Thursday, 20 August 2015

Is Central Sixth Going Under?


A few weeks ago a usually reliable source told me that the greedy b*stards at Sandwell College were trying to get out of The Public already and despite having shafted Sandwell Council and the taxpayer over the deal in the first place.

As ever, the scheming College has been very tardy with releasing the minutes of the Meetings of its Board of Governors which includes Jan Britton, the laughable "Chief Executive" of Labour SMBC, and a top West Midlands Police officer, Basit Javid, who just happens to be the brother of the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid (partly responsible for funding to colleges like, er, Sandwell).

Some might think it odd that with a major Regional Fraud Team investigation dragging on at Sandwell Council it might not be appropriate for a senior police officer to be hob-nobbing with Britton in the circumstances but I am sure they are far too professional to ever discuss the ongoing enquiry over the rich tea biscuits.

Following yet another Freedom of Information request the sleazy College have finally put on their website the heavily redacted minutes of the minutes of 8th December, 2014 (over eight MONTHS late) and also the unredacted minutes of the meeting of 23rd February, 2015 (why the delay, yet again, in disclosing same?)


Now it gets interesting. I have shown before how the College has tried to take the p*ss with my Freedom of Information requests and once again they are complying with the exact letter of my request for minutes of certain meetings whilst failing to tell me (or you, dear members of the public) that, just as they did with the bent Public deal, they had a totally secret "special" meeting of the Board of Governors which is not even shown on the list of meetings they have published. How the f*ck are the public supposed to know what is going on with a PUBLICLY-FUNDED BODY? Please note Javid S. And was your brother there?

As above, they had just such a secret meeting when they decided to shaft The Public so was this a meeting where they decided they wanted out? Have they forced Sandwell Labour to agree even more generous terms to stay on? We need to know and as I can't amend the original FoI, I will have to do yet another one (plus I am applying for a review in respect of all the redactions). Why can't these publicly-funded jokers just be open?

On 11th May, 2015 the Board met again after its secret conflab and Britton "declared an interest in Agenda item 8". The Board - including Britton and a Senior West Midlands Police officer then VOTED to keep this item secret. Javid B arrived late but connived with the Board to keep this item (and item 21) secret. Why is a senior West Midlands Police Officer behaving in this way? Noting Britton's "conflict of interest" was this another item when pulling out of The Public was discussed?

We need to know as do kids possibly signing up for the virtually empty "Central Sixth". So come on John Tew (Chair of the Board), tell us what is going on? If the rumours are untrue about the failing building now is your chance to say so.

Incidentally. Britton is presiding over a Council mired in scandal and, as above, the subject of a major police fraud investigation. After years of dismal failure his cowboy outfit have failed another Ofsted investigation into its disastrous Children's Services. Right-thinking people may think he had enough on his plate trying to put right the f*ck-ups that have arisen on his watch and for which he is paid for by the taxpayer very handsomely. But the scholarly and wise "leader" [sic] of Sandwell Labour, Darren "Two Brains" Cooper, is desperate to further his already dismal career in the new "Greater Birmingham" and so is allegedly forcing Britton and other hard-pressed staff to do all the donkey work for the proposed "Combined Authority" as well as the "day job"! This does not augur well.....

But, as we have seen time and time again. Cooper, Hussain and the rest of the Labour Dictatorship are determined to force their insidious tentacles, North Korean-style, into every aspect of Sandwell life. They forced the College to take Britton onto the Board as part of the bent Public deal but, and I kid you not, despite a massive fraud hunt, the College have appointed xxx xxxxx xxxxxx [comedic name for Jan Britton] onto the College's. er, Audit Committee until October, 2016! That's the bit that deals with the money side of things and surely there must be a conflict of interest as the idiots at Sandwell Labour are part-funding the College now, even though they have no legal obligation to do so and are having to cut services elsewhere to pursue this folly!

But hey, that's Sandwell and Sandwell Labour, folks.....

DS Wayne Haynes and his fraud team still want to hear about potential wrongdoing at Sandwell Council - phone 0121 251 2175.


email:         twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no:  07599 983737

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Millionaires Support Lazy Git MP!

Tow Watson was the joint laziest MP 2010 - 2015 but seems to think this is a suitable qualification for being the Deputy Leader of what is left of the Labour Party!

Watson has allegedly lost one battle recently when he was supposed to be behind a plot to dethrone the ludicrous "leader" of his local Labour Council, Darren Cooper, but folk say he has now cravenly agreed to help the erudite and learned "Professor" Cooper's bid for power in the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority in return for support in this contest. One principled guy if this is all true!

This blog warned mug punters not to put money into this Deputy Leadership campaign as Ten Bellies has serious financial backers and, at the end of the day, the long-suffering members of Unite the Union will pick up the tab! And so it is coming to pass.

Unite are already in for £12.5K besides their usual support to Wealthy Watters and another union is also dishing out their members' dues to him with ASLEF chipping in postage at £2,499.75p! (Perhaps they should have bought shares in privatised Royal Mail!)

And now the rich are also stumping up for the "socialist" shagger!

The most high profile donation was £4K from multi-millionaire Joanne Rowling. Quite what she thinks, from the luxury of Edinburgh's New Town, the Nonce-Finder General (credit - Guido Fawkes) has done for his beleaguered constituents of West Bromwich East, I cannot say, unless this was just a wizard jape.

This blog has repeatedly asked (privately and publicly) for this secretive man who, in more innocent times, we would have called a "cradle-snatcher", to confirm that the Derek Webb who has put money into Fat Tom's constituency Labour Party is one and the same as the - alleged - ex-gambler and millionaire, Derek Webb, who, despite saying he has now sold his extensive interests in the, er, gambling industry runs a private organisation called the "Campaign For Fairer Gambling"! I speculated whether each time Watson opens his gob to pontificate about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Derek is popping a coin in? Well I think we need to know now as a private individual called "Derek Webb" has just given our Bermondsey hero £25K!

The man in the centre next to Ten Bellies is "a" Mr Derek Webb
Step forward a third millionaire in the shape of local property magnate Paramjit Bassi. I mentioned in a recent blog (see below) that his Bond Wolfe companies had been doing well recently (and perfectly properly) thanks to crazily spendthrift Labour Sandwell Council and its "partner" organisations [sic] and Bassi has made small donations before. Here one of his companies, Bond Wolfe Estates Limited , has supplied benefits in kind of £13,398.42 and the man himself has stumped up a handsome £15K.

Meanwhile, this great tribune of the loony left has been getting help in cash and in kind from a bunch of creatives called Karian & Box to the value so far of £6,400. Ironically this outfit boast of their assistance to a string of the capitalist giants so beloved of Jeremy Corbyn, including leftie pet hates such as, er, Barclays, Heathrow, Rio Tinto & Sellafield! Right on, Comrade!

Happily, The Rutting Walrus of Lurve has received assistance in kind from a Mike Joslin of Organise Consulting in Newcastle to the value of £4,000 and also received donations in cash or kind from the following mystery donors (if you are one of them please do get in touch and let me know why you thought this clown was "the man for the job"):

Nigel Gardiner - £4,000

Anthony Gajadharsingh - £3,000

Trust Reservations (a hotel booking outfit) - £8,960.40

Ian Corfield - £10,000

(Despite his alleged support for openness etc the furtive Watters is still refusing to say whether he actually got a degree from Hull Uni - info welcome please as he won't waive "personal" data protection for Hull to answer my FoI request).

And so with his Union backers and new rich chums, our expenses-guzzling (despite voting record) MP hero is laughing all the way to the bank (though not now the Millbank). Rock on, Tommy!

Previous relevant posts:

Hull Uni:

Laziness and Voting Record:

Donor Derek Webb:

Bond Wolfe:


email:            twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no: 07599 983737

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Kids Are Not Alright in Sandwell.


Right-thinking people in Sandwell were worried when the Rotherham child sexual exploitation (CSE) scandal hit the headlines and not just for the unfortunate victims up there. Rotherham and Sandwell Councils have so much in common - apart from Cllr Steve Eling who works for one and f*cks things up at the other (like the Sandwell Labour Council Tax Benefit disaster) - with their anachronistic "tribal" politics and refusal to accept any facts that do not correspond to their perverted view of the world. These unscrupulous and unscrutinised dictatorships of the hard-left will brook no opposition of any kind. In Sandwell they are ably assisted by their propagandists at The Express and Star and a pliant local police force.

Many of us thought that Sandwell had a similar demographic to Rotherham and a very large, and perhaps more importantly, politically-powerful taxi industry which Sandwell Police seem very anxious to protect. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by The Birmingham Mail the warning signs are flashing as brightly as ever:

In the meantime, what of the disaster-zone that is Sandwell's Children's Services since the departure of the previous "leader" of  Sandwell Labour, the thief Bill Thomas, who was curiously also known as "Bangkok Bill". Here is a short recent history:

April, 2013 - following yet another scathing Ofsted report and "inadequate" rating (after the one as far back as 2010), the Director of Children's Services resigns and shortly afterwards, the brilliant intellectual who now "leads" the Labour dictatorship, "Professor" Darren Cooper, and his cronies force the cabinet member in charge of this shambles, Cllr Bob Badham, to walk the plank. "Two Brains" Cooper declares that he is "devastated" at the inadequate rating. Labour take the only action they know and throw money at the problem - ironically bringing in a private contractor "to improve the service" [sic]. Their fees are, obviously, on top of SMBC's own budget for Children's Services. The private contractor, iMPower Consulting Limited have had some connection with the comrades previously. We know that laughable "Chief Executive" Jan Britton's team have a disastrous record on procurement (BT being the most spectacular multi-million pound f*ck-up) but this time Britton & Co had previous dealings with iMPower and were obviously mightily impressed with their abilities. I am not sure if the contract was put out to tender or not but Britton awarded them a new deal. The mainstream media has reported only what Labour have told them and have variously reported that the contract was worth "£1m over 3 years" to "£1.15m over 30 months" though they have never bothered to investigate this propaganda. Then the fees to iMPower start to escalate dramatically as their new contract in November, 2012 kicked in from, it seems, January, 2013. Cheekily, on their own website, iMPower draw the public's attention to the habit of Cooper & Co to piss down your leg and tell you it's raining although they quaintly describe it as Sandwell Labour's history of "over-promising and under-delivering". "Lol"

Don't worry say Labour, all will be well and they "pledge" improvements. Cllr Simon "Two Homes" Hackett is handed the poisoned chalice. A snap Ofsted report still brands Labour's service "inadequate".

Central Government serve an official improvement notice on the failing socialists and force Professor Ray Jones on them to help clean up the mess.

Autumn, 2014 - Professor Jones produces reasonably favourable comments and the Local Government Association (with whom Deputy Leader Cllr "The Talking Corpse" Eling has had close links) also produce a reasonably favourable "review" The Labour bullsh*tters go into overdrive with their pathetic boasting. On 15th October, 2014 in a vomit-inducing propaganda display that would have made Josef Stalin blush with shame, two kids are brought in to the full Council meeting and tell the comrades how much things have improved. The comrades cheer them to the roof (I was there) and then masturbate themselves into a positive frenzy of delight as the ludicrous Cooper and the "Chief Executive" of the scandal-ridden cowboy/girl outfit step down from their dias to dramatically sign yet another meaningless, er, "pledge" to improve Children's Services.

Such is the hubris of these Labour w*nkers that they even started boasting to the press about their achievements and iMPower joined in claiming that, thanks to their very highly-paid efforts,"byword for failure" Sandwell was being transformed into a centre of "innovation". They quoted "xxx xxxxx xxxxxxx" [comedic reference temporarily removed] Britton as saying, "The work iMPower did [in remodelling services] was exceptional" as was their motivation of social workers. Indeed, so wonderful were they that the laughable Britton was copying their business model to other parts of the failing Council: "Children's services has become the exemplar  for what we are doing elsewhere". "Lol" again!

Simon White, the new Director of Children's Services, boasted, "Our approach has been to improve the service in a completely different way to the path taken by Councils when they fail an Ofsted"......

Needless to say, Sandwell's ubiquitous spokesperson on all matters was also gloating. Smethwick's answer to Jean Paul Sartre opined, "We have broken a vicious circle of failure, improvement then failure again" (though his full quote was likely to have been written for him by the half a million pound a year "press office"). Cooper (for it is he) also boasted, "We are ready for [Ofsted] inspection".

Early 2015 - As ever, the only media organisation in the area who actually bother to do any investigative journalism and reportage had their finger on the pulse when Ofsted inspected in January and as early as 25th February, 2015 The Halesowen News called the outcome ie that there would be yet another "inadequate" rating.

They had the inside track and said this:

"As the latest inspection started in January, Cllr Cooper trumpeted the 'vast improvements' he claimed had been made.

"But the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that Cllr Cooper "had set himself up for a fall".

"The source said: "It shows the Council Leader does not have his finger on the pulse of children's services" "

But then the story takes a sinister turn. As called by The Halesowen News, the draft Ofsted report did, yet, again, give Sandwell an "inadequate" rating. We have seen that the erudite and learned Cooper has been rushing to the press of late when Labour SMBC have been hammered in the Courts immediately alleging that Sandwell "will appeal" but such has been the hopelessness of the cases that no such appeals have, in fact, been made. But the dictatorship's method of doing things is to ignore the message and shoot the messenger. Notwithstanding that kids were facing the possibility of real harm, rape, buggery etc the reports findings had to be challenged. And Cooper and Co did so.

Insiders at SMBC say that the Labour dictatorship were also very anxious that the report should not see the light of day until AFTER the May elections and I have a Freedom of Information Act request in with Ofsted about this. The fact is that when the "purdah" period kicked-in (ie the period before the election when Council's have to stop publicising anything that is politically sensitive) both Ofsted and Sandwell Labour said that the Report could not then be disclosed. This is an absolute outrage when vulnerable kids are at risk and gives the lie to Labour and Ofsted spouting out the standard b*llocks that "the best interests of the child are paramount".

Although this is morally shocking is it right legally? The truth is that the Ofsted report is NOT party political. The fact that it may be embarrassing to a political party who have f*cked up yet again should be neither here nor there. Here are the official guidelines:

"Legal basis and official guidance 

The pre-election restrictions are governed by Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986 , as amended in 1988 . Essentially councils should “not publish any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.”

(Clearly the Ofsted report is apolitical and the result of the findings on an independent inspection and is not "designed" to affect a political party even though that might be a consequence of publication.)

"You are allowed to:

• Continue to discharge normal council business (including determining planning applications, even if they are controversial)."

(Dealing with the Ofsted report as a matter of urgency where vulnerable kids are at risk should, in anywhere but Sandwell, surely be "normal council business"?)

Clearly there is absolutely no point in writing to Watson, Spellar or Bailey, the local Labour MP's, about this appalling misinterpretation of the rules but please consider writing direct to the Cabinet Office:

The learned Cooper tweeted this about the pre-election cover-up to one of the Twitter trolls he was "using" at the time:

Latest tripe politically motivated. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows ofsted or SMBC can't report in Purdah.

(This troll account is one of the 16 - sixteen - associated with Cooper that Twitter have now suspended).

And it all worked a treat. F*ck the vulnerable kids (which is what might have literally happened to some of them during this period of gross delay), the report must await the election.

5th June, 2015 - as called back in February by the Halesowen News the report comes out with another shocking "inadequate" rating. Instead of being "devastated" this time, and SMBC losing their appeal against the rating, Cooper simply denies the veracity of the report and claims it is "wrong"! The news was embargoed until 3pm and was out a few minutes later than that but, within minutes, Cooper's aforementioned pet troll @OdgenW was putting forward SMBC's detailed "rebuttal" of the report's findings so that there had clearly been some collaboration between Cooper and the troll prior to the public announcement. There was no humility nor apology to the kids who have suffered thanks to Labour's shocking ineptitude and no positive plan as to how SMBC was going to move forward and rectify this dreadful situation. Neither Cooper nor Hackett resigned as a private deal between the two had been sorted out with Tom Watson beforehand (needless to say the Nonce-Finder General himself continues to gob off about historic child sex abuse but has had nothing whatsoever to say about the appalling record of Labour on CSE in his own constituency!!!!)

And what of iMPower is an all this? As above, they so impressed "xxx xxxxx xxxxxxx" [comedic reference to Chief Executive, Jan Britton, temporarily removed] that he dished out a massive contract to them. On their website they set out three core targets for the contract. One was "saving money" - see below - but the number one goal (couched in the usual b*llock-speak) was:

"establishing an effective service, meeting OFSTED requirements and staying 'ahead of the curve' in terms of nationally acceptable standards".

Clearly given the inadequate Ofsted rating they have spectacularly FAILED in their number one objective despite handsome payment. Take a look at this link wherein they trumpet the positive reviews of last Autumn but COMPLETELY FAIL to mention the disastrous Ofsted result!!!! What a surprise!

Staff at SMBC have also contacted The Skidder to express their concern about Labour's claim that iMPower have only cost £1m or £1.15m. In SMBC's financial year 2011/2012 (before the current contract) Britton was so impressed by them that they still scored a minimum of £72,015.18p. The next financial year, which includes the start of the current contract sees fees start to sky-rocket to a minimum figure of £379,697.39. Now for the big one! According to SMBC's "payments over £500 list" (which obviously excludes any further payments made under £500) in one year alone, 2013-2014, Labour paid them £910,540.72p!!!!!

In 2014-2015 Labour paid a minimum further £659,560.70 and in the first four months of the current financial year - and despite the dramatic Ofsted failure - iMPower have had another minimum £205,784.84.

If we leave out the initial figure of £72,015.18 then since 1st April, 2012 SMBC's records show they have paid iMPower a minimum figure of £2,155,583.65. Assuming that all the invoices include 20% VAT the net figure is still £1,796,319.71 - way above what Labour have told the mainstream press. My informants are right as usual and I salute their bravery in exposing the Labour lies.

(Incidentally, in a rare show of dissent against the Politburo, Cllr Steven Jones - whose own family is mired in the Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury scandal - has criticised the "leadership" for throwing money at the problem and wasting it! But see below....!)

In the meantime, Labour have borrowed approximately £20m+ for a new HQ in West Bromwich; borrowed the thick end of £10m for yet another new bloody leisure centre, and borrowed getting on for £6m to lend to the College (who they specifically do NOT have to fund) - although they will get this back if the College does not go bust over, er, 25 years! This is nothing to do with the Government but the loony lefties just have to keep on borrowing and spending.

On a smaller scale - while vulnerable Sandwell kids are in a terrible predicament and at great risk of sexual exploitation, Baggies-mad Cooper continues to plough money into his vanity projects like the Club's own [sic] charity, The Albion Foundation where, happily, "Two Homes" Hackett is on the charity's board. (The taxpayer is putting in huge sums thanks to Labour and in the last accounts the Club put in, er, ZERO - a nice, round figure). I think this is what is called getting your priorities right....

But hang on a minute, what is this? The "Talking Corpse" Eling now says that, in fact, Children's Services - despite failing so spectacularly - "performed a significant [financial] SURPLUS - last year" ie the sick "socialists" did NOT use up their allocated budget for the most vulnerable kids in the Borough! The Leadership [sic] reject Ofsted's findings (!) and insist that everything is hunky dory so that they are now going to CUT £7.16m from the Children's Services budget!!!! (Hopefully the exceptional iMPower won't miss out though!) Honestly, I am NOT making this up....

Surely the time has come again for the sake of the kids that the Government should intervene again and, as per James Morris MP, "step in and sort out" this disgraceful situation once and for all? Further, this joke Labour outfit must stop wasting money on crap and concentrate on delivering essential services in a proper manner to vulnerable people - young and old.

Unfortunately, the voters of Sandwell (or at least the low percentage who bother to vote) seem to like all this sort of thing and keep voting to keep the shambolic Labour dictatorship in power over them.

There is none so blind as those who will not see.......

To finish with some good news - though not for Sandwell - many of you will remember ex-Councillor Mick Davies. Now Mick is a dear old leftie but, that nothwithstanding (!), is a thoroughly decent man of considerable integrity who felt compelled to leave the Labour Party locally due to the antics of the likes of Cooper. Mick runs an excellent team at the SureStart Palfrey Children's Centre in Walsall. In 2010 the Centre was rated "outstanding" in all categories by Ofsted and they have just done it again with another "outstanding" grading across the board in 2015 - the only Children's Centre in the whole country to currently have achieved this remarkable feat. What a shame he now lives outside the Borough since his principled approach to politics and his understanding of difficult issues is very much needed in the stinking cesspit controlled by Cooper and the rest of Sandwell Labour.

Remember the police fraud team investigating Sandwell Council still want to hear from you if you have evidence of possible wrongdoing - 0121 251 2175 - DS Wayne Haynes & Team.


E-mail:           Twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no:  07599 983737

Monday, 10 August 2015

Smethwick Pakistani Muslims Association

Before any clowns start having a pop, I am writing this post at the request of a number of members of the Muslim community in and around the Smethwick area, who have expressed concern about this charity and also kindly supplied information to me. Save for my additional research, ALL the information has come from the local Muslim community.

Sandwell Labour has, of course, been very anxious over the years to court the Muslim vote on their patch and Cllr Mahboob Hussain's rise to the top of Sandwell Council was, to a large degree, due to his ability to "deliver" that community's vote. My friends tell me that he is assiduous in having pro-Labour propaganda disseminated via local mosques. One recent example (which will shortly be featuring in this blog) was the "good news" from Labour concerning the new "digital autopsy" facility.... (watch this space).

Hussain has, of course, had a temporary fall from grace and has voluntarily suspended himself from the Labour Party although my informants tell me he is regularly seen in the company of his "former" colleagues. Only the other day he was coming out of Wednesbury Town Hall with Cllr Bob Lloyd and Cllr Ian Jones (although the latter too has, regrettably, also been having a little local difficulty). His importance to Labour still seems to be acknowledged, however, in the perverted world of the Dictatorship and it merited him getting a tummy rub from the new Mayor at her recent gross, taxpayer-fuelled, beano:
Night Mayor On Freeth Street
And let's face it, the crafty comrades have been generous with the cash to Muslim organisations over the years and in other ways. Many members of the local community have raised concerns, however - particularly in respect of the demise of the Sandwell Muslim Organisation (in which Hussain was a leading light). I still have an unanswered Freedom of Information request in with the Labour Council regarding the lifting of a restrictive covenant on the SMO's old premises in Oldbury and many locals are still mystified where the Organisation's money went.... (again, watch this space).

This blog disclosed that the sleazy "socialists" had also flogged an absolutely huge piece of land in Peel Street, Tipton to the local mosque subject to a restrictive covenant for its alleged use as overspill parking. The massive plot was sold for JUST £25,000 and local members of the community have suggested that at some point SMBC will secretly remove the covenant providing an absolutely massive windfall to the mosque. We shall see...

Further details on the above:

And the loony lefties were attempting to do exactly the same thing in West Bromwich until this blog exposed what was going on in the nick of time (see numerous posts on this subject).The cunning comrades were going to sell a huge car park at the rear of Salisbury House to the Dartmouth Street Mosque but, fortunately for the taxpayer, this has been put on hold - at least until the coast is clear...

Unfortunately, a number of the stories I have been told about the Smethwick Pakistani Muslims Association Limited (SPMA) - a registered charity - cannot be shared with you yet but even a cursory glance shows that, as usual, the charity is heavily reliant on the all-pervading local Labour dictatorship. I am informed that there was a complaint to the Charity Commission about this body some years ago and certain high-ranking Labour figures attacked the complaints as being "malicious" (ring any bells anyone?)

The charity is based at Corbett Street in Smethwick as is the Jamia Mosque. There is some, but not complete, overlap between the trustees of the two bodies. I am informed that most, if not all of the trustees, are connected with the Labour Party to a greater or lesser degree.

Even though SPMA is a small charity the last filed accounts show that it somehow feels it necessary to have no less than TEN trustee/directors two of whom are our old friends, Cllrs Mohammad Rouf and Zahoor Ahmed, both representing the Borough's Multan Ward.
Regular readers will know that ex-taxi driver Rouf sold the house that he owned in Wellington Road for a tidy sum but was, happily, immediately eligible for a Sandwell Council house in Trafalgar Road. He also had an interest in a property in Shireland Road. Of course, Labour then sold a large plot of publicly-owned land on Florence Road, Smethwick to Rouf's son and he is now occupying a brand-new seven bedroom house he has built there. Sandwell Labour are STILL refusing to say what the sale price was and yet another FoI request remains outstanding. (Cllr Hussain - a distant relative of Rouf - was, of course, on the Council committee that authorised the sale).

Zahoor Ahmed - taxi-driver - has, I am told no talent for politics (or little else) but achieved a stonking win in the May elections despite having an interesting past. Rumours abound that he is to be placed in the Sandwell Labour cabinet as a "deaf, dumb and blind" stooge but I am sure that is doing him an injustice. He is also the owner of at least two properties and joins the ranks of the Borough's "socialist  councillor landlords"  - "lol".

The Mosque, incidentally, has an, er, ex-taxi driver trustee who, I am told drives a flash Mercedes with personalised number plates despite working for a local authority (not Sandwell). Happily, he and his wife (an ex-SPMA employee) jointly own a minimum of five houses at Rosebery Road (2), Salisbury Road, Windmill Lane and New Birmingham Road, Dudley. Good luck to the chap, I say.

You would think, therefore, that with all this entrepreneurial talent floating about the charity would be soaring to miraculous heights. Alas, there is no reference in the accounts to a single penny having been actually donated by the local community and, in true socialist style, the SPMA relies totally on grants etc from bodies that are, to a greater or lesser extent, taxpayer-funded.

And so the 2013 accounts show an income of largely unrestricted funds (ie the charity can use then for its charitable purposes but are not obliged to spend the dosh on specific projects) of £81,774 but after staff and admin costs had a deficit of £10,923. Of the income, £44,600 came from the taxpayer via Sandwell Labour (55%).

In the 2014 accounts the income is very slightly down despite all the business talent involved with the charity at £80,582 but at least the deficit had been brought down to just £1,845.

But the Labour Trustees can't resist parrotting the sort of b*llocks regularly trotted out by Darren "Two Brains" Cooper, the joke Labour "leader", and so THE PUBLISHED ACCOUNTS actually say this:

"Funding this year has been reduced compared to previous years, the main reason for this has been due to government/local council cutbacks which have impacted on how much income we have managed to secure".

This is, indeed, bullsh*t as, in fact, Sandwell Labour had actually INCREASED its grant to £59,572 ie 74% of total income! Curiously, there is a further sum  of £4,741 alleged to have been paid from SMBC "through" the Sandwell Consortium/PCT, whatever "through" means. If this sum has, indeed, come from Rouf and Ahmed's comrades then the overall Labour funding goes up to, er, 80% of total income.

Mysteriously, the 2014 accounts show the staff costs going down whereas they also say that the taxpayer - via Sandwell Labour - is going to fund an employee as an "advocate" for three years and no doubt we will learn more about this in the next accounts which should be available in September.

It is legitimate and, indeed, desirable that charities keep some financial reserves for a rainy day but when the local Labour council is substantially funding the outfit one might expect that the loot would go to where it is undoubtedly needed. Curiously, this small charity has two bank accounts - one with Lloyds and one with Barclays - and whilst there have been unsubstantiated rumours as to occasional "odd" use of the chequebooks the fact remains that in 2013 and 2014 the trustees were holding cash of £30,036 and £31,122 respectively! Why are such large sums being held rather than being distributed to the needy in Smethwick? Why do Labour need to pump even more money in if the charity is sitting on a pile of cash? (Looks good at election time though eh, readers?)

I suppose at the end of the day, despite a band of such trustee superstars, what a small charity of this type needs is a dedicated staff with a truly inspirational leader. The accounts make specific mention of their centre manager. Despite SPMA's small income their website seems to list an inordinate number of staff (supplemented, apparently, by a team of volunteers):

Mr Mohammed Faruque - Centre Manager
Mr Zahed Mahmood Khan - Business Development Manager
Mrs Balkees Khan - Administrator
Mr Saqib Ali - Welfare Rights Advisor
Mrs Nazia Parveen - Welfare Rights Advisor
Mrs Zaida Bibi - Project Support Worker
(Taken today from SPMA website).

Happily Mrs Bibi is the,er, sister and next-door neighbour of the Centre Manager, Mohammed Faruque. My local friends tell me he seems not to be seen on the premises "full-time" but that he undoubtedly won his position on merit as he happens to be a relative of, er, Cllr Mahboob Hussain.

The comrades often pontificate in their sanctimonious homilies about people not getting a living wage and how they should not have to work hours in excess of the Working Hours Directive (although they have, themselves, carefully nurtured the entrepreneurial talents of Hussain's own son). How curious then that they are pumping taxpayers' money into a charity whose leader - Faruque - is also working, my friends say, as - yes, you guessed it, a taxi driver! My own enquiries have established that he does indeed hold a current private hire licence via Birmingham City Council.

The erudite and learned Cooper has hijacked a photo from my Twitter account in his usual childish way, and to take the p*ss, he has used it as his own Twitter header photo. The image states, "All's Well in Sandwell". Indeed it is, particularly if you have the right family connections!

Addendum - needless to say Sandwell Police have been "squared" here and SPMA proudly display the West Midlands Police badge on their website!


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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Another Cooper Troll Suspended!

A couple of days ago, I asked in my blog "Not Guilty, Your Worships" just how many Twitter troll accounts Cllr Darren Cooper - the ludicrous "leader" of Labour Sandwell Council - had to directly, and of his own free will, associate with before West Midlands Police (WMP) took action against him? I speculated on numbers before even Chris Sims, the Chief Constable, has to do something - 25 trolls? 50 trolls? 100 trolls?

WMP are in a difficult position. Sandwell Police deliberately covered up a complaint about former Labour Cllr Cashmore so that they were unwilling to investigate my complaint last year despite fresh evidence. They knew that a proper investigation would disclose an extraordinary cover-up involving Sandwell officers attending the home of Cashmore's parents.

WMP are also anxious to protect a senior Sandwell Councillor who is said by informed sources to be a police informant.

Why WMP have expressly refused to investigate numerous other Sandwell Council matters reported to them (including a fire) by myself and many others over the last year or so is a matter of conjecture. Further, "top brass" have specifically limited funding to the current RFT investigation so that it only has a very limited remit.

Unbelievably, it seems WMP are refusing to even look at the award of the 5 Star Taxi contract (over £100,000 of public money involved).

On top of all this, Darren Cooper is seemingly getting special treatment (see my last blog) as he is the Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.

In my blog, "The Latest Twitter Troll Count" I listed the 14 (fourteen) troll accounts that Cllr Darren Cooper - @sandwellleader - has personally chosen to associate himself with. Even if you are naive enough to think that Cooper is not directly involved in trolling you may think this shows an appalling lack of judgement from a local council leader [sic].

But, of course, due to a sting operation reported in my post "Cooper Exposed!" there is definitive evidence directly linking Cooper to two of the troll accounts.

We know WMP are prepared to ignore all this and we can only assume that the Labour Party also endorses this behaviour.

Just in case you can' t be bothered to go to the link set out below here are the FOURTEEN troll accounts that had, at the time, been suspended by Twitter (and, lest we forget, Cooper was following one of the most vile and abusive accounts BEFORE it went "live"):

@crow-ian; @colinduval10; @OoOcatvius; @bhamskidder; @brumskidder; @tiviskidder; @kingsnortonlady; @Gemmawool15; @the1former; @ClownJames; @mrsskidder; @julesndlinda;
@notukipsandwell; @Odgenw (there are other live "suspicious" accounts).

The last of the above accounts is particularly interesting. All the earlier ones in the list were directly associated with Cooper and. in most cases, also with his Unite the Union pal, Brian Rickers (assuming Cooper is not actually one of the trolls himself). But the troll network was running out of steam and so the ex-mental health nurse Cooper allied himself with someone who claims to have mental health problems and Cooper decided to use this alleged mental person, Andrew Hipkiss, as his spokesperson!

Hipkiss relies on state benefits as he claims he is unable to work although he his apparently well enough to spend up to 18 hours a day splurging out thousands of abusive tweets, many with picture boards/memes that he has also spent a huge amount of time preparing.

Hipkiss was behind the last-named Twitter troll account mentioned in the above list - @OdgenW and Cooper immediately associated himself with the account. At that stage, I was unaware that Hipkiss was involved but Cooper knew as was proven in the sting referred to above:

"Odgen revealed himself to me...."

Such is his dismal intellect that Cooper kept pushing the abusive, harassing and distressing @OdgenW account via his own account right up until Twitter suspended it. Here is a screenshot of tweets just hours before the suspension:

Literally as soon as Twitter suspended this troll a new one appeared - @Ennabran - but Hipkiss made the mistake of changing an account in his own name to this troll name. My helpers quickly realised what was going on particularly as, out of a very small number of followers, three were Cooper himself and Hipkiss's wife and son.

Twitter were informed immediately but, as usual, failed to take any action.

As Cooper knew from his friends at WMP there would be no come back he IMMEDIATELY started communicating with the new troll account and continued with his abusive name for me, #skidmark and, like all the trolls before, they both set about trying to get my own Twitter account suspended:

Screenshot 12/06/15

When Hipkiss's cover was blown, Cooper did not even try to hide his involvement and started referring to "Ennabran" as "Andy".

Just as Cooper had done, Hipkiss then published a covertly taken photograph of me in Wednesbury with abusive and harassing comments.

And here is an odd one from Cooper to Hipkiss following a change of profile picture:

As ever, Twitter ignored the bleeding obvious despite Hipkiss bragging how easy it was to fool them with fake documentation eg:

I am currently banned by WMP under threat of immediate arrest from using the "M" word concerning Cllr Darren Cooper and so I will leave you to form your own opinion of this infantile exchange by a senior Labour politician and his pet troll:

Regular readers will know that Hipkiss had been immediately informed either by Cooper (or by WMP itself) following my visit to the nick last week and the troll also passed on instructions to the police from the "leader":

There will be a full breakdown of the troll's activity via my archivist coming soon but right up until YESTERDAY Cooper was fully supporting Hipkiss's abusive activity and also his harassment of UKIP prior to the forthcoming by-election in Sandwell:

Twitter finally suspended Hipkiss today but how long before one of the other "sleeper" troll accounts suddenly becomes active and its back to "normal" for Cooper and his associates?

Remember the action of Lord Nelson when he didn't want to see something through his telescope? Well we are now up to 15 suspended trolls associated with Cooper, Mr Sims. Does the OBE stand for "One Blind Eye?


email:         twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no: 07599 983737

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Not Guilty,Your Worships!

Darren Cooper's latest attempt to silence this blog is now costing you money and may, potentially, cost me my liberty! Here is a story of how a politician is using - or misusing - his power to stifle legitimate scrutiny and opposition.

Let us just wind back a bit. Back in DECEMBER, 2014 my wife made a complaint to West Midlands Police (WMP) about the harassment of herself and her employers by Cooper (and another), and by the host of Cooper-connected troll accounts that were then popping up. A statement was duly taken and a memory stick of evidence delivered to Steelhouse Lane police station in Birmingham. Unbelievably, WMP are still bullshitting and stringing my wife along that they are "investigating" this which is rather odd since, due to their gross delay, the six-month time limit for laying an information or complaint has long since passed and they have themselves - deliberately or negligently - blown my wife's complaint out of the water. It is quite possible that Cooper's friends within WMP have told him this which would explain the curious timing of his own complaint against me, now.

Compare and contrast with this. A week last Monday, Darren Cooper gave a statement to WMP alleging harassment by me. A Detective Sergeant was appointed, no less, and the very next day he phoned me to "invite" me to "voluntarily" attend a police station to be interviewed under caution. I agreed and spent two hours of valuable police time in a nick last Thursday - just four days after Cooper's complaint (and, coincidentally, just seven days after I had written a post highly critical of, er, WMP!) The officer had spent a considerable amount to time reading my blog and researching my hitherto crime-free background at considerable public expense but clearly the streets of the Black Country are so crime-free that valuable resources can be focussed on The Skidder.

So, as far as WMP is concerned, they will jump to attention for the Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel but not for some stupid whinging woman from Brum.

It is also noteworthy that some of the issues Cooper is now raising as allegedly causing him "alarm and distress" date from some considerable time ago - over 18 months in some cases! Is it just a coincidence that he has raised these issues now (a) very shortly after I submitted two particularly significant Freedom of Information Act requests to SMBC (which I will now forward to WMP) and (b) when it is common knowledge that he is manoeuvring for the top-job in the new Combined Authority and that my blog will be very harmful to him by publishing his numerous shortcomings to a much wider audience. If this matter proceeds to trial then this shy, retiring, little man will have to be subjected to very rigorous cross-examination indeed.......

I have also pointed out on tape to WMP that it is one thing to be genuinely put in fear and distress by threats and so on and it is a completely different thing when a person - in this case, Cooper - allegedly becomes "alarmed and distressed" because this blog is holding him and his rotten Council up to the glaring light of public scrutiny and he and the gang are being regularly "caught out"!

If anyone of you trouble to read the witterings of Cooper's new social media spokesperson, Mr Andrew Hipkiss (who claims to be suffering from mental illness), you will see that he has been picking away at me ever since my police station visit via Twitter (with the approval of his Master) although, no doubt, WMP would not class that as harassment along with all the other abuse and trolling. You can see this thanks to my archivist's great work via this link:

Old style-political bruiser and proven liar*, Cooper, has alleged to WMP that he is "alarmed and distressed" by me calling him "The Txxxxxxxxxx"/ "Txxxx" and "The Txxxxx xxxx" [censored my order of WMP]. Despite these all being blatantly obvious satirical references of very longstanding to a local politician's obsession with canine excrement, WMP have taken the view that because Cooper SAYS he is "alarmed and distressed" by this joshing this MUST BE TRUE and I have potentially committed a criminal offence! They are saying (which is challenged) that I have committed the actus reus and am somehow guilty despite not having the criminal intent, or mens rea (although I have put up a forceful defence via the taped interview and will continue to do so following proper legal advice).

Cooper has also claimed that my use of certain other words have also caused him "alarm and distress" although he has never tried to exercise his rights in civil law if he genuinely believes them to be untrue. In other words, he knows he would lose in a civil court because the words are not defamatory and so he is trying (and, so far,succeeding) to get WMP to shut me up instead. Let us consider them in turn:

1.   "Txxxx Mxxxx" [censored by order of WMP] - it is not clear amidst all this nonsense whether it is only if I use the words in conjunction that I am falling foul of the law or if it is OK with the censors at WMP if I use them individually but I shall not be taking the risk pending further legal advice.

I have pointed out to WMP that Cooper's inane and illiterate Twitter is legendary and that he rarely misses an opportunity to parade his stupendous ignorance before an unsuspecting public. My blog has already given countless examples. Here is just one abusive message about a Sandwell resident when he is talking to Hipkiss - currently using the name Ennabran and formerly the now suspended OdgenW - (who has been abusing the same individual):

If you click on the link above you will see Cooper and Hipkiss are now acting in tandem today to try and get my twitter account shut down.

I should add that Cooper also won The Skidder's widely publicised national competition to find "Britain's Thickest Council Leader, 2015". (But he made no complaint about that to WMP).

I have repeatedly pointed out to WMP that it is a matter of grave public concern if Cooper does not have the intellect to fulfil his political role and this is a legitimate subject for scrutiny given his bizarre and childish public utterances and behaviour (particularly when he is also angling to lead "Greater Birmingham").

2.  "Wxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx"; "Sxxx" and "Bxxxx xxx". Leaving aside certain information which I gave to the Police which, alas, must remain confidential at present, it is a matter of fact that Cooper has used his own Twitter account and teamed up with his chum from Unite to harass and abuse my wife, her employers and a charity of which she is a voluntary trustee (see my post "Labour Leader & Unite Officer Harass Arts Charity" and others). He has also specifically caused Sandwell Council to take steps to try and have my wife dismissed from her job for no reason other than that she has the misfortune to be married to me. That behaviour - from a private individual let alone a prominent local politician allegedly "leading" a multi-million local authority - makes him deserving of the epithets used but, of course, it gets far worse....

Cooper and his chum suddenly stopped attacking my wife and I at the end of November 2014 but then we faced a complete sh*t storm of vile abuse via a string of Twitter troll accounts including false allegations of my wife's alleged immorality, that I had killed a child whilst drunk-driving, that I had been guilty of financial fraud plus hints that I am a paedophile unsuitable to undertake voluntary work with children. Cooper's chum even pretended to be out of the country during some of the worst of the abuse which was not true - he was in Dudley the whole time. In a recent post dated 3rd July, 2015, "The Latest Cooper Troll Count"  I pointed out that Cooper has DIRECTLY and of his own free will associated himself with no less than FOURTEEN troll accounts which Twitter have now suspended. There are other troll accounts still "out there" ready to attack. How many before WMP actually take action - 25, 50 or 100?

Once again, all this makes the words I have used true and, in all the circumstances, reasonable but it gets even worse.....

I have specifically asked WMP to read and consider my post "Cooper Exposed!" Regular readers will know that a third party set up a sting of Cooper and we then deliberately fed him some false and highly defamatory information about myself which he immediately passed on to trolls he was directly associating with (assuming he is not actually one of the troll network members himself). Cooper specifically admitted knowing the identity of one of the trolls and then ADMITTED passing grossly defamatory information to another @Gemmawool15. This led directly to more harassment and abuse and on one day alone the troll directed 44 (forty four) vile and abusive messages at my wife and myself with 12 being copied to my wife's employers! Not bad eh, WMP?

Now WMP are publicly admitting that if someone uses a false name to troll a person there is nothing they will do since they will NOT seek court orders against Twitter (this seems unbelievably weak and craven from a law enforcement agency and I would be interested to hear what other UK police forces are doing about this). But one police officer indicated to me privately that with the clear link we had exposed linking Cooper directly to the trolls there was clearly the potential for WMP to investigate him right here in the UK and examine his phone and computer records. Bearing in mind he has used his Council-owned (ie public property) iPhone for much of his dialogue with the trolls there may well also have been vital evidence on SMBC's servers. But, of course, WMP have protected their friend once again and any incriminating evidence has now, in all probability, long since been erased.

(Cooper himself has been deleting some of his back catalogue of abusive tweets although my blog archivist has screenshots of very many of them which I have - on tape- offered to make available to WMP. Clearly WMP are not likely to want to do anything that will upset their chum but I shall certainly wish to rely on them if THIS matter drags on any further).

Cooper has frequently harassed and abused me and, of course, the worst example was when he pursued his personal vendetta by putting a covertly-obtained photo of me on his Twitter account. What does that episode of stalking constitute then WMP?

I have also pointed out to WMP that Cooper regularly uses Twitter to attack and harass others and, of course, once had his own account suspended by Twitter for bullying a private individual. But in his eyes (and, seemingly, those of WMP) there is one rule for him and another for everyone else. Thus when a Sandwell resident (ie NOT a politician) complained about Cooper's absolutely relentless harassment the Council "leader" replied on 26th May, 2014,

"No I don't think it is bullying it's politics".

Take note, please WMP/CPS!

3. "Cxxxxx" - this is a word I used in a specific context (and which WMP appear to have taken out of context) where I pointed out that Cooper was very regularly LYING when he claims he writes his own blog for Sandwell Council when it is, in fact, written by their press office. Furthermore, he was passing off a daily Twitter newsfeed as his own when it is, in fact, prepared by local MP, John Spellar. Thus the expression in the context was entirely true,correct and reasonable to use. It is most certainly in the public interest that he is lying to and deliberately misleading them.

Once again, Cooper dare not bring a civil claim against me on any of these issues as he knows I have the evidence to back up my stories.

But even though I can prove that my statements about a local politician are FACTUALLY TRUE, WMP say I cannot make them again because our poor little shrinking violet alleges he is "alarmed and distressed" by them. Thus, according to WMP, freedom of speech under common law or via Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is entirely redundant and politicians have carte blanche to silence their critics. It cannot possibly be right to use the criminal law in this way to try and silence a blog that has now had 260,000 views despite its esoteric subject matter.

Clearly if Cooper is allowed to get away with this all his present and future political opponents will have to exercise extreme caution as if he alleges he is feeling "alarm and distress" at any of their utterances they are likely to be spending some time with Old Bill. This is like North Korea!

This blog has been instrumental and active in exposing potentially criminal conduct at Sandwell Council and it is well known that there is an ongoing Regional Fraud Team enquiry into various matters. Some officers of WMP have taken the trolling etc as potential witness intimidation which is, of course, precisely what the perpetrators are intending it to be and that is a separate offence from harassment. Alas, their more senior officers are not prepared to allow myself and my wife any sort of protection. (I have also faced threats of extreme violence relating to my blog disclosures and WMP have, at least, given me contact with a specific high-ranking officer about that).

(For the record, and despite the fact that WMP are not exactly my favourite people at the moment, I have sent two separate pieces of information to the RFT this very week. DS Wayne Haynes and his team still welcome information on possible wrongdoing at Sandwell Council on 0121 251 2175).

Cooper (and WMP) is well aware that I am actively investigating certain aspects of his past behaviour which are, given some of his political pronouncements, in the public interest and he is very anxious that I should desist from so doing especially at a time when he is actively seeking to further his own political career. Once again, he cannot sue this blog through the civil courts when I am exposing the truth about him as he would lose and so he his getting his pals at WMP to try to spike my guns instead.

I am not aware that Cooper has personally been involved in any criminality. Potential crimes are currently being investigated at Sandwell Council and even if they cannot be proven on the criminal burden of proof of "beyond reasonable doubt" there is very compelling evidence that there has been gross negligence and considerable loss to the taxpayer during his "watch". Cooper continues to claim that there has been no wrongdoing whatsoever and yet is desperate to stop me from investigating issues involving the Council. Why?

He is also very anxious to publicly support those under suspicion (more anon).

Cooper knows that I have been investigating the circumstances of his home extension loan which, I can assure readers, IS a matter of public interest. He told a number of people that he borrowed the money - approaching £30,000 - from a private individual connected with Sandwell Council. WMP are, by the way, fully aware of this. Now if what he says is true then, again, I can assure readers that it most certainly IS of public interest. If it is not true, then the question arises as to why he was lying in the first place and, of course, the Police (and any Court dealing with this matter in due course) should be raising serious questions as to his truthfulness. But, again, Cooper is now using WMP to try to prevent me from investigating these legitimate matters further.

WMP are deciding what course of action to take in this matter but have warned me that if, in the meantime, I use the censored words shown above I MAY be arrested forthwith. They MAY attempt to confiscate all means of communication and they MAY seek to have this blog closed down. So much for Freedom of Speech and I am now going to have to seek proper legal advice. Having said that, Dear Readers, I have stated unequivocally on police tape under caution that this blog will not be silenced without one hell of a fight!

[Anyone qualified who can give me some advice on this threatened form of police censorship will receive my eternal gratitude].

I have confirmed that I will cooperate fully with WMP if they feel it is really in the public interest to take further action.

For the record, WMP have treated me well, personally, to date despite leaving the sword of Damocles hovering above my head and even they were concerned that costs to the public purse will easily get out of hand if wiser counsel does not prevail here. They were genuinely concerned about the effect a criminal conviction (should it ever happen) would have on the voluntary work I do (although - thanks to Darren Cooper - Jan Britton's Sandwell Council have already formally contacted a charity I do voluntary work for suggesting that I am unfit to be a volunteer with them because of this blog! Not that they are harassing me of course WMP....).




email:            twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no: 07599 983737

* The lies of Darren Cooper himself (a non-exclusive list):

1  All the staff at The Public would get jobs at SMBC (via BBC);
2  Cooper has permitted lies concerning the bent Public deal to remain on the official SMBC record;
3  Cooper has told a story about the bent ice rink deal contrary to the official SMBC record;
4  There are very serious issues surrounding the Fairy Dust affair;
5  Cooper told me to my face that £30k of the statue money was held by SMBC which was a lie;
6  Failed to correct Facebook entries to pretend he was still working for the NHS;
7  Lied that he had not used Sandwell council facilities to get his suspended Twitter a/c reinstated;
8  Lied that Sandwell had allocated all LWP payments (my blog 28/11/14);
9  Lied about CTB legal disaster costs being £40k when they were more than double that;
10 Lied about reduction in councillors' allowances - my blog 03/11/14.

More to come......

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

SMBC Dis Hippodrome Volunteers!

Just over twelve months ago, Birmingham Hippodrome gave me one of the greatest and proudest experiences of my life. Thanks to them I was given the opportunity to join an incredible band of volunteers working with the renowned Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo and her team on "Minimum Monument". For two whole weeks we all spent every afternoon working incredibly hard in an old Southside factory unit to produce over 5,000 (yes, five thousand) ice figures. On an emotionally-searing day in August, 2014, thousands of members of the public placed the figures on the steps in Chamberlain Square in a poignant commemoration of the fallen in World War One.

Earlier this year, Jan Britton's Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council used its investigative powers and harvested this photograph from MY Twitter account and used it to write to the employers of a Birmingham woman with a view to getting her sacked (or at least suspended) from her job:

Even in the perverted and sordid world of Sandwell Council this beggars belief. I have spoken with some of the Hippodrome volunteers shown in the photograph and they have never been asked by Jan Britton's Council for permission to use their images in this, nor indeed, any other way. They certainly do NOT consent that their images have been hijacked for this vile purpose by a local authority.

Needless to say, the woman Britton's Council was so anxious to get sacked had absolutely no connection with this event whatsoever.

I have two related Freedom of Information Act requests in concerning SMBC's misuse of its investigative powers (and, of course, taxpayers' money) but have already had to ask for an internal review in respect of the first since it is now absolutely clear that one (or more) of Britton's employees has lied to me in the initial response.

By the way, Sandwell Council are appealing for volunteers to help at its joke "Arts Festival" this month (yes, it's giant puppets AGAIN). I should read this before you consider applying.

Here is the link to the BBC Midlands Today item on Minimum Monument:


email:                  twitter:   @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone number:  07599 983737

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Skidder Prize Quiz - The Answers!

Hope you enjoyed the quiz! How many did you get right?  Here are the answers:

1.   Yes, The Great Helmsman himself, "Sandwell Leader" - "Lol";
2.   Just £145,000 for what SMBC themselves described as "a major development";
3.   Roger and, former Mayor, Linda Horton. Cashers claims to live half the year with them!;
4.   Cllr Bob, the non-pie-eyed, Piper who says he was sober when he sent the tweet;
5.   Yes, it's seven bedroom heaven for Rouf's son (more on this anon);
6.   Cllr Joanne Hadley - now a trustee of a multi-million pound Sandwell organisation;
7.   Cllr Carol Goult, Bristnall's answer to Mother Theresa;
8.   Stressed-out from overwork and bullying by, er, SMBC - Cllr Olwen Jones;
9.   Did he get a massive secret pay-off? Stuart Kellas;
10. Our water polo-loving friend from Wednesbury, Cllr Ian Jones.


email:             twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no: 07599 983737

Sport Wednesbury Scandal Latest!

What is going on at Jan Britton's Sandwell Council? There are large and highly expensive fraud investigations going on in respect of matters which have mostly occurred under the Chief Executive's "leadership" and even if actual fraud is not proven by the criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" the matters in issue are quite clearly evidence of gross negligence/incompetence on the part of his SMBC staff.

For the full story on the ever-growing Sport Wednesbury scandal see the following posts but new evidence had now emerged concerning this murky affair as set out below:

Whatever happens the Labour Council's auditors need to take a look at this. A "normal" local police force should at least take a look but we know that there is no possibility of West Midlands Police investigating Sandwell Labour's affairs. (Having said that I was chatting with a DS from WMP last week and he has advised me to raise new complaints with WMP concerning certain issues and I will make an official complaint to them about this affair noting that even the BBC cannot get satisfactory answers from various interested parties. If anyone wants to join with me on this then please get in touch.)

I am not going to go over the ground set out in the above save where necessary.

The fact is that Wednesbury Celebrates allegedly applied for a huge Sport England grant although the bid was actually secretly prepared at taxpayers' expense by Sandwell Labour Council. The Council itself claimed it was putting in "matched funding" of taxpayers' money of over £18,000 and p*ss-pot "Wednesbury Celebrates" claimed it would put in £3,000.

Of course, two of the trustees of Wednesbury Celebrates are Labour Councillors Olwen Jones and Elaine Costigan.

Now Sport England appear to have dropped the proverbial b*llock here in that they did not ask for Wednesbury Celebrates' accounts before making the grant (I have been asking for these for some weeks now but Cllrs Jones and Costigan have not permitted me sight of them). They needed to be satisfied that Wednesbury Celebrates was a substantial organisation and that it was solvent.

Sport England's only "accounting" information was that, as at March, 2013, the TOTAL INCOME (ie excluding expenses) was a miniscule £8,000 per annum and with the benefit of hindsight they may well wonder why they did not ask why a tiny "social club" suddenly wanted a sports-related grant of over £200,000. Of course, elements in Sandwell Council were out to shaft them and no doubt they were very impressed with the professionalism of the Council-prepared application and with the Council itself and other organisations claiming to put in "matched funding". Sport England did not check, and were therefore unaware, that virtually all the people writing the letters were all connected in some way with either Sandwell Labour Council or with the Jones family. A particular egregious example was, of course, Cllr Ian Jones's (yes, husband of Olwen and father of Richard) letter on behalf of Wednesbury Water Polo Club offering as "matched funding" use of "their" pool when, of course, not only does the Club get money from Sandwell Labour but it also uses the, er, Council's pools for its activities!

But now the scandal deepens. As above, Sport England saw no accounts with the application but WERE given an HSBC bank account statement for Wednesbury Celebrates as at 14th November, 2013. This showed a cash balance of £10,577.10. Of course, this is totally meaningless as it is a sum of money shown at a particular moment in time and gives no indication whatsoever as to the liabilities of the secretive "Community Association". Sport England should never have accepted this in any event but more particularly because, just a fortnight or so beforehand, Wednesbury Celebrates had massively boosted its cash balance pre-application by banking a substantial cheque for £5,000 on 29th October, 2013. I don't suppose I need to tell you where the £5,000 came from do I? Well yes, you guessed it - Labour Sandwell Council!!!!!

Clearly, we need to know that Sport England were not deliberately deceived concerning the financial status of Wednesbury Celebrates and I regret to say that things get worse.

Not only did Sandwell Labour promise £18,720 of our money to this fiasco but Wednesbury Celebrates told Sport England that there would be matched funding of £9,360 in respect of room hire at "Wednesbury Town Hall" and you would have thought even Sport England would have realised that a building with that name was likely to be actually owned by the local council. But in news I broke via my Twitter account on Friday, Wednesbury Celebrates has "failed" to pay its rental of Wednesbury Town Hall to sleazy Sandwell Labour Council in any event!

Here questions need to be asked of Chief Executive ("lol"), Britton. We know Cllr Hussain has been intimately involved with mega-expensive property consultants, Jones Lang LaSalle, to allegedly increase income from Labour's crumbling town halls and, of course, the crafty comrades recently spent a shed-load of dosh on tarting-up the Wednesbury building. And so the public would, no doubt, imagine that hire money is now rolling in....

But insiders at the allegedly cash-strapped SMBC informed me that a very high-ranking officer in Britton's shambolic organisation has personally ordered that Wednesbury Celebrates should not be pursued for the outstanding rent - at I time when Labour are hacking frontline services and jobs!

Independent evidence obtained by a Freedom of  Information Request (which auditors KPMG will have to look at in their capacity as auditors and irrespective of their laughable "independent" investigation into the land sales etc) shows that, as at 31st July, 2015, Labour Sandwell had submitted these invoices to Wednesbury Celebrates - all on 9th March, 2015:

Apr-Jun 2014    £4,492.50;
Jul-Sep 2014     £4,855.75;
Oct-Dec 2014   £4,970.75;
Jan-Mar 2014   £6,517.50.

Total - a stonking £20,836.50 still unpaid nearly five MONTHS after the date of the invoices.

The first thing for very highly-paid Britton (and for auditors KPMG) to answer is why a Labour Council blaming "The Government" for having to make cuts did not actually invoice Wednesbury Celebrates for these four rental periods until March, 2015? What sort of incompetent governance led to SMBC not invoicing each quarter (it cannot be because the rent was payable annually in arrears - which would be a dubious arrangement anyway for a p*ss-pot organisation - since Britton's employees have belatedly raised four separate invoices).

The second question is why these invoices remain unpaid? If one of Britton's most senior lieutenants has said payment was not to be chased then why was this done and on whose authority was this decision taken? Did Britton himself know about this? If there has been no such order then it is the first day of the working week tomorrow and surely we are all entitled to ask that Britton gets off his arse and gets a cheque in the bank by 5pm?

The Freedom of Information reply makes no mention of SMBC submitting any invoice yet to Wednesbury Celebrates for the period April, 2015 to June, 2015. Is there a massive con going on here or is this yet more appalling slack governance by Britton's "team"?

If, Britton, it was never the intention that Labour SMBC would actually charge rent to Wednesbury Celebrates, why were four invoices raised near the end of the Council's financial year? I appreciate this is a relatively small amount in the overall Council budget but surely this would amount to false accounting? Is this an isolated example of this sort of thing happening?

Just when you think it can't get any worse it does!

You will see from the above that, as at the end of September last year, Wednesbury Celebrates owed the Labour Council six-months rent totalling around £9,348.25 although for the mysterious reasons outlined above no invoices had been raised. Was this deliberate since on 24th September, 2014 Jan Britton's staff authorised and duly paid Wednesbury Celebrates a further £5,000 (plus another £500 on 5th May, 2013 just four days before the above invoices were issued!) It is by no means clear, given what this blog has disclosed to date in respect of various matters, that there is not at least one employee at SMBC who is behaving fraudulently but if that is not the case here what on earth is going on? Are the systems that Britton oversees so lax that his staff are sending out cash payments to an organisation that owes it money! If it transpires that Wednesbury Celebrates is insolvent and it (or its trustees) cannot make good the losses then Britton's staff could have mitigated a huge loss to the taxpayer by £5,500 but for spectacular incompetence.

Are we to also read into this that all so-called "community organisations"/ charities in Sandwell are also to be allowed Council premises rent-free despite the cuts since April, 2014 or maybe it is just ones where Labour Councillors are involved?

There are questions for Sport England too. They have only paid out part of the grant and clearly need to be satisfied that all IS above board here before parting with more dosh. Is Wednesbury Celebrates solvent if it DOES have to pay the rent? If, on the other hand, a very senior officer of SMBC has indeed waived the debt, was Sport England told? Are they being actively deceived concerning the "matched funding" here? Surely they will need to obtain revised information at the very least!

So come on Britton! Your outfit spends over half a million pounds a year for a press office to keep tweeting about dog sh*t so lets have some real info for a change and the news that you have recovered this huge sum of unpaid rent for taxpayers and the people of Sandwell!


email:               twitter:  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

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