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Not Strictly Confidential

LDL banning blog. Gonks “a ghastly mistake”, a seven quid Xmas card, Queen here for a bit and city people spotted in, er, city

Published on December 11th 2009.

Not Strictly Confidential
The Gonk show‘Tis the season to be jolly – and our beloved city fathers can always be relied upon to supply the festive fun.

Bosses at Liverpool Direct Limited, the controversial call centre dreamed up by the city council and BT, got the merry mirth-making under way, by banning the blog of the Post and Echo's City Editor, David Bartlett.

His crime? Poking a little gentle fun at a little gentle gonk bearing the legend “LDL is a great place to work” which had been distributed among hard-pressed phone operatives to boost their morale.

With accustomed lightness of touch, the LDL high-ups immediately banned the offending website from being viewed by hundreds of staff. Thus triggering an enthusiastic, lemming-like rush, at five o'clock, to the kids' laptops back home.

Readers will recall that Liverpool is twinned with Shanghai, so perhaps LDL was taking its cue from the Chinese approach to the internet in time for next year's Expo. What next - tanks in Concert Square?

An eye for an I
Of course it was all a ghastly mistake. Confidential can exclusively reveal that the gonks were, in fact, a job lot destined for the bin after a corporate order from a supermarket chain went a little awry.

“They were found in a skip outside a printers,” said the operative who picked the phone up at Liverpool Direct. “They were supposed to be for a staff recruitment drive on at LIDL, the supermarket.

'LIDL is a great place to work'.

“But they'd gone and ordered too many,” our source told us. “So we got them for nowt. Sent a bin wagon round and then we Tippexed out the 'I' on all of them. Took all morning like, but you'd never know, wouldja?”

Ho-ho ho-hum
Not to be outdone, the city council, which faces £124 million spending cuts, then decided to charge SEVEN QUID a pop for their municipal Christmas card.

The personalised greetings, bearing a picture of the waterfront (lest we forget) were on offer with a starting price of £353 – for just 50 cards.

That meant for one employee to buy and send a single card it would cost around the same as the hourly wage of a council care worker.

But officials were quick to point out that the £7 price did include an envelope. They might have added “ho ho ho!” to that. But they didn't.

Good enough for Paris, good enough for Colin
City Council supremo Colin Hilton, who banks way over £220k every year, is so rich that a hotel has just opened in Chavasse Park named after him.

So he must have been quaking in his Ugg boots earlier this week when he learned that our relatively impoverished Prime Minister was cracking down on public servants' pay in this bracket.

Poor Gordon, who earns a piffling £127,334, plus his MP's salary of just £60,277, is forced to buy Asda Smartprice cards.

But to be fair, Col does share the wonga.

One unexpected beneficiary has been the charity of the Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Storey, fresh from the surreal Santa Dash which took the city by storm. (That’s enough alliteration, ed.)

The Lord Mayor’s Charity has been receiving some whopping donations from council officials – including £1,000 from Mr Hilton - who have coughed up in recompense for the generous free hospitality they have enjoyed from various businesses and organisations.

Civic top brass reportedly had hotel nights paid for by outside firms and agencies, tickets to the Grand National, Liverpool FC, Everton FC, and to the theatre and gigs, and meals at top restaurants.

The result of an investigation into the city’s corporate hospitality by the local government finance watchdog, the District Auditor, is keenly awaited early in the New Year.

Sherry anyone?

Special KaySpeaking of hospitality, The Queen is believed to have stayed on Merseyside, it was breathlessly reported this week.

“Rumours circulated the city” that Her Majesty had been put up by the Earl of Derby at Knowsley Hall.

Queenie had been at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool to see Peter Kay, we were excitedly informed. What did one have for tea, one wonders? Garlic bread?

Herbert dipsAnd speaking of the Queen and Liverpool, Herbert the hairdresser is inviting only the lonely to spend a select Christmas with him this year.

Herbert Howe will provide lunch for just 500 people (including Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson, Claire Sweeney, former Brookside actor Danny McCall, ex-Coronation Street actor Tony Barton and the ubiquitous Billy Butler), at that temple to gastronomic joy...the Adelphi.

Who could resist telling Ricky to get out of his armchair and “Just kewk, will yer!” But after all those sprouts, maybe he's better staying put, or should that be phutt...?

Big-hearted H said: “We are always on the lookout for people who would be on their own at Christmas...there is no other dinner like this in Liverpool.”

You betcha. Book early by contacting Joyce Cargill on 0151-708 5271.

Steven Gerrard giving it large at Anfield; The Queen giving it large in the Echo, Warren Bradley giving it large in the Town Hall, Margi Clarke giving it large in the pub, the cast of Hollyoaks giving it large on the telly.

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Captain JackDecember 10th 2009.

Ironic giving staff mouse mats when you have banned them from looking at certain websites. How can Liverpool Direct get away with this. This isn't some dictatorship. No wonder all the people in there are taking long term sickies. Do their staff off sick get these mouse mats in the post to try and persuade them to come back in?

Q TypeDecember 10th 2009.

I can't tell you. You could be anybody.

Dai IngtoknowDecember 10th 2009.

I meant just the U.R.L. not where the chap lives or anything.

Dai IngtoknowDecember 10th 2009.

What's in the Bartlett Blog then? And where is it?

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