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Labour Cleans Up: MCR Becomes Single Party City

Jonathan Schofield interviews Sir Richard Leese about an unprecedented reddening

Written by . Published on May 31st 2014.


Labour Cleans Up: MCR Becomes Single Party City
 

"IF you find a Conservative in Manchester you should put him in a glass case," said one of the greatest nineteenth century British statesmen, John Bright.

After the recent local elections in the city of Manchester in 2014 it's time to find a glass case for the Liberal Democrats. And all the other parties. 

Manchester has 96 councillors, 95 of whom are now Labour. As for the 96th, he's Independent Labour, and he's called Henry Cooper. If he's going to be the opposition he'll have to punch way above his weight. 

It's Raining Red

 

It's raining red - thanks to the Manchester Evening News for the pic

So while it was UKIP here, UKIP there, UKIP everywhere, Manchester was different. There was a bit of a UKIP surge, particularly in Moston, but nothing to dislodge Labour.

For the first time a major UK city has become a one party administration. Manchester is politically the reddest place on these islands.

The turnout, by the way, was 37% and in line with the national turnout. This was better than recent local elections, but it was still a meagre number. The city centre shamed itself with a 17% turnout.

Liberal Democrats wipe out and Green shoots?

"Was the result from 22 May down to the failure of other parties or an endorsement of Labour in Manchester?" I ask Sir Richard Leese, the leader of the city council's red hordes despite his football affiliation as a fully signed up Blue.

 "We gained over 57% of the vote share," he said. "That was down a little on two years ago but still a strong endorsement of what we have achieved and want to achieve. We campaigned well across the city and got the reward."

 Sir Richard Leese

 

Sir Richard Leese (on the left)

 

 Was he shocked by the way the other parties performed? 

"I wasn't shocked by the result," says Leese. "At the moment there is no natural opposition party. We had the Liberal Democrats as some sort of opposition but even before this year's results most of the intelligent examination of policy came from within the Labour Group."

He pauses, "In fact I don't think there are any natural Liberal Democrats. It's a don't-know-what-to-vote party that's paid the price for broken promises nationally. I know people who voted for them at the last general election who despise Coalition polices and now say 'I didn't vote for a Tory government'. They're finished for a while." 

Lib Dem prospects according to the Council Leader

 

Lib Dem prospects according to the Council Leader

We tried to get a response from the Lib Dems to this savaging but the phone number listed on their website was saying 'calls are currently not being connected to this number'.

Leese is right about the lack of natural opposition in Manchester. A look at the second places to Labour is revealing.

The Greens came second in thirteen wards, UKIP in eleven wards, Liberal Democrats in six, the Conservatives, BNP and Independents came second in one ward each. Most of these were very distant seconds. 

That lack of a clear front-runner even for second place shows how chaotic the political position behind Labour has become. 

Dick Venes of Manchester Green Party says, "We were pleased by our increased share of the vote to 12%, 20% in some wards, and look forward to gaining places in the Council in the not too distant future - perhaps. We could be the natural opposition but given the disparity in money resources between ourselves and say, Labour, that is difficult.

"We campaign on principles and policies, on spreading the wealth across Manchester and not being fixated on the city centre and the Airport for example. We don't have the big party machine of the others though, its hard to get our voice heard. This year it was worse with the media obsession with UKIP."

New political dawn in Manchester

New political dawn over Manchester

'UKIP are nasty, rightwingers'

After the Greens with eleven second places came UKIP - the reason for the Labour Party's slightly reduced share of the overall vote. UKIP gained less than 8% of the vote share, lower than the Conservatives in Manchester, although they stood in fewer wards. 

While UKIP were the national headline makers, in Manchester they only came close to success in Moston, losing out by 137 votes.

"Does the Manchester result, as with London, reveal a divide between the big UK cities and the rest of the nation?" I say. "Manchester it seems to me has benefited from immigration in recent years. The hollowed out parts of the inner city are being occupied by people who bring dynamism, activity and aspiration - although of course there can be problems. What seems clear is the perceived anti-immigration rhetoric of UKIP doesn't seem to play so well in big cities."

Leese can't restrain a chuckle.

"The UKIP communications director said on Radio 4, after last the results, that the party does less well in London because people are more diverse, younger and better educated. It was kind of her to underline the truth about UKIP."

(UKIP Party spokesperson Suzanne Evans actually said it was the'educated, cultural and young' who'd ignored UKIP in London. But Leese isn't too wide of the mark). 

"It was close in the election in Moston but remember until fairly recently much of Moston Lane was boarded up," says Leese. "Immigration might have been an election issue that affected Moston but immigration has brought new life as you say. We need to keep reminding people that UKIP are a nasty, brutal, rightwing party with policies underpinned by racism. We need to get that message over."

"If you were in a marginal ward or constituency that might not be so easy to declare. You might be more circumspect," I say. 

 "I disagree," says Leese with force. "I think much of the UKIP success has come from pandaring to them, especially from the Conservatives. Immigration is all UKIP are known for, other parties have been trapped into the same single issue. Meanwhile businesses and universities and sensible commentators keep telling us that UKIP's anti-immigration policies are a nonsense."

"So the message is immigration is good for Manchester and we should celebrate it?" I say.

"Immigration has been good for Manchester and the whole country," agrees Leese. "Immigration from other parts of the UK and overseas has been part of our success. In Manchester we need to upskill our present population but we also need people coming in from abroad with new ideas. The indigenous population is aging too, so who will pay pensions in future years?" 

Historically he's right, althought the use of the word 'upskill' is disturbing. In Manchester progress has often been led by 'incomers'  from home and abroad - just look down the list of the University of Manchester's 25 Nobel prizewinners. 

Graphene

 

Graphene Nobel prizewinners: Geim and Novoselov, 'incomer's' both

Cities have always sucked in the talented. They've always sucked in populations looking for better opportunities. It's a two way street. Cities need new populations as much as the incomers need cities. As people move out of inner areas, new populations move in. So it goes and has always done.

It remains to be seen whether UKIP can grow the close result in Moston into a council seat. It remains to be seen whether the attitude of Sir Richard Leese will eventually see them off.

Steven Woolfe, a North West MEP for UKIP, originally from Moss Side understandably didn't approve of Leese's language: "As one of the country's best paid councillors and leader of my city of birth, Manchester, it is a great regret that Sir Richard Leese has descended into the less palatable side of British politics.

"This level of abuse matches the level of misunderstanding of UKIP's fair and ethical immigration policy that is based on non-discrimination and listening to the public's honest demands for a more balanced migration policy. It is supported by candidates who come from the broad range of British society which reflects the public's views on this issue."

Woolf describes himself as a "mixed Mancunian" selected by UKIP "on a national membership vote, not by any positive discrimination list". He offers in his long statement to debate the issues with Sir Richard Leese. We'll pass on that offer.

Steven Woolfe UKIP MEP

 

Steven Woolfe UKIP MEP

How does a single party city police itself?

"Perhaps the biggest problem people have with the election result in Manchester is the death of any opposition in the council chamber. Given your total domination how will the Labour Group police itself?" I ask. 

"Remember we do have 95 opinions in the Labour group, 95 individuals, all with their own ideas," says Leese. "Unlike the Parliamentary party, all the councillors vote on the policies and initiatives we pursue.

"We're also seeking new ways of opening up the council so, for example, we always start full meetings with a presentation from someone outside the administration. Recently we had a presentation on youth unemployment. This enables people and professionals with other skills to help us make informed decisions.

"There are unwhipped motions from Labour councillors too. A motion on the Living Wage was adopted recently. Personally I'd also like to make sure executive members of the council get a tougher time inside and outside the Town Hall. This election result places a big responsibility on us to make sure we stay close to the electorate. We need to make sure councillors are aware of this."

 "To stay close to the electorate means you have to listen," I say. "There's chatter around the city that once the council has made a decision then any subsequent consultancy is a sop, tokenism."

Leese says: "I believe our track record is all about listening to people. If things aren't working then let's have a look at them. That's been our way."

We talk about consultations concerning the swimming pool and library closures, city centre management and so on. Inclusion and social justice is mentioned.

We disagree on whether the council has truly listened to much of what's been said after its edicts have been delivered.

"It's ok to say you were wrong on occasion and change tack?" I say at some point in the circular argument.

"But we do reconsider," says Leese as city centre traffic management rears its ugly head, in particular Deansgate.  

Road traffic management stupidity - how to create hazard where there wasn't one previously

 

Road traffic management stupidity - how to create hazard where there wasn't one previously

"I am going to look into the pavement extensions at Liverpool Road and Quay Street," says Leese. "We've received numerous comments that these might be dangerous, so let's see what needs to be done."

"With on-street city centre parking," he says, "I commissioned a survey following your (Manchester Confidential's) articles and the results of the survey supported our case. City centre visits are up and higher than in comparable centres across the country despite your fears of on-street parking extensions damaging the city centre. That's us listening if not agreeing. At the same time I'm aware things need simplifying with parking. There are 12,000 NCP car parking spaces and yet no two-car parks have the same rates. It needs to change."

I mention that the obsinate and purblind nature of the response to criticism of the dreadful mistake of the Piccadilly Gardens' 2002 refurbishment doesn't auger well for any self-policing.

Leese points out the success compared with the sunken gardens that formerly occupied Manchester's largest central public area. I counter by pointing out the gardens were so hideous any change would have seen improvement in usage figures especially tied to a surge in visitor numbers.

Pushed on the notorious wall, the wayward fountain and the 'lawns', Leese says, "we can only enact change when there is the money to do so."

This is the clincher. There are so many pressing issues in management and maintenance and essential sevices but the City of Manchester has little money and more cuts are looming.  

The local media don't cut it

Looking back over the interview I realise I should have talked more about social justice than relative frippery such as Deansgate, but the answer to the issue of how will the Labour Group police itself - the reason for the interview - seems clear.

Despite all the reassurances of listening, consultation and innovative council sessions there are no guarantees. 

The electorate of the City of Manchester, the ones who could be bothered voting, have created a one party state - if not technically, given there are other parties to vote for, then in reality.

Sir Richard Leese's words on how an opposition-free Manchester city council will work aren't reassuring. Truth is there is no real mechanism in place to rigorously examine Labour Group policies. Within legal boundaries they are now their own judge and jury.

It gets worse. It's hard to see how decisions made at the top can be effectively challenged by members within the 'back benches' of the council given the formidable control character of the executive.

So it's clear what the City of Manchester requires then, isn't it?

It needs a tough Fourth Estate to scrutinise council policies, to examine the Town Hall.

Sadly there is no such Fourth Estate in Manchester. Does any UK city still have one?

Most local media is no longer up to it and doesn't seem to care either. The changed world of digitalisation has left the media bereft of resources and worse bereft of the will to challenge the local establishment. 

At best the Manchester press and broadcast media is now reactive, relying on leaks rather than legwork, at worst it is obsessed by Corrie stars, footy players and crime stories to the near exclusion of anything else. Maybe some amateur might stumble upon something and 'blog' it to a few hundred like-minded people but then it will probably fade into the white noise of the internet. 

It seems we must learn to trust our councillors completely in Manchester.

An idea

Or is there another way?

Surely the Labour Group in Manchester, deep down, can see a blanket Labour representation carries a bitter taste, smells bad in a democracy.

Here's an idea.

To counter this unwelcome 'first' for a major UK city, maybe the council should deliver another 'first' for a Labour administration and campaign for proportional representation in local elections. At least then we'd be guaranteed some opposition in the council chamber.

Don't hold your breath though. 

 With council leader, Sir Richard Leese so scathing of the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, it seems he won't be leaping at the opportunity to open a Town Hall door to them soon. 

Dodo In A Case - Or Manchester's Political OppositionThe Dodo OppositionIn Manchester we host the People's History Museum, which is also branded 'The Struggle For Democracy'.

Oh the irony.

In this radical free thinking city of Bright, Cobden and Pankhurst, where people at Peterloo died for the vote, democracy has eaten itself, and delivered one party, one vision.

Maybe the People's History Museum can add to its exhibits, the glass case holding the last Liberal Democrat, the last elected opposition. 

And finally...how long might Sir Richard Leese continue as Leader?

There was a momentary aside as we chatted Labour's domination. 

"After 18 years as Council Leader, you're no spring chicken. Have you thought about retirement from the post?" I said to the 63-year-old Sir Richard Leese

"There's still a lot of work to do," he says. "While the Labour Group have confidence in me and while they want me to say leader - and they all have a say in that - then for the time being I'll continue."

Leese lists some of the work he does nationally with the HS2 campaign, the Core Cities group, the Association of Greater Manchester Councils, the Airport and so on and so forth. It's very impressive stuff. You can't deny his energy or his intellect or his position nationally.

"Even George Osborne (the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer and Tatton MP) recently complimented the work we've done in Manchester. While we disagree with him and what he's doing, we'll still take that," says Sir Richard Leese.

I recently took a group of Northern European journalists around the city and mentioned the Council Leader's length of tenure. They were astonished. Most of their respective cities give leaders a maximum of two terms. 

"Don't worry," says Sir Richard Leese, "we won't have a gerontocracy in Manchester."

It'd be pleasant to have a more diverse democracy.

But remember the Labour Group is only so dominant because it was voted in by the people of the City of Manchester. And getting voted in is what political parties are all about after all.  

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Forward together as the one and only party

 

Forward together as the one and only party

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

AnonymousMay 31st 2014.

I think being 'Leader' since 1997 is a damaging prospect. If you dare criticise this pseudo 'Labour' 'establishment' you are automatically branded anti-Manchester and anti-Labour. There is a real crisis where this one party does not listen, is evasive, stonewalls, works only for its leaders interests, leads to lazy, sometimes abusive (of any questions or critics) and defensive politics. I am very concerned when I see Leese paid by Peel holdings and surviving a crisis in 2010 which had it been any other leader in any other party all of this lot would have attacked mercilessly and would have ended other careers. This is the politics of self-preservation and absolute power! I hope people vote tactically in 2015. It's a sick non-democracy. See companycheck.co.uk/…/directors-shareholders&…;

AnonymousMay 31st 2014.

On what planet!? "Leese says: "I believe our track record is all about listening to people. If things aren't working then let's have a look at them. That's been our way."

SoapysudsMay 31st 2014.

No mention of the Bedroom Tax, and why the council implemented it whole-heartedly, with carrying any inspections of properties? Why is Manchester, particularly North Manchester, one of the most deprived cities in the UK? Why has Manchester one of the worst life-expectancies, especially for males? Why are council/social housing being needlessly, just to build 'homes-to-buy', no one can afford? Why did the council, axe so many front-line services, especially as Manchester is a deprived city? The Labour Party has not been left-wing for a long time, and Manchester Labour, is as blue as the Conservatives, not red.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Peter CoppingJune 1st 2014.

You would not expect ManCon to ask such questions which are NOT important to the it's readers, who can afford the commercial services which provide the revenue than finances ManCon Usually any report or comment in Man Con on such topics provokes an outbreak of Class War. You know ...chavs.....scroungers....feckless etc.

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

What essential public services do you want them to let Eric Pickles Cut then? What properties do the Council own- that would be none.

AnonymousMay 31st 2014.

Love Manchester but actively looking for jobs in London. Sad times. In 4-5 years this will be the undoing of Labour in Manchester. By that time Birmingham, Leeds,Liverpool and London will be well ahead. As for listening....library walk....Piccadilly gardens?...arrogance beyond belief.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Peter CoppingJune 1st 2014.

Why leave when you can move to Tory Trafford and still be within a mile and half of the City Centre but you never need to venture there. In London you could make me an offer for my (in need of tarting up flat) in NW3 ( Labour Council of course since reorganisation.and Glenda J as MP) Good luck.

AnonymousMay 31st 2014.

The one party state of Manchester Labour is setting itself up to be the poster boy of the Conservatives.

Say NothingJune 1st 2014.

I will only post once and so people can criticise what I've experienced, my writing style, the length of this, my 'right' to speak out, my assumed character as they will. I have had such negative experiences with campaigning but it won't stop me at all. I have met other campaigners with similar experiences and great pessimism and anger. Not only is there a Planning Crisis in Manchester, there is a crisis of scrutiny and questioning the status quo. My experiences from the beginning (as a faithful Labour voter a few years ago) have damaged my faith and opened my eyes as to why people ignore and feel disenfranchised from politics. From questioning a Councillor for blatant hypocrisy (that upset many) I felt bullied and attacked which only made me fight back harder to keep my right to my opinions. I won't be 'done' like that and will NOT be a complaint sycophant to a Hubris syndrome! This tirelessly self-promoting individual from the outset was poor at responding, disrupted meetings and knows little that could constructively help anyone. Friends who have run campaigns say it is purposeful that Cllr's 'hijack' campaigns to either rail-road them, use for promotional advantage or to censor critics. I complained about a wealth of social media, that has now been deleted and is a confession of how offensive some of this was. As it was considered 'personal' media even when the complaint accepts it wasn't, there was no process in place to deal with the totally inappropriate way of responding. The bullying of other parties and individuals was sickeningly hypocritical. This complaint has led to the Council introducing a new guideline this summer for social media from individuals accounts. Because I complained this individual tried to ban me from campaigns and try and turn friends against me, who support me and had no respect for him, so it spectacularly failed. This sense of 'hijacking' campaigns many tell me about I believe is the Council wanting to quash any freedom or scrutiny. It is also noted this individual constantly takes credit for what others do and leads to a lot of anger. The close relationships and how people rise in this party need to be observed VERY closely. Other Councillor's I regularly see are abusive to individuals, bullying and blatant hypocrites of their 'espoused values'. The Council is appalling in general at responding, some Councillors and departments (most) never responding to our campaign before we even became sinfully 'critical' (how dare we). We were told as we did a public survey and FOI, the Council was 'furious with us and will not cooperate. Absolutely a one party state, run with self-promoting, disingenuous fools, with the most appalling disorganisation and total inability to engage or listen again and again. A very depressing experience all in all and though I am vocal, people had better believe, we are NOT the only ones. But has it deterred me? Hell no. It has made me more determined that we the public must be the scrutiny these 'leaders' need. Give them a chance, as this important article says, they'd be no opposition, the 'mock' right to reply will be obsolete and the unimaginative, flawed and mediocre will be become the norm and make Manchester's great potential as that of 'Blandchester', it's demise and ruination. Please become the Scrutiny that is lacked and get involved!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Sorry, what?

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Total political power on 57% of the vote, is just not right folks.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

Agree entirely, time for a Town Hall revolution...

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Our local newspaper should be at least commentating, if not campaigning, about this Ghostly Tom. But thanks to the present trustees of the Scott Trust, a vital part of Manchester's civic pride has been "sold down the river" to a City of London media conglomerate that has no instinctive feeling for our city. Where are all the Manchester commentators now? (Thank heavens we've at least got MC & Jonathan Schofield. Yes thanks Jonathan for writing such articles.)

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

True...the Manchester Evening News has been woefully silent about lack of democracy in the city.

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Seeing as only a third of the country actually voted I'd love to know the demographics of the Manchester voters.

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

I'm not sure Manchester hasn't got any UKIP councillors because the population of the city is better educated than elsewhere. Manchester's state schools are dreadful and the city has high levels of unemployment and poverty. It ranks high for sickness levels, short life expectancy and obesity, not usually traits of an educated population. Apart from enclaves in places like Chorlton and Didsbury I'd bet that Manchester's population is much less educated, skilled and qualified than most areas of the country, including those areas with some UKIP councillors.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Yet in neighbouring Trafford, where the political parties (Labour & Tory) "really do" compete for power, the social & educational statistics are so much more respectable. Sadly Manchester is now not only a one party state - but we have no functioning local media anymore, that can be ars*d to hold our council to account.

Mark FullerJune 1st 2014.

I was delighted with the local election result from Trafford. Perhaps Trafford Tories could instigate a long term (probably very long term) Conservative fight-back in neighboring Manchester, by targeting certain seats: perhaps in Didsbury or Chorlton.

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Trafford Council would do a far better job of running Manchester than MCC. Young Mancunians would all receive a far better education for a start.

Mark FullerJune 1st 2014.

As councilor Leese says, Manchester is such a vibrant, diverse,perverse, cosmopolitan, community hub, it's impossible to imagine a fascist, nazi , raaacist party like Ukip ever gaining a foot hold in this city. In fact if you live in the fashionable areas in the south of the city it's like being on one big foreign holiday, and the cheap labour and restaurants are just wonderful. Of course not everyone feels this way, not even in enlightened Manchester. Just because Mancunians haven't as yet turned to Ukip in large numbers, doesn't mean they will not do so in the future. Ukip did well in some traditionally Labour urban strongholds, notably South and West Yorkshire and also the West Midlands. The tensions currently being seen in Page Hall in Sheffield, where violence has occured between British Asians and new arrivals from Rumania, could erupt in any large town or city. In many parts of England, it is working class Labour or former Labour voters,not nasty right wingers, who in desperation at the deaf ear repeatedly turned by the establishment, are increasingly turning to Ukip. For many,many years Labour have got away with dehumanizing and demonizing Consevatives as bigots , toffs, heartless, callous and so on. The working class, inculcated with socialist class hatred, especially in some of the northern and Scottish cities, have often uncritically taken this poison on board. But the same tactics are not going to work in relation to Ukip. They see Ukip reflecting their own concerns and also their often deep sense of patriotism. Unless Richard Leese and the rest of the Labour establishment change their delusional attitudes, and change them quickly, there soon will be an opposition to Labour in Manchester, and that opposition will be Ukip.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
TerpJune 1st 2014.

'Rumania'? UKIP ALERT

Mark FullerJune 1st 2014.

Romania sorry, thanks Terp. By the way, I'm pro immigration, but also pro the indigenous working class,that's my background. I remember Gillian Duffy the staunch Labour voter from Rochdale having her concerns on immigration arrogantly dismissed by Gordon Brown during the 2010 General Election campaign. It's people like her in the north of England, who are now voting Ukip in their droves. This time next year, Nigel Farage and several other Ukip people may well be sitting as M.P's in Westminster. The mainstream parties only have themselves to blame.

AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Hilarious comments, if the people really wanted something other than Labour they'd vote for it in large numbers... They didn't.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 1st 2014.

Perhaps after the realisation of what this means they will in 2015. Far larger numbers did not vote because politics seems pointless and to them it seems a choice of bad, bad and worse. I hope this power position backfires when people see the glaring cracks of a form of Labour that does not listen, is arrogant, lazy, controlling, out of touch and wasteful. Perhaps people will open their eyes. A rare hope, perhaps these 'officials' might begin to listen. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

If people felt their vote actually counted they would vote. And they did of course but their votes were ignored with 3 parties not represented on the council at all and the 4th woefully underrepresented.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

42% DID want something different from Labour but their votes were ignored.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

Nice to see a picture of Councillor Karney dancing on the grave of democracy in Manchester. If the voting of Manchester residents had been honoured the council would look like something like this....Labour - 61, Greens - 14, Lib Dems - 13, Tory - 8, UKIP - 8. Under the present system 58% of the votes gives 89% of the seats on the council. This is not democracy. If the other parties were given their proper number of seats they could be a proper opposition to the Labour, out of touch, political elite in the city and we might just get a council that reflects the political demography of the city and not just 58% of it. If Labour does believe in democracy and look forward to them giving up some of their seats and allocating them to the other parties. I won't be holding my breath. Labour have a very vague idea how democracy works.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

I really like your posts Ghostly Tom as intelligent and thought provoking alongside your blog. Unfortunately you are a just and intelligent visionary so at odds with all that is not right. If only people like you were heard so some of your ideas were adopted. We all know they'll defend their power and control to the end and fairness will not get a chance. The only way out, is people believing they can vote against this big bully that doesn't listen, hear, see or care.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

Thank you for the comment. Just, intelligent and visionary are not adjectives I've had attributed to me before! And, apart from just, they are not ones that I attribute to myself. I'm just a person who is passionate about my city. In the 19th century Manchester fought against the anti democratic rotten boroughs and helped gain political recognition for the growing industrial towns and cities. It's time Manchester led the way for democracy and unilaterally brings in PR so that the council ACTUALLY reflects the wishes of the electorate. The present situation is a disgrace and a stain on Manchester's democratic credentials. And if people felt that their vote counted you would get more people voting. At present voting in an election in Manchester is about as useful a use of time as voting in North Korea.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Can I vote Ghostly Tom next time?.....No comments from Joan D or Kevin Peel on this page. I guarantee they've read it.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

Are they part of the PC Labour elite that rules, sorry runs the city? You can't vote Ghostly Tom next time because I would never have the patience to deal with the kind of politicians that put their party needs above the needs of the city and the people they are supposed to represent.

GerrardJune 2nd 2014.

PC elite? Oh dear.

Ghostly TomJune 2nd 2014.

Weird comment there @Gerrard that doesn't really add anything to a discussion

rinkydinkJune 2nd 2014.

The city centre shamed itself? No - it rightfully rejected the whole bag of sh!t

SamJune 2nd 2014.

Well done Jonathan. Something Manchester needs to read. So much of Manchester media is under the thumb of this lot. Would never see something like this in the MEN. Seeing the false accusation if you did not vote Labour, you voted UKIP arising in comments. Absolutely never. I voted Green and Pirate. Time for some variation and much needed scrutiny.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Daily Mirror Local (Manchester Edition) would be a more apt name for our local newspaper now Sam? Yobs, celebrity, wild football rumours and Labour Party propaganda. All very sad. Thanks so much for this Guardian Media Group.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Forget riots, there's a civil war coming. If that's what it takes to get this country back on track then so be it. We will rise like a (Pat) Phoenix from the ashes.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

The city centre councillors are wastes of space, but we've no decent choice. I felt that my vote for another party was in vain & was unlikely to make any difference to what the outcome was always going to be. The fact that they're such a smug and arrogant bunch doesn't help matters.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Disagree with you. Joan Davies works very hard for us in Castlefield. And I don't vote Labour.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Joan is good to talk to but as tied up in the failure of the system as anyone else. She is also mature enough to have experience, wisdom and listening skills. I have no opinion on Beth yet. For me merit is always on an individual basis. As for pompous Peel he does little in this city, is ill informed, wants all the credit and will only do if it is for himself. He only subscribed NQ forum residents to the list if they were Labour which shows how actively some of Labour seek to quash any opposition like zealots. If Peel spent less time tweeting, trying to get into the NEC, working to kiss up to everyone in national Labour and actually did the job he was paid for and be a Councillor for the ward now and got some humility... but that will never happen. Perhaps he should focus on writing Political Machiavellianism for Dummies. Hoped he go for the EU elections so we might actually get rid of him than lumbered with him for the next four years come 2015.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2014.

Joan might work hard for you in Castlefield b/c she lives there herself. I live by the Locks and asked for her assistance and she barely responded to my emails. Kev Peel did the same. I only got anywhere with either of them when I suggested that I would bring my issues up at the ward co-ordination meetings.

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Kev Peel is useless far too busy updating twitter and trotting the globe to be concerned with Manchester

Poster BoyJune 3rd 2014.

Manchester’s Labour Party should be congratulated, not vilified, on its overwhelming victory, just like the electoral success of Liverpool’s Militant Labour Party should have been celebrated in the early 1980’s. Weirdo Ed the wannabe Red would sell his father’s reputation for a 57% share of the vote. The problem is not with Labour, it is the idealistic bankruptcy of the mainstream opposition. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should be hanging their heads in shame, not just at the paucity of their relevance in England’s second city but also their complicit perpetuation of a failed electoral system. And as for the suggestion that Manchester Labour should campaign for local election PR, you will be suggesting that turkey’s vote for Christmas next...

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

We have an excellent team of Labour Councillors in the city centre with Joan, Kevin and Beth Given that two of them have full on jobs and Joan does contract work they work incredibly hard They are very passionate and committed and quite prepared to challenge the Town Hall They are the best we have ever had and miles ahead of the last lot A big fan Pat

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Kev Peel are you having a laugh and don't even get me started on Super Karney

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Sorry. Isn't KEV currently unemployed? Probably some karma in that Karney. He's the worst YET!

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Above from Pat Karney

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

Lets be honest the Tories could eradicate unemployment and scrap all taxes and Labour would still have a strangle hold over Manchester. A lot of people don't know any better and simply vote out of habit (because they have always been Labour). Democracy in Manchester is well and truly dead will pillocks like Super Carney (saviour of the CC - all talk and no action) ruling the roost!

AnonymousJune 3rd 2014.

More trams and more bins will get us out of this mess.

AnonymousJune 7th 2014.

Oh the irony! #CllrKev now the 'King of Waste Disposal' (wow accolade) thankfully rejected as lead of LGBT Labour for Carl Austin. Perhaps Labour in this city can learn after all? No longer self-proclaimed 'King of Communities' but now the 'King of Political Trash'. Justice. More ironic for such a twitter bully, anyone who questions #CllrKev hashtag he tries to report/ block. Sad freedom of speech only goes one way for this future 'leader'.

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