Saturday, 6 February 2016

Simon Danczuk's Parking Charges

THE local website ROCHDALE ONLINE has revealed that Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale who is presently suspended from the Labour Party, faces more probes into his parliamentary expenses.  It has come to light that over a four month period from April to August 2015, Mr. Danczuk has claimed parking charges of £672.50, including a single bill of £178.50 on the 1st, August 2015 for parking in Manchester.


The leader of the Rochdale Liberal democrats, Andy Kelly has said:
'Yet again our MP's expenses are in the spotlight.  To claim this amount of money is crazy.  Let's not forget that this is the man who recently spoke in support of Rochdale commuters.  He could have avoided this hefty bill by getting the train to Manchester with everyone else - it's only 20 minutes for God's sake.  Metrolink is longer, but would drop him off at Piccadilly for his "first class" train to London.  Questions must be asked why he claimed £178 for parking in August.  Parliament wasn't even sitting, he should have been in Rochdale doing his day job...  These claims are systematic of the attitude that Mr. Danczuk has to tax payer's money.  I'd be very interested in his response.'


ROCHDALE ONLINE reports that Mr. Danczuk did not reply to a request for a comment.  But his parking charge claims are as follows:


Parking 07/04/2015
£25.50

04/05/2015
£9.00

04/06/2015
£59.50

10/06/2015
£51.00

19/06/2015
£68.00

24/06/2015
£46.00

03/07/2015
£68.00

09/07/2015
£68.00

16/07/2015
£77.00

16/07/2015
£4.50

19/07/2015
£17.50

01/08/2015
£178.50

Kate Middleton’s Anarchist Ancestor


The second in a continuing series by Chris Draper of, 'Lives of Northern Anarchists'.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the story of John Oldman and
feel free to add comments, info or criticism below.
THE Royal Family are parasites but Kate Middleton had one admirable ancestor; Edith Lupton, an anarchist. 
The paternal ancestors of the Duchess of Cambridge, were a prominent Leeds family and 'Luptons' attended Kate and Will’s wedding.  Curiously, Edith’s activism is always omitted from published accounts of the Lupton lineage (eg. Wikipaedia, Daily Mail, Daily Express etc).

Edith Lupton would certainly have livened up Kate’s wedding reception. In 1898 Edith was imprisoned for a month for disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.  Described in court as, 'well-educated, 56, an artist and social reformer', Edith denied spitting in the policeman’s face but explained 'that it was her custom to show her contempt for the force by going into the middle of the road and expectorating on the ground whenever she met a policeman.'

Born in Leeds in 1843 into a wealthy household, Edith’s father was a Unitarian Minister who chose not to practice his religious calling but instead rely on dividends from property and railway shares. When Edith was growing up, the family lived for a while in Whitby and then Chesterfield before returning to Leeds.  Edith was educated at home, initially by a governess and then by her father before training as an artist at the Slade in London.  In 1872 she was one of the first women awarded a silver medal for drawing by the University of London and went on to exhibit at the Royal Academy before returning north.

Edith was a feminist with an abiding commitment to children.  In 1882 she campaigned as the sole “Independent” amongst eighteen other assorted 'Church' or 'Liberal' candidates for the Bradford School Board.  Bradford’s MP, William Forster, had introduced the national system of compulsory state-education before assuming responsibility for the policy of coercion in Ireland. Edith’s libertarian instincts identified the continuity of this authoritarian approach.  She campaigned against state imposition and for local education and was duly elected with the second highest vote, beaten only by the Rev. Simpson who stood as the 'Catholic' candidate.  Supported by both male and female workers of Bradford, the local paper reported an interesting crisis of conscience experienced by one group of citizens fearing for their souls if they voted with their hearts, 'In Caledonia Street, some of the Catholic women, feeling an inkling to vote for Miss Lupton and not liking to openly support that body affected ignorance or illiteracy. When the returning-officer directed them to vote they declined to make a cross on the paper, saying they were forbidden to do so except for religious purposes and they went away without voting.'

Edith threw her heart and soul into community politics, intent on humanising the Bradford school system.  In February 1883, she organised a School Board Concert at the Mechanics Institute with songs, recitations and performances by the Bowling Brass Band.  In September she began a campaign to end compulsory homework for primary school children.  The following year she persuaded over fifty eminent physicians to sign a petition published in the Yorkshire Post that stated;

 'We, the undersigned medical men of Bradford, believing that evening brain-work is undesirable and frequently injurious to young children, most earnestly beg the board to give effect to the resolution passed at the recent meeting in St George’s Hall, to the effect that, Home lessons should not be enforced on children under ten years of age.'

In November 1884 Edith wrote a lengthy essay excoriating the state-school system that was widely reported by the press:
'She begins by saying that…a gross and ignorant tyranny has in the name of education risen up amongst us and it is time the nation opened its eyes to what is going on…She considers that not only are delicate children treated with what are at times barbarous cruelty but that the vitality of strong children is often seriously depressed by antiquated and ignorant modes of instruction.'

In the summer of 1887 Edith garnered the support of a dozen Women’s Suffrage Societies for a formal appeal to Queen Victoria, to support their campaign for political parity with men but to no avail.  Edith had come to recognise the limitations of local politics and polite petitioning and the undesirability of state-socialism.  Whilst she fervently opposed state schooling most of the labour movement celebrated it as a welcome advance.   

By November 1887, Edith had come to identify herself as an anarchist and spoke at Leeds alongside colourful local libertarian Greevz Fisher (the subject of a future essay in this series) at a public meeting presided over by Auberon Herbert.  'The Chairman said that on the subject they had met to consider that night they all had a great mistrust of State direction… First of all they were struck by the very remarkable thing they were doing in allowing a few gentlemen to sit in an office in Whitehall from which they shaped and directed the education of the whole people of this country.'

Edith didn’t stand for re-election to the School Board in 1888.  She did attend the annual conference of the 'National Society for Women’s Suffrage', at Manchester Town Hall and was duly appointed to the Executive Committee but she wasn’t impressed. Edith’s exasperation with the constitutional tactics of the Victorian suffrage campaigners finally erupted at the 1891 National Conference at Westminster Town Hall where it was widely reported that 'Miss Edith Lupton, rising in the body of the hall, moved an amendment practically taking the form of a vote of censure on the Parliamentary Committee.'  Why should women thank them when they had achieved nothing!  'The amendment was seconded but ruled out of order by Lady Sandhurst.'

In 1890 Edith moved down to London to agitate full-time for William Morris’s Socialist League (SL).  She initially joined the 'North London SL', which met every Wednesday evening off Tottenham Court Road, and she spoke at Hyde Park alongside anarchist heavyweights Sam Mainwaring and Tom Cantwell.  Over the summer of 1890 Edith lectured at a variety of SL pitches in both central and east London before settling in south London, where her favourite pitch was New Cut, Southwark, which the SL’s newspaper Commonweal assured readers 'is as bad as any slum in the East-end”. From the outset at New Cut, as Commonweal  reported, Edith was at home with the slum-dwellers, “Great enthusiasm shown by the people at both meetings.'

In August, Lupton attended a, 'Revolutionary, Anti-Parliamentary Conference' held at the Autonomie Club but her ideas didn’t go down too well.  'Miss Lupton believed in assembling the people in the streets; only by teaching them together could we infuse courage into them.  Revolt, too was generated in this way, as fire by the sharpening of flint against flint.  There must be leaders – (some cries of “No!”) – but they must arise when the time came.  Leadership was necessary – (renewed dissent) – but we must not plan it. We must not make a trade of it; only we must be ready to utilise it when necessary.'  The dissent was ominous, Edith’s pragmatism would have been welcomed in previous years but by the autumn of 1890 the SL had been taken over by an intolerant “anarchist” faction, carried away by their own fiery rhetoric and determined to exclude all but true believers. William Morris had already been squeezed out of the editorial chair and was soon to leave altogether and Edith’s card was marked.

Edith stuck to her guns and at the end of the month addressed a meeting of the SL at the Commonweal Hall in Holborn on the topic of, 'Woman'.  The result was pithily reported by the paper as, 'Animated discussion'!  A week later, Edith was arrested whilst speaking for the cause in Southwark. On that occasion, Commonweal offered encouraging support and ridiculed the officers who accused her of being drunk and disorderly. 'Our uniformed friends had relied upon the loyalty of their divisional surgeon – perhaps thinking that an unprotected female would never dream of demanding to see him. Both expectations were disappointed. Miss Lupton insisted upon her right and the very police doctor was compelled to certify that she was perfectly sober.'  Her case was dismissed.

The following Sunday the SL organised a demonstration in Southwark to protest at Edith’s arrest and, 'A large and enthusiastic crowd assembled encouraged the speakers and showed every sympathy with the meeting.'

In September, Edith, then living at 59 Selhurst Road, Thornton Heath, took over as Secretary of the South London branch of the SL and extended her range of regular speaking pitches to include Streatham and Battersea.  She teamed up for some of these talks with an especially appealing character called Robert Harding, the 'Peaceful Anarchist', who employed a range of innovative strategies to attract a crowd that often involved him being extravagantly chained to railings, lamp-posts and park benches to the anger and frustration of the police and further amusement of the audience. 

In early October Edith was advertised to speak alongside William Morris, Kitz, Nicoll, Mowbray, Louise Michel and other stars of the movement at a forthcoming commemoration of the judicial murder of the Chicago Anarchists but politics intervened.  Besides lecturing for the SL, Edith had been organising to liberate women from the dreadful working conditions of commercial laundries and with several other feminists had devised a scheme for creating Co-operative Laundries.  At the end of October a prospectus was unveiled in the pages of Commonweal:
'Our object is to put a stop to the “sweating” which so largely and increasingly exists in the laundry industry, to pay proper wages, to shorten the hours of labour, to provide comfortable and well-ventilated work-rooms and to raise the workers at the same time from the position of wage-slaves to that of owners of their own earnings.  We also make a special appeal to our comrades as women, for not only do women suffer as wage-slaves but as chattel-slaves also.'

Instead of supporting the plan, the paper’s new editors appended a critical footnote to Edith’s Co-op article, denouncing the scheme’s facility for raising capital by offering interest to subscribers.  This undermining of Edith’s efforts exemplified the narrow sexist approach of the editors rather than the practicality of Lupton’s scheme.  When Edith and her trio of co-workers defended their ideas in the Commonweal of 1st November 1890 the editors couldn’t resist having the last word but in doing so revealed their millenarian prejudice:
 'We have quite as much sympathy with the sweated laundry women as Miss Lupton, only we are not sure that co-operation, or even trade unionism will sweep their slavery away…nothing but the Social Revolution will raise the mass from the horrible misery from which most working-women suffer at the present time.' 

As 1890’s, workers were increasingly lured away from anarchism by electoral opportunism many comrades responded, not by patiently seeking to re-establish links but instead by retreating onto an ever diminishing island of revolutionary fundamentalism.  Nothing but an immediate destruction of capitalism deserved contemplation, all else was worthless palliative. Edith’s name was removed from posters advertising the Chicago commemoration and the South London SL dissolved.  William Morris spoke at the event but left the League soon after, yet Edith persevered.  The following spring, Edith recorded her occupation on the official census as, 'Lecturer for a Socialist League (Agitatress)'.  The feminisation of 'Agitator' was certainly significant and it’s likely the substitution of 'a Socialist League' for 'The Socialist League' indicated Edith’s distancing from the much diminished official SL organisation. 

Edith continued campaigning for laundry workers and by July 1891 twenty-seven trades councils were demanding action but to Lupton’s consternation it seemed the State intended to pre-empt the laundresses’ efforts to organise co-operative control of their industry.  Ironically, having already been rebuffed by the anarchist editors of the SL, Edith was in May 1892 derided by arch-statist, Eleanor Marx with similar prejudice. When it appeared the State was about to control laundries, (as reported by Eleanor Marx):
 'immediately Mrs Fawcett the reactionary bourgeois advocate of women’s rights…who has never worked a day in her life, along with Miss Lupton, an anarchist (likewise a woman of the middle class), sent a counter delegation to protest against this intervention in woman’s labour.' 

Continuing her campaign for laundry co-operatives brought her into court several times in 1892 with fines imposed and two weeks in prison served.  Before the County Court in October Edith drew feminist conclusions:
 'Men are a miserable lot of curs, brought into the world to run down and denounce women and prevent them from obtaining their rights.  I have fought for women’s rights before and I will fight for them again.  I represent the poor washerwomen.'

In September 1893 under the heading, 'EDITH’S PRANKS', the Leeds Times reported:
'At the Marlborough-street Police Court, London on Monday, Miss Edith Lupton, a shabbily dressed woman, well known in London parks as a speaker was charged with being drunk and disorderly.'  Perhaps she was, for on that occasion Edith didn’t insist on a second opinion but neither did she give Mr Hannay, the magistrate, an easy time. When Hannay asked if she had anything to say she replied, “Nothing. I have had the honour of appearing before you three times and the last time I was here you punished me because I defended myself. – Mr Hannay: “Surely you must be mistaken.”- Miss Lupton: “Oh no. Would you like to hear your own words?” – Mr Hannay: “Not particularly”. – Miss Lupton: “You told me that you would have let me off if I had not accused the policeman of telling lies and I made up my mind that when I next was brought here I would not say a word.”- Mr Hannay: “Pay 10s.”

Edith kept on campaigning, and getting arrested, and as late as February 1898 she had a most erudite letter on 'Woman’s Suffrage' published in the Pall Mall Gazette but she was increasingly isolated, impoverished, ill-dressed and inebriated. In the indictment that opened this essay Edith was once again in Southwark Police-court charged with disorderly conduct and assault.  'Police Constable Reylance stated that he found the prisoner very drunk in Long Lane and she deliberately came up to him and spat twice in his face.  The defendant delivered an oration from the dock, quite in the Hyde Park manner. She had devoted her life to the poor and lowly.'  It was Edith Lupton’s last recorded act of rebellion.  In 1904, she died in Marylebone, impoverished and un-mourned.

For Peace, Love & Anarchy
Christopher Draper


Friday, 5 February 2016

Judge sends anarchist activist to police cells for refusing to take off his hat!

                Anti-fracking activist - Adam Whelan

English history is replete with examples of political radicals who have refused to doff their cap to those in authority. Refusal of what was called "hat honour", was seen as a badge of English radicalism. The early Quakers refused to doff their caps because it was their belief that all people were equal in the eyes of God. When the digger, Gerrard Winstanley, appeared before the lord general of the army, General Fairfax, in 1649, he refused to take off his hat saying that Fairfax was "but their fellow creature." Nearly two-hundred years later, when the chartist, Joseph Rayner Stephens, refused to take off his hat to a visiting magistrate in Chester Castle in 1838, where he was serving an eighteen-months prison sentence, the magistrate knocked it off his head in spite of him being an English gentleman. Although most folk nowadays, rarely wear hats, it seems that refusing to take your hat off today, is still guaranteed to rile some people in certain quarters.

On Monday, District Judge Mark Hadfield, sitting at the Manchester and Salford District Magistrates Court, ordered that 25-year-old anarchist activist, Adam Whelan, of no fixed address, be taken to the court police cells after he refused to take his hat off as he was leaving court. Mr Whelan had attended court to support two anti-fracking activists from Barton Moss, who were later convicted of 'aggravated trespass'. Although Mr Whelan had been sat in the public gallery, hatless, for over an hour, Judge Hatfield demanded that he take off his hat as he was leaving the court. When he refused to do so, the Judge called for security and he was told that if he didn't return to court, he would be arrested for contempt of court. 

In court, the Judge asked why he'd refused to take off his hat. Whelan replied: "that it was blatantly obvious to him that the Judge had more respect for corporations than he did for land, air, or water, and that he didn't respect that."  The Judge then ordered that Mr Whelan be taken to the police cells while he decided whether to charge him with contempt of court. After four hours in custody, Mr Whelan was brought back to court and asked once again why he'd refused to take off his hat. He told the Judge that he had been annoyed with his judgement and had been leaving the court, when he'd been asked to remove his hat. Judge Hadfield then told him that he had three options available to him: to impose a fixed penalty; to sentence him to one-months imprisonment or to take no further action. He then told Whelan that in this instance, he would be taking no further action as he was of the view, that four hours in the police cells was sufficient time for Whelan to reflect on his actions.

We understand that the learned Judge Hadfield, as something of a reputation for being rather severe on defendents in fracking cases and on a previous occasion, did remand one activist to prison, who was subsequently found not guilty. Although the Judge told Mr Whelan that he was merely upholding court etiquette and that it wasn't personal, one cannot help but feel that this is nothing but supercilious nonsense, from a Judge, who one suspects, was simply throwing his legal weight about in order to intimidate and pull rank, on a young man with long hair. 

Mr Whelan told told Northern Voices that he wouldn't be making a complaint about the Judge. We gather that when he was asked by the custody officer why the Judge had sent him to the police cells and had replied because he wouldn't take his hat off, the coppers found this hilarious and fell about laughing.

Mr. Dale's Diary



EXTRACTS from a diary that have been sent to Northern Voices
This is the diary of a man of our times. 
Any resemblance to anyone living is, of course, purely coincidental.

Friday 5th February 2016

Apologies for my recent absence. Meetings meetings meetings, they all want me. The big man’s sidekick did tell me to keep my head down, what a cheek, a grubby little man who looks more like a knackered ferret after a night out telling someone of my importance what to do. I was hoping a fact finding trip to somewhere in Asia (not the restaurant, a country) was going to come off. Organised by Trans World Arms Traders, it would have been lavish, just right for an immense man of status. But there have been floods there so I opted to stay here in the warm.
My man woke me with tea but no crumpet this morning. 'It’s parky out' he said. I stayed in bed, completing more expenses forms and flipping channels to see if the ex was on the chicken grills show yet.
Oh what a week of investigation this has been. So many meetings. So many parking fees to pay. I hear that someone who scurrilously claimed expenses is having a pop at your lord and master. And some quizzical type is jumping on the bandwagon. Pah. I am the man of power and influence in my fiefdom and have consequential earnings. And, it must be said, innocence and perfection.
These parking fees are a nightmare aren’t they, but what can one do ? The local transport system has no First Class sections, so how is it even possible for ME to use them? One must drive therefore, and pay the price of extortionate parking. Not my fault, as always. Therefore the people have to pay, and they know I am deserving.
******

Spanker Danczuk Demands Fair Crack!

SIMON Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, is determined to get a fair crack of the whip from Labour's national executive committee (NEC) investigation into the case of his 'sexting' to a 17-year-old lass, in which he asked her about 'spanking' and said that he was getting 'horny'.
Last week Rochdale constituency Labour Party sent a 'letter of support' for Danczuk to the Labour NEC, in which it called for a 'fair' investigation into the sexting scandal which led to the MP's suspension in December.
This week's Private Eye reports that '[a] number of complaints have now been received by the  NEC stating that the letter was only signed off by a handful of Danczuk's cronies, including council leader Richard Farnell, and does not represent the views of the local party at all.'
Northern Voices' has seen the e-mails leading up to the letter to the NEC, and while we do not object to its request that he should get what we would call a fair hearing, it is troubling if the leadership of the local party rushed off a letter to the NEC without proper consultation.

N.V. Review of 'Smile for the Camera'


by Les May
Editors Note:  Les May wrote this review exclusively for our current edition of Northern Voices No.15, which was published in April of this year.   He had in 2014 also written a review on Amazon.  The interesting thing about these reviews is that, with the exception of a review by Nicholas Blincoe* in the Daily Telegraph also in 2014, they are so far as we know the only critical reviews of the book 'Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith' by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker. 
Since the book by the Rochdale M.P. Simon Danczuk was publish there has been much acclaim for what Mr. Danvczuk has had to say from pundits in the media and politicians of all complexions.  The effect of Mr. Danczuk's book when it was first published by Biteback publishers was massive and almost unbelievable given its patently poor quality in research terms.  John Walker who was the former co-editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), which in May 1979 first exposed the ultra vires conduct of Cyril Smith at Cambridge House, described the prose of Danczuk and Baker as 'flowery flannel'.    
I must declare an interest here because the idea to produce a biography of Cyril Smith was mine which I disclosed to my friend John Walker and he then suggested we get Simon Danczuk to write an introduction and to help us find a publisher.  I am an anarchist and ought to have logically exercise prudence whe deal with any party politician, but John has been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party and has already published one book, I therefore left it to him to negotiate with Mr.Danczuk.  Neither of us had had any previous dealings with Simon Danczuk, but it quickly became apparent that Simon Danczuk was interested in making money out of the Cyril Smith book and this appalled John Walker, when he later at my house in Castleton, Rochdale, told me of it how Simon would mimic Cyril's gate rolling across the screen for a docu-drama.  In January 2013, as we ate our paella a la valenciana at my house following John's meeting with Simon and Matthew Baker, we struggled to come to terms Simon Danczuk's idea of turning the whole child abuse scandal into a melodrama for television.  Up to that time John had met with Danczuk about six times in London, on at least one time in the House of Commons Bar.  John told me that during their meeting, that Matthew Baker had seemed to be mainly interested in trying to squeeze information out of him, and that judging by Karen’s body language there seemed to be some animosity between Karen Burke (Danczuk’s wife) and Matthew Baker.
The visit to Danczuk’s office had not been successful, and sometime later in London, John Walker was approached by Mr. Baker and asked if he still intended to produce a book on Cyril Smith, to which he said that he wasn’t.  Then we waited to see how they would handle the material, especially with regard to the fact that when he was at Cambridge House he was a prominent member of the Labour Party in Rochdale, and that when in the later 1960s Cyril had been investigated by the police Jack McCann the then M.P. for Rochdale had intervened on his behalf with the DPP.  There is also even speculation that perhaps the then Labour Home Secretary, James Callaghan, got involved, as Mr. McCann was close to him.
Brian Bamford (October 2015)
*  Nicholas Blincoe is an English author, critic and screenwriter.  He is the author of six novels, Acid Casuals (1995), Jello Salad (1997), Manchester Slingback (1998), The Dope Priest (1999), White Mice (2002), Burning Paris (2004).  Blincoe was born in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1965. After briefly studying art at Middlesex Polytechnic he attended the University of Warwick where he studied Philosophy, gaining a PhD in 1993. The thesis was entitled Depression and Economics. The thesis explored the relationship between political sciences and economic theories, with particular reference to the philosophy of Jacques Derrida.
___________________________________________________
'Reviewing Cyril Smith's Lucrative Smile' by Les May (First published in print in Northern Voices No.15):
A half a century ago an overweight Labour councillor in his mid thirties took it upon himself to act as disciplinarian and medical inspector at a hostel for young men.  The man's name was Cyril Smith and the hostel was Cambridge House in Rochdale.  The consequences of this decision took some sixteen years to emerge in the form of a detailed and well researched article in Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), one of those non-mainstream newspapers which emerged in the 1970s.

In the 1979 pre-election issue of RAP the story of Cyril's penchant for looking at young men's genitals and spanking their bare backsides was revealed to anyone in Rochdale who could afford a few new pence for the paper. Cyril threatened to sue, then quietly backed down, Private Eye and New Statesman ran pieces, and the rest of the press ignored it.  At the election, Cyril, who by now had defected to the Liberal party, was returned to Parliament.

I bought 'Smile for the Camera' by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker having been taken in by the hype surrounding it.  So confidently did Mr Danczuk present his story of 'Cyril Smith the paedophile' at book readings, at press conferences and to any media outlet that would listen, that I assumed it was filled with solid evidence that Cyril continued and extended his sordid activities after the closure of Cambridge House in the mid 1960s. It isn't.

Instead what we have are a series of assertions and opinions by the authors, gossip, second and third hand stories which originated in pub bars, supposedly verbatim accounts of conversations which took place thirty odd years ago, accounts which we are led to believe are the authentic voices of men who had unpleasant encounters with Cyril yet which have a strange sameness about them, few definite dates and a garbled chronology, the same story apparently told more than once, misquotation of documents, a seeming absence of proper methodology and no indication of how many men they interviewed who claimed to have been abused by Cyril.

Feeling somewhat peeved at having wasted my money on such dross, I twice challenged the authors in a local newspaper about the apparent lack of methodology and how many men had been interviewed before this book was written, who claimed to have been abused by Cyril after the closure of Cambridge House.  Having received no answer on either occasion I wrote to Mr Danczuk on 9 October 2014 asking him the same question.  Again he declined to answer.  On 24 October at one of his book readings he was asked the same question.  Still Mr Danczuk  refused to answer.  Why the coyness?   Perhaps the answer would be embarrassingly small.

The question of 'how many' comes to mind repeatedly, because some of the stories about Cyril's activities appear to be recycled.  For example the same story about one resident fleeing the hostel after being beaten by Cyril appears on pages 51 and 93, leaving the impression that they are separate incidents.  Another example, complete with garbled chronology, appears on pages 50 and 109.

We now know Lancashire Police investigated Smith's activities at Cambridge House in 1969 and that in March 1970 a file was submitted to the DPP containing complaints from eight young people about indecent assaults by him.  The GMP update containing this information does not detail any other group of complainants. But similar stories about 'police files' appear in the book on pages 45, 47 and 51, again leaving the impression that they refer to separate complaints.  But do they?

Some of the strangest passages in the book appear in the three chapters headed 'Silent Voices'. Ostensibly these are accounts in their own words of the experiences of three men at the hands of Cyril Smith.

Here are a few samples ostensibly from two men assaulted in the 1960s;

It was said that Leonardo da Vinci would gaze at the stains on walls and imagine vivid battles and landscapes.  That day cheap exuberant motifs gave way to a swarm of angry locusts bringing a load of plague and pestilence. p87

The all-nighters at the Twisted Wheel club in Manchester were legendary.  Hard rhythm and blues, rare soul and American imports:  it was the best music you'd hear anywhere in the north of England. p119

You may wonder whether, if you were reporting having your backside wacked by a bully when you were a teenager half a century ago, you would include passages like these in your account.   

It doesn't stop there.  Contrast this description by the first of these men describing the assault by Smith;

Above his heavy breathing I could smell his rancid body odour.  It was like cabbage boiled in vinegar. As his heavy breathing slowed, a continuous low sound rose in his chest like a purr of contentment. p92 and a few lines later

His humming was louder now, broken every now and then by strange squeals of pleasure. p92

with an account which does not appear in the book but was sent to me in June 2014 by a man who was also assaulted at Cambridge House;

During the time I was a resident, (from late ‘61/early ‘62 to late ‘63/possibly early ‘64), on two occasions I was subjected to Smith’s bogus ‘medicals’.  During one of these I was asked to take down my trousers and underpants, turn round with my back to him, bend over, then hold my buttocks apart, while he ‘inspected’ me.  On another I had to, again, lower my trousers and underpants and Smith started poking and prodding and I was then told to cough while Smith held my genitals.

These two men may even have met each other at Cambridge House and are describing similar events. But whilst the account in the book is dramatic, 'white knuckle' or even vaguely pornographic, the second is hesitant and matter of fact.  

Now I do not doubt the two men at the centre of the accounts given in the book were spanked by Smith just as they say they were.  But I don't think that we are reading their own unvarnished words on the subject. One of them says;

Cyril couldn't have abused all these boys on his own.  He had a team of people behind him.  They were all in on it. p131

How convenient for the authors that he volunteered his opinion in this way!  How nicely
it 'corroborates' the opinion of another of their informants;

Digan, like others, is of the view they (paedophile gangs that is) were encouraged and protected by Cyril Smith.  p115.

We'll meet Mr Digan later.  But for the moment we'll note that these are opinions not facts.

The third 'Silent Voice' is perhaps the strangest.  Essentially it is a 'kiss and tell story', though it is not presented that way. 

In 1979 a young man of 16 meets Cyril and becomes involved in Liberal politics.  The RAP article spilling the beans on Cyril's antics at Cambridge House appears just before the election, but he is happy to join Cyril's election campaign and soon becomes 'a close member of his team'.  Payback time comes when Cyril starts to grope him.  So what does he do, walk away immediately?   No!   He continues to work with Cyril until 1982.  Now he feels a sense of shame for letting it happen, but to his great credit refuses to let his life be taken over by hate.  

This is a sad story.  Cyril does not emerge as a very nice man, even in the dirty world of party politics.  But not being very nice isn't a crime.  At a personal level he is exploitative and clearly takes advantage of this young man.  Yet, like the two earlier stories, it's not paedophilia.

So why do the authors use it to treat us to passages like this? 

In the years that followed, Cyril repeatedly used me to satisfy his perverse cravings.  He treated me like a sex object. p153

As we read this would our feelings be the same if it was about a fifty plus Celia Smith with her 'toy boy'? Are we being subtly invited to a bit of 'queer bashing'?

If you find such an idea offensive how about this?

Cyril, he said, liked them young with tight sphincter muscles. When their sphincter became looser as they got older, he would ditch them. p210

'I can't forget the graphic detail,' Foulston tells me, 'I was disgusted.' p210

Was the intention to leave the reader 'disgusted'?

Knowl View was a residential school which opened in 1969 and had a troubled history.  In the years following its closure in 1994 it was the subject of claims of a 'cover up' going back to an Independent on Sunday (IoS) article in 1995.  Strenuous attempts are made in 'Smile for the Camera' to associate Smith with sexual abuse of boys at the school.  But they largely rely upon the suppositions and opinions of a single individual, social worker Martin Digan, and it is difficult to find any independent evidence for them.  Again there is no chronology.

According to the authors Mr Digan started work at the school in the late 1970s p109.  In what must surely be one of the most remarkable statements in the book they tell us, 'For many years he was oblivious to what was happening in the school – until he was promoted to head of care and began to realise that things weren't quite right.' p109

The authors don't think it necessary to tell us when this was. But a Manchester Evening News (MEN) article from 2 December 2012 indicates Mr Digan became head of care in 1994.

So what had been happening in the school?  What no one disputes is that in 1991 an Aids worker, Philip Shepherd, spent a day in the school talking to staff and then wrote a report, (of which more later) which was sent to the Director of Education, Diana Cavanagh.  In response to what he wrote a clinical psychologist, Valerie Mellor, was commissioned in late 1991 to investigate the reported sexual activity involving the boys at the school.  Mellor's report presented in February 1992 confirmed and expanded upon the Shepherd report.  It included the comment, 'It is very difficult to believe that this behaviour had not come to the attention of at least some members of staff.'   Also in 1991, Rodney Hilton, who lived nearby was convicted of sexually abusing boys at the school.

Responding to a letter sent to her by the Knowl View staff in April 1992 Diana Cavanagh was strongly critical of care staff.  With reference to boys aged 11 to 13 at one unit of the school being involved in homosexual activities at the Smith Street toilets in the centre of Rochdale, she is reported to have said, 'Those supervising the boys in the evenings appeared either not to notice that they were missing, or not to communicate their observations.' and, 'There is insufficient evidence to prove culpable neglect, fraud or incompetence by any single member of staff.' 

If, as the authors tell us, Mr Digan had been at the school since the late 1970s, this seems to be a lot for anyone to be oblivious of.  As for how Mr Digan had the scales lifted from his eyes you can choose between the prosaic versions from the MEN of 2 December 2012 and 30 November 2013, that he was given access to the reports when he became head of care or the melodramatic version from 'Smile for the Camera' in which he slipped into the headteacher's office at night, 'Then, just as he was leaving, he caught sight of a file of papers spread out on the desk under an adjustable lamp.' p112

This is what Mr Shepherd had actually written in 1991:

'One boy who is homosexual has contact with an adult outside the school. Several of the senior boys indulge in oral sex with one another.

Reputedly five of the junior boys have been or are involved in 'cottaging' in and around public toilets. Men as far away as Sheffield are believed to be aware of this activity and travel to Rochdale to take part.
'One eight-year-old is thought to have been involved. The police are aware of the problem. What action has been taken is not known.
'One rent boy has been removed from the school. The suggestion that he may return soon has angered the staff.
'Some boys have been "forced" to have sex with others.'
and this is what Danczuk and Baker claim it says:
'In matter of fact language, the report described the extreme sexual abuse that young boys had been subjected to. Boys were beaten and raped continually by men as far away as Sheffield who had travelled to Rochdale to take part.' p112
A few lines later they quote Mr Digan as saying, 'These boys were sold to paedophile gangs.'  Of course neither they nor Mr Digan provide any evidence for this. 
A page further on they imply that Cyril Smith's and Harry Wild's names appeared; when in the Shepherd report when they did not; 'This file was eventually made public by Digan but Cyril Smith and Harry Wild's names were not mentioned.'  
This was the IoS article in 1995.
When the authors resort to misquoting documents in this way, presenting opinions as facts and implying that something is true when it isn't, then it casts doubt on much of their book.  Being named as Sunday Times politics book of the year and being listed as one of The Telegraph's best politics books to read in 2014, does not make it a reliable document if you want to know about Cyril Smith. My dad used to say, 'You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.'
I hope he was right!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Tameside libraries to go self-service. Paid staff to be replaced by volunteers!

Library Jobs Under Threat

A Tameside Council report (Strategic Planning and Capital Monitoring Panel - 30 November 2015), sets out Tameside Council's 'vision' for a "modern, progressive library service." The report says that although the closure of fives libraries in September 2012 and cuts in  opening hours led to savings of £1 million, the council now wants to achieve further savings of £15o,000 a year.

It may surprise some people to learn that not so long ago, Tameside had at least 22 libraries (see below). Many of these libraries were closed by the council long before the so-called financial crisis in 2008. It now runs eight libraries with 45.2 full-time library staff and 59 officers (more chiefs than Indians) and recently closed both the Hyde and Denton library buildings. Alternative library facilities on a much reduced scale, have been squeezed into rooms at both Hyde and Denton Town Halls.

Central to the council's 'vision' of a "modern, progressive library service", is to have 'self- service' unstaffed libraries and to replace remunerated library staff, with unpaid volunteers. The report says:

"Self service (via Radio Frequency Identification - R.F.I.D. ) should be promoted as the channel of choice both within libraries and digitally." It is envisaged that the majority of library transactions will be undertaken independently by customers, including self-booking of library PC's, either in person or via a mobile device.  The report also says:

"Customers who wish to use the library independently will be able to visit during advertised unstaffed hours by using their library card and pin number to gain access...Investment in a technical system will allow use of libraries by customers when no staff are present." It is the introduction of a new Library Management System at a cost of £77,415 and R.F.I.D. technology which is seen as the key to self service libraries in Tameside.

Although the report points out that theft of library materials is 'considerable', it says that better security technology could prevent this happening. However, one glaring and obvious omission, in this report, is that it does not deal with the health and safety implications of running unstaffed public libraries in Tameside. For example, who would be responsible for dealing with a tipsy miscreant hell-bent on annoying library users or a library user, who racially abuses a library customer, or a male library user annoying a female library user? Who would be responsible for dealing with incidents like this in unstaffed public libraries?

The report also seems to assume that most people have access to mobile technological devices and internet access. A cause for further concern, is the way in which Tameside seems to want to replace paid library staff, with unpaid library volunteers. While volunteering can be beneficial to some people, isn't voluntary work just being used by the council to get rid of staff by displacement and substitution using volunteers? No doubt the town hall unions will have something to say about this.

Bury Council blame public for rat rise

The report below is taken from
 today's Bury Times (the headline is ours),
and is the result of a Freedom of Information
request by the Bury Unite Branch:
RATS are being spotted more often because bins are being emptied less often, union bosses claim. Leaders of Bury Unite commercial branch, which represents bin men who work across the borough, made a Freedom of Information request to Bury Council asking about vermin complaints before and after three-weekly bin collections were introduced in October 14.
In the 12 months up to the change there were 1,514 complaints, compared with 1,789 in the 12 months after.
The branch's secretary Brian Bamford said:
'This represents a 18.16 per-cent rise since the change. What the public deserve is some honesty from Bury Council about the downside of what is happening when they introduce changes to like the three-weekly collections.  There must be no suggestion of a cover-up on these matters.'
Mr Bamford was referring to previous comments made by Elton councillor Susan Southworth when she said:
'There is no evidence there will be a detrimental impact on public health such as vermin, unpleasant smells and fly tipping.'
One bin man, who asked not to be named in fear of losing his job, said:
'There are definitely more rats and flies now.  I don't think they can solve the problem unless they go back to fortnightly collections.  When we are out on the rounds, we get complaints from people who say they are not getting value for money from their council tax.'
A Bury Council spokesman said there was no clear correlation between the frequency of collections and the number of vermin reports.
He added that complaints fell when fortnightly collections were introduced in 2012/13.
The spokesman said:
'There are a number of reasons why the number of incidents we deal with may have increased last year, such as having a mild winter.  Unfortunately, there are a number of cases where irresponsible people simply throw all their rubbish into the back street rather than disposing of it properly. This is in sharp contrast to the majority of residents, whose efforts have led to Bury having its highest ever recycling rate.  We thank them, and urge everyone to put the right stuff in the right bin.'
http://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/14252902.Bury_bin_men_say_they_are_seeing_more_rats_since_3_week_collections_were_introduced/ ),

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Parliamentary Watchdog Probes Mr. Danczuk


The report that appears below was issued
to Northern Voices last night by
the Rochdale Liberal Democrats:

SIMON Danczuk will be officially investigated for a 'mis-use' of public funds it has this morning been confirmed.  The Parliamentary Watchdog IPSA said in a letter to Rochdale Lib Dem David Hennigan, "It is my intention to open a formal investigation into the accommodation claims referred to in your complaint." They also confirmed that they are liaising with Greater Manchester Police, who will wait for the outcome of any investigation.

Dave Hennigan, who made the complaint on behalf of the Rochdale Liberal Democrats said: 

'I am pleased that the relevant authorities are taking my complaints so seriously.  What is clear is that Mr Danczuk is in serious, serious trouble and this could spell the end of a colourful Parliamentary career. All MPs are paid expenses to ensure that they can carry out their roles in both their constituencies and Parliament.  Mr Danczuk has used them to fill his already swelling coffers.'

Councillor Andy Kelly,Leader of the Rochdale Lib Dems said:  

'People in our town deserve better.  There are so many urgent issues that need tackling like for example child grooming, flooding and a raw deal from this Tory Government.  Instead, what we have is an MP all over the papers for the wrong reasons.  It's one thing being caught 'sexting' a 17 year old Constituent or having your chaotic private life splashed all over the media.  Mr Danczuk has clearly claimed for expenses that he should of.  Other former MPs have gone to prison for less. I hope that our MP can be open and honest during this process - he owes Rochdale that much.'

Commenting on Greater Manchester Police's involvement, IPSA said, I have spoken with Greater Manchester Police and they are content not to open a criminal investigation at this stage.  This leaves me free to progress my investigation.  A Spokesperson  from the investigation said: 

'I have spoken with Greater Manchester Police and they are content not to open a criminal investigation at this stage. This leaves me free to progress my investigation. IPSA and I are signatories to a memorandum of understanding with the police that requires me to inform the police if I have reason to suspect that a criminal offence may have been committed. I will adhere to this requirement should I develop such a suspicion.'

He continued:  'At the conclusion of the investigation and following the receipt of any representations from IPSA and the MP, I will draft a Statement of Provisional Findings. This will indicate whether I consider Mr Danczuk to have been paid an amount under the Scheme that should not have been allowed.'

Another 'Useful Idiot'?

by Les May
HAVING played the role of 'useful idiot' throughout most of last autumn Simon Danczuk now finds himself displaced by Michael Dugher as the Mail on Sunday's favourite Labour MP willing to have his name attached to a piece attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

One thing which does emerge from this story is that Mr. Dugher abandons the pretence of Danczuk and his ilk to be 'moderates', and declares himself to be a 'Labour Right-winger'.

Dugher may be flattered to be called a 'senior Labour MP' and 'seen by some as a future Labour leader'. He may even be flattered to be described as 'a reverse image of pro-Palestinian, shell-suited, Left-wing, national-anthem-mumbling, vegetarian, teetotal, pacifist Corbyn', but to be described as 'plotting his own revenge' is an act of foolishness he may live to regret.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3424749/You-99-days-prove-win-ll-time-tell-Politburo-power-Soviets-won-t-cut-masses-Labour-rebel-issues-day-election-warning-Comrade-Corbyn.html

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Expenses' Claim: Simon Danczuk's Last Stand?

AN investigation has opened into the expenses' claims made by Simon Danczuk MP following the receipt of a complaint from a member of the public.
A statement was issued yesterday by the Compliance Officer for IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority):
 'The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has today opened an investigation into claims made under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses ('the Scheme') by Simon Danczuk MP. '
The focus of the investigation will be into the expenditure relating to Accommodation Expenditure claimed under the scheme.
Simon Danczuk would seem to have made claims for his children of more than £25,000 in extra accommodation allowances since 2011.  He has done this despite the fact that none of the children living with him in London 'routinely' which is a condition of the allowance.  He has complained that the rules are 'too vague' and are not in keeping with the nature of modern parenting, and he has argued that the complainants among the Rochdale Liberal Democrats are 'politically motivated'.
Mr. Danczuk, who says he is co-operating with the investigation, has said:
'My IPSA claim was made at a time when it was expected all four of my children would regularly come and stay with me at the same time.'
He told one news paper that the rules are ‘poorly worded and not fit for purpose when it comes to modern families like mine’
The Compliance Officer says that upon conclusion of the investigation, a report including details of the case made against the MP, evidence, findings and any sanctions will be published.

Monday, 1 February 2016

'SAVE' & Liverpool's Welsh Streets

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ANNOUNCEMENTS…   

save_180-74.png (180×74)

Press release: After nearly 12 years of decline and decay, Liverpool City Council invites developer to refurbish the Welsh Streets – SAVE welcomes the move, but calls for multiple ownership and careful treatment of existing buildings

Liverpool Council has invited Manchester-based developer Place First to put together a plan for the Welsh Streets, Liverpool, a neighbourhood of over 400 terraced houses that has been the site of a major planning battle for over 12 years. The proposal, that has mayoral approval, will be voted on next week. SAVE notes that no other developers are being put forward as candidates for this scheme, despite the fact that many individuals and organisations have shown interest in the site, and continue to do so. However, due to Place First’s positive track record, we are cautiously optimistic. 
Until now, mass demolition was part of the Pathfinder Housing Policy, introduced by John Prescott, that saw communities and large areas of terraced housing decimated throughout the north of England until the policy was thrown out in 2011 by cross-party consensus. Since then, and following continuing hard lobbying by SAVE, the emphasis of government policy has been switched to bringing empty homes back into use. Now, following the result of the Public Inquiry last year, fought by SAVE, Liverpool Council has changed its policy, having accepted that there was no more grant money forthcoming to subsidise demolition and new build on this scale.
Liverpool Council, led by Mayor Joe Anderson, has pushed for total demolition of the area, with a recent reprieve for three-storey houses on Kelvin Grove and a stub of 16 homes on Madryn Street, birthplace of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
In the Mayor’s Recommendation it is stated:     
'The Welsh Streets are the Council’s key housing regeneration scheme. Whilst the Council’s preferred option for the site has always been large scale demolition, the decisions of the Secretary of State in January 2015 now make that aspiration impossible to achieve in the short to medium term. This proposal provides the Council to test out an alternative, refurbishment led approach to the redevelopment of the Welsh Streets in light of the Secretary of State’s decisions.'
SAVE welcome the abandonment of demolition, but has two major concerns: 
 
Firstly, the Council should be thinking in terms of the long-term future, not short to medium term. To this end, multiple ownerships must be sought, in order to avoid the pitfalls of monopoly landlords imposed in the recent past. In order for a new community to take root and flourish in the long term, mixed tenure would be the most reliable approach, even if it appears more complicated in the short term.

Secondly, the directions given by the Secretary of State in his decision letter regarding the Public Inquiry must be followed and the architectural integrity and significance of the site must be respected. In any refurbishment plans, the architectural details of the individual houses and streets must be retained and restored. Some of our research has revealed the originality of the architectural detail of the streets, some of which has been lost or hidden since the site has been run down. Restoring these details will ensure a sense of variety and liveliness in the streets. One of our witnesses in the Public Inquiry, Dr Gareth Carr, the national expert on the architect of the site, Richard Owens, made an analysis of the subtle architectural hierarchy of the Welsh Streets, in addition to work by Fiona Deaton at Maisna Heritage. We are happy to share our research with Place First.
In addition there are several examples of community engagement in refurbishment in Liverpool, whose experience can be built upon, including the groundbreaking work of the Community Land Trust around the corner in Granby, and Steinbeck Studio’s work there with Assemble, whose designs for empty terraced housing won them the Turner Prize last year.
SAVE bought a terraced house in the centre of the empty site, on Madryn Street, in 2011, in order to demonstrate that the houses make comfortable homes. It has been the home to a young couple for the last five years.
SAVE Director Clem Cecil says:
'Bringing this neighbourhood back is no small task. However, Liverpool has shown itself to be at the forefront of imaginative and groundbreaking ways of bringing empty terraces back into use and we'd like to see that in action here. This is a new era for the Welsh Streets and it is essential that all stakeholders are consulted with including those that have always been against demolition.'

Jonathan Brown of Merseyside Civic Society, who has campaigned for communities in terraced streets says: “It’s very welcome that the Welsh Streets are now recognised as having a future. Manchester’s Place First seem to have a good track-record and we’ll be urging them to make sure local people eventually get these houses back, through rent-to-buy and affordable ownership, as well as private market rent.”

Letter to the Editor of NV

Dear Editor, " Northern Voices "

31.I.2016

8 - 14 February 2016 is #heartunions week

Over six million working people and their families are supported by their unions

Trades unions helped workers win health and safety law, fair wages,
maternity and paternity pay and a better deal at work.

Without trade unions, we would have no paid holidays.

Days lost to industrial action are at an all-time low as unions these
days are settling concerns at work before they become disputes.

Over six million working people and their families are supported by
their unions.  They are the drivers, carers, paramedics, oil workers,
cabin crew, scientists – you name it, they’re in a union – of the
nation.

So why does this Conservative government want to crush our trade unions?

The (anti) trade union bill is making its way through Parliament.  It
has been slammed by managers, ex-ministers and even the government’s
own regulators, denounced as ‘not fit for purpose’ and dangerously
`ideological’.  Even Tory MPs feel unease about it with one saying it
was akin to something found in `Franco’s Spain’.

Despite being repeatedly asked by MPs what is the ' problem’ these
measures were designed to solve, Tory ministers have no answer.

But when this bill becomes law, the workers of these isles will be the
poorest protected, easiest to mistreat in the EU.

Quite an achievement for a government that pledged to be the “ party
of the working people’.

In May when the local elections come I will be going to the polls, and
urging my friends and family to do so too, with this one thing in mind
– the Tory government is no friend of working people.
Yours sincerely,

Andrew Wastling

Letter on Anti-Trade Union Bill

Dear Unite members

You know that unions won paid holidays, fought for safe workplaces and day in, day out strive to make working life better in this country.

But millions of our friends and colleagues who are not in a union may not appreciate this.

#heartunions week is an opportunity to shout about the great things you and your union achieve together so please get involved. You can find out more here www.unitetheunion.org/heartunite

They probably don’t know either that the Tory government is attacking the very trade unions that have done so much to bring progress to these isles.

With anti-union legislation rushing through parliament there has never been a more important time to speak up for your union – and out about this government. 

If the Tories get their way, UK workers will be among the easiest to exploit in the western world.

That is why I urge you to do all you can to make #heartunions a success.

There are lots of easy ways to take part – from sharing your selfie to lobbying your MP. 

Just click here to find out how www.unitetheunion.org/heartunite

Please do get involved.

With best wishes

Len (McCluskey: General Secretary of Unite)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

What does Joe Public think about the MPs?


YESTERDAY, at a bus stop up Castleton I bumped into a retired painter that I use to work with at Holcroft Castings & Forgings in Rochdale, and he began moaning about the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, he said:  'I thought he was alright and was willing to speak up, but now I've no faith in him at all!'  The day before another passenger had asked if I'd read about the local MP and said that 'there may be one or two down there who are OK, but most of them (the MPs) are bigger robbers that we are!'


Meanwhile, it seems that local people are sending letters the Ipsa (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) about the lavish way Mr. Danczuk has been claiming his expenses over the years.  Making him one of the most expensive MPs in the country.


Last October, the website Rochdaleonline reported that: 
'Councillors were said to be "queuing up" to criticise Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk for using the Tory press to "undermine" the national Labour leadership at the latest Labour Group meeting on Monday night.'


Richard Farnell, the leader of the Rochdale Labour Borough Council, at the time it was claimed had 'warned Labour councillors not to criticise Mr Danczuk on social media.' 


Later, in an update, it was said:
'Councillor Farnell has denied he was attempting to stifle criticism of Mr Danczuk, he said he never mentioned Mr Danczuk by name and wasn't referring to any individual when "asking" councillors not to criticise "party colleagues" on social media.'


More recently at the last Rochdale Council meeting Richard Farnell appeared to give his support to Simon Danczuk in response to a question from the Liberal Democrat councillor, Andy Kelly.

Blacklist High Court Case Delayed

1. High Court hearing set for Monday 1st February has now been cancelled. Its very last minute but the firms only agreed the issues very late. 

There is now an extension of time for any individual to join the group litigation - 28th Feb 2016 is the new deadline.
If anyone with information on the Consulting Association blacklist that has received their file from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is not part of the High Court claim yet - HURRY UP!! Because once 29th Feb is passed, it will almost certainly be too late.  


2. #spycops - Undercover police spying on activists 
Government witness statement submitted to the Pitchford inquiry defending the use of 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' response by the police in relation to covert spying on peaceful democratic campaigns, including the Blacklist Support Group.

More spycops revelations coming out almost by the day: 


3. Elaine Smith MSP, deputy speaker of the Scottish parliament is hosting a viewing of the film “Blacklist” by long time friend of the Blacklist Support Group, Lucy Parker
Wednesday 10th February at 6pm 
Committee Room 1.




Speakers: Neil Findlay MSP and Lucy Parker, artist filmmaker.
3. Qatar
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/misery-qatar-migrant-workers-readying-7266744


4. Other bits 
Video of the Anfield protest has had over 7,000 views on facebook in less than 48 hour - please circulate widely: https://youtu.be/SaAWgZDdvKY


Blacklist Support Group

Mr. Dale's Diary


EXTRACTS from a diary that have been sent to Northern Voices
This is the diary of a man of our times. 
Any resemblance to anyone living is, of course, purely coincidental.

Friday 29th January 2016

Looking forward to a good feed (and drink!) at a charity ‘do’. The charity is for M E. Would you believe it, actually a do for me, I would believe it, at last recognition that I am so important that people should fete me. I expect my man, the big man, and his sidekick have organised it for me. Looking forward to free drinks and plenty of food, wonder if a date has been thrown in? That would be an excellent prize for a young ‘un. All legal of course, as befits an honourable man like me. Right Honourable no doubt one day. Haven’t had a good do since the splendid muffins at the cafe.
Think I might go to church on Sunday. The visitors I’ve paid for won’t be turning up again so I’ll have time for God to pay his respects to me instead. Looks good for a man of my status, a pillar of society, to be seen at such a place. You even get a drop of wine thrown in. They should have a first class section reserved for such an important man as what I am. Have not got time to confess though, I’d be there well into next week!
Might get my man to start work on another book for me. I’ll call it the Ex Files. They give me plenty of material to work with!
******

Steve Platt on Colin Ward & John Rety

In the 2010 April / May issue of Red Pepper
Steve Platt wrote in his column 'PLATTITUDES'
a feature on the deaths of Colin Ward, aged 85, and
John Rety, 79.  He said that this 'had deprived the
British anarchist movement of two of its most
original and influential thinkers.' 
He added:

'I first came across them through squatting campaigns in the 1970s, by which time they were already veterans of the pre-1960s generation of political activists who kept a left libertarian flag flying before it became fashionable to do so.
'Both men helped with Squatting-the Real story (Bay Leaf Books, 1980), a book for which I was the main writer.  Colin wrote a chapter on the post-war seizure of army camps, hotels and other buildings, when tens of thousands od ex-servicemen and their families laid down a challenge to the 1945 Labour government to deliver on its promise of decent homes for all. 
'John, who was a key squatting activist in Camden Town, gave generously of his time, knowledge and activist energy in helping me to assemble the history of the later squatting movement that emerged in Britain from the late 1960s.
'Indeed, the survival of Camden Town as we know it today owes much to the resistance initiated by John and his partner Susan Johns in 1973 to their eviction by a property developer from the shop they ran at 220, Camden High Street.  At the time, companies associated with Cromdale Holdings owned a quarter of the properties in the area;  50 shops were empty pending redevelopment.
John and Susan's squatting of their old shp acted as a catalyst for the fight to save the high street, which was eventually won...
'For me, Colin and John were key communicators of the message that there was life on the left beyond state socialism.  From housing cooperatives to allotments, from holiday chalets to garden sheds, Colin's approach to "anarchy" in action ( the title he chose for what is still the best - and certainly most readable - book on the subject around) was rooted in the practice and everyday in a manner that made his most utopian of visions seem no more than ordinary common sense. 
John's anarchism sparkled most fully in his love of poetry and commitment to live performance, notably at Torriano Meeting House.  First squatted as a arts centre, which provided early platforms for artists as diverse as Emma Thompson and John Hegley.  There was delicious irony, that one-time bastion of the British Communist Party.
'I was too young to enjoy Colin's editorship of the journal Anarchy and John's of the paper  Freedom at the time they were published.  But the back issues I saw later helped to inspire in me a belief in the potential of small-circulation publications with often esoteric interests to have an influence way beyond their immediate readerships.  That's one reason why I'm associated with the magazine I'm writing for here.'