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Can the Conservatives crack Manchester?

Charlene McAuley takes the temperature in south Manchester to see if the Blues have any electoral hope

Published on September 30th 2009.


Can the Conservatives crack Manchester?

When counting begins at next year’s General Election, the city’s political parties will be keeping an eye on Withington.

“Why would anyone think it was sensible to vote for the Conservatives? I’m aiming for the Conservatives to lose their deposit. Anyone who’s a Tory voter knows in order to avoid Labour getting in the only way to vote is Lib Dem”.

Once a Labour seat, this constituency went Liberal Democrats at the last election, and now might be the one to show whether the Conservatives have any prospect of making inroads into a notoriously anti-Tory city.

The bitterness in the north generally, let alone in Manchester, stems from the Margaret Thatcher years when the major ex-industrial cities were – the impression remains – seen as the militant opponents standing in the way of the Conservative Party’s national agenda. Received wisdom is that the big city regions were deliberately crushed politically and economically – and along with them the lives and futures of many of their citizens.

Next week the Conservative Party will be holding their annual conference in the city, with over 12,500 delegates expected to attend. From the formal conference dinner at the Palace Hotel to a spot of rollerskating at ‘Party for Change’ in Pure Nightclub, the Tories are pulling out all the stops to change their ‘nasty to northerners’ image.

It’s not going to be easy. The cold hard facts are this: out of the four Manchester parliamentary seats, the Conservative Party has none. In the Greater Manchester area, Labour holds 23 seats, mostly with safe majorities; the Lib Dems have four; the Tories hold just one in Altrincham and Sale.

However, the Conservatives are out to woo. Only last year on a trip to Manchester, David Cameron declared, “This is one of the great cities of the world. You've got the fastest growing economy in the UK. Only London has more inward investment and more visitors.” Bless. Very flattering.

A recent voting intention poll published by YouGov shows an 8.5% swing to the Conservatives in the north of England, which is better than they’re doing in the country generally. They’re now just two points behind Labour, compared to 19 points in 2005, but does the error-prone voting intention poll suggest there is an increase in support for the Tories right here in the City of Manchester?

The Manchester Withington constituency, which includes, Burnage, Chorlton, Chorlton Park, Didsbury East and West, Old Moat and Withington, has some ‘Tory Potential’. There’s been a resurgence of the middle classes in the constituency, although largely from the media, creative and public sector areas of life rather than from the solid professionals of yesteryear.

The changing demographics are reflected in the election results. Up to 1987, the Conservatives dominated this seat for 56 years, then Labour’s Keith Bradley captured it. During the nineties, Labour strengthened its grip and the Lib Dems grew at the expense of the Conservatives.

For the first time since the constituency was created in 1918, the Conservatives were pushed into third place in 2001 with 15.3% of the vote. It was the 2005 general election that delivered a crushing defeat for both Labour and the Conservatives: Labour lost the seat by 667 votes to the Lib Dems and the Tories managed a meagre 10.5%. As the Labour vote increased through the nineties, so did the tactical voting. Many Tories voting Lib Dem to keep Labour out.

But in West Didsbury’s council by-election in January, the Conservatives might have been soundly beaten by the Lib Dems, but this was a defeat with a difference: the Tory candidate, David Bean, put in a proper effort and actually fought for the seat, something not witnessed in years.

Due to “complications” at Conservative HQ, the parliamentary candidate for the Manchester Withington seat is yet to be decided but one of its nominees, Chris Green, told Confidential: “I can definitely say more of an effort will be made in this constituency than in the previous elections. We have more active members now, people who will canvas for votes and campaign”.

Even the Withington Labour Party is preparing itself for an increase in the Conservative vote.

Lucy Powell, Labour’s Withington parliamentary candidate, said: “Unlike the last general election, we’re now seeing a polarisation in attitudes, people who don’t want a Labour government at all want a Tory one, nationally and, to some extent, locally.”

Does she believe there’s been increased Conservative activity in the area? “There are more Conservatives canvassing now than there were two years ago. People are more prepared to vote Conservative in Withington it seems than previously”.

The constituency’s incumbent Lib Dem MP, John Leech, is utterly dismissive of any threat. “Anyone who thinks the Tories can make any inroads in this constituency is living in cloud cuckoo-land,” he says. “Why would anyone think it was sensible to vote for the Conservatives? I’m aiming for the Conservatives to lose their deposit. Anyone who’s a Tory voter knows in order to avoid Labour getting in the only way to vote is Lib Dem”.

For the city’s Conservatives this underlines the problem for the party: convincing its own supporters who live in Withington that a Blue vote isn’t a wasted one.

Green again: “The Conservatives will not be losing their deposit in the next election, any suggestion they will is said to undermine us, you only have to look at our increased Euro elections vote in Manchester – we are absolutely not a wasted vote. We need to encourage the electorate to vote on their principles and values rather than tactically.”

The European election results demonstrated the willingness of Mancunians to vote for the Conservatives at the expense of Labour and Lib Dems, and while these are not the clearest indication of general election results, they did show a weakening anti-Conservative feeling in Manchester.

Other seats on the outskirts of Greater Manchester, such as Bury North and Cheadle, may well offer better clues as to whether the 2010 general election will give the country a Conservative PM for the first time in 23 years, but the Withington Manchester seat will act as a barometer for Conservative feeling amongst Mancunians - win or lose.

And if they increase their poll share dramatically in this difficult seat then that election result nationally is in no doubt at all.

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157 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

paulmSeptember 30th 2009.

I agree Cas, "if you can get work, but choose not to, you can't vote". Sadly I can't see it catching on. To be fair there's a Catch 22 situ I've seen with a mate; the longer you're out of work, the less chance of getting a new one. So there ARE genuine job-seekers on long-term benefit. But there's loads more lazy scumbags I agree. Where DO they think their freebies come from? US.

James KaySeptember 30th 2009.

Hey look at this last ranters witty name? He's really witty. Strange man. The quote he pulls out doesn't even say what he says it does. I think it means that media and creative types tend to be left field rather than solid professional types who tend to be more conservative. That's why the conservatives often have a distrust of the BBC. Nothing wrong with the quote it's logical.

OSeptember 30th 2009.

ha ha ha ANOTHER spelling smart arse gets gets it wrong on ManCon. Love it. Go on, someone point out that I've made a spelling mistake then find out that I've not and look like a tit. Re: the subject, someone hit the nail on the head earlier, none inspire much confidence.

baggioSeptember 30th 2009.

the conservatives running manchester? doesn't bear thinking about. eugh!

AndySeptember 30th 2009.

It's all very well going on about taxpaying hardworking families but what about taxpaying lazy working families?On a less flippant note I'm watching with some dismay the impact on local services after our Labour administration was usurped by a Tory one. I type as someone who was not a great fan of the previous administration but it's starting to look like we now have a council which is dismissive and uncaring when it comes to our most vulnerable. So much for this so called compassionate Conservatism which Cameron would have us believe is the new Tory mantra.

HermanSeptember 30th 2009.

Und was ist mit eine kleiner weldschmerz los?

GerardSeptember 30th 2009.

You're right. I think it's a time thing. People are sick of Labour. Time to move on for most people. DC is more comely for the voters against poor old Gordon Brown.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Hi Ad, as a woman and mother I wouldn't want to discriminate. There would be exceptions, as I said, in my masterplan. If it was a housewife whose husband worked, or indeed house husband, then I think that would be ok. However if it's some kid who has never worked but just spawned children then no, I'd take the vote away. My mother, as a single parent, brought us up fine without living off handouts and if you read my point regarding nurserys you'll see that's what got my goat! Sorry for ranting :)

DescartesSeptember 30th 2009.

Aren't the Tories in the lead in the pools at the moment? Mr Leech needs to check his figures and stop being so confident, arrogance leads to the dark side, not Parliament.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

You're making yourself look silly now. You were not aware what 'nett' meant and had to Google it. If you're going to correct peoples 'mistakes' at least do it from a level of knowledge. Nett, as many actual people will tell you, is a very widely used word to describe something that isn't gross. Google that if you please.

NoMoreCensorshipSeptember 30th 2009.

Well first time voter ,the parties should send out manifestos and the like to state their policies. The Tories seem to be a bit reticent to state any policies as all policies are unpopular with some voters

The Whalley RangerSeptember 30th 2009.

Matt, you sound like you are 100 years old. Forgot to mention the war... what did Labour do to rectify 'poll tax'? It's the Lib Dems who are proposing progressive taxation...Ergo you make no sense whatsoever!

GollumSeptember 30th 2009.

johnthebrief says..“ It may be difficult to defend intellectually, but my vote will go to the candidate most likely to defeat the labour one. These dreadful, mendacious, corrupt charlatans have to go."Mendacious? LOL. That's the posiest, and most deluded, post I think I've ever read on here - and there's been a few corkers down the years.So we get rid of the Labour's "corrupt charlatans" and replace them with what? A group of 'honest' Tories. Or maybe some 'politically savvy' Lib Dems? How about some 'racially sensitive' BNPs or possibly an 'in touch with thew real world' Johnthebrief?

matt wSeptember 30th 2009.

For sure this government hasn't delivered everything i'd have liked or done everything the way I'd have liked, but I don't know how many options they had to get the level of investment in health and education that was needed after the tory dis-investment. I think the national minimum wage; smaller class sizes; and more teachers, nurses and doctors has gone some way do repairing the terrible damage to the fabric of this country and our society inflicted on us by the tories. And they will do it all again, given the chance. Cameron = wolf in sheep's clothing - I beg people not to be lulled by his slick demeanour - he will f**k us royally from behind, just like Thatcher.

east lancsSeptember 30th 2009.

There's a plethora of viable alternatives to our First Past The Post system. More proportionaly representative systems would only encourage people to vote. Sadly it's somewhat in the interests of the main two to keep it as it is.

Matt WSeptember 30th 2009.

Withington Tory - I had the displeasure of marching in front of the LGBTories in the parade - iot was about a dazen 15 year olds who weren't born when Thatcher enured that every young gay person who sought help or advice was shunned and left defenseless. She, and your party, literally has the blood of many gay adults who grew up during that period on thier hands. That such a thing as a gay tory exists disgusts me - and pretty much everyone I spoke to over pride. If nothing had changed would cameron have civil partnership legislation in his manifesto? No, the core of your party wouldn't allow it. How many would like to see the return of section 28? Most, I'd guess. Nasty, mean, unpleasant, wrong.

DescartesSeptember 30th 2009.

Now now east lancs, our voting system doesn't "require" that, it's just that a lot of people don't really get that they're supposed to vote FOR someone. If voting was less tactical I bet the Lib Dems would win all over the place.

carlos GarveySeptember 30th 2009.

my cousin was snatched by one of hugos police units and my family and i havent seen him since , the above comment is typical of the left wing types ive met over here in england , maybe these wannabee communists should start a new life under Hugos dictatorship !

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

I too do not particularly like children and I have none. However, the education of children is paramount, they are the tax payers of the future and they will be forking out for me in my dotage as I dribble happily away in the Cheshire retirement home for ex-restaurateurs. Every child deserves a decent education and if a woman chooses to work as well as have children, then affordable nursery places should be available - if not, some other form of child care - I won't mention the story this week regards the two police officers who have now allegedly committed a crime because they shared not just a job, but their child care - caught out by one of the thousands of new pieces of pointless legislation this present Government have introduced. Judging by some of the young people I have either interviewed or employed (not for long), over the last few years, Labour have done irrepairable damage to the education system in this country; standards are lower, but every year they bask in the glory of the 'improving' exam results. Yet I've met countless teenagers who can barely read or write and have no social skills whatsoever, they are totally unprepared for the real world, unless of course they manage to get a job in the public sector

Withington TorySeptember 30th 2009.

John Leech represents perfectly the new 'Nasty Party' image that has now come to define the Lib Dems, and provides a strong motivation for the Conservatives to get organised in this constituency. The Lib Dems only win seats such as this because of tactical voting, which is a short term, and cynical strategy. The shambles that was the Lib Dem conference this year proved beyond doubt that the party simply doesn't stand for anything other than personal attacks, as in the Didsbury West byelection, and exploiting tactical situations. Let's hope the electorate see that John Leech is taking people for fools. The fact that the Conservatives' City Development Corporations transformed our cities all over the country, and are responsible for the transformation of Castlefield kick-starting city centre living in Manchester is a debate for another time, however it raises an important point - the Lib Dems could never offer that opportunity. Voting for change at this election raises the possibility that the Conservative will get to act on their desire to show that they are the party of cities, and have a great interest in seeing Manchester thrive. Voting Conservative opens that opporunity, whereas re-electing John Leech simply means making it more likely that the country will have another 4 years of Gordon Brown. If you don't want Labour re-elected, then voting Conervative is the only other realistic choice.

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

The Guardian? Now there's a balanced read.

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

Dave, do you actually know anything about the banking system or does your view come from the general - All bankers are bad - rubbish? The financial sector funded Brown's spending and it was Brown who washed away any responsibility he had towards it. Passing responsibility to Bank of England for interest rates and giving us the useless FSA.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

No views of her own, doesn't stand for anything but election... Reminds me of another local female Labour MP. (Sorry M30).

can't vote but careSeptember 30th 2009.

The fact that the Conservatives hold their party conference in Manchester speaks volumes. Anyone in a quango should look for a new job NOW!

OSeptember 30th 2009.

Who said Cas was a hard working tax payer? He / She is on here all day every day, look at the other stories if you don't believe me. Cas on everything. I'm off now, I'm low on dole so got to get my daily booze hit while it's still happy hour. I only drew it out on Tuesday. £90 a fortnight doesn't go far you know with all these kids to feed. Good job Cas isn't in charge of the country though, the women of the 'undeclass' would all be sterilised once they weren't allowed to vote anymore.

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

My understanding cas and others is that Chavez has liften millions of Venezualans out of poverty.He has also greatly improved health and education in the country. What was life like for most Venezualans prior to Chavez ?As for guts CIA death squads prowl south america and may get him yet.The western media try to demonise Chavez , Casto and even the French , anyone who opposes US hegemony.I shall seek amnesty internationals views on any disapearances.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

Bill; a nice unbiased, objective piece about 'Tory bandits' on the 21st century socialism web site?? Yeh, right

start packing it's overSeptember 30th 2009.

start packing it's over

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Thanks for that M30, so now we can conclude that all Conservatives are therefore homophobic and will be forever more. So we can also assume that anytime a Labour MP says something objectionable or vile, this is actually the view of the entire party and will be for at least a decade?

M30September 30th 2009.

Cas, who mentioned "proper workers" ? Once again I concede that you have more money than most, and you have bankers, barristers and investment bankers within your social circle whereas I just have menial workers in mine. I genuflect to your superiority.Of course there is an element of jealously when bankers are taking five and six figure bonuses when families are struggling to pay the gas bill.Who encouraged the Great British Public to borrow so much anyway/ The banks.

RonSeptember 30th 2009.

Lest anyone should forget, David Cameron was Michael's Howard's speech writer. Just because he's positioned himself as a caring Conservative should fool nobody. He's only doing it to get elected. And if you think this government is corrupt, you must have been fast asleep from 1979 to 1997 when state assets were stripped away and sold off to the fat cats (anyone remember Amersham International?) and corruption ans sex scandals reached an all-time high.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

What does a 'proper worker' do, break rocks? My brother-in-law is a banker and he pays an awful lot of tax, an awful lot. He wasn't hit by the crunch so much as he deals with Norwegian markets where the country isn't full of people not paying off debts. This government made a fortune in taxes, both corporate and personal, from banking industries. These taxes paid for an awful lot of public spending and as a sector, I believe, were the highest contributor to the Blair spending. So before we slate all bankers, without any real knowledge other than that gained from Peston and tabloids, maybe admit it may be a touch of jealousy. The bankers I know pay more tax than most and work incredibly hard for it. Just for a moment wonder if the crisis may have something to do with those who took out debts they could not afford to pay back and are now having them (as long as they've screwed companies for over 15k) near enough wiped off with IVAs.

This is the webSeptember 30th 2009.

No there's no point having a balanced debate on the web blogs. It's all about giving an opinion. Although some people seem capable here of lucid thought, which is more than on most websites. The reason I like this site is that at least the writer here, McAuley interviewed all parties. That is good. Read the piece not unhinged people like 911. And thanks editorial for this: 911WASANINSIDEJOB says..“ EDITORIAL: We're not having this asinine person putting up posts under this ludicrous moniker any more. No, 911 wasn't an inside job it was done by murderous terrorists. ”

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

Why cant we give the Lib Dems a go ?

Erm againSeptember 30th 2009.

Damnit Cas! I'm trying to post LESS on here, don't validate me ;o) I'm with ya tho; my neighbours have never worked a day in their life, yet everything is paid for. They can't even be arsed taking any of their bins in or recycling - too busy I guess? Hah!

manchester conservativefidentialSeptember 30th 2009.

"There’s been a resurgence of the middle classes in the constituency, although largely from the media, creative and public sector areas of life rather than from the solid professionals of yesteryear."jeez, this site is getting worse. so the middle classes vote conservative and the poor vote labour? hmmm, you might need to undertake a little more depth study of post-war electoral politics. stick to food.

can't vote but careSeptember 30th 2009.

if you can't vote for a party because 'not enough people will vote for them', then there is a SERIOUS flaw in your electoral system...

philwalkerSeptember 30th 2009.

I know this is supposed to be about the Tories´ chances of getting in or not, but as the likes of M30 said above and others like him, the Tories were rather a bad thing last time they were in, despite sort of sorting out the mess labour left behind, but since Labour got in last time, all they´ve really done is carry on where the Tories left off and pretty much do more of the same - OK they´ve upped benefits for the dolites and the like, but really all they´ve done is continue to privatise everything and basically run everything for their own benefit. The economy is still running on the basis of get as many immigrants into Britain as possible to artificially stimulate demand for housing, thereby keeping property prices rising and making us all feel like we can afford to remortgage and spend the cash keeping the economy afloat - admittedly this system had a bit of a hiccup recently, but it´s already pretty much back on track again. In the meantime, the rich (which includes pretty much every politician!) are cleaning up. Your average ¨middle¨income earner has been squeezed for tax to fund the rich paying lots less. You only have to wander round T3 car park at the airport and count the Aston Martins to see how many people are so much better off. Maggie´s economic miracle was to give us average hard working folk just enough dosh to make us afraid to mess with the status quo, while the rich are havin all our money and laughing at us. The tax this government is getting must be more than any government has ever had in the past and yet there still never seems enough to pay for anything - where´s all the money going? Hmm, while I ponder that one, I´d better see if I can find someone to come and clean out my moat, as it´s smelling a bit rancid today.The real question shouldn´t be will the tories get in, but rather how on earth can we produce a system of government where the politicians´ sole concern isn´t, ¨how much money can I make for myself out of this?¨ Just who would you really like to vote for? Is there anyone standing for election who you really would like to vote for, or is it just hobson´s choice, the best of a bad bunch?Perhaps the answer is to make being a politicain a bit like the old YTS scheme (that´s youth training scheme for those not old enough - google it!), so they get paid dole money plus their travelling expenses to parliament and back (no 2nd homes allowances - they can stop in a youth hostel overnight if they´re stuck) - that should sort the men from the boys shouldn´t it - you wouldn´t see any of the current candidates for dust!Just one last difficult question - anyone out htere got any idea how we reform a political system where the only way to change that system is to vote for someone who says they´ll change it - but here´s the catch - they´d never get in cos the people in power don want to change the voting system, cos it´d spoil the gravy train for them - how do we get out of that one then - do we have to fetch back the guillotine like the french had, but target politicians and company directors?

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Chick, lets start a list ;)

SteSeptember 30th 2009.

Genuinely astonished by the sheer, unadulterated ignorance demonstrated by much of the contribution above - obviously massively over estimated the ManCon readership!

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

I like you M30 I really do. However on your rants on this have been the two most ridiculous comments I've heard about politics in a while. 'if the Conservatives get in, it will be through the back door in the form of protest votes' AND 'whatever shortcomings Greater Manchester's Labour MP's have - they all passionately care about all of their constituents and making the world a fairer and better place'. Enjoy your dumplings, you deserve them ;)

can't vote but careSeptember 30th 2009.

cfblue, you sound really depressed! Are you German?

James KjenniSeptember 30th 2009.

Er....wasn't this a Conservative party debate? Not a Cas debate. I don't think the Conservatives in Manchester itself have a chance, but regionaly they do. And that would mean a breakthrough for the party and electoral wipe out for Labour.

huh?September 30th 2009.

Who is late for work? What? Huh? Are these my feet? What's going on? WHAT'S HAPPENING?

911WASANINSIDEJOBSeptember 30th 2009.

EDITORIAL: We're not having this asinine person putting up posts under this ludicrous moniker any more. No, 911 wasn't an inside job it was done by murderous terrorists.

M30September 30th 2009.

I forgive you Cas. Hazel wouldn't though.

Simon TSeptember 30th 2009.

For real??? "Here's an idea - only let people vote who are a nett contributer to the tax system" - apart from the appalling spelling ("net contributor"), this is close to the idea that led to the people of Lancashire rising up at Peterloo. The monied classes - many of whom owe their position to inherited wealth and privilege - depriving the exploited and excluded poor of the vote.

M30September 30th 2009.

In June, 1998, Sir Nicholas Winterton interrupted a speech in the House of Commons made by Mrs Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest, in which he asked: "Am I not correct in saying that a homosexual act is unnatural, and that if the Lord Almighty had meant men to commit sodomy with other men, their bodies would have been built differently?". The voice of the Conservative party in the North West. Somehow I don't think Sir Nick will be joining Withington Tory for a G&T down at their little soirée down Canal Street.

casSeptember 30th 2009.

'O' I hadn't been oh here for two weeks until a day ago so you have probably posted on more than me. However that steralising idea aint half bad ;)

60% Have DoubtsSeptember 30th 2009.

A proper worker does something that contributes to society , investment banker does not come into this category.

Jill BowerSeptember 30th 2009.

People are so blind to socialism occasionally. Just as all the apologists for the Soviet Union imagined a worker's paradise so they misunderstand Chavez. He's an elected dicatator who promotes his relations into position of power and would like to do away with election process all together. Understand our own freedoms would rather than counting the number of pointless CCTVs we have in the country and thinking that we have lost those freedoms.

Bill CobbettSeptember 30th 2009.

A good analysis of just how disastrous these Tory bandits would 21stcenturysocialism.com/…/atcherism_01912.html…

ccSeptember 30th 2009.

Politics blog | Politics | guardian.co.uk1 Oct 2009 ... The Guardian's blog on politics, politicians and political http://news.www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog - Cached - Similar

Call me cynicalSeptember 30th 2009.

But isn't it about, oh 100% obvious that Steve is actually RICHARD? I think , maybe , it's something to do with ... the truly , truly bizzare punctuation. His "RICHARD" rant is spot on though.

Keir HardieSeptember 30th 2009.

What is that Lucy Powell Like?Labour stand no chance of winning if they field candidates of this poor quality - her mum must be a party grandee or sumfinkShe appears to hold no views of her own - just does lots of photo opportunities..

David BeanSeptember 30th 2009.

Thanks, Charlene! We did our best in January, but these things take time. I do think John is being somewhat uncharitable, however, and he clearly hasn't recovered from that strange political delusion particular to his party that basis on which people ought to decide their vote is which party stands the best chance of beating the one they most hate. Now, steady on. I like John, probably as much as could be expected of someone from a different party. But isn't all this a bit 'old politics'? I mean, even if the electors of Withington really think that way, and I'm by no means convinced we do, is it honestly the sort of motive a politician whose party name reads 'Liberal Democrat' should be promoting? You'd be hard pressed to find an arrogant Tory around here, or at least one who arrogantly assumed we were going to win Withington. But if the day comes when we have the sort of electoral lock over South Manchester that the Lib Dems currently do, I hope we won't treat our constituents as fools.

smittySeptember 30th 2009.

Cas, while as a blo*dy hardworking taxpayer like you I agree that the doleclass is incredibly frustrating, do they actually bother to vote? I suspect not. However, loving your "I wasn't aware this was the Oxford Debating Society..." comment. And "The Plank", if you're going to quote dictionaries at people, please don't use Webster's. It is an American dictionary, and our friends across the pond use a different type of English. It's called American English. However, just out of interest, I checked it on the OED (being a PAYE earner I'm not familiar with these terms or how they're spelt) and am afraid to report you're right - it's net. Which, as it is the OED, should be the last word on the net/nett argument!

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

This discussion is a reflection of 'Britishness' in my opinion. What is wrong with people being wealthy? Apart from those born into a priveledged

The Whalley RangerSeptember 30th 2009.

Of course Labour have delivered! Into the hands of the private investor! God, why is the credit crunch worst felt in the UK (£175b+ for 60m people)? Is it because Labour have done EVERYTHING to favour private investors? If this is a reason to vote for them, go on. I will continue to call you confused.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

I am old enough the remember the Conservative Party under the leadership of Mrs T and I am also the owner of a small business. I'd rather emigrate to Mongolia than spend another 10 years working my arse off under a Labour Government. Ask any owner of a business about the legislation, laws, bureaucracy and red-tape this Government has imposed upon them; it's beyond comprehension. On another point, far from seeing a generation of people who cannot remember the 'vindictive' policies of the Conservative Party, we have a generation of vermine controlling our streets; illiterate, innumerate, interbreds who have been allowed to flourish under New Labour and their pussy-footing, softly, softly policies on tackling crime and refusal to address the failing benefits system. As for the Labour-controlled MCC, they positively discourage anyone from opening a business or or actually coming into Manchester for work or pleasure; car parks replaced with faceless 'apartment' blocks, double yellow lines on every road and street , they ignore any plea to adapt small business rates during a recession and refuse point-blank to peanalise the money-grubbing, corporate landlords whose buildings lay empty and vandalised whilst they hang out for unrealistically high rents. I need a drink now

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

'what about taxpaying lazy working families?' I think the point is that if you're paying taxes, then do what you like which is fair enough really.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

Methinks, conspiracy expert, Inside Jobbies or whatever they call themselves, spends a bit too much time on Google and Wikipedia

The plankSeptember 30th 2009.

I looked up "nett contributor". Google was disbelieving - "Do you mean "net contributor"?. A couple of websites acknowledged that both "net" and "nett" were used in taxation and financial matters although Webster says "Less properly written nett".

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

That is, unless you work in the public sector. In which case, don't worry about being late, hey and if you're feeling a bit iffy don't come in.

CastlefieldblueSeptember 30th 2009.

ALL governments are interested in getting re-elected. That`s why they`re there! ALL governments lie, cheat, and steal. Sorry, thought that was obvious....

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Anon (is it Simon T), assuming you mean me - I don't think it's ill thought out and others seem to agree with it. I am a nett contributor of tax as is my company and as are the staff I employ. What I therefore choose to do with my time is up to me. Any actual political points?

ADSeptember 30th 2009.

If you need a national insurance/tax record to vote then the many women in this country who choose to stay at home and look after children would loose their vote. Cas's suggestion would in practice be discriminate against women.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Simon T, can I bring you up on that nursery places point. Right now the only helping hand with nursery places available to decent earners is the salary sacrafice scheme. This means your employer pays for the costs, takes it out of your salary and you save on the income tax. However Brown is scrapping this to provide more totally free nursery places for low and none earners. This will really effect those just over the threshold and will be another reason to jack it all in and live like the underclass. I don't think the Conservatives would have done that. Higher earners are not the evil people this government makes them out to be.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

And Mr Leech gives us another reason to think MP's are self serving idiots.

The Whalley RangerSeptember 30th 2009.

What has Chavez got to do with the Conservatives cracking Manchester? Will the call for a referendum on Lisbon turn Manchester from an international city back into a dull lancy town it was fifteen years ago?

M30September 30th 2009.

I dislike children immensely, so I'm not getting hot and bothered about nursery places, class sizes etc. The only way the tories will ever get my vote would be if Portillo lead the party (I spent an enjoyable train journey with him once) or if they banned children, prams and buggies from public places in a similar way to the smoking ban. Joking apart, if the Conservatives get in, it will be through the back door in the form of protest votes, and it will serve the country right IMHO... be careful of what you wish for as you might actually get it. I'm on the side of the people trying to live a normal live and pay their bills, as opposed to fatcats and business owners moaning about their turnover from their palatial Cheshire mansions. Must dash, I have a bowl of guacamole waiting for me down at the Salford Labour Club

Matt wSeptember 30th 2009.

erm... the poll tax was replaced by the Council Tax (not much better) under Major so Labour didn't have to do anything about it. Maybe I do sound old, but those things still hurt me and hurt this society to its core. I'm all for pregressive taxation and have voted Lib dem every time before now, but the spectre of a tory government scares me so much that I will vote labour to (hopefully) avoid the tories getting into power (on the assumption that a Lib Dem government is most unlikely). Another tory government must be avoided at all cost, even if that means a little less representation for the party I generally support.

DaveSeptember 30th 2009.

The capital letters ranting types just don't get it do they? The reason the economy hasn't crashed and burned, leaving far more of out of work, due to the irresponsible actions of bankers (which lets remember the Tories were always keen on further deregulating the City; I believe they still are), is due to the government bailing it out. Times like these require brave drastic measures that which the Tories manifestly would have failed to carry out, which the rest of the world is (now) clearly in agreement with. Until the 1970s national debt was always at higher levels than 80% of GDP, due to spending on wars etc. Sometimes these measures are necessary. As for getting a better return on shares, where has the money been going in recent years, instead of being re-invested in funds? Needs regulation? Think the Tories are going to do it?

General MisunderstandingSeptember 30th 2009.

You lot would be speaking German now if it wasn't for us.

Apathetic of Withington WardSeptember 30th 2009.

A change is as good as a rest I say! Whatever your political persuasion if one party was allways in power life would be dull, dull, dull. Like your team getting relegated, promotion tastes all the sweeter.

M30September 30th 2009.

Chick - are you advocating that greed is good?

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

'nomoreinsidejobs' - Chavez does not have class, decency, vision or guts. He is clever and and worked out if he chanelled money to the poor masses, without any planning on what to do with it, he would gets their votes and they would be the only votes he would need. And if the constitution gets in the way, well we'll change that! He has driven foreign oil companies out leading to a dramatic drop in production and therefore revenue. So much so that this year he's had to court them again. In a true South American 'socialist' tradition he's made anyone who doesn't agree with him vanish. So if you can explain the class, decency, guts and vision of Chavez then go ahead, otherwise keep reading your conspiracy theory websites.

Bill CobbettSeptember 30th 2009.

Leech isn't bad despite a scurilous campaign of misinformation last time. We have still a consensus among all three main parties that is linked to the current crisis we are in: support for private capital at the expense of social need, continual gowth that is wrecking the planet. But let there be no mistake if the tories get in it will be goodbye to the welfare state (what little Labout has left intact).

RobSeptember 30th 2009.

Ahh political discussions on a public message board, the online equivalent of agreeing with yourself in the mirror.

ADSeptember 30th 2009.

Cas, I get your point I just dont think it would work, for example if a woman recieves her vote because of her husband working then she is reliant on him for her voice in a democracy and thats not right. Even if it could work we live in a democracy which is based on the fundemental belief that everyone should have a say in the choice of government. Its also worth thinking that the only political party in the UK who would consider removing the vote from certain groups of people would be the BNP, and we know how unpleasant they are!

ccSeptember 30th 2009.

Politics blog | Politics | guardian.co.uk1 Oct 2009 ... The Guardian's blog on politics, politicians and political http://news.www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog - Cached - Similar

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Grrrrr! It makes me so angry. This government has no care for the future of the country but cares only for their own future. If stealing more taxes and benefits from hard working to give to the underclass, gets votes - then why not? Here's an idea - only let people vote who are a nett contributer to the tax system, with some exceptions like pensioners.

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

What will the Tories do if they get in ?Legalise fox hunting ?Legalise homophobia in schools ?Class sizes back up to 40 ?Remove fuel allowance for pensioners ?Dam the labour party for letting these back in (NOTE: offensive word editorially removed).

Stephen FrySeptember 30th 2009.

As the smartest man in Britain, accept my judgement; either "Net" or "Nett" is entirely acceptable, and indeed correct. The root word is "netti", note the double T. As an aside, the glottal stop is evident on both "net" and "nett". Interesting... what were we debating again?

60% Have DoubtsSeptember 30th 2009.

The terrorists didnt hit WTC7 did they ?

AeronSeptember 30th 2009.

'I sometimes think there's an element who miss the persecution' - Yes, Anonymous, they're members of LGBTory.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Sorry, that was me not M30?! I'm a duffus.

ensalada mixtaSeptember 30th 2009.

...course he does!

Tom CleggSeptember 30th 2009.

I think the person above who is upset about Thatcher's damage to the Conservatives in Manchester didn't live through those times up here. I think Thatcher split the UK in a way which was unimaginable. There may well have been a need for tough love but she presented it so harshly in such an unsympathetic home counties way that she alienated at least a generation of those living near northern cities. Her voice still fills me with a Pavlov's dog type horror. It makes me retch. I don't mind Cameron, but just like my old dad remembers the war and actually shudders when he hears a German or Japanese accent, so do I when I think about the Conservatives and this city. Unreasonable perhaps but that is what that divisive administration did for Britain.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

I'll start again. Apart from those born into a priveledged family, most people who are comfortable, wealthy or even super rich, are so because they've worked their arses off, usually at great personal cost and sacrifice. As someone who works seven days a week, 12 hours a day and who is not wealthy by any stretch, I too are sick to death of the growing generation of underclass whose only career moves is between the gates of the local comp and the doors of the job centre

ADSeptember 30th 2009.

maybe...

1st time voterSeptember 30th 2009.

As my family won't tell me who they vote for I'm trying to make up my own mind. Is the main difference that Labour want to tax more to increase spending on things like welfare and conservatives want to tax high earners less so this money can be put into entrepreneurial activities and spent in the economy at large? Any help appreciated!

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Is Hazel thinking of jumping ship to the Conservatives? Or is she still rocking the boat from the inside? Honestly M30, your stereotyping of Conservatives and their voters is quite shocking and prejudiced, maybe the Radical Muslim Alliance would be right up your street afterall.

Withington TorySeptember 30th 2009.

M30 - you really are stuck in the past (not to mention with a huge chip on your shoulder!). The reason why the Conservative party are having a party on Canal street is due to the fact our openly gay members in Manchester have organised that event. We have a large proportion of openly gay members in Manchester, which is naturlly something you wouldn't know, but tat meant it was one of the obvious things to do with our conference being in town. The point is that Tebbit and Widdicombe aren't invovled in our party anymore and the party has changed a great deal, however your prejudice clearly still remains very strong.Why dont you go along to the party at Spirit and meet the hundreds of gay Conservatives that will be there, including the vice chairman of the Conservative party, and many openly gay MPs and councillors. Clearly you don't take an interest in Manchester Pride otherwise you'd have noticed the element in the parade and large stall this year run by Manchester members of LGBTory.David Cameron has been to Manchester more than Gordon Brown. Naturally we're not going to convert someone as biggoted as you, but thank goodness life and society has moved on and left you behind! :-)

Erm?September 30th 2009.

Simon... first up, Harry is a serving army officer so certainly isn't an "unemployed oaf". Second, drawing comparions between the proposal here and Peterloo is really stretching it. Sorry! We're talking about parasites who deliberately choose to take the piss (and money) out of taxpayers.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Is this the joke about the Cuban, Pakistani and someone else about 10 years ago? It was a joke! Not the best but a joke and it is his wife! They're probably as mad as a box of frogs. Just as the Conservatives have their toff nutters, the Labour party have some union commies - doesn't mean we should stereotype the parties in that way. And M30, I don't think the Conservaties are just about the elite, if they get in and want to stay in they have to appeal to more than that. Read my comments right at the top about nursery funding, I don't think that would happen under the Conservatives. Labour are going so far left right now, they're in danger of tippling over, it's like they're giving up on middle England and going back to their roots as someone at their conference put it. I and many others are dismayed at the rise in taxes, both indirect and direct and where this goes. It needs to change and it needs to be drastic, I just hope the Conservatives get a big enough margin to work with.

baggioSeptember 30th 2009.

the conservatives running manchester? doesn't bear thinking about. eugh!

simon tSeptember 30th 2009.

The idea that the Tories would do a better job than Labour is laughable. Different policies in Irag and Afghanistan? Less MP's guilty of expense abuse? Less unemployed? Less pensioners in poverty? Less free nursery places? Maintenance of the minimum wage? No, no, no, no, no. The Tory's idea of 'change' is a version of out of the frying pan into the fire. There are millions of Britons who will never vote Tory again after the vandalism to our communities and the social division they created 1979-1997. That's the reality of life under the Tories. Have you forgotten? Have you REALLY forgotten???

johnthebriefSeptember 30th 2009.

It may be difficult to defend intellectually, but my vote will go to the candidate most likely to defeat the labour one. These dreadful, mendacious, corrupt charlatans have to go.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

And Peterloo was the early 1800's when my idea certainly wouldn't be fair. However as Labour keep telling us they have created social mobility so everyone has a chance. As a nett contributor of taxes, I'm fed up of the huge numbers of underclass wasting my hard earned money and so are many others. Why should a lifetime unemployed oaf get to vote?

can't vote but careSeptember 30th 2009.

morning guys, late for work ey? With low morale like that you won't last long where you are right now...

Bill of RightsSeptember 30th 2009.

A nice unbiased view of how disastrous these Labour apparatchiks have been is published every day on our newspapers and in our radio and TV news. Thank God there will be no return to the stupid ID card idea.

Ed CasingSeptember 30th 2009.

Oddly enough Chick, I thought it was about whether the Conservatives could gain power in Manchester.

Here's an idea...September 30th 2009.

Gordo for PM!

RICHARD NASHSeptember 30th 2009.

THE UNITED KINGDOM IS NATURALLY A CENTRE RIGHT COUNTRY ! Thats how most people think, we have dangerously dabbled with socialism since 1997, and the result? a week pound ! 2 Trillion of debt ! a 74.5 annual welfare budget ! 5 million out of work YES 5 million out of work on some kind of benefit ! more homes than ANYWHERE in europe where there is nobody working ! the highest rate of teenage pregnanciies ! The highest rate of anti social crime ! Our prisons full ! criminals being let out EARLY ! Quantative easing (printing money because we have ran out of it) on a massive scale devaluing the pound,pensions and savings ! INWARD INVESTEMNT drying up ! more and more powers handed over to Europe ! NO PROMISED VOTE on the Lisbon treaty as was the LAST LABOUR MANIFESTO ! we have dabbled with socialism , THE BRITISH PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BADLY LET DOWN ,,, RIP LABOUR AND RIP LIB DEMS (there even more socialist !) we look forward to David Cameron and the tories ready to save us just like Margaret Thatcher did in 79 ! (ANY DOUBTERS PLEASE CHECK ALL THE ABOVE STATISTICS !)

MissBoobySeptember 30th 2009.

As a Didsbury resident, I'll ****ing move if the tories come in. Bastards.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

The article asks a question, a mini debate has followed and you obviously do not agree with my points. Politics is a big issue in Manchester right now and short of a quick thanks to Gordo I think this is the only article I've commented on in 3 weeks. If it doesn't interest or it offends you so much then I don't quite understand why you've gone to the trouble of reading through the posts. Other people such as AD, Chick, M30 and myself obviously, like commenting on this topic. Just because that isn't how you do things does not mean anyone needs to get a life.

MissBoobySeptember 30th 2009.

As in move o0ff the Island.And just read David Bean's response? Pompous, MOI?! Get a grip please!

SiSeptember 30th 2009.

Disagree about John Leech; he's far more active in the area than our previous Labour MP ever was. Chris Paul's views are obviously distorted as he's a Labour activist.

socialist steveSeptember 30th 2009.

i have to say Richard's piece above is entirely accurate, the labour party have done great things with the nhs and brought relative peace to Northern Ireland but apart from that they have totally messed up ! my shares have crashed and i feel unsafe walking the streets , change is coming and i will be ditching the socialists and voting Conservative next time round !

M30September 30th 2009.

Unfortunately what we're seeing now is a generation who have no knowledge of the vindictive and divisive policies of the Conservative governments of Thatcher and Major. I am apalled that the Tory party are having some form of shindig down Canal Street to try to "reach out and touch" gay voters. I'm tempted to go down to Spirit and tell them as long as they have bigoted homophobes such as Tebbit & Widdicombe in their party, I'm more likely to vote for the Radical Muslim Alliance than the Conservtives. Manchester needs to have a think about what live would like like under a conservative govenment. David Cameron has no interest in the city whatsoever. He stands for making the rich richer, businesses more powerful, and will encourage a culture of greed. Deregulation of the buses anyone? Hand Mr Soutar the bus network of England's 2nd city on a plate, why doncha!. The only people I feel they will attract are the usual Cheshire set and the knob-measurers who come on here banging on about how much money they have and how they're eager to find something to invest in, like they're sat on a leather chair alongside Duncan Bannatyne.

DaveSeptember 30th 2009.

Those bank shares are already worth about 80bn. The Tories would have just let them go bust - as much as you might despise bankers' behaviour, where would our economy have gone from there? Don't forget the last two recessions and the way the Tories dealt with them, leaving companies to go to the wall and people to lose their jobs and homes, to "let the market decide". I liked the things that Hezza did for our region but he isn't a mainstream Tory. Does anyone seriously think they are going to deal with our social ills (and the investment that requires), reduce corruption in parliament and do what is necessary to make the city look after our long-term interests? I don't like a lot (most) of what Labour stands for these days but they are the lesser of two (electable) evils. What really pisses me off is that they didn't reform the voting system when they promised it in their first manifesto and had the full backing of the electorate to do it.

M30September 30th 2009.

Are you finished patronising me, Withington Tory? It's laughable how you can call me bigoted. I'm with Matt W on this one: Your party were responsable for the repression, mistreatment and villification of the gay community, and I am lucky that I wasn't my age during the Thatcher years. Your questioning my commitment to Manchester Pride is something I shan't dignify with an answer. The majority of these Gay Tories were a great deal younger than me (I'm 30). And as for your attempts to shake off Tebbitt and Widdicombe... come off it. Tebbit is still involved with the Conservative Way Forward within the Tory Party. 15 miles away the Wintertons, who supported apartheid in South Africa and have made their homophobic views known ARE the Conservative party in the North West.

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

Carlos , if you are telling the truth then I am sorry and I hope your cousin is returned safely.

Cheetham HillSeptember 30th 2009.

Lucy Powell could be the most vacuous candidate ever? However distrustful we may all be of the Tories it is unlikely that they will surpass the laissez-faire ugliness of the neo-labour years.For the many in steady public employment it is very easy to forget the relative misery of many more,especially in our own city.We are seemingly the most socially divided in the UK, despite lots of city centre glitz and big buildings. Trickle down wealth from shiny city centres is very 1970s. Concentrating wealth is archiac however much you publicise the distribution of the crumbs. The Greens commitment to global survival and social justice looks increasingly rare but current MP John Leech is closer to this than most. I'm sure he wouldn't have been in favour of giving most of the nations savings to capitalists.Roosevelt used his moment to help society,we got robbed by another party of the right.

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

May I respectfully point out that one of the services provided by Manchester Public Libraries is on line access for library card holders to the full Oxford English Dictionary. To sooth you fevered brow after vigorous ranting, you can also have free classical music from Naxos Surely the underclass should be prevented from having these free services on their iPhones

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

I wouldn't worry Carlos , no British politician has the class , decency , guts and vision of Hugo. I only wish they had.

Simon TSeptember 30th 2009.

"Why should a lifetime unemployed oaf get to vote?" Is Prince Harry allowed to vote?

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Have you really just said all Greater Manchester Labour MP's 'passionately care about all of their constituents and making the world a fairer and better place'? Now, not for one minute am I suggestin all Conservatives are angels but M30 I don't even think you believe that is true.

casSeptember 30th 2009.

'O' I hadn't been oh here for two weeks until a day ago so you have probably posted on more than me. However that steralising idea aint half bad ;)

The Whalley RangerSeptember 30th 2009.

Exactly, nothing! They have dealt with the issue that 'hurts society to the core' by doing nowt about it...for how long now? On the issue of labour's approach to NHS and schools, I can tell you (I am in the industry): this is the biggest sell out to the private sector the world has seen. PPP's and PFI's are nothing but grorified contracts with private companies to facilitate public services and then sold back to the state at a very expensive lease. What happens when in 30 years time, these buildings are ready for an overhaul but they are no longer owned by the state? Disaster!

Tanya AfeSeptember 30th 2009.

Editorial could you watch this NoMoreInsideJobs person? He's obviously the 911 poster above. Although I suppose suggesting you should watch him might increase his paranoia.

ELSeptember 30th 2009.

Erm, Ron... Blair's Labour continued the selloff, and then some. You appear to be forgetting the sex and corruption scandals of the incumbent administration. They're both as bad as each other. This blinkered political fanaticism is truly depressing; vote on issues and performance, not a perceived ideology, please. But back to the point... are the Tories are better alternative to Labour? Do the LibDems offer any hope?

T CampbellSeptember 30th 2009.

Not sure what any of this has to do with the Tories getting a seat in Manchester. I think on subject that they have no chance this time, but given a successful result in 2010 and a clever first term then they may get a constituency in the following general election.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

I wasn't aware this was the Oxford Debating Society but I will watch my spelling from now on. When you're pointing out someone's spelling mistakes though, it's best not to make yourself look a total plank by changing the perfectly correct 'nett' to 'net'. What's a 'net contributor'? Do they provide the government with fishing equipment? Look up nett and learn.

ELSeptember 30th 2009.

It's been established that the unimaginatively-named one is a fanatical Labourite.

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

Simon, put Google down. Go out that door and speak to people and ask them. East Lancs is right it doesn't change the argument. Lots of people like me are getting cheesed off with the underclass and I personally don't see why, if they can't be bothered to contribute, they should have power to decide how the country is run. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Obviously we have differing political views, if you want to debate it then fine. However you still haven't answered the point I made regarding your boast about nursery places.

baggioSeptember 30th 2009.

the conservatives running manchester? doesn't bear thinking about. eugh!

suz aSeptember 30th 2009.

Such an amazing amount of bias on here! Wonder how many people actually do live in the Withington Ward who are commenting on here. I am one of those that do and will be voting conservative. In fact I know a number of them in the area. Secondly rightly or wrongly the Wintertons were very popular local MPs and before you say that any Tory would get voted in there, remember Neil Hamilton?The conservatives were voted in 4 times between 79 and 97. Someone was voting for them!

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

I sometimes think there's an element who miss the persecution. The Conservative party are obviously trying very hard to reach out to the gay community and make up for any mistakes in the past, if you think this is all part of a plan and once they're in they'll persecute gay people, then as the above ranter says - you must be 100! And to say 'a gay tory exists disgusts me' is an amazing statement given your obvious past fight to be accepted for what you are, in fact the comment disgusts me.

DescartesSeptember 30th 2009.

...except in Withington

MarcelloSeptember 30th 2009.

i am from brazil and i love living in uk, i cannot believe i get so much money for doing not much work , i think Gordon Brown is a good man , hope he wins another election, my relatives want to come heere to uk

The Ghost of TebbitSeptember 30th 2009.

So where are these policies? Ahead in the polls but nobody has a clue what they stand for? Amazing! Well, I'm old enough to know what a Tory is...Bad News.

And another thingSeptember 30th 2009.

The subtle change in JSA. If you've paid your NI and taxes for years, but then find yourself having to sign on, you're entitled to FAR LESS than those who haven't paid tax or NI. There's a simply disgusting distinction between "Income-based" and "Contribution-based" which means career doleites get everything paid for, if you've worked and contributed all your life, you get the very basic JSA. Guess which government slipped that cost-saving measure in? You got it!

Matt WSeptember 30th 2009.

To get somewhere back to the topic of the article, I live in the Withington ward and my guess is that the ward has more rocking house poo than tories! After voting Lib Dem all my life, I think I will be voting labour tactically next time, in the hope of (please god) avaoiding a tory commons majority and a return to the disastrous and most damaging government in living memory under Thatcher and Major: Unemploymented over 3m for much of the time; victimisation and deserting of many millions of people (inc. entire communities) outside London and the 'Home Counties' through the dessimation of mining, ship-building and other industries; sustained and grievous disinvestment in health and education, leaving our hospitals and schools rotting to the ground, understaffed and under-resourced to a massive extent; gerrymandering, cash for questions; 'back to basics'/slease; black wednesday; poll tax(!); abolition of the Metropolitan Couty Councils and theft of powers back to Westminster; and much more besides.If you're wondering why you see long-term jobless wandering the streets causing trouble, look no further than Mrs T who deliberately and maliciously led a campaign against the industires and sectors that would now be employment them if it was not for her intervention.

east lancsSeptember 30th 2009.

Leech highlights a massive flaw with our voting system; it often requires voters to vote AGAINST a candidate, rather than FOR the candidate they actually want. PR is rarely solid enough, but check out "Single Transferable Vote". It makes sense.

Simon 'one' TSeptember 30th 2009.

"Nett" - like your pre-Reform Act ideas on how to run elections - is archaic. According to Collins, the opposite of gross is "net". One T.

CCSeptember 30th 2009.

I appreciate this site for the food reviews and highlighting festivals and cultural aspects in Manchester. Obvibously the article above is to highlight the conference and should not start political debate on a website that has since been free from wa*k. Speak with your vote and stop ranting about politics. I suspect some of the comments above come from people that try and speak loudly in pubs to paint a picture of their intelect (or lack of depending of how you look at it) - In brief - 'Cas' get a life!!

Matt WSeptember 30th 2009.

Of course, I really should've proof read my pervious post and picked up at least some of the multitude of typos - most notably, I meant to say rocking 'horse' poo, not 'house'! To the pedants, I apologies profusslli!

Chris PaulSeptember 30th 2009.

What crap about nursery places. EVERYONE in Manchester can get FREE nursery places at THREE and it was THREE here when elsewhere was FOUR. There are childcare issues younger than that which Sure Start helps. But the childminder we used was (a) absolutely brilliant and (b) did not break the bank. There was a Tory on twitter earlier attacking free school meals for the poorest. That is what we are up against. Having said that I think even Chris Green (Con) would be better for Man Wit than John Leech who has been like a grumpy and half-arsed local councillor NOT an MP. Bloody useless, just doing the basics you'd expect anyone to manage and then campaigning to get himself back in. That is his biggest work effort. Lucy Powell would be 900% better i.e. ten times as good. If the Cons get in Leech would be useless. Pretending to be a lefty while Clegg served as Home Secretary in a Con administration. Don't know why anyone votes for the Lib Dems. In essence they have no politics they're mostly ust seat blockers.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

Who are we shooting? Stay-at-home mums or the BNP? :)

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

True but similarlyWard 1:Labour 30 K , Lib 20 K , Tory 10kWard :tory 30 K , Lib 20 K , Labour 10kWard 3:Labour 30 K , Lib 20 K , Tory 10k70 K lab , 60 K Lib , 50 K Tory 2 lab seats , 1 tory , no lib dem

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

I lack a funny bone.... I always take jokes seriously especially when made of Tories (now mutated into Cameroons.... wolves in.....)

lucky-chrisSeptember 30th 2009.

Vote for me.

toto schillaciSeptember 30th 2009.

Baggio, you work for a quango, don't you?

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

M30; where did I mention greed?

NoMoreInsideJobsSeptember 30th 2009.

The fact that murderous terrorists were or may have been involved does not negate 911 being an inside job. There have been inside jobs or false flag ops throughout history. The Reichstag ,USS Liberty and Gulf Of Tonkin incident being just 3 admitted inside jobs.

ChickSeptember 30th 2009.

Because not enough people vote for them..................

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2009.

So, Cas, the hard-working get the vote, the lazy oafs do not.But whaddabout those that have nothing better to do than bum about on ManCon all day posting ill-thought out nonsense?

CasSeptember 30th 2009.

I do see your point Ad, would be easier all round then if we just took them into a field and shot them ;)

JinkiesSeptember 30th 2009.

Least he's not bent like Blears, I predict a Tory victory in Salford

M30September 30th 2009.

M30, that person with the horrendous name who had their comment deleted did, I was responding to them.

east lancsSeptember 30th 2009.

"Nett" is the original form. Who cares? It's hardly relevant to this debate.

M30September 30th 2009.

Cas.. Cas.. Without getting down on my knees for one last time and fellating Hazel Blears on ManCon, I have to point out that we all have our prejudices, and I've observed you sneering at various sections from society via this organ. So if I can quote John 8:7 - He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.Anyway, my point is that whatever shortcomings Greater Manchester's Labour MP's have - they all passionately care about all of their constituents and making the world a fairer and better place. Is David Cameron realy going to care passionately about those living in sink estates in East Manchester? Is he going to care about state school pupils? Is he going to bring about the re-regulation of the buses? No. If Cameron gets in, the airport will be on ebay before you can say "Motorbike"

Carlos GarveySeptember 30th 2009.

i have lived in England 4 years now and it seems to me like this great country is going more and more downhill with its communist like policies ie euro intergration , quantative easing as they call it over here and Gordon Browns eagerness to spend as much taxpayers capital as possible ! wake up england , dont go down this socialist road or you will end up with a chavez too maybe you allready have one !

M30September 30th 2009.

That was a cracking post philwalker, although I still genuinely believe that Labour and the Lib Dems are better the devil we know and by and large care more for the country, the Tories merely want to protect the status quo and look after the interests of the elite. Cas: Sir Nicholas Winterton is just one example of a prominent "face" of the Tory party, particularly in the North West. What do you make of Lady Ann Winterton's remarks about there being too many Pakistanis in the country?

ThereGoesTheNeighbourhoodSeptember 30th 2009.

I didn't live in Withington back at the 2005 election. All I want is to vote for a Lib Dem candidate and see them win.Mind you, I am considering voting Labour for the first time in my life if there's a chance it will wipe that smug grim off David Cameron's face...

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