LABOUR ‘SPINS’, (again), AND MY ADORED FIDGET DIES

Her sudden death is too painful to describe yet so I’ll ease my grief by blogging about amazing recent statements from our senior Labour leaders; including Mark Tami M.P, who claims Flintshire has been “stitched up” over the massive waste burning plant heading for Deeside. This chimes with another accusation. “ All the fault of the previous administration”, bleats, Council Leader, Aaron Shotton. “Our hands are tied” as £71m is the cancellation cost”. Although Flintshire is the lead Authority for the North Wales Regional Partnership, to blame the Coalition for being stuck with just one tender & huge cancellation fees if we pulled out is unfair & basically untrue .

Consultants were paid handsomely to advice the Regional Partnership & with our Chief Executive was in the driving seat as Project Head, FCC was the lead authority. Why did they get it all so wrong? Aaron Shotton blames the Deeside incinerator decision onto the Coalition. Waste disposal was aired a committee and if they were not content, Labour cllrs. could have been called in! So who was responsible for bouncing this Authority into the costly Deeside incinerator & ending up with just one tender. A site in Anglesey was earmarked as suitable but the land got sold, leaving Flintshire with just one tender. Welsh Government’s original demand for a rail link ensured Deeside copped the incinerator site.

The shortfall in the Council’s budget was about £5million. Overnight apparently, the shortfall shot up to an eye watering £15 to £18 million and now the deputy leader and a Executive colleague have suggested that the financial hole is actually more like £50million? If this is true, this Authority must be broke.

No way can these savings be realistically made and services still maintained. Why did Welsh Government get their sums so wrong to drop this Authority in one helluva mess? Not one whisper of criticism from my Flintshire Labour chums over their own incompetent government in Cardiff.

Did nobody consider that waste disposal technology moves incredibly fast. Pundits say this disposal method was suspected as no longer the solution but Welsh Government apparently refused to fund any other system? Is this true? We need to know! Its suggested also that contracts had not actually been signed and the Authority could have legally backed out of the crazy ‘one tender’ farce? If that’s true too, someone seems to be guilty of crass incompetence?

Was there really no mechanism within the agreement to allow a reluctant partner to pull out? Why did the mega expensive consultants not write in a “opting out clause”? What of other disposal facilities are on our doorstep ready to take Flintshire waste for less cost and misery to residents. Ince Marshes incinerator is allegedly massive & its believed wants all the waste it can get to make it viable!

Was none of these options considered? Uncharitable rumours abound that the lead Authority ploughed on despite serious changes to the original plan, simply not to lose face & offend Welsh Government? Surely not?

The next big ‘spin’ was from one of my Labour true favourites, Alex Aldridge. He made the biggest press impact by grabbing the front page of our local rag recently. He predicted that Flintshire Council is facing ‘a catastrophe of epic proportions where the county would be in crisis within three years because of austerity cuts Imposed BY WESTMINSTER.’ Unbelievable tosh. Nothing to do with the numerous Cardiff Government financial cock-ups, which have occurred ever since Labour won power in 1999. After all these years in charge and they still they play the ‘blame game’

Reel back to blaming Westminster for Flintshire’s financial woes! As a former WAG Commissioner for Anglesey, & former Council Leader himself, Alex must know that the Westminster grant has risen substantially since the Assembly came on stream, especially as the grant has funded the substantial wages for its former Commissioners. Welsh Government has billions more to spend than in the first term. How South Wales has basked in these new found riches. Super road links from Cardiff to Swansea, each new road mile costing many millions & buying lame duck Cardiff airport. How many millions was spent on this white elephant?

No budget shortage for the M4 upgrade either although getting a decent acoustic fence to ease the pain of traffic noise in my ward from Edwina was a hard fought battle. Trust Transport Minister Edwina Hart to go for the dearest & least generally accepted option which caused a huge political row with Plaid C. I accept politics is a black art and truth gets mangled but it’s disingenuous to push blame elsewhere.

Dr Mark Drakesford, the Welsh Health Minister “spins” too when responded to ingoing heavy press criticism of comparisons with waiting times in Wales & England. Of course, nothing to do with his administration, its Westminster’s fault again? Is Westminster responsible for the Ambulance service hardly being fit for purpose and their CE vanishing on an alleged big pay off?

The ears of Welsh Gov’s Audit Committee watchers on 7th October 2014 should be flapping as hints of huge secret payoffs to some of the Ombudsman’s staff hit the fan! Could one fortunate recipient be former Head of Investigations, Andrew Walsh; who headed the PSOW’s investigation in to me in 2009. Who ever collated case papers against me did a very naughty thing. As mentioned in Blogs Passim, a REALLY IMPORTANT email was missing. Its just gets worse! Even this copy of the ‘missing email’ handed to my Adjudication Panel thinking it would be considered was ignored. Andrew Walsh, the chief investigator witnessed this handing in and grinned ‘Cheshire Cat’ style when the guilty verdict was announced.

Is it just a coincidence that now three officers from the PSOW’s office and the Adjudication Panel Wales, including the former Ombudsman Peter Tyndall have all moved on?

Withholding evidence is a crime. This crime has the posh name; malfeasance in public office. That a possible perpetrator of doing me so much harm should be given a hefty pay off is truly dreadful.

Peter Tyndall’s the former Ombudsman has cost Welsh Government a staggering £2 million in legal fees for the Heesom tribunal. Just think what cash strapped Flintshire could do with that sum? Panto time approaches fast. Well paid public servants better remember that famous Catch Phrase, “Look behind you”. I hope my long wait for justice is close.

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