Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Will Happen To The Kids?

It's never a pretty sight when a hitherto strong & celebrated marriage comes to an end & one partner declares a new-found ardour for another. Recriminations & accusations fly, imprecations fill the air & no depth of loathing & malevolence is considered too low.
That's exactly the case with the divorce of New Labour & News International, or Rupert Murdoch, to be precise ( ).
David Bartlett last night referred to the story, adding with a degree of understatement which had me wondering if he, too, would soon join Chris Bascombe ( & ) & Tony Barrett in leaving Oldham Hall Street for the Wapping gulag that the Sun is "still extremely unpopular in Merseyside" ( ).
When Murdoch & New Labour walked down the aisle back in the late 90s, it said far more about the party than the proprietor; now the rejected rump of what was once a mass party react like a jilted wife & Tony Woodley, his exchange with Paxman last night truly cringeworthy ( ), ostentatiously rips up today's edition of Murdoch's rag ( ). Pathetic.
[I wonder if Woodley has put his own house in order yet ( ) ?]
Woodley's theatricals also ascribe a level of importance to Murdoch's endorsements which no longer applies; it's commonly accepted that the next election will see the role & influence of the web (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) increase at the expense of what we in the blogosphere fondly term the dead tree press.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Americans Call This An Infomercial

Daily Ghost editor Mark Thomas will, no doubt, protest that his publication is "pro-business". So far, so obvious; it's the sort of thing any provincial editor will say.
There is, however, a distinction to be made between reporting on commerce in Liverpool & publishing PR pieces which amount to free advertising. In this regard, the Ghost has long fallen short. Matters are made more murky by the role of Larry Nield, late of the Oldham Hall Street parish, now, of course, a leading light at October Communications/Aurora Media.
Take this innocuous-looking piece in this morning's edition: ).
The Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson hosted "a networking event for 'the next generation' of city professionals."
So what, you might ask. Well, Hill Dickinson is a client of October/Aurora ( ).
Mutual back-scratching facilitated by an ex-Oldham Hall Street hack isn't a crime. Nor, however, is it journalism, it's PR. Mark Thomas really should do the decent thing & insert the words "advertising feature" at the top of pieces such as this.
How about it, Mark?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oldham Echo: Fight Arranger

Remember that kid at school who always went round telling one lad that another lad had said he could fight him? If things escalated, & they usually did from such an inflammatory starting-point, the two lads would end up rolling around while a group of other lads, led by the "shit-stirrer", would chant, "fight, fight, fight!" The two protagonists would end up getting the cane while the "shit-stirrer" would snigger at his antics. Well, the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo are journalism's "shit-stirrers" with their series of pieces designed to produce a hitherto non-existant spat between Liverpool & Southampton over the cruise ferry terminal affair ( ).
Using his blog to continue a ridiculous & totally irresponsible farce, David Bartlett adopts the role of a nine year-old boy engaged in a schoolground argument ( :
"Liverpool is the Capital of Pop. Our artists have produced more number one hits than those from any other town or city. The Beatles are our most famous export.
"Southampton's most famous musical export is probably Craig David - unless you count Benny Hill. He hit the top spot in 1971 with Ernie (Fastest Milkman in the West).
"Liverpool is the most filmed British city outside London with credits including: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Sherlock Holmes, 51st State, The Hunt For Red October, Nowhere Boy, In the Name of the Father, Letter To Brezhnev, Backbeat and Priest.
"The One Show once filmed a feature in Southampton called 'Why ice is slippy'. The city was the location for an HSBC training video.
"Liverpool FC are the most famous club in British history, with 18 league championships, five European cups, three UEFA cups, seven FA cups and seven league cups. Everton have competed in the top flight a record 107 seasons and won the league nine times, the FA Cup five times and a European trophy (Cup Winners Cup).
"Southampton FC have won the FA Cup. Once.
"Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage City since 2004. The city has 2,500 listed buildings and 250 public monuments - including the largest collection of Grade II listed buildings outside London. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest in the country.
"Southampton has the world's oldest bowls green."
You can sit down now, David, & take a deep breath. Got to get your strength back for PE later, eh?
All three comments so far posted in response to Bartlett's na-na-na-na-na moment take him to task for reducing an already manufactured story by Oldham Hall Street to the level of a Year 5 playground exchange, with the Professor wondering whether Paddy Shennan [hello, Paddy!] actually penned the puerile piece. More seriously, the Professor warns that "this kind of exchange between cities can be so destructive so don't be surprised the next time some 'Scouser/Liverpudlian/Liverpolitan' gets bottled in a Southampton pub when they hear his accent, or some poor sod from Southampton gets battered here by a bunch of jingoistic morons, we need to think, is this the cultural level we wish to promote?"
Today's Oldham Echo tries to revive the "fight, fight, fight!" chant ( ), spinning on the tax status of ABP, owner of the Port of Southampton, saying it is registered in Jersey where Corporation Tax is zero per cent.
However, a commenter on the Echo story, willsonline, puts things in a more rounded context:
"Peel Holdings should be investigated - they were given Speke Airport on a plate, along with hundreds of acres of land - along with the Manchester Ship Canal. Granada TV exposed how they came about owning Trafford Park and fooling the people of Manchester into handing over the biggest trading estate in Europe for free, and it was all behind-the-scenes dealing that robbed the people of Manchester, and now it's happening in Merseyside, and lots of the profits are going offshore with Peel Holdings."
Peel Holdings' chairman & majority shreholder John Whittaker is a tax exile on the Isle of Man & is worth an estimated £1.3bn ( ).
Today's Oldham Echo editorial attempts to affect a disdainful position ( ):
"The cries of 'unfair' emanating from Southampton regarding Liverpool's perfectly reasonable bid for a turnaround facility at the Pier Head are becoming tedious and tiresome."
I'll tell you what's "tedious and tiresome", it's the juvenile antics of Oldham Hall Street over this & many other local topics.
The editorial again raises ABP's tax scam in Jersey, but is deafeningly silent on Peel Holdings & Whittaker.
An indication of the true nature of Peel Holdings can be found across the Irish Sea where workers in the Port of Dublin have been involved in a long-running dispute with a subsidiary of Peel, Maritime Terminals Ltd ( & ):
"The union [Siptu] said that when the company [Marine Terminals Ltd] decided to make 19 staff members redundant earlier this year, it used its own selection criteria. Siptu said five workers were made redundant initially, and that on May 15th a further 14 were told by mangement that they were to be let go.
"On the same day, all other Siptu employees were written to, telling them they must sign new contracts agreeing to pay cuts of between 14 and 18 per cent, or be sacked, it said."
That's the nature of the beast Oldham Hall Street champions. Not just "tedious and tiresome", but disgusting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Name For Our Favourite PR People

You've heard of Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights), that dazzling force of nature in the night sky. Well, now it seems that Larry Nield & the rest of his chums at October Communications have decided to take some inspiration from it & take its name as part of a new moniker ( ).
The one thing you can't expect from marketing types is candour. It's therefore safe to say that October Comms (as was) realised that they had become the story instead of promoting & manipulating it. Always a bad sign in ad-land. The wafer-thin veneer of quick conferring which masquerades as considered, strategic reappraisal in the world inhabited by October Comms will have been prompted by the facile hope that a new name means a new identity. Typically shallow.
Aurora Media, as Larry's happy band of pluggers is now to be known, hasn't yet got the website up & running; with such a level of planning & foresight, you can tell they've been in bed with the Culture Company, can't you?
How-Do reports:
"It comes following a tie-up with environmental consultancy StratEco [ ]."
The StratEco website says it is "focused in three key areas", resource management, strategic business consultancy & PR consultancy; under the second of these areas is the sub-heading, "Ethical and social responsibilities". Irony is not dead.
How-Do quotes a newly-promoted member of October/Aurora, Mo Maghazachi, as saying:
"StratEco had been looking for a public relations arm and one which knew about green ethics and planning applications.
"Over the last 18 months, October Communications had been taking a lot of environmental PR work out of London, so we launched this joint venture."
There's a curious juxtaposition there of the phrases "green ethics" & "planning applications". The former is something of which October appeared to display minimal awareness, while the latter is something they were very much au fait with.
Maghazachi added that the change of name "was because October Communications didn't reflect what the new company was about."
Translation: the shenannigans employed by Larry's outfit had become all too transparent to the wider public, despite the best efforts of Oldham Hall Street to ignore & suppress them.
There's also a change of location to go with the tawdry re-naming, sorry, modern re-branding of the business; they're to vacate the Matthew Street premises they've occupied & are to saunter down the road to a larger space on Hanover Street.
New name, new location, same old shabby, secretive practices. Maybe Larry will write a piece for Liverpool Confidential about his new offices. Or maybe he won't.

This Land Is Your Land

There's a guest post on Tony Karon's excellent Rootless Cosmopolitan blog by Gavin Evans about how the music of Bruce Springsteen was a constant companion during his days as an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. It also celebrates The Boss' 60th birthday. ( ).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From The Mersey To The Dee, The Carbuncles Grow

Looks familiar? No, it's not the carbuncle cup-winning ferry terminal on the city's waterfront, it's the design for a hotel overlooking West Kirby's marine lake which looks as though it's been given the green light ( ).
The design has been criticised for being "not iconic enough". That's one way of putting it.

Stereotypes & Spin

Last week's TUC conference in Liverpool was as underwhelming as it was ineffective (a sure sign of the times, just imagine if the acquiescent paymasters of New Labour had met in the city, say, 25 years ago).
However, Hugh Muir's Guardian Diary column last Thursday did relate this charming anecdote which I'm delighted to quote in full ( ):
"Gordon Brown's original sabre-toothed spin doctor, Charlie Whelan --now head of the political unit at Unite-- has been dazzling admirers with a new sartorial image during a reluctant week-long visit to the TUC in Liverpool. He has taken to wearing a summer-white suit --despite the chill wind-- in the style of Mr Clean himself, Martin Bell. But his views on Liverpudlians can hardly be described as squeaky-clean. While moaning that there are no longer direct flights between his Highland retreat and Liverpool --he had to travel via Manchester-- he says the one consolation is that burglaries in the Highlands have gone down. Just a joke, says Charlie. Brave man."
Ah, yes, Charlie, indeed, just a joke, eh? Yeah, we love those gags & cracks about hubcaps, shellsuits & self-pity. All part of the gaiety of life, we'd all agree. So I'm sure Charlie will laugh at those cracks about him being a typically cold & calculating spin-doctor who lied through his teeth for his political masters, regardless of the consequences. Wouldn't he?
After all, it's not as though Charlie is unpopular with his colleagues at Unite, is it? What? Oh: .
Still, I'm sure there's no foundation to what Toby Helm describes in his Observer report as "turmoil at Unite since Whelan's appointment as political director." Nor, too, should there be any truth in the claim that there is "a real culture of fear and a climate of bullying that he [Whelan] allows to take place in his department."
Charlie a bully? Ridiculous! He just likes a joke, & this time, it's on him.
Oh, btw, Charlie, about the Martin Bell suit, an actor named Kenneth Cope got there first in a 60s TV series called Randall & Hopkirk Deceased. Kenneth's a scouser. Funny, eh?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Based On A Corrupt Council They Assembled Earlier

Wayne referred to the story earlier ( ), but I just couldn't ignore the bizarre claim by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg that a Lib Dem government (yes, I know) would be modelled on the Lib Dems' reign of misrule, mendacity & corruption in Liverpool ( ).
Yes, Liverpool City Council, headed by a venal & fickle cabal of characters whose leader condones the criminal behaviour of a party colleague (Steve Hurst), & whose handling of culture year rendered it a squandered opportunity for the city, is the sort of thing we should expect on a national stage if the world stands on its head & elects Clegg into No.10 with a working majority next year.
Clegg, of course, has already tried to demonstrate his political machismo by promising severe & devastating cuts in the risible scenario of a Lib Dem victory at the election. [It reminds me of Zsa Zsa Gabor's famous remark that men who are macho aren't mucho.]
This has obviously spooked Warren Bradley, who sought to minimise the fall-out, knowing only too well that the Lib Dems in Liverpool are in for a similar electoral plight to that which faces New Labour on the national stage ( ).
Ian Hernon's article, however, does concede that that the Lib Dems' proposal to save £14bn in cuts annually "will hit Merseyside and other city-regions where more than half [of] wage earners are in the public sector."
Just imagine, Warren Bradley as deputy prime minister, Steve Hurst as Justice Secretary, Mike Storey as Foreign Secretary, Berni Turner as Culture Secretary & Paul Clark as Housing minister. Don't have nightmares, children. Sweet dreams.

Off Message & Off Course

Amongst other things, being a local MP means that you can make all the right noises, get the local rag to faithfully reprint them & thus give the impression you're taking a stand on an issue. That's certainly something Joe Benton & Frank Field, Labour MPs for Bootle & Birkenhead respectively, knew when they supplied Oldham Hall Street with a missive on bankers' bonuses earlier this month ( ):
"Birkenhead MP Frank Field and Bootle MP Joe Benton are among more than 30 Labour MPs piling pressure on Gordon Brown to rein in the so-called 'masters of the universe' as the end of the recession looms."
Rob Merrick's piece peddles the delusion that Brown is facing concerted pressure from backbenchers on the issue. He isn't. Bankers' bonuses is a major story, but it doesn't pose a terminal threat to Brown before the next election. It's also amusing to read that "the end of the recession looms."
Yeah, right. Then again, if your brief on Oldham Hall Street is to do a PR job for Liverpool One at every opportunity, I suppose stating the recession will soon end goes with the territory.
Merrick's piece should be compared & contrasted with a report by Patrick Wintour in the previous day's Guardian ( ):
"Brown, determined to protect the interests of the City of London, insisted that the French plan for a bonus cap should only be examined, rather than endorsed, leaving a Labour prime minister taking a less radical stance than the the two conservative European leaders." [France's Nicholas Sarkozy & Germany's Angela Merkel].
Benton is quoted by the Post's article thus: "It would be wrong to attribute the whole of the crisis to bonuses, but they must have helped encouraged deals that were high risk. For a long time, it seems there has been no ceiling at all on the top wage earners, who should not be exempt from the restrictions imposed on public sector workers and others on low wages."
Quite right, just the sort of thing I'd expect to hear from the honourable member for Bootle, where the boom merely meant a less rapid rate of decline.
However, both Benton & Frank Field would do well to remember the infamous words of Peter Mandelson when he declared that New Labour was "intensely relaxed" about those becoming "filthy rich", as he so charmingly put it.
Both MPs should also take up the issue of the latest unemployment figures with New Labour's high command; they should note with more than a little concern the figures for their own constituencies. Birkenhead's jobless rate has increased by 53.3% over the last twelve months, while Bootle's has gone up by 46.9% in the same period ( ).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kangaroo Court

A couple of the comments on my post about Michael Shields appeared to suggest that the Oldham Echo had wrapped itself around the campaign, something which tainted the integrity of it. I understand where they're coming from; the Echo has "gone to town" on the story not out of any sense of altruism, but because it cynically calculates that it will at least arrest the sharp decline in its circulation figures. However, there will come a time in the near future when the temporary rise in sales comes to a close.
As for the case itself, it was inevitable that the whispering campaign against Michael would intensify. They tend to emanate from the usual quarters & I won't dignify any of them by providing links. A welcome & necessary corrective to the drip, drip, drip of innuendo, conjecture & open lies appeared in today's Guardian, courtesy of a piece by Stephen Jakobi of Fair Trials Abroad ( ).
Jakobi, who attended part of the trial, states: "Almost all the formalities of a fair trial were observed, but it was all for show. All applications by the defence were refused. All applications by the prosecution, no matter how unreasonable, were granted."
Jakobi relates how the skewed nature of the trial sometimes bordered on the Pythonesque. However, he gets to the meat of the case when he declares:
"Above all, the treatment of original eyewitness identification was appalling. Witnesses were allowed to contradict their original police statements that they could not remember the defendant's face, and the defence were not allowed to put these statements to the witnesses in cross-examination. Everyone was allowed to make dock identification as though this had real evidential worth. It was clear by her own evidence that the only person who picked Shields out at an identification parade had had no opportunity of seeing his face at the time of the incident."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He Said What?!

"Clearly, council and Lib Dem leader Warren Bradley is not about to tell his party to lay down their arms and surrender control of the council.
"For one thing, he thinks his party has much to be proud of, having delivered a successful Capital of Culture year, overseen the city's recent regeneration, and increased educational attainment." ( )

Close The Door After You

It would be tempting to remark that the rats are leaving the sinking ship. However, I suspect that would be a vile slur on the rodent population. Be that as it may, many others will probably make that comment ( & ).

Wayne's already waved a cheery goodbye to the dubious duo with a couple of pertinent points about their tenure & track record ( & ).

Turning first to the criminal, David Bartlett reports that Hurst will wait until next May before taking his leave. It would have been nice to bid him an immediate exit, but it seems that like many a discredited MP in the Westminster expenses scandal, he is happy to hold on to the bitter (& sour) end. The piece relates:

"The ECHO understands Cllr Hurst became fed up with the press coverage and the fact the issue would not go away."

Clearly the criminal's chutzpah hasn't been diminished by the opprobrium rightly meted out to him.

In attempting to put a veneer of political respectability on one of the most tawdry affairs in Liverpool local government (& that's saying something!), the Lib Dems only succeeded in digging the hole that little bit deeper. Step forward & take a bow, Colin Eldridge. Cllr Eldridge churned out a statement which seems to say everything about the Lib Dems' warped sense of ethics:

"[Hurst] has been an absolutely first class councillor for the people of Wavertree ward and prior to that Church ward.

"For all the people he has helped he will be a loss to the community. I wish him well in his endeavours in future."

Cllr Eldridge's effusive torrent of political effluent may well come back to haunt him, seeing as he is due to stand as the Lib Dem candidate for the Wavertree seat at the next election ( ).

Turning to the man who was happy to chomp on a cigar while surveying the city's waterfront from a Mersey ferry boat with Michael Heseltine after the Toxteth riots in 1981, David Bartlett's article is terse to the point of Twittering, leading one to suspect that a short five-sentence press release has been, yet again, reheated on Oldham Hall Street & served up to the readers.

Perhaps it's due to Cllr Jones' willingness to resort to the lawyers (or rather a certain prominent Liverpool lawyer) to make his point.

Adding to the civic brain-drain from the Town Hall is Nadia Stewart. Cllr Stewart, representing Croxteth ward, defected from Labour to the Lib Dems at the time of the 2008 local elections, keeping her new friends in power ( ).

The Post's piece on Cllr Eldridge's Westminster ambitions added that "more prominent councillors are expected to announce they are standing down in the coming weeks."

The exodus has begun.
*Photograph of Cllr Bradley & his motley crew of ne'er-do-wells courtesy of the Liverpool Subculture blog.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Perhaps it was the weight of evidence in his favour. Perhaps it was clear to even Whitehall mandarins & ministers that the Bulgarian judicial system's rudimentary approach to criminal matters was a sick joke, thus rendering realpolitik just this once irrelevant. Perhaps the excellent & sterling campaign waged by his family persuaded countless others to take up the case in a way which couldn't be ignored. Perhaps Justice Secretary Jack Straw, defending what is sure to be a Labour marginal at the next election, was spooked at the thought of his father standing against him.
In all probability, all the above factors have played their part in securing justice for Michael Shields today ( ).
Today is clearly a day for celebration among Michael's family & friends. They won't want to dwell too much on the wider issue of this being a gross miscarriage of justice, perpetrated while a Labour government largely kept schtum because of Bulgaria's application for EU membership.
Not today anyway.
Nor will they be thinking too much of the identity of the individual responsible for the attack who has effectively got away with it while Michael was wrongly convicted.
Everyone on Merseyside knows the identity of the low-life whose cowardly attack & subsequent actions caused so much misery & distress for Michael's family.
If the notoriously slow wheeels of the judicial system do not turn sufficiently quickly in delivering final justice for not just Michael, but Martin Georgiev, the Bulgarian victim of the attack, this blog will name him as a matter of course.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


As the old phrase says, revenge is a dish best served cold. It is therefore to be hoped that US "shock-jock" Steven Cohen's humble pie was uncooked when he decided to call time on his World Soccer Daily radio programme ( ).
Cohen, if you need reminding, constantly used his programme to repeat the lies about Liverpool fans at Hillsborough. He compounded the insult by hurriedly reading out an "apology" from a hastily-scripted statement, only to repeat his lies afterwards ( ). After being dropped by the Fox Soccer Channel, Cohen's radio rant was his remaining opportunity to pollute the airwaves. Now that is no more.
Like many a discredited cretin before him, Cohen is resorting to both the venal & the outlandish, claiming that he received anti-semitic emails & that his step-children were "contacted" (his word). Such tactics reveal a good deal more about the nature of the man.
Cohen is reported to be planning a subscription-based successor to his defunct show. That's sure to be a pretty slimmed-down operation, assuming, of course, that enough mugs sign up.

From Arraignment To Accommodation

Carted off to Liverpool's bridewell after a shambolig gig at the Mountford Hall in 1997, the conclusion of which was alleged to have been marked by the throwing of a mike stand into the audience, Shane MacGowan, arrested for said act but later released ( ), might have consoled himself with the thought that one of his heroes, Irish writer Brendan Behan, had also done time in the place. Alas, Behan was not familiar with the bridewell, on Cheapside just off Dale Street. Instead, the bibulous Behan was taken to Walton.
Nonetheless, the bridewell used to hold a particular appeal & repugnance in equal measure to several generations of miscreants in the city; some saw it as a badge of honour to have slept in its cells while others winced at the very mention of its name ( ).
[As a teenager I was told that my great-grandmother spent a night there after drinking a fair deal, singing Irish rebel songs & calling a police officer "a pot-bellied oul Orange bastard". Her husband interjected as she was dragged away, "Don't take away Ireland's hope." Whereupon he, too, was hauled off.]
For a decade it's lain idle, although that may well soon change ( ):
"A Merseyside property company bought the historic premises at auction yesterday, and now aims to sympathetically convert it into low-cost accommodation for university students." Sympathetically convert? Sounds ominous, doesn't it?
As the building is a Grade II-listed property, both the exterior and the interior need to be preserved as they are. The former won't be difficult to conform with, the latter, however, could well be more problematic.
On the Sunday of the Matthew Street weekend I was with friends at the Rose & Crown pub on Cheapside. I noticed that, despite the heavy rain, a steady stream of people queued up to have their photographs taken outside the rear entrance of the building. The link between incarceration & inebriation, many of the bridewell's "guests" were the worse for wear, was fleetingly invoked.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Retail Retreat

Welcome as Tesco's decision not to go ahead with a store on Hope Street is ( ), it also raises the question of political grandstanding by those elected representatives whose self-regard is in inverse proportion to their actual efficacy.
Vicky Anderson's piece in the Post includes a gushing quote from Berni Turner, evidently attempting to appear magnanimous in a victory some may be forgiven for thinking she piloted:
"I hold out the hand of friendship to Sir Terry Leahy [Tesco chief executive], because he has absolutely done the right thing. I take my hat off to him."
Cllr Turner's warm words may also be prompted by her use of the term "evil empire" in referring to Tesco during the Facebook campaign against a Hope Street store. A rapproachement may well be all the more necesary given that Cllr Turner's Old Swan ward is the home of a large Tesco store.
The retail giant's volte-face also places Larry Nield's take on the development in a rather unflattering light. Writing on the Liverpool Confidential site a while back, the October Communications representative took the view that any campaign against a Hope Street store was futile & that mammon must be allowed to take its course. He concluded ( ):
"There may be some sympathy for those who say a Tesco is unsuited to Hope Street, but under planning rules it would seem they are on a loser. The council has no power to prevent Tesco opening on Hope Street. The issue is signage, and it would seem a compromise will have to be reached.
"We are not going to see the re-opening of grand grocery stores such as Kirklands and Coopers of Church Street, Reeces or the Kardomah.
"Every Tesco in the city centre I visit seems to be thriving, which makes me wonder how people have survived until now. It also makes me realise Tesco's business judgement is paying dividends."
Strictly speaking, of course, the Tesco proposal wasn't derailed by the council, which, as Larry pointed out, had no say in the matter. However, his subsequent assumption that Hope Street would host a Tesco store now looks less than sage.
In an intriguing aside to Larry's LC piece, one commenter pointed to Liverpool Vision's status as a client of October Communications, adding that it's headed by one Terry Leahy. LC's editorial team jumped in quickly, declaring:
"Larry and/or October Comms do not work or perform any PR or marketing function for Liverpool Vision.
"As far as we know, if October [Comms] did ever work for [Liverpool] Vision, it would have been some years ago, and even then in its earlier life before the big quango merger.
"Please, please, folks, be careful before you add your wisdom to the rant, especially when the things you are saying are completely without foundation. You are legally responsible for your own comments and we'll have to remove them if they are reported to us as excessively rude or defamatory."
It's curious why LC should assert that there's no link between October Comms & Liverpool Vision, adding that the lawyers could, theoretically, be dragged in if anyone suggests otherwise when October lists Vision as one of its clients ( ).
Either someone's guilty of a terminological inexactitude, or that webpage urgently needs updating. Perhaps Larry can shed some light on this; clarification would be welcome. So, Larry, what's the situation?

Friday, September 04, 2009

He's Back

The Professor's back with a gem of a post: .
Welcome back, Professor, you're a star!

And They Say Industrial Reporting Is Dead

As the city approached the Matthew Street money-making weekend, the Oldham Echo couldn't resist lapsing into pantomime mode, not, as you'd expect, by urging us all to wear mop-top wigs & yodel along to the old favourites, but to wheel out an old bogey figure from the 80s ( ).
Marc Waddington's turgid tract of tabloidese last Friday shrieked:
"The union chief involved in stalled negotiations over today's bin strike in Liverpool will be watching events from a sun lounger at a five-star resort in Crete, the ECHO has learned."
The notion of anyone on holiday "watching events" relating to an industrial dispute is a new one on me; perhaps live satellite link-ups were arranged just for the occasion, or perhaps it is now common practice, available to anyone on holiday, to watch live TV pictures of, well, not much really, just a few people entering & leaving a building where negotiations take place. Or perhaps it's just lazy journalism.
Waddington's slanted piece spoke about Ian Lowes, the GMB official concerned, not being "on the picket line" because of his holiday. Lowes is someone the Echo has long had in its sights. He was a key player during the 80s when his role on the Joint Shop Stewards Committe (JSSC) cemented the support of the local authority unions for the Militant council against the Tories & Kinnock.
Waddington's piece continued:
"The news of of his trip comes in the week that Liverpool city managers expressed frustration that attempts to get the unions back around the table had failed."
Presumably, this "failure" was caused by Lowes' holiday; managers had made "attempts" to get the seemingly recalcitrant unions back at the table, had they?
The article also alleged that Lowes' holiday had "infuriated some GMB members" who were "left to take the action" while the GMB official enjoyed "the island paradise".
So were any GMB members actually named &/or directly quoted in Waddington's piece? Er, no. He fell back on the typical tabloid trick of anonymity & third-hand sourcing. It did, however, quote Lib Dem Eddie Clein, as you'd expect. As for the GMB members, they were "left to take the action" which they'd voted for in a ballot; they didn't need Ian Lowes' hand to hold onto during last Friday's strike.