Friday, 30 November 2012

Cyril Smith Cover-up: Who Pulled the Strings?

 Eileen Kershaw's Recollections
EILEEN KERSHAW, a former Lancashire county councillor from up Whitworth, has recovered her memory and talked to Katie Fitzpatrick for tomorrow's Rochdale Observer.   The dots are starting to come together in the mystery of the how Cyril Smith may have escaped justice in the1960s.  Was he really a paederast and a child molester who got his political cronies to intervene to get him off, when the police had him by the short and curlies?

There are still plenty of questions as to what really happened and who did what to help Mr Smith in his time of need.  But it seems clear that the network of friends that existed within the political classes allegedly helped Mr. Smith at that time.  What part did Jack McCann, the former Rochdale Labour MP, play to get the then Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the case against Smith?  It is now clear, from what Eileen Kershaw says, that Smith called upon his old friend in the Labour Party to get his assistance and that 'the late Labour MP declared that he would call on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for them to drop the case'.

Eileen Kershaw told the Rochdale Observer that Smith would 'maintain his innocence to us (Eileen and her late husband, Jack Kershaw) and we would put up with it night after night from 8.30pm to 3am.'  She now says that:  'After the case was dropped he went back to being his normal jolly self'

At that time Jack McCann was a Labour Whip in the House of Commons, and that may have given him a chance to have a word with Jim Callaghan who was Home Secretary in the Labour Government between 1967 and 1970 .  Talk about wheels within wheels in the corridors of power.  Did Jack McCann in trying to help his old mate Cyril, who had been in the Labour Party, get 'Sunny Jim' Callaghan to get the DPP to ditch the case?  What a thought!  Our readers must judge for themselves what may have gone on, but networking is not a new phenomena.

Northern Anarchist Cookbook V: Soups Under the Pavement

TODAY we're on soup - spicy soup - curried parsnip soup to get it 'reet, and the texture is, as Lindsey Bareham says in her 'Celebration of Soup''thick, fluffy and creamy'.  That just reminds of David (not Dave) Under-the-Pavement, who tomorrow will be organising the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair at the Peoples History Museum.  Ms. Bareham writes:  'The key to its success seems to be the combination of lightly sautéing the parsnip with the onion and garlic, the curry powder, and the slow simmering until the parsnips are soft, before puréeing the soup.' 

I do not accept what Ms. Bareham writes about using commercial curry powder, and I believe this soup is much better when one grinds one's own spices.  We dedicate this soup to David Under-the-Pavement for his loyalty to the renegade anarchists and blacklisters, who we have had occasion to refer to in our other recipes.  He has continually done their bidding over the years.
1 medium onion, chopped.
1 large clove of garlic, but preferably two split.
1 very large parsnip, peeled and chopped.
1 medium floury potato, peeled and diced.
2 heaped tbsp butter.
1 level tbsp flour (optional).
Then the spices:
Instead of 1 rounded tsp of shop bought curry powder (which is usually stale) use
1 tbsp of the following:
1 rounded tsp ground turmeric,
0.25 tsp ground fenugeek.
0.5 tsp of fresh chilli or dried red chilli.
1 level tsp of cumin seed.
1 heaped tbsp coriander seeds, all to be pounded together and the surplus bottled.
1.1 litres/ 2 pints of good stock (Marigold).
2 pints of water.
Salt & pepper.
150 ml/ or 0.25 of a pint of single cream.
1 tbsp of chopped chives or parsley.
Cook the onion, garlic, parsnip and potato gently in the butter, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour and spices.  Cook for 2 minutes, giving the whole thing a turn round form time to time.  Pour in the stock gradually.  Leave to cook.  When the parsnips are tender, purée and dilute to taste with the water.  Correct the seasoning.  Re-heat, add the cream and a sprinkling of chives or parsley, and serve with bacon croutons and crusty bread and plenty of butter.


What's in a name?

BELOW are two e-mails:  one a demand from 'Alex', the Secretary of the Anarchist Federation, telling Northern Voices to 'remove' from the NV Blog the names of some of the perpetrators of a public attack on the Northern Voices stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the 27th, Oct. 2012; the other the response from the Northern Voices' Editorial Panel to this demand.  We have to report that as of yet there has been no reply to our e-mail from the Northern Voices Editorial Panel
To northernvoices@hotmail.com 
From: National Secretary AFed (natsec@afed.org.uk
Sent: 06 November 2012 22:01:45 
To: northernvoices@hotmail.com 
In two recent articles on your "Northern Voices" blog you posted the
names of anarchists including members of the anarchist federation,
please remove them immediately.
Alex
National Secretary
Anarchist Federation

Dear Alex (sent 14th, Nov. 2012),
I am sorry for my delay in answering your instruction below (above). I have had to consult the other members of the NV Editorial Panel. The position is that you must tell us:

Does the Anarchist Fed. disassociate itself from the threats issued by the leaders of the group that confronted the editor of NV: Sally Hyman/Miller, Mike Ballard, Claire (Nottingham) & Andy (London) and the other members of your organisation?

Until we have a clear statement from you and the Anarchist Fed. in writing on the participation of your members in this attack at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the Northern Voices' stall and its editor, we cannot possibly consider your demands below. Hope that you will be able to oblige.

Brian Bamford: NV Editor & Chair of the NV Ed. Panel

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Kerr by name and Cur by nature. Police held regular meetings with Blacklister!

The following report which we list below was sent to us by the Blacklist Support Group and is a precis of the evidence given by Ian Kerr, the blacklister of the 'Consulting Association', who gave evidence this week to Scottish Affairs Select Committee:

"One revelation after another today as convicted blacklister Ian Kerr broke his silence today and gave nearly 4 hours worth of evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting.  Among the more jaw dropping evidence:

Kerr has been a full-time blacklister since 1969 - previously employed by the Economic League before he became the Chief Executive of the Consulting Association.

Cullum McAlpine - Director of several companies within the Sir Robert McAlpine group was the first Chairman of the Consulting Association after providing a £10,000 start-up loan following the demise of the Economic League.

Consulting Association meetings took place in the Sir Robert McAlpine London HQ.

Sir Robert McAlpine paid Ian Kerr's £5,000 fine, solicitors fees, and costs associated with closing the organisation including redundancy money for the 4 staff to the order of £25,0000 in order to keep McAlpine's name out of the scandal.

Kerr was paid £50k per year + car + bonus + BUPA + life insurance.

Kerr's wife worked as the organisation's book-keeper.

The main contact for each company was at Director level or similar.

Police held regular meetings with senior members of the blacklisting operation with information flowing both ways.

Union officials provided information about their own members that ended up on the blacklist files. Ian Davidson MP described this as "the union putting the kybosh on someones employment."

Kerr and other blacklist spies were sent undercover into union meetings.

Widespread blacklisting took place on the Olympics construction project by McAlpine, Skanska and Balfour Beatty.

Crossrail - "An awful lot of discussion took place at Consulting Association meetings about the Crossrail Project."

200 Environmental activists were blacklisted (these files were not seized by the ICO).

All documents and computer records have now been burnt or destroyed.
Other blacklisting operations were in existence including Caprim Limited which was set up by the former managing Director of the Economic League.

Kerr refused to answer the question as to whether he was part of the official vetting operation for Irish workers on MoD projects - after a long pause he asked if he could answer that question in private.

Safety Reps were blacklisted if they were too persistent and likely to delay a project.

the Consulting Association breaches at least 2 articles of the European Convention on Human Rights - Pamela Nash MP."

Full video coverage: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11939

Dave Smith - Blacklist Support Group said:

"Kerr himself is a pathetic figure. But a pathetic figure that got rich and lived the high life by running an illegal blacklist that put thousands of innocent decent hard working people on the dole for years. Kerr's actions took meals from our kids tables. He may feel no remorse but we are angry and we want justice.

It was the matter of fact way that he described the systematic abuse of power by big business that I found most shocking. As if we were just an inconvenience in the way of companies wanting to make big profits.

It has taken years of campaigning to get Ian Kerr to spill the beans in public. I have a message for the supposedly respectable Directors of multi-national construction firms, police officers and corrupt union officials who were all part of this conspiracy - get a good lawyer, cos we're coming after you next.

Blacklist Support Group represents blacklisted workers involved in the High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine for "tort of unlawful conspiracy". Guney Clark and Ryan are the representing solicitors with Sir Hugh Tomlinson QC the Lead Counsel."

NORTHERN VOICES & Cyril Smith in the Waugh Room

 For Barry Fitton, Eddie Shorrock and other former residents of a Rochdale boys' hostel, today marks a small step in something simple yet fundamental: finally being believed.

The CPS's admission* that the DPP should have prosecuted Cyril Smith in 1970 is the first ever official acknowledgement of the abuse they suffered at his hands.
The cops closest to the investigation knew they had a case, particularly with eight different witness statements. Yet the DPP rejected the case as 'NFA': no further action.

For decades, no one was interested in this story and it was only Private Eye and the blog Northern Voices that kept it alive in recent years.

I'm pleased that we at PoliticsHome.com helped to bring this case back to life when we published Barry and Eddie's testimony earlier this month. You can read our original report HERE and a fuller feature HERE (as well as my blog on Rochdale's civic pride)  http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/66789/cyril_some_justice_at_last%3F.html on Tuesday this week.

Simon Danczuk was then brave enough to go public in Parliament, raising our report and referring to stories he too had been told of Smith's abuse and the possible cover-up of the allegations (read his full speech HERE).
But the real credit should go to David Bartlett and John Walker, the co-editors of Rochdale's Alternative Paper.

I remember RAP as a boy growing up in the town. An inky, irreverent newsheet, it was the blogosphere decades before the blogosphere was invented. A sharp contrast to the well-established Rochdale Observer (which until only this month never actually referred to its upstart rival by name), RAP carried titbits of controversy and gossip that others daren't carry. It even had an infamous 'Fat Man' cartoon strip which lampooned a certain larger than life MP.

Yet the paper was deadly serious when it ran its 'Strange Case' story back in 1979, just before the general election in which Cyril Smith ran for re-election. Bartlett and Walker were the real pioneers in printing the first claims that Smith interfered with boys at Cambridge House hostel.

They were amateur journalists (with dayjobs as college lecturers) but they had affadavits and produced a first class expose of a man who seemed to view Rochdale as his personal fiefdom. They weren't scared off by Smith's legal threats but he issued an injunction and threatened libel enough to deter the many national newspaper journalists who descended on the town to snap up RAP's infamous edition.

Only Private Eye had the balls to repeat the claims at the time. Tabloid and broadsheet alike, despite having lots of hacks in nearby Manchester, just didn't touch the Cyril Smith story.
Bartlett and Walker were never interested in the limelight for themselves. Even when the story resurfaced this month, they kept in the background. But tonight, hearing the CPS news, John Walker told me he felt vindicated:
"We are delighted that after 40 years, these boys - now men - are finally being listened to and given some form of public justice for what they experienced. RAP played a part 30 years ago in highlighting their story and I just hope justice will prevail. I hope they can get at least some kind of closure. It has always been about making people hear their voice."
There's perhaps another point here worth mentioning. When we first printed our allegations a few weeks ago, some media organisation were nervous. Some felt it was just 'the wrong time' to touch another story of 1960s and 1970s abuse by a public figure. Tonight they look like they will be less reluctant.

Yet it was some good old fashioned journalism - not by newspapers, but by an online-only website like ours and most of all by a 'rag' like RAP - that got this story out.

With Lord Justice Leveson due to report on Thursday, maybe there's a lesson of sorts in that.
*FOOTNOTE: The decision of the CPS to go public today took some at Greater Manchester Police by surprise. They were all set to go public tomorrow with their own announcement that they referred the case three times to the DPP. Has the CPS tried to get a quick PR win by getting its statement out today, before the cops make clear where responsibility really lay in 1970?

Northern Anarchist Cookbook IV:

Northern Voices - Slippery Chicken & the Slippery Sophistry of the Civil Servant
TODAY'S salad is special because it is one of Northern Voices' own recipes that we are presenting to you the day before Radio Four's 'Food Program' presents its Food & Farming awards.  It is our 'Chicken & Mango Salad with Warm Pine-Nut Dressing'; we claim it as our own even though it is based on Francis Bissell's 'Chicken & Melon salad with Sesame Dressing'.  And, as a special treat we are going to dedicate this dish a very special man - Mike Ballard - who has distinguished himself as someone who has been nothing if not lofty in his demeanour - Mr. Ballard has had a reputation as an educated man and original thinker around Greater Manchester's political circles and is now a groupie who attaches himself as a kind of fellow-traveller to the Anarchist Federation in this country. 

Of course, our recipe for Chicken salad is simply a variation on Francis Bissell's, but it is possible to claim it is original because the rule for creating a new recipe only requires that I substitute at least two ingredients, in this case Mango and pine-nuts for Melon and sesame seeds, and Hey Presto! we've invented a new dish.  Mr. Ballard's approach to politics is rather similar to our approach to cooking - a few slights of the hand, a sprinkling of new ingredients and all the logic of the managerial tick-list, and behold he has a theory based on some cookbook concept.  Mr. Ballard is a recently retired civil servant - a former housing manager at Manchester Council.

'I took a pragmatic stand,' he told me earlier this year, 'when I accepted the decision to ban Northern Voices and the NAN (Northern Anarchist Network) from last December's Manchester Anarchist Bookfair''Perhaps you would have preferred it,' he added, 'if I had adopted a more principled position!'   At that time he claimed that he had invested too much time and energy into the event to let principles stand in his way.  So it was that both the NAN and Northern Voices were effectively blacklisted from the bookfair by the organisers and no clear explanation as to why was forthcoming. 

Worse was to come at the London Bookfair on October 27th, this year when Mr. Ballard joined a group of twelve Anarchist Federation affiliates that molested and threatened the sole stall-holder on the Northern Voices' stall at 10 in the morning; giving me until 11am to vacate the premises.  What kind of anarchism is that?  This incident has now been well documented as something more like Kristallnacht or the Rise of Arturo Ui than civilised politics.  This incident has now been well documented on this Blog.  No doubt Mr Ballard will produce some splendidly slippery sophistry to justify him being part of the raiding party, even if he was not present when the schoolmistress, Sally Hyman, finally ejaculated the salad cream on her second visit at 11am.  As Orwell wrote of W.H. Auden (see 'Inside a Whale'):  Mr. Ballard's kind of sophistry is like 'Mr Auden's brand of amoralism is only possible if you are the kind of person who is always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled.'  For this reason I think it is very appropriate that we dedicate this highly recommended and delightfully slippery Chicken dish to Mike Ballard.

Serves 6:
3 5 oz./ 140 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
2 mangoes, sliced, deseeded and peeled.
2 tbsp of pine-nuts.
3 tbsp of sunflower oil.
1 tbsp of rice or sherry vinegar.
2 tbsp of shredded fresh root ginger.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed.#
2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil.
Poach or steam the chicken for 8 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, slice, and arrange the slices on plates, alternating with slices of mango, or put a fan of chicken slices on oneside of each plate and a fan of mango slices on the other.  In a small, heavy frying pan, toast the pine-nuts until golden brown.  Scatter them over the chicken and mango.  In the same pan, mix all the other ingredients, except the sesame oil, and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and spoon over the salad.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

NORTHERN ANARCHIST COOKBOOK III: French Dressing & Dominique Strauss-Kahn

NOW-THEN it's a month since the Oldham schoolmistress, Ms Sally Hyman put on her star performance as the 'Salad Cream Queen' with her soldiers of the British Anarchist Federation in a scene from the 'Nutcracker Suite' at Queen Mary’s, University of London on the Mile End Road during the London Anarchist Bookfair, but now the French are at it with a play called 'Suite 2806', which opened in Paris this month and is based upon the actual 9-minute encounter between the 63-year-old Mr. Strauss-Kahn and a West African maid who he was accused of raping in a New York hotel room; the tale is extended to cover more than an hour which Doreen Carvajal describes in the Herald Tribune as 'a duel of words and psychological torment'.   The play's director, Philippe Hersen has said he sees Mr. Strauss-Kahn as a 'modern day Marquis de Sade who used his power to seduce women.' 

There is reported to be 'queasiness (that) still seems widespread in France' about the lustful Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his appetites for sex with almost everything that moves, and already a proposed film about Strauss-Kahn with Gerald Depardieu in the leading role was dropped for lack of finance from uneasy production companies.  Yet on the night of the Parisian play's premiere it was a sell-out. 

Jelle Saminnadin, who plays the maid, said she knew men like Strauss-Kahn, adding:  'I've encountered men like that with power... (i)f you have money then you think you have power over everything, including women.'  Eric Debrosse, who takes off Strass-Kahn, had to bleach his hair white and put on more than 13 pounds, on a diet of sausage and French fries.  The idea of French fries only brings back memories of Sally, because someone suggested that Northern Voices should in future fill its bookstall with French fries, so that we can spread the salad cream over them when the 'Queen of the Salad Cream' comes round again.

In commemoration of these two events let's dedicate today's recipe for French Dressing to 'Andy' from the London Anarchist Federation - a loyal soldier of the Salad Cream Queen on the day of the Anarchist Bookfair:
3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1 teaspoon of Wine Vinegar/ or Sherry Vinegar.
1 teaspoon of French mustard.
A big clove of Garlic.
A small bunch of chopped chives.
A teaspoon of chopped tarragon.
A pinch of sugar.
A pinch of salt.
A liberal sprinkling of black pepper.
All mixed up together
Vive la France!!!

Rochdale Council Snubs Rochdale Online!

AFTER some speculation about Rochdale Council leader, Colin Lambert's attitude to the website Rochdale Online it was confirmed today that Rochdale Council has withdrawn its co-operation from the website Rochdale Online, in possible breach of its own media policy.  Yesterday, Rochdale Online reported as follows:  'Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed in an email that it is refusing to respond to enquiries made by Rochdale Online, this further escalates the ongoing discrimination by Rochdale Borough Council against Rochdale Online; the Council has also been refusing to issue media releases to Rochdale Online that are routinely sent to other local and regional media organisations, and has even told a non-council organisation that it cannot publicise an event on the free Rochdale Online events diary - it could and did!'

This is a freedom of information issue, and Rochdale Online yesterday reminded us of the 'Local Authority Code of Conduct', stating: 'Publicity about local authorities and the services they provide should be freely available to anyone who wishes to receive such information in a format readily accessible and understandable by the person making the request or by any particular group for which services are provided.' 

At no time, it seems, has Rochdale MBC had any discussions with Rochdale Online explaining why it is 'flouting the Code of Conduct' and snubbing the website.

Furthermore, it is reported that Colin Lambert, the Labour leader of Rochdale Council, cornered a Rochdale Online reporter in a local restaurant shouting:  'Rochdale Online is finished'.  It seems that Councillor Lambert is a bit thin-skinned about the website's persistent failure to bow to his lofty manner. 

For more go to http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news/69817/gentleman-jim-gartside-takes-on-mayoral-chain


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

NORTHERN ANARCHIST COOKBOOK II: Salads

THE earliest salads were simply collections of herbs and vegetables, dressed with oil and vinegar.  According to British Cookery edited by Lizzie Boyd:  'More complex salads were developed in the course of time and with them more refined dressings; of these the salad sauce, composed of hard boiled egg yolks pounded to a paste and mixed with various ingredients, became the basis for today's creams and dressings.'

A dispute is still going on in some circles as to whether it was 'salad cream' or 'mayonnaise' that Sally Hyman projected over the Northern Voices' Bookstall at last October's London Anarchist Bookfair?   If the good school mistress could help us out on this with a comment we would be glad of her help.

Last night, I had a late press conference at around 10pm with John Walker, former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper because, he claimed, down South they eat later than us up North because they have to wait till 8pm for the mayonnaise sauce to benefit from a good airing; salad cream such as Sally ejected at the London Anarchist Bookfair doesn't require such attention and as a consequence we can eat earlier and call it 'High Tea' rather than 'Dinner' in the evenings.  Thus, this recipe for Mayonnaise we dedicate specially to Alex (remove the names)the Secretary of the national Anarchist Federation based in London:
6 egg yolks.
0.5 teaspoon of salt.
1 teaspoon ground pepper.
1 teaspoon of English mustard.
3 fluid oz. of white wine vinegar.
2pints salad oil.
Juice of half a lemon.

'Ought Sexual Grooming to be Nationalised under Workers' Control?' asks Mack-the-Knife

GIVEN the recent revelations in the case of Sir Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, one has to ask if the spirit and nature of sexual dalliances, seduction and grooming has not declined over the years.  A letter in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer certainly set me thinking that something has gone seriously wrong with sexual grooming in the age in which we now live:  Alan Richardson writing a Readers' Letters to the editor argues that 'What Sir Cyril is alleged to have done was common practice at the time (the 1960s & 70s)' and furthermore 'In the 1950s it was common practice for school boys as young as nine to have the cane and as an eleven year old, I along with about 30 others were given the slipper on our bare backside because someone did something wrong and would not own up.'  All good clean fun and punishment for the lads concerned and the perpetrator no doubt; I write 'lads concerned' because it would not likely be girls that got battered as that would not have been acceptable even then.

(Mr. Alan Richardson, may well be the same Alan Richardson who was in the year under me at Brimrod Secondary Modern School in Rochdale in the early 1950s; so I know precisely what he is talking about.)
How right Mr. Richardson is can be judged by the low level that miscreants now conduct their 'sexual grooming' in the backs of taxis or the environs of local oriental takeaways, compared with the days of yore, when Sir Cyril administered his huge hand on the bare buttocks of the residents in the splendors of the 'Quiet Room' at Cambridge House on Mere Street in Rochdale centre.  There doesn't seem to be any romance any more!  At least Sir Cyril applied a wet sponge to the backsides and uttered 'There, there!' to the lads, who may well have been sobbing their hearts out.  At least the school-masters wielding their canes and slippers with such gusto, had to fill-in the Black Punishment Book after working up a sweat with the slipper in the staff changing room at Brimrod Secondary Modern School.

All we getting now is bunga-bunga on the backseats of taxis around town as young lasses are forced to do their bit amid the debris, the discarded pizza packets and the smell of curry.  This shift away from the kind of institutionalised or even nationalised punishment on the welfare state to a version of free-lance sex and violence linked to the local takeaways; suggests a serious decline in the standards of sexual grooming in our time.  This surely we must put down to the rise of the free market and Thatcherism in the 1980s and the BIG BANG?  Gone is Sir Cyril Smith with his tender loving care and wet sponge and in comes Hayak and Herbert Spencer, the degenerate Darwinism of  Friedrich August Hayek and the survival of the fittest.

What we need now comrades is a proper system of institutionalised sexual grooming that only the State can provide - none of this freelance stuff provided by the taxi drivers and their ilk.  The days of the free-market capitalism such as Bertold Brecht gave us in the 'Three-penny Opera' must be ended and lets get back to a time when righteous men like Sir Cyril Smith ruled the roost:  let's nationalise 'sexual grooming under workers' control' and keep the spivs out.

Manchester Anarchist Bookfair

IT is reprehensible that the Northern Anarchist Network which has the support and active participation of anarchist groups and individuals  has been effectively banned from the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.   I attempted to post a comment on the web site giving my name and e-mail and it was blocked.    Censorship and bans imposed by the bookfair organisers should be condemned.    Everyone attending the bookfair should hold the organisers to account and seek an explanation  for such authoritarian actions which are the hallmark of marxist leninist organisations and have no place within the libertarian movement.

The Daily Mail - an apology from a former editor of RAP - John Walker

IN the past I may have, inadvertently, given the impression that I regarded the Daily Mail as an unpleasant right-wing rag that pandered exclusively to the Little Englander self-interests of Britain's comfortable middle class. I may also, accidentally, have had occasion to suggest that the publication, run by the heirs of nineteen thirties-fascist sympathisers, who today display a contempt for the underprivleged and underdogs, does not deserve a place on the newstands and breakfast tables of this fine country of ours.

Some of my words may have been misinterpreted as indicating that I felt that the publication's contempt for foreigners - asylum seekers and migrants whose pigmentaion was not totally white - was absolutely dispicable.

It would be unfortunate, in the extreme, if these impressions were conveyed to you, in our frequent conversations on the subject of the Daily Mail.
I would like to clarify any such misunderstandings and possible ambiguities about my attitude to the newspaper and today declare my belief that it is a fine upstanding organ of deceny, seeker of the truth, and purveyor on insightful political analysis.

For now I feel at ease. For over thirty years some of my ramblings have been treated as those of a delusional paranoid fantacist. Her Majesty's Daily Mail has now exonerated me form such charges. I am a free man, and officially declared sane by the heirs to Rothermere in Saturday's edition. Saturday was, incidentally the day of my oldest son Owen's wedding, to Sarah.
So, as one chapter closes - another opens.

Please take a moment to read the link, below.

John Walker: Former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), but now living in the East End of London.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2237627/Cyril-Smith-child-abuse-Chilling-claims-Smith-child-abuse-scandal-concealed-avoid-crisis-Westminster.html



Monday, 26 November 2012

Photograph the Kerr tomorrow!

Ian Kerr, the only person to have been convicted because of the blacklisting scandal, will be giving evidence in parliament at a Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting in employment on Tuesday. Kerr was the Chief Executive of the Consulting Association which coordinated the blacklisting of trade union members on behalf of 44 of the largest construction firms in the UK including Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Costains, Kier, Bam and Vinci. He was fined a paltry £5000 for a breach of the Data Protection Act in 2009.

Blacklisted workers from the Blacklist Support Group, whose lives have been ruined by the illegal conspiracy will pack the public gallery and have a mass photo call outside parliament.
Photo-opportunity with blacklisted workers
1:30pm Tuesday 27th November 2012
Outside Houses of Parliament, Westminster.
Live video stream of convicted blacklister Ian Kerr giving evidence to parliament - starts at 2;30pm on Tuesday.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11939

Any journalists interested in the story please contact me for more info

THE NORTHERN ANARCHIST COOKBOOK I: Salad Sauces

THE pantomime season began early this year, on the 27th, October in fact at the London Anarchist Bookfair (see our post below 'Falling Over Five Leaves' on Tuesday 30th, Oct. 2012, or the  Five Leaves Blog at fiveleavespublications.blogspot.com/  {dated 28th, October 2012})with Sally Hyman making her debut as the 'Salad Cream Queen' and Mike Ballard doing a turn as her ugly sister, and a troop of Nutcracker Soldiers from the Anarchist Federation of Great Britain, marching forth to give the event a feeling of supreme menace.  Ms. Hyman did a sparkling turn as the dignified Queen of the salad cream, bless her!  For this reason Northern Voices - Radical Voice of the North, is dedicating its first recipe of the season to her for her delightful performance and handling of the salad cream tube at Queen Mary’s, University of London on the Mile End Road with such skillful aplomb that she must have spent hours practicing in front of the mirror.

Ms. Hyman lives in Oldham, and is an English teacher who was in 2010, honoured for her work at the annual Human Rights Awards by the pressure group Liberty at London’s Southbank Centre.  At the time of her award, at the age of 51-years, she was working at the Waterhead Academy.

For this reason, and Northern Voices' commitment to the arts particularly theatrical performances, we are dedicating our first dish of this season to her.
Salad Cream Dressing:
1 dessertspoon of dry mustard.
1oz. sugar.
1 tablespoon of flour.
Pinch of Salt.
2 eggs.
7.5 fluid oz. vinegar.
0.5 of double cream.
Mix the mustard with the sugar, flour and salt.  Blend in the eggs and vinegar.  Put mixture in a double boiler and stir until it thickens.  Leave to get quite cold, then add enough cream to give a pouring consistency.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Daily Mail Claims 'Damning Police Files' Snatched by MI5

AT our now daily press conference on Northern Voices this morning, John Walker, formerly an editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), told me that Andrew Malone had run with the story of 'Cyril Smith, child abuse and chilling claims of a political cover-up'.   This is the latest break in the story we on N.V., Paul Waugh and Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk first released almost two weeks ago. 

The Daily Mail story gives the background of how the newspaper RAP was first established in the early 1970s.   The Mail writes that in May 1979, the Rochdale Alternative Paper'Known as RAP, the newspaper, which cost 9 pence and was distributed by volunteers in pubs, devoted its entire cover to a story headlined:  Strange Case of Smith the Man.'  Then 'Inside across two pages, the report detailed - in harrowing, graphic terms - the systematic sexual abuse of young boys at a children's home set up by local dignitaries and funded by the Lancashire town's Rotary Club.'  Yet, it says:  'What really created a stir was the man identified as the chief paedophile: Cyril Smith.'  This man, it says was 'Elected as the local Liberal MP in 1972, a position he held for the next 20 years, the 29-syone 50-year-old was as famous for his weight as his political views.'

The article continues:  'Known nationally as "Big Cyril" the unmarried politician had first come to prominance when he bizarrely named his mum as First Lady of Rochdale after he became mayor in 1966, saying he wanted to "thank her" for everything.'

Eeee Northern Mothers, you can't beat 'um!  It's a pity you can't marry 'um!

'No Cocks Please, We're British!'

THIS week, the OK cafe in Manchester banned the 'Cock O' the North' (Vol.2 No.1) after a complaint came in from a customer.   Under the curious libertarian/ totalitarian rules of the cafe, it only takes one complaint to get a publication kicked out.  It's no wonder then that after the recent trouble at the London Anarchist Bookfair in which the 'Northern Voices' stall was attacked by a group of protesters from a body called the Anarchist Federation, that Donald Rooum, the anarchist cartoonist who creates the character 'Wilcat', said that 'If you scratch a libertarian you'll find an authoritarian underneath!'

Friday, 23 November 2012

Ukraine's Genocide: 'The Big Lie' - Stalin's Secret Blacklist



No Sign of Simon Danczuk M.P. or his party colleague the Ukrainian, Stefan Cholewka
AT the Ukrainian Club on Mere Street, Rochdale I've just been to see a smashing documentary film about the Holodomor or the Genocide in 1932-1933 in the Ukraine of 7-10 million innocent victims of the man-made famine enforced by Joseph Stalin.  It was produced in the USA by Bobby Leigh and Marta Tomkiw and it is called 'HOLODOMOR:  Ukraine's Genocide - 'The biggest lie, the best kept secret'.  But though the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, was down to address the commemorative event on the program there was no sign of him at either the Rochdale Memorial Gardens for the ceremony in Rochdale town centre or at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Mere Street.  Nor was there any sign of his Labour Party Ukrainian colleague, Stefan Cholewka.  

The film was put by the Rochdale Friends of Lviv & the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Rochdale Branch).  I'd just been to the memorial ceremony in the Rochdale Memorial Gardens and was invited back as my cousin is married to a Ukrainian lass.  The opening footage was mostly newsreel shots in black and white covering the run up the the Russian Revolution, and Lenin's early policy of Russification of the Ukraine after the Revolution attempting the crushing of the Ukrainian language and identity.  The film showed that this policy was later dropped by Lenin, when it became apparent that it was not working and the agricultural yield declined. 

Years later, Stalin introduced a program of forced integration of all republics within the Soviet Union.  This involved the forced collectivisation of the peasants, restrictions on the use of the Ukrainian language, and the absorbing of the Ukrainian civilisation into the Soviet system.  The literature suggests this led to economic declines in crop yields and weaking of agricultural productivity in the 1930s.  State intervention resulted in the undermining of productivity of farming.  This caused conflict between the government and the farmers. 

In 1932, the Soviet regime decided to punish the Ukraine.  A booklet published by Kyiv Olena Telina Publishing House in 2008 that I got at the showing of the film states:  'Bolshevik polices in Ukraine were goal-orientated and systematic in nature.. the goal was to create conditions that doomed millions of Ukrainian farmers to stavation.'    This was done by confiscation of all food resouces, the isolation of the population and the prevention of escape insearch of food.  This document claims:  'In the fall (Autumn) of 1932, the Bolshevik government's actions began to clearly display the essence of what is defined as genocide by Article II of the Convention of the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th, 1948. 

In July 1932, the Kremlin demanded unrealistic grain procurement quotas for the Ukraine.  These absurdly high quotas, set so high that they were impossible to achieve, gave the government the legal basis for applying repressive measures against all who failed to meet the targets.  On August 7th, 1932, the Soviet government adopted a resolution in which 'embezzlement of collective farm property' was punishable death through shooting or 10-year prison terms.  This law became known as the 'Law of Five Wheat Ears'.  On the 8th, December 1932, the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Stanislaw Kosior, reported to Stalin that the republic's Party had authorised a blacklist of six villages and that 400 collective farms had been blacklisted by decision of oblast executive committees:  certain villages remained blacklisted until the end of 1933.  Blacklisting collective farms, villages and entire regions resulted in their complete isolation and expropriation of all food resources, which often meant death for all their residents.

Famine was the result and in the spring of 1932, nearly a third of the population of the Zinoviev region, or 28,000 people, fled their homes.  Records suggest that there were 3 million refugees by the spring of 1932.  By February 1933, thousands of farmers were starving and local government bodies got a strict order:  'All organisations, except GPU strutures, are prohibited from keeping records on incidents of swelling from starvation and death from famine.'  Village councils were ordered not to specify causes of death in their registries.  And, In a new order issued in 1934:  all civilian registry office death records for 1932-33 were to be destroyed.

Both the film and the booklet state:  'Responsibility for the death of millions of Ukrainians during the man-made Holodomor rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.'  The booklet in a chapter entitled 'The Guilty Party' declares: 
'In addition to extracting all food resources... (t)he scale of the judicial repressions applied in Ukraine in 1933 was comparable to the Great Terror of 1937-38.  According to official data, more people were arrested in the republic in 1933 than were in 1938.' 

The booklet concludes:  'In the long list of Soviet crimes, the Holodomor of 1932-33 stands out as the most grave and horrific crime committed in 70-years the USSR existed.'  And, that '(t)he famine was man-made and led to deaths of millions of Ukrainians.  Responsibility for the crime rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.  Stalin was responsible above all.'

Fortunately, the Ukrainians in Rochdale since 2009 have been bringing this issue of the famine to the public attention.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Satanic Scandal comes back to haunt Middleton

THIS last week's revelations by Northern Voices, Paul Waugh and Simon Danczuk have not just hit Rochdale, but the 1990's Satanic scandal in Middleton has come again to the surface in the claims of the culture of 'cover-up'.   The people of nearby Middleton have been reminded of the time police alighted on homes on the Langley estate in the 1990s to snatch children from their families who were falsely being accused of Satanic abuse.  In all 21 children were taken from poor working-class homes in the early 1990 by police and social workers.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, now claims that there was a cover-up and newspapers like the Middleton Guardian had to fight a gagging order which led to a long legal fight that cost £120,000.  In the end the paper won, but it took until 2006, 16-years after the first lot of kids were taken away, before the Middleton Guardian could give an account of the dodgy 'interview techniques (that) led social workers to suspect parents were engaging their children in Satanic Abuse rituals'.  According to the Guardian:  'No evidence of Satanic abuse has been revealed and their harrowing ordeals led to some of them being kept in care for up to 10 years.' 

The identities of the children and the social workers were only brought out after a legal challenge kicked-off against an injunction which gagged the media after the case got going.  This case demonstrated the crazy nature of some aspect of the theory of social work.

MP Simon Danczuk asks: What did government do?

Yesterday in Parliament:

Labour's Simon Danczuk asks why the government has been briefing against the children's commissioner's report on grooming, and if the files into Cyril Smith will be published.

Cameron says the children's commissioner's report is a very important one. On Smith, he says Greater Manchester police have reopened an investigation. Anyone with evidence should take it to the police.

12.24pm GMT Updated at 12.39pm GMT

Tower Hamlets to Sell-off off Henry Moore!


Making Savings on the Arts down South
 Draped Seated Woman, a three-metre tall bronze by Henry Moore, is currently on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photograph: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images


TOWER HAMLETS in London has taken the decision to sell-off the borough's Henry Moore sculpture 'Draped Seated Woman' (pictured above) and known locally as 'Old Flo', to help cover the council's budget problems;  it is faced with cuts of £100.  In doing so it follows in the footsteps of councils in the northern towns of Bolton and Bury.  In 2011, Bolton Council put up for sale 35 works of art, including Millais, Picasso and Hutchinson, and in 2006 Bury Council faced much criticism when it sold off L.S. Lowry's 'A Riverbank' for £1.4m.

At the time of the Bury Council sale of the L.S. Lowry in 2006, Simon wrote:  'The town of Bury was once a cut above adjacent Bolton and Oldham.  Though in the heart of mill country, it had the aura of a small market town, ruined only in the 1970s by a crazy burst of road building.  It's art collection was given by a local paper-making tycoon, Thomas Wright, in the 1880s on condition that the town built an appropriate gallery, which it nobly did.'

A Riverbank by LS Lowry
'A riverbank' by L.S. Lowry

At that time, Mr. Jenkins argued that 'The Museums Association is not protecting galleries by punishing those whose relationship with their council has collapsed under government force majeure'.  Since then Bolton, only last year sold off its Millais painting, getting £74,00 for 'A Somnambulist', well below the auctioneer's estimate, and does not do much to solve the Bolton Council's financial problems. 

Thus, Tower Hamlets, one of London's poorest boroughs, follows on in a sad tradition of the northern councils.  Today it is selling in a climate of high prices for works of art as the market is on a roll.  The temptation is seemingly too great for council bumpkins across the land to resist:  'Let's sell the arty-fary stuff and build a road or summat!'.  So it will be that, as the poet Phillip Larkin said:  'England will become a land of concrete and tyres'.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Northern Voices and t'other buggers: AF & MI5

NORTHERN VOICES must be doing summat right because soon after Simon Danczuk made his speech on child abuse and cover-ups in the House of Commons on Tuesday last week, someone hacked into the Northern Voices e-mail account, and our server closed it down.  At the same time Northern Voices is under attack from a group, perhaps a hundred strong nationally, called the Anarchist Federation (AF) and an affiliate of theirs with a bit of a grudge now nicked-named the 'Salad Cream Queen'.  This lady rose to fame with her twelve  'Nutcracker soldiers' in a star performance at the London Anarchist Bookfair, where she trashed the Northern Voices bookstall and sprayed salad cream on the photo of the murdered 'Goth girl' from Bacup, Sophie Lancaster.  Meanwhile over the last few weeks while we have been researching the story of Cyril Smith and the allegedly abused lads at Cambridge House in Rochdale in the 1960s, both John Walker, the former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper in the 1970s, and I have been receiving Trojans on a systematic basis.  On that same evening Edna, our pet goat, sustained a bloody nose; is someone trying to send us a message?

What's it all about? 

The pet goat's injuries was probably down to the local kids in Castleton, Rochdale, throwing stones and the attacks by so called 'anarchists' at the bookfair has something to do with them being thin-skinned about some criticism contained in an obituary about one of their members.  But the attacks on the Northern Voices e-mail account and John Walker's e-mail are more suspicious.  Possibly it is a rival journalist trying to get an inside story relating to Sir Cyril Smith, or given the interest of special branch and MI5 in the Cyril Smith case, perhaps, when we at www.northernvoicesmag.com and Paul Waugh on www.politicshome.com  broke the story of Cyril Smith's alleged abuse of boys at Cambridge House in the 1960s, other agencies were crawling all over us.  This is particularly ironic given that the members of the Anarchist Federation are one of the most coy and shy political groupings in the country:   that they should start throwing salad cream and acting daft in public just at the moment when MI5 might suddenly be taking an interest in Northern Voices and its associates is comical in the extreme.  These shy lads and lasses couldn't have picked a better time to get noticed if they'd tried.

Monday, 19 November 2012

It Was The Voices That Did It!

Cyril Smith - the Legend Falls

LAST WEEK, Northern Voices was party with others to the opening up of a story that has lied in the shadows for decades.   We cannot claim all the credit as we did not do the original research into Cyril Smith:  that was performed by the editors of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in May 1979, when they first published the story and were threatened by Cyril Smith's solicitors at the time with a 'gagging writ'Private Eye and the New Statesman followed through with reports but the case against 'Smith the Man' was killed before it reached the mainstream media.  Later attempts to resurrect the story also failed because those giving evidence against Sir Cyril Smith lacked the confidence to put their names in the public domain. 

In the last few months, almost by chance, Northern Voices was put in touch through one of our contacts down South with a possible witness and victim, who had not been available in 1979.  He had not been available to the RAP editors because he left Rochdale in the mid-1970s.  His name was Edward Shorrock and I interviewed him the week before last in Rochdale.  I found him to be a convincing and articulate witness, who was both plausible and restrained.  Most importantly he was willing to go on the record and to put his name in the public domain.  This was a significant game changer in the investigation into Sir Cyril Smith and Cambridge House. 

I was then able to make contact with John Walker (a former editor of RAP in the 1970s) and Paul Waugh, a House of Commons journalist who runs the politics / home blog:  www.politicshome.com   .   That's how finally, Northern Voices was able to get two witnesses into what happen at Cambridge House in the early 1960s to go on the record and to give Paul Waugh and Northern Voices their stories about how Cyril Smith ran Cambridge House when he was secretary there.  Barry Fitton, now living in Amsterdam, though he had given a statement to RAP in 1979 under oath was keen to come forward and talk to the media once he knew Eddie had given his story.  In that way Northern Voices, a 52-page, A5 size, small circulation printed journal with a cultural content, that has been going almost a decade and its larger Blog was able provide the voices that last week led to a crucial speech in the House of Commons by Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, on child abuse, and to general the clamour in the mainstream media.
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There are still a few copies of printed version of NORTHERN VOICES No.13 available with the Bob Miller obituary inside following our decision to reprint it after the original print order sold out at the staging of the Sophie Lancaster play 'Black Roses' in September, at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. NORTHERN VOICES No.12 with the Cyril Smith 'Instead of an Obituary' is also still available and may be obtained as follows:
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included). Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.
email: northernvoices@hotmail.com

Friday, 16 November 2012

DAMAGE LIMITATION: Socrates & Cyril Smith

THE Rochdale Observer today did its level best to drag in anyone it could to try to rescue Cyril Smith's damaged reputation:  Jimmy Cricket's son, and Cyril's own Godson, Councillor Dale Mulgrew stepped up naturally; ex-Rochdale MP, Paul Rowen; brother Norman Smith; ex-Whitworth Councillor, Eileen Kershaw; Clive Entwistle, 'investigative journalist' formerly of the Rochdale Observer.  'Safeguarding children,' said Paul Rowan, 'is one of the most important issues we face (and) he (Cyril) did a lot in Rochdale to help young people...'; the widow of  Chief Inspector Derek Wheater of Rochdale CID, Jean Wheater, now in her 80s, has said:  'There's nothing in it... he was absolutely innocent'; Dale Mulgrew said:  'This is re-visiting an issue which was closed by the police during his lifetime and so it is unfortunate timing that it has resurfaced after his death.'  It will be very unfortunate for the Liberal Democrat Party indeed.

But, described as 'a close friend of Sir Cyril', Eileen Kershaw's comment that 'I worked with him at nearly every school governing body in Rochdale and never heard a whisper about him from any of the schools', is odd given the growing extent of the abuse allegations some now from the local schools.  Perhaps the most skillful effort at clearing Cyril is that of Clive Entwistle, a former Rochdale Observer reporter, he plays his cards carefully describing a chat with the great man at his home on Emma Street:  'During our talk Cyril was quite open and, in my opinion very honest about the problems of dealing with boys and young men at the time, who were rough, aggressive, lacked self-discipline, resented any sort of authority and had little regard for personal hygene.'  Well, there you go then, dirty little beggars - it's alright to scrub their balls.  Mr Entwistle enlightens us further:  'Cyril graphically described how boys reeked unsavourily, often suffering from infections and other ailments due to neglect, but still refused to wash or bath.'  Thus Cyril 'on medical advice, insisted the boys looked after their personal hygene and when they refused he admitted stripping them and, on occasion, slapped them on the bottom to make them take a bath.'  Furthermore, Entwistle writes:  'He (Cyril) admitted he had washed the boys' genitals but only because they steadfastly refused to was themselves', yet 'He (Cyril) was adamant there was no sexual intent in his actions.'   

All this Clive Entwistle seems to justify on the basis on historical relativism:
'In the the late 1950s and early 1960s the nation was still feeling the after-shocks-economic and structural-of World War Two.  It was also, a time when parents could legally smack their children, teachers administer corporal punishment in school... minor summary justice, not tolerated now, was the order of the day.'

These are the scenarios described by the lads in their accounts:  scrubbing and cleaning them down vigourously.  The accounts of the lads in the files suggest something like 'Fifty Shades of Grey' without the level of genuine negotiated contractual consent so described by EL James in her novel.  Entwistle writes:  'He (Cyril) saw something of himself in their (the lads) misfortune and wanted to give them hope and a chance.'  Cyril Smith, the Rochdale lad who says of himself in his autobiography 'BIG CYRIL''As a ragged-arsed kid, dressed in second hand clothes I knew the grinding poverty of a mill town in the thirties'.  Why does not Clive Entwistle go all the way in his cleansing account and liken Cyril to Socrates?  Then we might claim that Rochdale with its Boys' Hostels, pain and punishments, bath time treats, and slaps on the backside is really an Athens of the North, or maybe Sparta with its homosexual aspects.  Afterall, Bertrand Russell tells us that:  'Everyone is agreed that Socrates was very ugly; he had a snub nose and a considerable paunch; he was "uglier than all the Silenuses in the Satyric drama" (Xenophon)'

Authoritarian Fascists expose their anti-libertarian politics

by Christopher Draper (York)
I've been an anarchist for forty years and always considered English anarchism a broad church but it now seems more like a asylum with lunatics on the rampage.  After a pack of Anarchist Federation (AF) bullies attacked a lone representative of the Northern Anarchist Network (NAN) at the recent London Anarchist Bookfair (27.10.2012) it is surely time for everyone who professes alliance to Anarchism to stand up liberty and denounce these party-building authoritarians.

An objective account of the attack on Brian Bamford of the NAN and theft of publications from his bookstall appears elsewhere on the web posted by 'Five Leaves Publications' who had no prior connection to Bamford or the NAN but were simply shocked to witness 'anarchists' acting like this.

If one stall-holding organisation attacked another stallholder at an ordinary commercial event one might expect the organisers to do everything in their power to support the victim in seeking recompense.  In this case it appears neither the organisers nor the AF intend to do anything to repair the damage.  Apparently the Anarchist  Federation claim the violence is justified as the perpetrators object to an article published in 'Northern Voices', a magazine edited by Bamford.  The bookfair organisers do not feel impelled to disabuse AF of such perverse, authoritarian notions and prefer, instead, to treat the matter as a little local difficulty that could be resolved over a quiet pint.  I profoundly disagree.

I also profoundly disagree with Martin Gilbert's posted aversion to anarchists 'washing their dirty linen in public'.  I have written previously of Freedoms' refusal to practice free speech and whilst I have no hestitation in identifying the Authoritarian Fascists (AF) as a real enemy of anarchism, I am troubled by many libertarians' tolerance of intolerance.  Anarchism is more than laisez-faire, to actively promote freedom we must first stand up to bullies and have no hesitation in identifying them even where they've already infiltrated our ranks.

We don't need the 'Sex Pistols' or the 'Sun' to convince the public that Anarchy means chaos if we tolerate such violence.  Furthermore, this was no sudden impulse for my own researches reveal not only premeditation and planning but also a sustained campaign by AF members to disrupt publication of 'Northern Voices'.  Over the past two years AF members have repeatably intimidated both sales outlets and the magazine's printers in an unsuccessful attempt to close it down.

Anarchist tolerance should never extend to such intolerant behaviour.  If we don't speak out we are complicit in their evil, authoritarian ways.  Personally I would go further and ask anarchists who quietly cling to peaceful, constructive, thoughtful engagement with their fellow-men and women to speak up a little more and come out of the closet as anarchists.  When I worked as a teacher and whenever I published an article or take part in any community action or event I always identify myself as an anarchist to help promote a sane, positive image of our philosophy.  I feel the conspiratorial, play-acting that starts with anarchists' using pseudonyms on the web encourages make-believe revolutionary fantasy more suited to devotees of 'dungeons and dragons'.  Perhaps even now deluded members of AF are celebrating their attack as a victory over the dark forces of Satan.

Northern Voices, MI5 & The Daily Telegraph

Can the Coppers Crack it?

IN Northern Voices No.8 we asked 'Was Cyril Smith Set Up?'  Back then we questioned if there was something called the 'Clockwork Orange' operation to discredit certain senior politicians, as Paul Foot had published a book that made this allegation, in the 1990s, entitled 'Who Framed Colin Wallace'.  In this book he suggested that in the 1970s Cyril was one of a number of figures including Jeremy Thorpe, Edward Heath and Harold Wilson, who some elements in the intellegence services had sought to discredit.  The plan was to manipulate the British political system, and place a more right-wing authoritarian government in power.  At least that was the theory. 

The thing that is now holding up any serious investigation into the allegations against Cyril Smith is the disappearance of the dossier of sexual abuse, that was held by the Lancashire Police at their special branch headquarters in Preston.  This week Tony Robinson, who worked for Lancashire police in the 1970s, told the Daily Telegraph he saw a police file that was 'thick' with allegations from lads who claimed they had been molested by Cyril.  This file, he said, had been looked at by the then Director of Public Prosecutions.  Commenting on the dossier Mr. Robinson said:  'I looked through Sir Cyril's file which was kept in a safe in our office.  It was thick full of statements from young boys alleging abuse.  It had been prepared for prosecution (and) written across the top of it were the words:  "No further action, not in the public interest DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions)".' 

A bit after that Mr. Robinson said:  'I was called by an MI5 officer.  They asked me if I had the file on Mr. Cyril Smith, and said:  "Please have this sent down to London".'  That, it seems, was at a time when Smith was the Liberal Party Chief Whip under his leader Jeremy Thorpe, and the Liberals were useful to the Labour Party in forming a government of the centre/ left.  It has been suggested that, at that time, there were elements in MI5 who sought to undermine the centre/ left in British politics including the Tory leader Edward Heath, and whose aim was to bring into power a more authoritarian government of the right (see Paul Foot's 'Who Framed Colin Wallace').  All this has been considered in Northern Voices No.8, our argument then was expressed thus: 
'Clockwork Orange, in the 1970s, was an attack on civil libertarians by elements who wanted a more authoritarian regime in Britain.  They got their wish with Margaret Thatcher.'

This week's report in the Daily Telegraph would now seem to lend some credibility to this view.  The worrying thing now is can the police get their hands on the dossier apparently held by MI5?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cyril Smith's Blue Plaque Threat to Rochdale Town Hall

ON Tuesday, Northern Voices (see post below 'Cyril Smith Doctoring With Intent') said:  'Such has been his (Cyril Smith's) influence in the town as a local hero that last year he was blessed by having a blue plaque erected to him on our famous Gothic-revival Town Hall, an award agreed in haste by the Rochdale Township committee.'  Yesterday Rochdale's Council bosses took down the plaque honouring Sir Cyril Smith after receiving threats. 

Colin Lambert, the Council leader, told M.E.N.:  'We make no judgement on the situation with Cyril Smith, but the strength of public feeling is such that we have been alerted to a potential threat to the town hall.' 

Given that Cyril had only been dead for just over a year, we then remarked '(t)hat must be something of a record given that it breaches the strict criteria guidelines recommended by English Heritage, a kind of extraordinary networking beyond the grave to overcome political opposition and the rule of 20-years after death.'  Had Rochdale Council not acted to take it down Northern Voices would have launched a campaign to have it removed.  We say this not because we accept all the allegations against Cyril Smith but because English Heritage has clear criteria that it applies in London and elsewhere and Cyril Smith did not meet these criteria:   The first bullet point of the English Heritage criteria is that 'a figure must have been dead for twenty years, or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is the earlier.'

Now some years ago Tameside Trade Union Council in Greater Manchester, nominated James Keogh and last year he was awarded a plaque that is now placed in Ashton Library.  James Keogh died fighting for a free Spain and democracy in 1938 in the Spanish Civil War.  He had been dead well over seventy years when he gained this honour, he was the son of a local binman born on 9 April 1915, the eldest of 11 children. He grew-up on Wellington Street and attended Gatefield Junior School and Christ Church before working as an apprentice at Pikes’ Tailors, formerly on Stamford Street in Ashton-under-Lyne.  James got his plaque only after much cogitation and debate, yet Cyril Smith received his commemoration rapidly after only one year.  This struck us at the time as an unwise decision, taken for reasons of politics, we now know it to have been utterly rash in the extreme.
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There are still a few copies of printed version of NORTHERN VOICES No.13 available with the Bob Miller obituary inside following our decision to reprint it after the original print order sold out at the staging of the Sophie Lancaster play 'Black Roses' in September, at the Royal Exchange in Manchester; there is also a report on the Blue Plaque awarded to James Keogh of Ashton. NORTHERN VOICES No.12 with the Cyril Smith 'Instead of an Obituary' is also still available and may be obtained as follows:
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included). Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.
email: northernvoices@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Government refuses to name UK employers using forced unpaid labour.

For the last nine months, lawyers acting for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have been refusing to publish the names of charities and private businesses that are participating in the government's 'Mandatory Work Activity' (MWA) scheme. Under the scheme, unemployed people who claim state benefits, can be forced to work unpaid for 30 hours per week for up to 4 weeks at a time, in order to retain their Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

In August, the Information Commissioner - who is responsible for Data Protection - ruled that the information should be released into the public domain, but lawyers acting for the DWP have insisted that the information must remain secret and are appealing against the decision.

In the 14-page appeal document - which has been leaked to the Guardian - the DWP say that to have released details of the placement providers at the time it was requested, would have led to campaign groups targeting placement providers, which would have forced them to withdraw from the scheme. The appeal document also says:

"Previous targeted campaigns had resulted in the withdrawal of providers from MWA and WE (Work Experience)...The DWP considered that of all the workfare programmes being described externally as 'workfare schemes', the MWA programme was the most likely to be influenced by pressure from campaign groups and negative publicity, given that the MWA programmes were generally provided by charitable organisations...and the placements were mandatory...Put simply, disclosure (of names) would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the MWA scheme, with incaculable losses to the taxpayer and many thousands of persons in long-term unemployment who are supported by the scheme."

Many unemployed people who have been pushed onto these government work-for-your-dole schemes, say it represents a form of modern-day slavery or forced labour. Research carried out by the government, also showed that MWA did not help unemployed people back into work after they had completed their 4-week stint on MWA and had "little effect on getting people off benefits in the long term." Indeed, it has been suggested that participation on the scheme, may have a negative impact on employment prospects, because it could convey to a prospective employer that people put on it, are unwilling to work and have been compelled to do so. But this also overlooks the fact that there is a punitive element which lies behind many of these schemes, which are aimed at getting people off the dole. Speaking about benefit claimants, a 'Whitehall official', told a Sunday Times reporter earlier this year:

"If we want them to tap dance, then they will tap dance."

Changes to the rules that were introduced by the government a fortnight ago, will now see unemployed people losing their JSA for up to three years if they refuse to work in unpaid 'placements'. Although the DWP have confirmed on previous occasions that the unemployed on MWA can only be placed with organisations that provide 'social benefit', the Guardian has revealed that unpaid jobseeker's are being placed with private businesses to clean private homes.

Campaign groups like 'Boycott Workfare', argue that it is in the public interest to disclose how many private companies are making profit from using unpaid unemployed people on the government's forced labour schemes, and that this should not be kept secret.

Due to protest actions taken by campaign groups like Boycott Workfare, a number of charities and firms have already pulled out of the government's forced labour schemes. One of the largest charities known to be associated with MWA, the British Heart Foundation (BHF), recently announced that they were "moving away from involvement in MWA towards schemes which provide longer term voluntary placements."

Boycott Workfare have welcomed the move and told the newspaper: "It is good to see a charity that was using workfare on a massive scale acknowledge that forced unpaid work isn't palatable for their supporters or customers...Charities should not be making people poorer by putting them at risk of benefit stoppages. They have an ethical obligation not to profit from forced unpaid work."

Although the DWP denied that the actions taken by protest groups had a bearing on the decision taken by BHF to distance itself from MWA, it is clear that protest action is having an effect and making some charities and firms think twice, about participating in these appalling government schemes.

Sir Cyril Smith & Great Men

THE descriptions of Cyril Smith's exploits with young lads in the early 1960s as 'doctoring with intent', would make a good metaphor for his intervention in Rochdale's politics in the last half of the 20th Century.  It was a form of tampering with the mechanics of political life in the town that deformed or some would have it enhanced political life in Rochdale.  I've known other figures like him in my life, I lived for a time in Spain under General Franco in the 1960s, Franco dominated Spain, its institutions and Spanish life for 36-years, and in Gibraltar, where I worked and lived in the late 1960s and 1980s, I met Sir Joshua Hassan, who was the Chief Minister there between the 11 August 1964 – 6 August 1969 and again between 25 June 1972 – 8 December 1987.   Both these men had a immense influence on there constituences:  the Spanish Caudillo (meaning chief or warlord) and the  Jewish Gibraltarian Chief Minister, and both were like Cyril larger-than-life figures.  But both, in a way, disabled their societies for years, Franco gave his people a kind of 'peace' but it was at the price of stiffling a free press and led to corruption and speculation in real estate; Sir Joshua secured Gibraltar and resisted a Spanish takeover but that too led to the cultivation of what George Borrow called the 'Rock rascal', smuggling and a society in which the rich didn't pay their share of the taxes.  When Cyril Smith died in 2010, Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale, who raised serious issues about Cyril Smith in the House of Commons yesterday, said:
'Sir Cyril was a towering figure who cast a large shadow over the political landscape in Rochdale. His influence was felt everywhere. I could not but admire the fact that as a member of what was then a very small party he managed to win five elections in Rochdale as a Liberal. I think this would be very hard to achieve today. Remember when Cyril won the seat there were only a handful of Liberal MPs.  Sir Cyril was one of the first politicians of the TV age to use his personality and charisma to enormous affect. In that respect he was ahead of his time.' 

In the Bertold Brecht play 'Galileo' the leading charater says:  'God help the land that needs heroes', Rochdale and the English must learn to live without a need for great men.

Rochdale Born & Bred

Mr. Rochdale and Civic Pride
by Paul Waugh (editor of the politics home blog) 

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a Waugh as in Rochdale*, rather than a Waugh as in Brideshead. Born and bred in the town, I’ve always been proud of a birthplace that has both a rich history and a markedly defiant streak to its nature. 

Rochdale is also the birthplace of John Bright, the great Liberal statesman known for his iron determination to champion his cause. Bright’s statue still casts a knowing Victorian eye over the populace from a hill above the Esplanade. The town boasts a fine neo-Gothic town hall - so fine that, legend has it, Hitler decided to spare it from his bombs – and its eponymous canal powered trade across the North West even before the railways arrived. 

Like many northern towns that boomed in the industrial revolution, Rochdale’s cotton and engineering factories were decimated by economic change after the war. Times have been tough for many, but Rochdalians have often fought back to defy their stereotype of a depressed mill town. From Cargo Studios (which saw tracks recorded by Joy Division, the Fall and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) to the success of Rochdale lass Anna Friel (of Brookside and now London stage fame), we weren’t all flat caps and whippets. 

Yet despite this variety, it’s undeniable that for many people outside the town, Rochdale was famous for just three of its offspring: Gracie Fields, a 'struggling' football club and Cyril Smith. 

In Cyril Smith’s case, it wasn’t really an exaggeration to describe him as Mr Rochdale. He served as MP for the town for 20 years, from 1972 to 1992. But before that he was a councillor for just as long, having won his first council seat at the tender age of 23, a record for the time. 

Born into poverty, his was an impressive story of a working class boy who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, setting up his own springs factory and rising through the political ranks to become Mayor, Alderman and ultimately a Member of Parliament. Like the town itself, he was stubbornly independent.

As chairman of the Estates Committee, Big Cyril had a very direct impact on the fabric of the town, playing a key role in slum clearance and replacing older buildings with new 1960s blocks. 

But he always had a keen interest in youth development, chairing the Education Committee, the Youth Advisory Committee and Youth Employment Committee. He was the driving force behind the creation of a new ‘Hostel for Working Boys’ at Cambridge House in 1962, an affordable place for youngsters from troubled homes. 

Allegations about Smith’s conduct at Cambridge House were first aired in 1979 by the Rochdale Alternative Press (RAP). Only Private Eye printed their substance, but a writ served by Smith seemed to deter any other national interest. As a boy I remember the fuss caused by the RAP story but the controversy seemed to melt away after he was re-elected as Liberal MP in the ’79 election. Smith and his family strenuously denied any wrongdoing. 

Today, two of the former residents at Cambridge House have gone on the record for the first time (see my extended piece HERE). In Barry Fitton’s case, he is going public with allegations that he previously made anonymously. But even in 1979, this appeared not to be idle gossip: he along with other boys, signed an affidavit to back up his claims that Smith subjected him to punishments. Like the others, he had also been interviewed by police in the late 1960s but nothing came of the case. Far from jumping on a bandwagon of the Savile affair, as some cynics may allege, Mr Fitton would argue he has tried and failed to get justice more than 30 years ago for abuse that happened nearly 50 years ago.

In Eddie Shorrock’s case, he has never before aired the allegations either publicly or anonymously. There are other witnesses who I have not been able to track down yet, but who may also come forward. 

Simon Danczuk told the House of Commons today of “young boys who were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by 29 stone bully imposing himself on them”. 

“What happened to them? How can they ever forget what happened to them? Why was this allowed to happen? We need to be sure that this type of investigation takes place now, that those victims get a chance to have their voices heard.” 

As it happens, when he was a prominent councillor, Cyril Smith once said this: 
"I want a Rochdale of which we can be proud and a Rochdale of which future generations will be proud - a Rochdale at which future generations will look and say of us, as we can say of our ancestors, 'They did not let us down.'” 

The Rochdale child sex grooming case is completely separate from the Cyril Smith allegations. Yet Rochdalians can be forgiven for being depressed that the name of their town seems to be linked to one piece of bad news after another. Mr Danczuk today said he had received fresh testimony from another man who is "ashamed of what happened to him" at the hands of Smith. 

There will be friends, family and loyal supporters of Cyril who feel that today's developments smear his good name. But there will be others who feel that this day is long overdue. Either way, a new investigation by Lancashire Police, and possibly the DPP, may be the only way forward. 

Let’s see if the boys of Cambridge House – now pensioners - will get any sense of closure. And let’s see too if that civic pride to which Cyril Smith once referred can be somehow be restored. 

*FOOTNOTE: Edwin Waugh was a Rochdale born dialect poet. Eveyln Waugh was someone else entirely. Both fine writers in their own way, but a tad different.  From www.politicshome.com

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cyril Smith Doctoring With Intent!

N.V. finds new witness to 'Sins of Cyril' at Boys' Home in 1960s

'WHEN you were ill at Cambridge House,' Edward Shorrock told Northern Voices (NV), 'Cyril was round like a shot.'  He was  speaking to me last week about Cyril Smith, the former Liberal M.P. for Rochdale who died just over two years ago, and who Eddie said had 'abused his powers' while he was the Secretary of the association that ran Cambridge House boys' hostel in the early 1960s.  In May 1979, the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) exposed how Smith indulged himself in strange power-play interactions with some of the young lads resident at Cambridge House:  enacting sexually flavoured punishments, spanking bare bums and administering curious medical examinations on some of the youngest inmates.

Northern Voices has seen a list of names of his victims, lads in their mid-teens between 1962 and 1964, who told RAP in the late 1970s that Cyril made advances to them, and subjected them to spankings and degrading medical inspections.  All of this was published in the May 1979 issue of RAP.  Yet, within 3 hours of this story being distributed to then Rochdale newsagents, Cyril got his solicitor to issue a writ on the editors of RAP.  As John Walker, a former editor of RAP, told me in 2011:  'Cyril slapped a writ on us 3 hours after publication... this would be regarded by lawyers as a "gagging writ",' and 'it was a legal ploy used by Smith's solicitors to frighten off main stream media interest, allowing Cyril to say that the allegations by the lads were untrue, and that he was instigating libel proceedings.'  In the end only Private Eye and the New Statesman covered the story.  This 'gagging writ' against RAP was never followed through by Cyril's solicitors (see Northern Voices No.12); John Walker told me:  'Eventually we challenged the lawyers (of Cyril) to sue or drop the writ (and) they quietly did so and made a small token payment to our almost negligible costs.'  In 2011, John Walker told N.V.:  'I stand by every word that we wrote then,' John also added 'He (Smith) used his position of authority to further his own rather selfish and unpleasant ends... but more seriously, he took advantage of some downtrodden, disadvantaged people in society whose fate had been put in his hands, and further damaged them.'

Edward Shorrock who spoke out for the first time this week, was one of those vulnerable lads who had been arrested as a bicycle thief in Bury at about 16 years-old and sentenced to two years probation, only later to be sent by the probation service to Cambridge House, on Castlemere Street, Rochdale.  Journalists including the Rochdale Observer have seen three sworn statement from three of the former Cambridge House residents, but Eddie did not give a statement to RAP's solicitors in the 1979 because he had moved to Bristol in 1977.  Today both he and another lad, Barry Fitton, have gone public and have given their accounts to the lobby journalist, Paul Waugh (a Rochdale lad himself) on his site at www.politicshome.com .  Eddie told me last week that he was more troubled by Cyril's 'abuse of power' at Cambridge House, than the actual strange 'voyeuristic' sexual nature of his curious encounters alone with Cyril which involved undressing;  it was a kind of 'doctoring with intent', a peculiar exercise in power-play. 

Cyril, then a Rochdale Labour Councillor, Alderman and eventually to be Liberal M.P. for Rochdale, had a kind of charismatic chemistry that dominated those around him and enabled him to manipulate situations through a method that would now be called 'networking'.  Such has been his influence in the town as a local hero that last year he was blessed by having a blue plaque erected to him on our famous Gothic-revival Town Hall, an award agreed in haste by the Rochdale Township committee.  That must be something of a record given that it breaches the strict criteria guidelines recommended by English Heritage, a kind of extraordinary networking beyond the grave to overcome political opposition and the rule of 20-years after death.  Immense power indeed, for a Rochdale lad who says of himself in his autobiography 'BIG CYRIL''As a ragged-arsed kid, dressed in second hand clothes I knew the grinding poverty of a mill town in the thirties'.  To this day with his blue plaque anointing our most famous and adored Gothic revival building, one that even Adolf Hitler reputably praised, Cyril seems to be truly a giant among pygmies.

Will Edward Shorrock now become 'Eddie the Giant-Killer'?  Will our great British media at long last dare to take on the might of the now deceased Sir Cyril Smith and his supporters?  Is today's news the beginning of the end of a great legend in our town?   It fair takes your breath away pondering the possibilities of how the Rochdale political establishment and the Rochdale Observer will react to a fallen hero; a fallen hero indeed, because it was on Armistice Day, last Sunday, that Eddie gave his own unvarnished account of the goings-on at Cambridge House in the 1960s to Paul Waugh.  On the day he left Cambridge House, Eddie had always had the parting words of Cyril ringing in his ears and it was something like: 'nobody crosses me!'

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Revealing the Roch; Rediscovering Rochdale Bridges

THIS Activity Plan proposal below is interesting in so far as it is revealing more about the English psychology of the proponents.  The interest here is not in the beauty of the art or the architectural features of the medieval bridges but rather in the 'learning activity' and the 'partnership services' and the 'meeting the neighbours' and the breaking down of 'false divisions within the town's communities'.  Anything but the art and beauty of the buildings and riverside.  That may be because English people and politicians feel uncomfortable about aesthetic things and prefer to waffle on about politically correct slogans. 

Frederic Raphael, writing on the sculptor, Henry Moore, in the magazine 'Modern Painters' wrote:  'Art has become (or remains) separate from politics in England not because it is too difficult for politicians but because they do not have money for it and because whatever is not economic is not real to them...'  The English politicians only grasp the price of things, and thus we should expect that civil servants in Rochdale can only talk twaddle when go on about the medieval bridges of Rochdale, they have become cut off from the roots of our great architectural tradition and only now understand the simplistic ugliness that now adorns so many of the modern buildings in Rochdale town centre.  I urge readers to read the text below for what it reveals about the mentality of the typical English civil servant and politician.  God help us!

Activity Plan Proposal, stage 1: 
A Summary: 
Rochdale Bridge and the Butts Bridge are a crucial part of the town’s important cultural heritage and the river part of its natural heritage. They are valuable resources for learning and enjoyment and as such should be a shared resource, but at present are known and experienced by very few people. The success of the project will be shown by the extent to which it engages the diverse communities of Rochdale and its ability to fulfil the potential of the Bridges as a source of identity and symbol of unity for them.
By revealing Rochdale Bridge, the capital work in itself is a learning activity because thousands of people will discover the existence of this hidden heritage asset. However RMBC want to go beyond this broad engagement and complement the capital work with a programme of activities aimed at achieving high levels of learning and participation. The focus will be on engaging the surrounding communities in Inner Rochdale. The programme will link into existing initiatives to ensure a lasting legacy.

B Research/Consultation undertaken: 
Rochdale Council and its partners have substantial experience of working with the communities in Inner Rochdale and have built strong relationships and trust with local groups. Rather than ‘reinvent the wheel,’ the project seeks to build on this good work through by working across Council and partner services and utilising existing networks and frameworks where suitable. This section summarises the outcomes of consultation and research which has influenced the outline activity programme. 

B1 Township – the local RMBC township office works within local communities. “Meeting the neighbours” is an overarching concept used by the Township under which community projects have been implemented. It seeks to bridge false divisions within the town centre communities through events to encourage neighbours to meet and participate in activities together. An example of a project was a series of sessions held across communities to learn a dance. The dancers from each community were then brought together to perform at the Memorial Gardens in the town centre. A review of the project has shown a need to involve more inter-generational activities and people with a disability. There are clear opportunities around the symbolism of Rochdale Bridge at the centre of the communities for this project to operate under this tried and tested framework.

B2 Touchstones – Touchstones, managed by Link4Life, lead the provision of cultural heritage activities within Rochdale Town Centre and have proven expertise in this area. Their products are well received and trusted with schools and local groups- their schools programme, for example, is regularly fully booked. Meetings with the Education Co-ordinator and the Art Gallery Access Officer have explored what makes successful projects and how we can tie into their strategies for mutual benefit and to ensure the lifespan of the resources created as part of the project continue after the project’s completion.

B3 Rochdale Cultural Heritage Group (RoCH) – RoCH is an umbrella group representing the different cultural and heritage groups within Rochdale. They have been crucial in gauging public support, advising officers on the activities and how the capital work can reflect public aspirations.

B4 Additional research and consultation - It should be emphasised that this project has emerged from informal and formal consultation over many years and work within Inner Rochdale communities. To be discussed more within application form. Additional research and consultation includes;

▪ Rochdale THI (presentation to Whitworth community centre, support letters)

▪ MSc Dissertation on the extent to which heritage-led regeneration proposals in Rochdale engage and reflect the local Pakistani community

▪ MRUK report
▪ ……

2.5 Other projects/Best practice – We have researched and contacted a number of other HLF-funded projects that have similarities to our proposed project: The Lune Viaduct, The River Ribble, British Steel Archive Project. This will be expanded upon in the application form.

C Audience:

Due to its concealment, there is no audience currently engaging with the Rochdale and Butts Bridges and it would be premature to focus engagement too closely on a specific audience. The Bridges are in the centre of Rochdale; an area which is within the 1% most deprived areas in the country and has ethnically diverse, yet segregated communities.
The MRUK report, produced for RMBC, gives insight into the views of the people of Rochdale borough. It found that “One of the most striking attitudes that arose from all respondent audiences was the importance of maintaining a link with the industrial origins and heritage of the area. This was seen to be an important aspect of the identity of the people and the community in which they live. Those respondents living within the Borough displayed quite negative perceptions, which can be descried as being of low expectation, low self esteem, with little sense of local pride and a lost identity. 

D Concept: 
Rochdale Bridge contains a unique and dynamic record of human activity, shaped by generations of Rochdale people responding to the surroundings they inherited. The activity plan will record and celebrate the project, which is this generation’s contribution to that history. Under the framework of ‘Meeting the Neighbours’ the project will engage with these different communities through a series of workshops on the bridge, its history and its conservation that will be tailored to each group. The workshops will culminate in outputs created collaboratively between the different groups thus bringing them together in discovery, recording and celebration of the Bridges as a source of identity and symbol of unity.

The workshops/learning sessions are divided into ‘discovering’, ‘recording’ and ‘celebrating’. During the development stage the Project Officer would work with the community groups to arrange a package of workshops suitable for their audience. This system of workshops allows activities to be repeated with different groups, and adapted to their needs; making them effective and efficient. Similar frameworks used by Touchstones, Township and the Middleton Young Roots project have proved successful. This project would be more ambitious; reaching more groups, with a wide variety of workshops and continuation of some workshops following completion of the project. Participants will be invited to join RoCH and have long-term involvement in decisions about the cultural heritage.

To Do:

Identify groups

Put costs against sessions etc – realistic within the budget?