leadership’s “lacklustre and half-hearted” EU Referendum Campaign. She was not asked about her tweet during the Campaign that Jeremy was rushing around the country like a 25 year old or that Labour voters returned a 63% Remain Vote beaten only by the SNP’s 64%

  • Sunday 17th July Asked by Andrew Marr on his programme if , having said Corbyn should resign because of a vote of no confidence, she would resign if her CLP passed a vote of no confidence in her, Angela Eagle replied:

“The Constituencies have been suspended for the period of this election.”

  • Wednesday 20th July Labour Party General Secretary writes to Wallasey CLP stating that it is suspended even though all CLP meetings have already been suspended.

Reason given is that there have been accusations of abusive behaviour both inside and outside of meetings

The suspension includes the CLP not being allowed to hold its Hustings meeting to nominate a candidate. The views of 1300 Wallasey members will not be made public as a result

There is no explanation why the Husting cannot take place under the supervision of the Regional Office of the Labour Party

All officers are immediately prohibited from performing their Executive duties (such as writing/emailing  to members) except one.  That one is Bridget Frear, the Treasurer, who works for Angela Eagle in her Constituency Office.  Presumably she will now act as CLP Secretary

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#Brickgate – Reports of ‘attempted break-in’ at Polish off licence, opposite Angela Eagle’s Office

3rd August 2016

It’s been a busy day today, and we’ve just been watching video clips from the Wallasey Branch CLP meeting called for 7 pm at Wallasey Town Hall by the local TUC.

This meeting was called in an attempt to attempt to clear the air regarding serious allegations of abuse and bullying that have been brought against the Wallasey Branch of the local Constituency Labour Party, which was followed by a suspension of the CLP.

The allegations have been brought by fellow Labour party members.

The meeting was a relaxed, businesslike affair and very well attended, with around 300 people turning up.

The purpose of this post is not to report on or summarise this meeting but to mention that the contents of one video clip in particular, brought to us by Liverpool Echo reporter Liam Murphy, introduced a whole new element to the #Brickgate incident at Sherlock House, Manor Road – an area we’ve been devoting much of our attention to over the last three weeks.  The speaker is Brenda Saunders of Wirral TUC and former chair of Unite’s Executive Council.

Here’s the video clip:

The Polish off licence mentioned is the shop known as ‘Discount Booze’ next to the Royal Oak, possibly 25 metres away from Sherlock House and on the opposite side of the road.  The photograph here is reproduced courtesy of Google Earth / Google Maps:

polish off licence

Through word of mouth, we’ve learned that people living nearby, on the night of the broken window in Sherlock House, spoke of raised male voices either in heated discussion or arguing in the vicinity of the public footpath that runs alongside the north eastern elevation of Sherlock House – this path links Liscard to a large area of housing and is the side of the building where the broken stairwell window is located.

It seems possible that the breaking of this window may have been linked to the reported attempted break-in ‘through the roof’ at ‘Discount Booze’ and could have been a similar half-hearted attempt to break into Sherlock House.  The exact circumstances or chronology of these incidents isn’t known, but after making further inquiries it seems they were about a week apart, with the ‘off-licence’ incident occurring around a fortnight ago.

A reasonable assumption on the evidence of this, and of previously known factors e.g. that Angela Eagle’s office / window at the very rear of the building was never touched, that Chutney’s Indian restaurant, next door, have had their windows put through on more than occasion, leads us to believe that…crime happens.  Here are the Merseyside Police figures for Wallasey, with 88 criminal damage / arson incidents this year:

https://www.police.uk/merseyside/A1/crime/criminal-damage-arson/

The broken window in Sherlock House was almost certainly not a politically-motivated action, that the numerous newspapers, TV and radio reports were mistaken and that Angela Eagle was completely out of order to make a suggestion to Jeremy Corbyn – via the newspapers – that he ‘calls his people off’.

Such wild insinuations actually border on the realms of fantasy, and are the kind of unhelpful conduct that we’ve come to expect from The Sun, The Daily Mail and others. It’s exactly the kind of irresponsible, groundless, blaming behaviour that Angela Eagle would usually be queuing up to lambast.

Is it any wonder that Angela has now finally lost the backing of the good people at the Wallasey branch of the local CLP?

Transcript of video.  Speaker is Brenda Saunders of Wirral TUC: 

Brenda: “Just one thing I wanted to touch on before I move to everybody here is the brick through Angela Eagle’s window – the brick wasn’t through Angela Eagle’s window – it was through the offices she shared with other people.  The brick was at the front and her office is actually at the back, and the reason for it, there was an attempted break-in at the Polish off-licence over the road, but we didn’t see Jane Kennedy and everybody else at the Polish off-licence.”


 

Examples of two misleading TV interviews taken after the breaking of the stairwell window. Jane Kennedy, feigning surprise that so many ‘interested people’ happen to have turned up, and are thrusting microphones at her:

The least said, the better about this one, but the content speaks for itself:


 

Examples of 12 misleading national and local press articles published the next day:


 

Angela Eagle’s untouched office / window at the rear of the building and furthest from the main road. Photograph taken on 16th July 2016.

Angela Eagle Office Window

Angela Eagle office window


 

Agenda for the above 2nd August meeting at Wallasey Town Hall:

TUC meeting agenda Wallasey CLP

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#Brickgate – Angela Eagle MP – Freedom of Information Request to Merseyside Police

brick quote

2nd August 2016

On 16th July 2016 the following FOI request was lodged with Merseyside Police.  It was done by a publicly-engaged, public-spirited person who was quick to see the possibility / likelihood that national and local newspapers had come together almost as one to convey a kind of collective misrepresentation of the events.

This occurred on either 11th or 12th July in the area of Angela Eagle MP’s constituency office at Sherlock House, Manor Road, Wallasey, Merseyside.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/broken_window_at_sherlock_house

We’ve provided assistance to the requester by making some annotations with links to the blog posts we’ve been publishing lately on the same subject – that of a reported brick being thrown through one of the building’s windows, as follows:

17th July 2016

#Brickgate - Angela Eagle's Office Window Was Not Broken 

24th July 2016 

#Brickgate - A Story That Won't Go Away 

1st August 2016 

#Brickgate - Angela Eagle and The Guardian - A further Update

We also made the following separate FOI request today with the intention of confirming that Angela Eagle’s office window had not been broken, and also the nature of the projectile that was thrown and whether it was collected as evidence and was still in Merseyside Police’s possession:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/alleged_brick_thrown_through_com/new

We’ve already lodged an initial complaint with IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation), the press regulator, concerning a Daily Telegraph article dated 12th July, which we believe falls foul of the Editors’ Code of Conduct as regards accuracy, and some of the points raised here will make these two FOI requests interesting to watch as the situation develops.

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I’ve been a Guardian reader for 40 years, but no longer. Here’s why. 

Superb. The heat rises on a failing, navel gazing newspaper that has completely lost its way… The Guardian

Walker's Rambles


Today, I received a routine email from the Guardian regarding my ongoing subscription to the paper. I have been a regular reader of the Guardian for 40 years including as a subscriber in recent years. But no longer.

My email explaining why is listed below.

Hi there

Thank you for your recent email.

It has prompted me to contact you regarding my Guardian subscription.
I have bought the Guardian since the age of 12; I am now 52. I have always considered the paper to be fair and on the side of people who are trying to make a difference. The paper’s campaigning work is well known and rightly so. Even though I have not always agreed with the paper’s leaders and editorial line, mostly I have and one of the main reasons I have supported the paper for 40 years has been its left of centre position on the…

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#Brickgate – Angela Eagle and The Guardian – a further update, and probably not the last

1st August 2016

Archie Bland has written an article in The Guardian, dated yesterday, 31st July 2016:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/31/how-did-the-language-of-politics-get-so-toxic

For the purposes of this post, I’d ask readers to scroll to the end, where you’ll see a reference to an earlier statement which had been removed:

archie blands excised statement

We’re very pleased to see that the penny is finally beginning to drop with The Guardian, or at least with one of its journalists.

Although the damaging implications of such an error are not explored, mentioned or even hinted at by Archie, we hope that this (limited) acceptance and willingness to clarify is followed up and built upon by his colleagues Anushka Asthana and Hadley Freeman.

They’ve both written articles, one of which repeated this falsehood.  The other, a sympathetic interview with Angela Eagle, failed to enquire of Angela why she’d allowed what she and Anushka must have known to be inaccurate assertions to stand uncorrected, to be built upon and to multiply, virus-like, across the UK’s printed, visual and audio media.

We’ve discussed the issues with Anushka on Twitter and both authors still have an opportunity to follow Archie Bland’s lead and make corrections, perhaps with an explanation as to why it was necessary and why it was delayed.

Readers may be pondering, ‘why is this important’?

It’s because there was an almighty failure by at least a dozen newspapers who, on 12th July, ran with a story that was fundamentally inaccurate, with a central assertion that:

  • Angela Eagle’s office window had been smashed by a brick
  • Angela Eagle’s office / surgery had been attacked by somebody

All the relevant stories are here:

Further irresponsible statements from interviews, taken in reaction to the incident, implied or claimed that Corbyn supporters were involved – with no evidence to support such implications or claims.

Many of the reports failed to make it clear that Angela was not present at the time, in fact nobody was present at the time – because it happened overnight, some time on 11th or 12th July.

Some wider context would be advisable.  At the very least, 6.89 million printed newspaper readers (that’s excluding online viewers) will have absorbed the main falsehood, got angry – who knows?  Then found their anger being inflamed by Angela Eagle’s accompanying statements, calling for Jeremy Corbyn to “call off” the people who were behind this – with absolutely no evidence that the throwing of the brick was connected to the Corbyn leadership campaign.

I am a constituent of Anglea’s and her cynical, reckless conduct here and loose grasp of the facts was to me simply hideous, unforgivable and was the same kind of scraping of the barrel so often indulged in by the woeful gutter press that Angela often queues up to publicly criticise.

This is rank hypocrisy in all its glory.  But if history is to be believed, it’s something to be expected of politicians – a point not addressed incidentally by  Archie Bland – who in his own article above, largely fell into the trap of ascribing Jo Cox MP’s brand of goodness to the same old hard-bitten villains – whom we won’t mention by name but who don’t  deserve it. You’ll know who they are by reading the article.

An initial IPSOS complaint has been lodged with The Daily Telegraph.  This action was not possible with The Guardian as they do not subscribe, but it will be followed by further complaints re: other newspapers.

Whilst the limited action taken on behalf of Archie Bland is welcome, it does not amount to full acknowledgment.  Time is of the essence and there’s a very important leadership ballot ending on 21st September, followed by a crucial announcement at Labour’s autumn conference.

In order for the results of this election to be fairly arrived at and not to have been unfairly influenced, full, global retractions and apologies are required by all those responsible.

In my opinion, full reparations are due, utilising the same column space as the originals, accompanied by printed and online apologies.

The initial actions were reckless and irresponsible, yet foreseeable and avoidable.  The newspapers’ ongoing failure to act accordingly upon written, verbal and online complaints has only succeeded in entrenching their now untenable positions.

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Writer of gushing Guardian eulogy of Angela Eagle fights facts with innuendo

30th July 2016

Here’s The Guardian interview quoted above, dated yesterday, but hitting the news stands today:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/29/angela-eagle-theres-no-point-being-sore-warelabour-leadership

It would be useful to know who approached who to get it done; Angela Eagle in search of The Guardian or The Guardian seeking out Angela Eagle?  We’d make enquiries of our MP but she’s not responding to our emails currently.

Firstly, we want to thank Anushka Asthana, author of the piece, for getting it right about the window.  It was never broken i.e. the window of Angela’s office.  Although not having the foresight to state this fact anywhere doesn’t help to bring fairness or clarity or to address the damage already done.

The crux of all this is here, the fact that on the day of the incident, 11th or 12th July 2016, the following publications had already decided to run with a crucial falsehood – that Angela’s office window itself had been smashed with a brick – one that served a political agenda at the time superbly well – that of advancing Angela Eagle’s leadership credentials and damaging Jeremy Corbyn’s.

Click on the link for the details of each story:


We should mention at this point that we’d normally attempt to make an online contribution on Anushka’s interview article but  since this happened, we’ve been banned for life from commenting on The Guardian website, with no sign of any reprieve.

guardian ban

We’d greatly appreciate it if readers who are registered with The Guardian could comment and link this post to the article, or perhaps to this one by Hadley Freeman.  Many thanks and good luck with that!


Crucially, when interviewing Angela, Anushka didn’t take the opportunity to ask why she and her leadership team had allowed the false stories to stand and to seep down into the collective consciousness of the 6.89 million members of the British public who still buy a newspaper every day.  Many of these will be voting in the forthcoming Labour leadership election – but may still not be aware of the truth.

We could speculate as to why she omitted to mention this, but won’t.  We’re hopeful Anushka gets back in touch and explains why such a high profile interview was less than searching, and would fail any basic test of reasonable journalistic thoroughness.

For now we’ll assume she may have unstated political allegiances that got in the way of her ability to apply sound, journalistic integrity.

Anushka – who is a joint political editor at the paper – was in touch last night on Twitter.  We’d become aware of her interview and sent a tweet:

But we were quickly dismayed when Anushka, for a journalist of some influence, revealed a very poor grasp of logic, a loose take on facts, and an inability to absorb details or thoroughly cross-check.

To start with, we suggested that The Guardian i.e. the newspaper, were ‘rowing back’ on the content of earlier reports by changing and broadening out their statements.  Without acknowledging the new approach, they’d all of a sudden morphed from,

‘brick through Angela Eagle’s office window’

…in earlier reports, to…

‘…brick thrown through a window of her constituency building…”

…in this one … to which the following response arrived from Anushka:

We responded we accepted that, but then turned our attention to an awful howler in the interview, where the author had appeared to sneer at ‘citizen journalism’ and inaccurately described the remarkable, factual footage on Youtube showing the correct location of the broken window as … part of a ‘torrent of abuse’.

Further tweets then followed:

The quoted email from the police is something I haven’t seen, however Merseyside Police did issue a media statement which I have seen on 21st July 2016, as follows:

merseyside police statement on 21st July

…where the police appear to be directly contradicting the information they provided in Angela Eagle’s unseen email, and which the Guardian journalist is enigmatically referring to.

 

Anushka is sadly mistaken.  My Twitter account was set up in May 2010, over six years ago. The purpose of setting it up was to make an impact on social media, not to have a go at Angela Eagle.  The name “Window on Wallasey” was applied recently in earnest homage to #Brickgate, unfolding in my own town.

Any impartial observer who reads my Twitter account will notice how careful and restrained it is e.g. the word ‘Jew’ appears once in 114,000 tweets.  Okay, it’s occasionally satirical and provocative, but that’s freedom of speech and the desire to entertain kicking in.  Generally it carries links to factual information gathered on my blog at www.wirralinittogether.wordpress.com

I replied to state that very few members of the local public knew that Angela Eagle had an office in this building, that there was no external reference to this, even at the front entrance.  The only indication of a possible political presence are two stickers on Angela’s office window.   Neither does any information appear on the Companies House website or on the website of the owners of the building.  Okay, she may not run a limited company but it’s all a little mysterious – and may need investigating further?

This was a reference to this, a quite hideous interview with a local Labour councillor, Bernie Mooney, who takes an opportunity to recklessly blame “Labour members” for the hurling of the brick:

A sympathiser then chipped in with a very ill-conceived allegation:

 

 

So finally, there it is, the window in question, a bit tatty but as pristine and unbricked as the day the panes of glass were first installed.

Response from Anushka came there none.


 

Anushka’s Guardian colleague Hadley Freeman was putting the same, well-worn lie about again today in this article, in the following terms: “After a brick was thrown through Angela Eagle’s Liverpool surgery earlier this month”.

Not only is Hadley’s geography not even up to O Level standard – Wallasey is not in Liverpool and never has been – she’s lazily building on and consolidating the 12th July gaffe that was irresponsibly run in those titles listed above.

Who’s editing these articles?  I’m a former radio operator, turned labourer, turned cable jointer, turned lighting engineer, turned digital transcriptionist, with no university degree, who could breeze into a quality control job at The Guardian.  I’m sure of it.


 

Whilst there’s a certain amount of schadenfreude to be had from witnessing the print media’s top journalists as masochistic authors of their own destruction, this is tempered by the knowledge that the public interest will soon be better served by something far more informative and immediate and accessible and vital – and which has been lining up to take the newspapers’ place for some years; blogs and the internet.

So instead of having to struggle with what politicians want you to read and therefore missing out, you get largely hard-fought and hard-won factual stuff from the mouths and keyboards of those living and experiencing ‘normal’, yet diverse lives, and not the same old dreary, sycophantic, controlled and managed content (see above) from the usual suspects.

Who wants to be served a daily portion of thin gruel, seasoned and coloured by the likes of Angela Eagle MP, with her own undeclared political motivations as the engine driving it onward and sweeping all before it?

Whilst we do have an element of pity for these newspapers’ readers, and even for those writers who’ve willingly signed up to become obedient tools in the hands of cynical, hard-bitten politicians with agendas, it’s depressing when reading these journalists’ output, to witness them body-swerving the facts, obeying their orders and churning out gushing, idolatrous eulogies, peppered with hollow innuendo to wield as a very insubstantial ‘bulwark’ against potential criticism.

One is left with the conclusion that as far as solid information goes, their systems are flimsy and their cupboards are bare, and in order to bend to the will of their masters to full effect, it’s become necessary to rely on opinions, slurs, smears and putting all their energies into ‘playing the man and not the ball’.

There’s much talk of the ‘post-truth journalism’ of social media and plenty of sneering towards bloggers engaged in by those MPs and senior public servants abusing the power vested in them.  The problem is the ‘post-truth’ disingenuity is coming in torrents from the keyboards of those media outlets they appear to control; The Guardian, Telegraph, Mirror, Sun, Mail  et al. journalists … and certainly eclipsing us, the blogging public.

It’s all very, very sad for them – but this is a welcome time of flux and the tree is being shaken … so out drop the incompetent scoundrels, the defenders of the status quo at all costs, and the hidden vested interests.

p.s. The Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, London Evening Standard are not regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.


Further #Brickgate posts and tweets:

https://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/brickgate-angela-eagles-office-window-was-not-broken/

https://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/brickgate-a-story-that-wont-go-away/

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