Friday, 19 September 2014
Mr May claimed that an early 'inquiry was abandoned after the publication in April of "Smile for the Camera" which Mr Danczuk co-authored.' He wrote:
'in this book Mr Danczuk conflated two quite separate issues, the report into the health issues surrounding homosexual activities between the boys at the school, and the question of whether Cyril Smith continued the sort of activities he had been involved in at Cambridge House and which had already been revealed by Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in 1979.'
After this book's publication a second inquiry was started with more scopeand to report at the end of July.
Yet again, this second inquiry was halted when Danczuk introduced the so-called Dicken's 'dossier' after a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into historic child sexual exploitation in early July this year.
The problem is that these delays benefit the political pundits who want to seek continuous publicity for themselves; it benefits the Home Secretary and the government to have the results of the investigations placed beyond the next General Election; and the delays produced by 'overarching inquiries' help to provide journalists and newspapers with constant copy: the people who suffer from all this are the victims who never seem to get closure.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
World War I Day School
Saturday 15th November 2014, 10.30am-4.30pm
Manchester Metropolitan University
This day school will develop a creative and inclusive space for activists, researchers and anyone else interested to explore different narratives of WW1, share our knowledge, views and ideas, take part in debate, and plan events for the next four years.
We will create a timeline of events, individual stories and family reminiscences during the day which we will use to stimulate planning activity to create a timeline for activism 2014- 2018.
Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University, will speak about Food and Austerity, workshops include research on conscientious objectors and other WW1 themes, building an anti-war movement today, making handbills – lessons from the past, and ways of getting our messages across. There will be space to discuss these and other topics you are interested in and to express your artistic side by contributing to the No Glory in War Manchester banner we will be making through the day.
Booking details online at http://noglorydayschool.eventbrite.co.uk
This event is kindly supported by the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Working Class Movement Library.
As a counter to the ‘glorious war’ jingoism the theme of the Peace History Lecture will be ‘No Glory in War: Noble Cause or Capitalist Adventure?’
Venue: Friends Meeting House. 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
problem of idée fixe in the politics
of the Left
In Europe, especially in France and Spain the reaction to the reality of the centralism imposed by both the French Revolution with its destruction of local interests and privileges, and the Spanish Liberal Revolution, was inspired by the anarchist Proudhon. In France, Proudhon believed that the French Revolution had come into existence to fulfil the notion of greater local and municipal liberty, but had been diverted in this task by the ruthless political actions of the Jacobins. In Spain, federalism was rescued by a Catalan, Pi y Margall, who had read Proudhon, and saw how the Frenchman's ideas would suit the regional aspirations of the Spanish people.
* idée fixe, ( French: “fixed idea”) in music and literature, a recurring theme or character trait that serves as the structural foundation of a work. The term was later used in psychology to refer to an irrational obsession that so dominates an individual’s thoughts as to determine his or her actions.
'I was late in joining the yes campaign only becoming politicised in the last 2 months as the light bulb slowly went on. I have never in my life felt so engaged and enthusiastic and am amazed to be part of something that is making history. The sad part being that I went through the entire grief cycle in a week moving between stages quite erratically as I came to grips with the level of corruption and deception from the government and the media. I know there will be many others who have been dealing with the same issues as myself.
'However, onwards and upwards as we continue to engage with our sense of humour, passion and creativity in these last few days of the campaign. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge as it has helped many of us to stay on course as the continued scare tactics are dropped down on us from on high.'
Monday, 15 September 2014
Following a public consultation exercise known as the 'Big Conversation', the council decided to close five libraries and talked of a new chapter for libraries where there would be free wifi and e-books for the technological smart set who can afford such gadgetry. Cllr. Gerald Cooney, head of Learning, Skills and Economic Growth, at Tameside Council, told the local press:
"The library service is a top priority for the council and we know how much it is valued within our community... I strongly believe this exciting new offer will provide a modern and comprehensive service which meets people's needs while also remaining affordable in these challenging times of unprecedented government budget cuts."
Despite the passing of two-years, the public as yet to see this 'modern and comprehensive' library service come to fruition. Most libraries are still without wifi even though it was installed in some libraries months ago. The computer software is badly in need of an upgrade and is so old that it is impossible to run some applications. Several weeks ago, at Ashton central library, computers had to be removed from the computer room because rain was leaking in through the roof and there was serious concern that library users could be electrocuted.
The leaking roof has been a recurring problem at Ashton library for some time now. It's not unusual to see buckets placed throughout the library catching rain water which comes in through the roof. Problems with the boiler, also means that during winter, it can also be freezing throughout the library. Despite all the bullshit about a modern and comprehensive library service, these problems go unrectified. Since the construction company Carillion, took over the maintenance of council buildings several years ago, Ashton library has certainly deteriorated.
At Stalybridge, the library has now been commandeered by 'computer buddies' who are running courses for beginners. During the week the public are being allowed access to two computers for half-hour sessions. The reading room is also being utilized as a job club for the unemployed.
As the councillor with responsibility for libraries, Cllr. Cooney says libraries "are about services not buildings." Under his leadership, library staff have been leaving in droves to work in other council jobs or have taken redundancy. The latest, to announce his departure, is Adam Allen, (pictured) head of Community and Neighbourhood Service, who is leaving the council to take up the job of Chief Executive, for the Police Commissioners. A geordie with a penchant for hair gel who as a background in sport, Allen, has been responsible for spearheading cut backs since he took over responsibility for libraries.
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Blacklist Support Group have demanded since 2009:
- A full public inquiry by the UK government
- A public apology from the firms
- A compensation fund
- Jobs for blacklisted workers on major projects
- NO public contracts for proven blacklisting companies
- Criminal charges against the human rights abusers
Thursday, 11 September 2014
What must strike readers here is the impressive way in which an on-line petition can accumulate names in the thousands against a proposal like Bury Council's absurd 'zero waste' policy, but if this virtual world of electronic media can't turn up in person to finish the job the whole project becomes a damp squib. Nobody expected a repeat of the Arab Spring at last night's full council meeting in Bury, but we did anticipate some reasoned arguments and debate on the issues.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
He had been elected as a councillor in the Borough of Rochdale, becoming the Labour group leader in 1994, and then became the leader of the Rochdale Council in 1996.
Jim Dobbin was a member of the Transport Scrutiny Select Committee as well one of Britain’s representatives on the Council of Europe. A Roman Catholic he chaired the all-party Pro-Life Group, and he was awarded and invested as a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great from Pope Benedict XVI. He married Patricia Russell in 1964; the couple had two sons and two daughters.
In his last Parliamentary Letter, in last Saturday's Rochdale Observer, he wrote:
'MPs have been back almost a week now in Parliament and colleagues are wondering what on earth is happening in Rochdale at the moment. The way in which Rochdale has been focused upon recently has dragged the town into disrepute and created a skewed perception of Rochdale. I hope that people, including politicians, are mindful of the need for balance as well as transparancy in their communications about the community of Rochdale.'
Earlier this year Jim gave helpful advice to Northern Voices, when people associated with our publication presented written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee regarding material contained in the recently published book Smile for the Camera. Being a regular reader of NV he recognised the contribution made by the publication in the outing of Cyril Smith in November 2012.
After we contacted him about the existence of a blacklist in the British building trade he told me that he had supported Early Day Motions against the practise, and on January 13th, 2013 he spoke out on his website:
'Blacklisting is a national scandal which resulted in workers being denied employment and prevented from putting food on the table merely for exercising their human right to belong to a trade union, standing up for their colleagues or for raising legitimate health and safety concerns.'
And he concluded by saying:
'Allegations that the original intelligence for the blacklist came from police officers are especially chilling and need to be fully investigated as a matter of urgency. Sadly, we cannot say with confidence that blacklisting is no longer happening which is why we are urging ministers to act.'
Other MPs, ought to take notice of these sentiments by Jim Dobbin, and not just MPs, but councillors too: Jim Dobbin warned that 'It is greatly concerning that blacklisting checks took place on high profile projects funded by taxpayers...’
Monday, 8 September 2014
'My name’s Rory MacKinnon, and I’ve been a reporter for the Morning Star for three years now. It’s given me a lot of pride to see how readers and supporters believe so strongly in the paper, from donating what cash they can to hawking it in the streets on miserable Saturday afternoons. I was proud to represent a “broad paper of the left”, as my editor Richard Bagley always put it: a paper that saw feminism, LGBTQ issues, racial politics and the like as integral to its coverage of class struggle.
'It’s for this reason that I thought I would have my editor’s support in following up domestic violence allegations against the Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s assistant general secretary Steve Hedley. Instead the Morning Star’s management threatened me with the sack, hauled me through a disciplinary hearing and placed me on a final written warning.
'If you want to see my reasons for writing this, skip to the bottom. But I’m a reporter, and in my mind the most important thing is that you all know exactly what’s happened behind closed doors. So let’s get on with it.'
On the 30th, August Private Eye No.1373 published the following report on this matter by 'Blackleg' :
'For months, women he knew in the union had been talking about Caroline Leneghan, an RMT member who had written a blog-post about the violence allegedly inflicted on her by Steve Hedley, the RMT’s assistant general secretary, with whom she was in a relationship until last year. On one occasion, she wrote, he “threw me around by my hair and pinned me to the floor repeatedly punching me in the face”. She published photos taken at the time, showing her horrendously bruised and swollen face. Finding himself attending an RMT women’s conference – and one at which the RMT was launching its new policy on, er, domestic violence – MacKinnon thought it a good moment to ask if the union’s refusal to hold a proper investigation into the allegations against its assistant general secretary might affect female members’ perception of the union. He put the question at a Q&A session with the union’s national organising co-ordinator Alan Pottage, who declined to answer. Soon afterwards, however, the hack was forcibly ejected from the conference.
'The next day, Morning Star editor Richard Bagley told MacKinnon he was being suspended while his bosses investigated allegations of “gross misconduct” and “bringing the paper into disrepute”. A month later he was summoned to London for a disciplinary hearing, with the company secretary Tony Briscoe acting as prosecution counsel and Bagley sitting as judge. Briscoe told MacKinnon the question he’d put to the RMT official “feels more like something a Daily Mail reporter would ask than someone from the Morning Star. You should have known better. This indicates a lack of journalistic etiquette and has damaged our relationship with the trade union movement.” The public had “no right to know” about whatever occurred between Hedley and Leneghan...'
On the 26th, July, Rory MacKinnon had handed in his resignation to the Morning Star and went public with his story claiming the public had a right to know. The two men who had castigated him at the Morning Star, Bagley and Bristoe, were not far behind stepping down days later: Bagley resigned the editorship for 'family reasons', and Briscoe retired.
Since then Steve Hedley wrote the following letter protesting his innocence in last Thursday's issue of Private Eye No. 1374 (5th, September):
'I was very disappointed that you published TUC News in Eye 1373 without contacting me to check this story out. It refers to allegations of domestic violence made against me two years ago, about an incident that happened three years ago, by a lady with whom I was previously in a relationship.
'I have never been guity of violent behaviour. These allegations were investigated by the RMT union, which found that I had "no case to answer"; they were also considered by the police, who likewise decided to take no action.
'On the matter of Rory MacKinnon, the Morning Star reporter, he asked his question at a conference to someone who had no knowledge of the investigation and couldn't provide an answer. Had he contacted me, which he didn't, I would have provided him with the correct information.
'Believe it or not I am a big fan of Private Eye and usually your work is much better researched than this. I now wish you to publish this reply in the interests of fairness and to clear my name.'
It is unlikely that Comrade Hedley will live this down despite his protestations, and it is understood that he has already resigned from the Socialist Party over this issue.
Friday, 5 September 2014
In What happened to political theatre? A personal view, script writer and director Mike Harris explores the relationship (if any) between his own work in touring theatre, radio drama, community theatre, and theatre in education from the late 1970s to the present, and ‘The Great Tradition' of committed political theatre in this country which took a recognisably modern form in the 1920s and '30s.
2. The Library will be open to mark the Heritage Open Days weekend on Saturday 13 September from 11am to 4pm.
Free 'behind the scenes' tours of the Library will take place at 11.30, 12.30, 1.30, 2.30 - pre-booking advised
For ideas of other places to visit go to www.heritageopendays.org.uk
3. The 4th Wigan Diggers' Festival takes place on Saturday 13 September, from 11.00am to 9.30pm at The Wiend, Wigan, to commemorate Wigan-born Gerrard Winstanley (1609-1676) and the 17th Century "Diggers" (True Leveller) movement. It features live music, poetry and comedy, plus 40 or more food, book and other stalls and the "Occu-pie Wigan" beer tent.
More information at http://wigandiggersfestival.org/
4. On Saturday 20 September the 2014 peace history lecture takes place at the Friends' Meeting House, Manchester. In No Glory in War: noble cause or capitalist adventure? John Westmoreland, Head of History, York College, will propose alternative views to challenge the inevitability of was as the means to resolve conflict.
The lecture begins at 2pm, with stalls to browse and refreshments from 1.30pm; there is also the option of a guided tour of Manchester Peace and Social Justice Trail 10.30am-12 noon. Tickets price £5 in advance, £8 on the door - email email@example.com or phone 0161 273 8283.
5. A talk by Nick Mansfield, 'The buildings of rural co-operation 1830-1945', takes place at Rochdale Pioneers Museum on Wednesday 24 September at 6.30pm. Price £2.50 including refreshments - book via 01706 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rochdale Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale OL12 0NU.
6. The Mary Quaile Club holds regular events about working class history and its relevance to contemporary politics.
Their next event will be on Saturday 27 September. This will be a rare screening of United Kingdom, written by Jim Allen. The event will begin at 1pm with an introductory talk by Andy Willis, lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Salford, followed by the screening. There will then be a discussion on the issues raised in the play.
The venue is Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG. Tel 0161 834 4517. Entrance is £3, payable on the door. To reserve places, please email email@example.com
7. Truce tours at IWM North - Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays in September at 3.30pm
Join a free 20 minute Closer Look tour around the Museum reflecting on individual stories, including those who were Conscientious Objectors in the First and Second World Wars, and the idea of truce and conflict resolution and the causes and consequences of conflict.
IWM North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ. Admission free.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
The Bury Branch of Unite that represents most of the Bury bin men has questioned the bin collection changes as wrongheaded, believing that it will lead to increasing amounts of 'side-waste' beside over filled bins, presenting potential safety issues for operatives. The local Green Party has suggested that the non-recyclable rubbish is largely down to the creation of extra packaging by supermarkets, and that it 'is Green Party policy to set strict targets for supermarkets and food processors to reduce all food packaging and to phase out ... packaging that can't be composted or recycled'.
It would seem that local councils like Bury are seemingly afraid to take on the supermarkets. The Green Party joint co-ordinator, John Southworth, argued in a letter in the Bury Times (24th, July 2014):
'Making supermarkets pay for the cost of recycling their unwanted plastic tubs is the only way they will change their ways.'
It would seem that the current problems with waste and the difficulties of recycling some rubbish are largely the responsibility of the era of the supermarket culture in which we now live.
Thursday, 28 August 2014
A two-day protest against benefit sanctions took place outside Ashton-under-Lyne, Jobcentre, on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. The demonstration was called after Eleanor Coulthard, a 19-year-old girl from Ashton-under-Lyne was sanctioned after telling her placement provider B&Q, that she was 23-weeks pregnant.
By all accounts, the DIY firm had offered her a placement working unpaid and had said that her pregnancy was not a problem as they would give her light duty work to undertake. She then discovered that they had changed tack and contacted the Jobcentre in Ashton-under-Lyne to say they didn't require her services because she was pregnant. The Jobcentre then told her she was being sanctioned because she should not have declared her pregnancy.
Having first claimed claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) three months ago, this was her third sanction by the Jobcentre. On the first two occasions, she was told that she was not doing enough to find work although she was looking and applying for work.
Although the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP), deny that they target people for sanctions, there have been reports that vulnerable people have been targeted and that DWP staff, are being forced to hit sanction targets or face disciplinary action. One Jobcentre Plus office is reported to have offered Easter egg prizes to staff who sanctioned the most customers.
Eleanor's mother, Charlotte Hughes, who attended the demonstration with her daughter, told Northern Voices:
" This was an unfair and unjust sanction of a pregnant young woman which left her with no money to eat or live. My daughter was sent to B&Q in Ashton-under-Lyne, for an interview for unpaid work while she was already sanctioned. She had to walk from Dukinfield to the Snipe Retail Park on the outskirts of Ashton-under-Lyne, because she couldn't afford the bus fare to get to the interview. When my daughter told Jobcentre staff that she had been left with no money to feed herself and her child, they told her - "you're pregnant, not ill, and you shouldn't have told B&Q that you were pregnant." As for B&Q, I think they should hang their head in shame."
The Demonstration which was organised by 'Tameside Against the Bedroom Tax and Cuts', 'Tameside Unemployed Workers' Alliance', 'Tameside Trades Union Council' and the 'Green Party' attracted local media interest. The protesters say that they intend to continue with further protests against unfair sanctions and intend to target businesses in Tameside that are participating in the government's unpaid forced labour schemes for the unemployed.For further details of future demonstrations contact: Steve.Starlord@Sky.com
Mrs May has said:
'I’ve seen the horrific cases they have looked into where young girls were the victims of the most appalling sexual exploitation and threats of violence, grooming and abuse and yet their calls for help went unheeded by the council or the police. I think everybody needs to look at the role they played in this and their position.'
Among those identified for failing in their responsibilities are Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, who has so far refused to resign despite holding responsibility for children’s services on Rotherham council, and Joyce Thacker, head of the council’s children’s services. Mr. Wright has resigned from the Labour Party after leading figures in the party told him he ought to give up his current job, but he has so far refused to resign his current position as police and crime commissioner.
Mr Wright, who was elected to the £85,000-a-year commissioner’s post in 2012, having previously served as a Labour councillor with responsibility for children’s services, said on Wednesday that he had no idea about the 'industrial scale' of the abuse that had taken place.
Prof Jay, for her part has insisted that, given her findings that 'nobody could say "I didn’t know".'
Others who will be challenged for their alleged roles in the scandal include:
Paul Laker, a Labour councillor; Jahangir Akhtar, the former deputy leader of Rotherham council; Dr Sonia Sharp, the director of children’s services between 2005 and 2008; and Diane Billups, the council’s director of education and head of children’s services between 2001 and 2005.
Mr. Laker, a former steel-worker, a cabinet member for children's services since 2010 and deputy council leader is claiming that he had only recently grasped the 'depth and breadth' of the sex abuse problem in Rotherham. Mr. Akhtar, another former deputy leader of the council, was temporarily forced out of office after claims that he was aware of a relationship between one of his own relatives and a 14-year-old girl. The police cleared him of any wrongdoing after an investigation, and he lost his seat on the council last May. Mrs. Billups has since retired, and Dr. Sharp now works in a department of education in Austrialia. Joyce Thacker, 56, is currently on £115,000-a-year as director of children and young people's services; she was in charge four years ago when five Asian men were convicted of raping three girls as young as 12.
Ms. Thacker has said by way of explanation and justification:
'I would put the responsibility back on the parents. It is their duty to protect their children and keep them safe. We couldn't be with them 24-hours a day.'
Yesterday, the former MP for Rotherham, Denise MacShane, was more straight-forward in accepting that he should have done more. On BBC News Mr. MacShane said:
'I should have burrowed into this. Perhaps, yes, as a true Guardian reader and a liberal leftie I suppose, I didn't want to rock the boat I didn't want to raise that too hard.'
It seems that Mr. MacShane has previously admitted that he, like other politicians, had feared losing Muslim votes if he aired 'the dirty secrets about bad practices in the Kashmiri Muslim community'.
We must wait to see if this mentality is more widespread among the politicians in our northern town halls.
A leading local trade unionist from Bolton told Northern Voices:
'This all relates to events that took place in Bolton on the public sector's day of action.'
That public sector 'Day of Action' took place on Thursday the 10th, July, and involved Unison, the GMB, and Unite. An informant from Bolton Trade Union Council has told N.V. that he believes:
'It is clear to us that the objective is to remove key activists prior to the £25 million cuts to be implemented next year.'
Many trade unionists in the region are disturbed that Bolton MBC, as a Labour Council, are using what they see as Tory anti-trade union legistlation to seemingly intimidate the local authority labour in their employ.
The Lyric Hammersmith Secret Theatre Company presents
For further information please contact JOHN GOODFELLOW (Press & Communications Manager) on 0161 615 6783 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
Saturday, 16 August 2014
Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick, of South Yorkshire Police, has said the investigation was at a very early stage and nobody had been arrested. D.S. Fenwick said: 'A search warrant has been granted after police received an allegation of a sexual nature dating back to the 1980s. This involved a young boy under the age of 16 years.'
No arrest warrant has been issued and the police say that they have no plans to search other properties. Sir Cliff's solicitors are already in touch with the South Yorkshire police, and there has been some disquiet about the presence of the BBC during Thursday's police search of the premises in Berkshire.
The evangelist event in 1985 that was led by the U.S. preacher Billy Graham attracted some 24,000 people to the first of eight nights of sermons at the Sheffield football stadium, according to reports at the time. When Billy Graham invited people to come forward to show a commitment to Jesus, 2,000 people walked onto the pitch.
Sir Cliff Richard, OBE, was born in India, Harry Rodger Webb, in 1940, and is the third-top-selling singles artist in the United Kingdom's history, with total sales of over 21 million units in the UK and he has reportedly sold an estimated 250 million records worldwide.
Thursday, 14 August 2014
“Not to be outdone and in an effort not to deviate one iota from the controlling ways of the young Korean dictator, Tameside Council bosses, have adopted a strict political strategy, strikingly similar to that of Kim Jong-Un, and as a first strike have allegedly decreed that all civil servants working on Tameside Council computers, will be denied the right to access the thoughts of certain ‘political bloggers’ in an effort to subvert and control access to opposing political opinions and block access to legitimate bloggers who frequently engage in the questioning of the Labour dominated council decisions.'
Curmudgeon claims that both his own blog of the same name and the blog ‘Tameside Citizen’ are forbidden to council employees.
Korea’s ‘Supreme Leader’, Kim Jong-Un, is well known for purging ‘factional filth’: he recently had his own uncle executed. But while some might think that comparing Tameside Council with the hermetically sealed society of North Korea is somewhat ridiculous, the analogy might not be that inappropriate.
Last year (April 2013), the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), stated that many Labour dominated councils in the North West, were 'failing the basic test of democracy' because many Labour councils held a ‘super-majority’ of seats. The ERS claimed that councils such as Tameside ran the risk of becoming ‘one-party states’ like North Korea, China or Cuba.
Daren Hughes, director of research at the ERS, told the Manchester Evening News that 'one-party state’ councils could be more likely to be ‘complacent’ and 'hand themselves increases to their allowances and expenses.'
While Tameside to all intents and purposes already resembles a one-party state, the borough is not quite yet in the league of Pyongyang, even though its councillors are as keen as mustard, when it comes to giving themselves increases in their allowances and expenses. Yet as the blogger, Curmudgeon, rightly points out, censorship is always a sign of a weak and frightened government that has something to hide from the rest of us, and secrets to keep.
The printed version of NORTHERN VOICES 10 or N.V.11, may be obtained as follows:
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Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at
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Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
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