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Sleuth 06/07/2012

John Leech MP to be sold off, flower opportunism, David Starkey abused, 21st Century problems

Published on July 6th 2012.

Sleuth 06/07/2012

SleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @Sleuth

John Leech, MP, To Be Sold Off - up to 50p may boost Council coffers 

Thursday this week and John Leech, Liberal Democrat MP for Withington, (pictured above) told the MEN that thousands of artworks presently in Manchester Art Gallery storage might be sold off. The Art Gallery is owned by the City Council. The works include some by Turner, Rembrandt, Pissarro and Hockney. 

"People can ask to view them," said Leech, "but I wasn't aware that they had millions of pounds worth of art not on display. The council needs to look at all the options including selling some so the people of Manchester can benefit through improved services."

Now, Sleuth can reveal, John Leech MP, may be sold to offset council cuts.

A Liberal Dumbdownocrat spokesman said, "We're thinking of selling Mr Leech and donating the proceeds to Manchester City Council. Mr Leech is seldom seen, especially in Manchester's art galleries and while he can be viewed by people nobody is presently asking to do so.

"Because of his tiny majority of 1,800 which means he'll get voted out next election, and his propensity for speaking before thinking, we would like to put him on the market."

The National Audit Office have confirmed that Mr John Leech, MP, might make up to 50p for the city.

Leech sucks blood from GalleryLeech sucks blood from Gallery

Sleuth's Flower Bed Miracle

Sleuth always knows when the Britain in Bloom judges are about to descend on Manchester - apparently 25 July this year. He knows because he has the Lincoln Square barometer. This is when that drab brick flower bed in Lincoln Square receives a bit of love. For most of the year it lies ugly and forgotten right next to one of the most photographed statues in central Manchester, that of Abraham Lincoln. Then as judging time comes round, it blossoms. Sleuth isn’t sure making it pretty for visiting judges rather than year round for the people of Manchester is in the spirit of things. Do the judges know?

Usually a right mess, but hey presto! The Britain in Bloom people are comingUsually a right mess, but hey presto! The Britain in Bloom people are coming

Sleuth's Opportunism Of The Year - Part Two

Following the story above, Sleuth appreciates more opportunism. An operator at The Trafford Centre has created the largest bowl of strawberries and cream in the Universe. It costs £450 but you get to keep the bowl. There's vintage champagne mousse, mandarin ice cream, a brandy snap basket and strawberries handpicked from Cheshire. Gordon McKinnon, director of operations at The Trafford Centre said, “I was lucky enough to try this extra special dish and it is amazing! The perfect excuse to come and watch the Wimbledon finals here on the big screen.” Ah that's the reason for all this thinks Sleuth, who has no doubt that not a single one of these £450 bowls will be sold.

You get to keep the bowlYou get to keep the bowl

Ashley Cole Leads Way On Great Bridgewater Street

Sleuth is pleased to note that Great Bridgewater Street has re-opened meaning that people can once again traverse east and west under Beetham Tower. This may not last for long. As soon as weather permits the much delayed big crane to replace 21 windows at £30k a pop in Manchester’s tallest building will be arriving. So enjoy the access while you can, as Ashley Cole did here - or rather the man modelling his England kit.

Cole's shirt accesses Great Bridgewater StreetCole's shirt accesses Great Bridgewater Street

Tourism Hit By Birds

There are many crazy reasons why guided tours can't go ahead. But problems with the fastest birds on the planet isn't normally one. Recently a lady-guide of this parish was on track to take people on a tour of Manchester Town Hall clock tower and spire. But she fell prey to a bird of prey and its right to a family life. Brooding peregrine falcons are nesting up there, and while clearly not disturbed by the Town Hall bells, can't face humans with cameras billing and cooing over the views.

Can you spot the peregrine chicks?Can you spot the peregrine chicks?

Sleuth Finds Himself Under A Viaduct With David Starkey 

So Sleuth was walking down the Bridgewater Canal close to Britannia Mills when he came across some graffiti under one of the bridges. Amongst the various scrawls one stuck out. It read 'Make David Starkey History'. Starkey is the very conservative historian famous for his TV series about The Tudors but also for controversial comments following last summer's riots. Sleuth has never seen anti-historian and anti-scholar spraywork before. He's pleased that we seem to be getting a better standard of graffiti in the city. 

Scholarly anti-scholarly behaviourScholarly anti-scholarly behaviour

Sleuth's 21st Century Comment Of The Week

Lynda Moyo, Body Confidential editor, said: "My nails are so long I can't use an iPad anymore." Tamar Smith, our Marple Confidential correspondent replied: "That's a proper 21st century problem."

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

Simon TurnerJuly 6th 2012.

John Leech? Ha ha. He's one crazy dude. Not only is his suggestion the mark of a total Philistine (educated at MGS??) but it's also based on a misunderstanding on his part surely? All museums and galleries for reasons of space only have a proportion of their items on show at any one time; the rest of the time items are loaned to other galleries or come out when required for particular or special exhibitions.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Peter CastreeJuly 6th 2012.

Quite right, Simon. There is not a gallery in the country which doesn't hold most of its works in store. In addition, the art works in question are not the the City Council's to sell. They belong to the people of Manchester.

paulsouthernJuly 6th 2012.

Manchester Art Gallery used to loan out stuff to the public. We're going back 20 years though probably. I had a Bridget Riley and a sketch by Matisse hanging on my living room wall at various times. You got them for 3 months and I seem to recall it costing £8 per year. Probably insurance worries put a stop to it?

Jeremy SmithJuly 6th 2012.

I had the pleasure (?) of meeting Mr Leech and his colleagues the other week. I came away from the meeting ready to embark on a career in politics, after all if he can do it then who can't ? I pleased to report that I later came to my senses.

Seriously the man is a fool who continues to pursue petty local matters that should be left to his councillors and should go get on with dealing with the bigger issues.

Perhaps a suitable role for him will be tied to a lamp post on Alan Turing way with his 'official pardon' petition.

Edward CrossJuly 6th 2012.

Hear Hear Sleuth! on the subject of Mr Leech

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

John Leech. Grrrr, he robbed me of my seat in 2005 telling his little porkie pies.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Whoops, meant to put John Bradley MP on that one rather than anon...

Ed CaseJuly 6th 2012.

It was Keith - now Lord - Bradley... and a jolly decent sort he is, too.

MotorSportsFanJuly 6th 2012.

I guess we only have ourselves to blame but why is always the corrupt or the utterly stupid that make it in politics?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Charlie BJuly 6th 2012.

I think the crap ones make it to the bottom while the good ones rise to the top. Like life

SleuthJuly 6th 2012.

John Anonymous Bradley that's brilliant.

DavidJuly 6th 2012.

John Leech views on swelling of the art are idiotic but then so are you,with your snide,biased anti-Lib Dem comments Mr Schofield.The ruling Labour Party are equally as hopeless,as witnessed by their nearly £50 million of un collected tax every year,while they cut services.But you Mr Schofield don't make such comments about them.You are nothing but a self interested hypocrite.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Richard HJJuly 6th 2012.

I wish you'd stop mincing your words sir.

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 6th 2012.

I thank you. But Sleuth wrote this. He's a composite character.

DavidJuly 6th 2012.

You clearly want Manchester to be even more of a one party state than it already is.Are you a member of the Labour Party,do you benefit from business from them?.You are clearly not in the slightest bit objective.You don't tar the whole Labour Part as idiots when one of them proposes something stupid like with Library Walks.
This is the problem with democracy in Manchester both The Daily Mirror owned Manchester Evening News and you lot Manchester Confidential,are unwilling to cross the Labour Council.You may criticise an individual decision,but you cannot imagine in your limited minds any other party running this city.Labour do win here,but on a level of voter turnout that makes the whole experience a total sham.Liverpool, and London are not always run by Labour,do they do things worse?

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Thought it ws Lord Bradley ? now or whatever John Bradley calls himself in the lords !!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

The former MP for Withington was Keith Bradley.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Yes totally agree David, im getting sick and tired and so are the weary down trodded electorate of hearing what failures the LibDems are, Labour have had a 40 year majority at the town hall and they are still f***** up yet because red=working class alledgedly, the voters keep falling for the "its the governments fault" bullshit. We also worryingly hardly have any impartiality in the MEN newspaper yet alone these pages, so give us greens/tories/UKIPs/etc a break and start getting soundbites off us lot. Why not interview a few active Green Party members or Tories. Might be a refreshing change for your readers. Mr Schofield are you also in Labours back pockets?? They seem to have bought off everyone else!! Labour are not to be rejoiced by a longshot now is the time for change and credible alternatives. Stop quashing the opposition its not helping democracy to flow as it should. The levels of power this lot want to wield is getting more and more disturbing. We non labour voters are finding we cannot even report their actions as they get investigated on a local level by other labour bods! How on earth is that democracy when they wont even take a stand for fear of not toeing the party line. Why do
es everything have to be about effing politics.

Simon TurnerJuly 6th 2012.

My guess is that if a Labour MP proposed selling off works of art from the city's collection they'd be criticised by Sleuth. It's not to do with being a Lib Dem it's to do with being daft.

Malcolm HandleyJuly 6th 2012.

Oh dear - the pseudo politicos are at it again - nowt better to do but argue and wander off the subject. We are talking about an idiot here - not a LibDem/Tory/Labour idiot - just an idiot who never bothers to view a topic through two eyes when one will do,

paulsouthernJuly 6th 2012.

Manchester Art Gallery used to loan out stuff to the public. We're going back 20 years though probably. I had a Bridget Riley and a sketch by Matisse hanging on my living room wall at various times. You got them for 3 months and I seem to recall it costing £8 per year. Probably insurance worries put a stop to it?

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

How bloody dare you, Jonathan Schofield, satirise Leech's philistinian proposition. How dare you. That clearly means you are in the back pocket of the Labour party. Your coverage on pay and display parking and Library Walk certainly prove how much of a Manchester council lickspittle you are.

I am a Liberal Democrat. There are not very many of us left in Manchester because people don't vote for us. But the only possible reason for that is because Manchester people are stupid, and the media are all ranged against us. It has nothing to do with the fact that we are morally bankrupt, we lied to the electorate and we are cutting vast sums of money from the poorest in society while giving a tax cuts to the richest.

Why should the council not sell everything? The town hall, the art gallery, the paving off the streets. Perhaps we can get people in receipt of social care and remove their fillings to melt them down too. Make this city a wasteland because why shouldn't we because no-one here likes us. And then I will scweam and scweam and scweam until I'm sick.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidJuly 6th 2012.

They have the third worst record on collecting local taxes in the country,over £ 50 million.If they did their job properly their would not need to be ANY cuts.Their cuts are just cynical attempts to heap blame on others.
Also they did not have to spend a fortune on refurbishing the Town Hall and they own over 50% of Manchester Airport which is worth at least one billion pounds.
Also who has been in charge of this city it's not been The Librrals or the Tories or the greens.But it seems it is their fault.They are not the ones who got staff issuing parking tickets 24 hours a day now.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Yes, Jonathan's in the back pocket of the council and the Labour Party... That's why Mancon didn't have a campaign against the parking charge. And didn't have one against Library Walk. In fact, there isn't even a piss take of the Lady Di Memorial Garden on this very page.

Oh, wait...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidJuly 6th 2012.

He is biased.He may criticise individual actions,but never their right to run this city.Take a look at what was written on this website after lib Dems lost seats council last election.He was gushing over Manchester being all Red and suggesting the Party should be based here as a result of our loyalty to them.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2012.

David, the Liberal Democrats were obliterated at the polls here last May. And the previous May. You guys need to go away, all get together and meet (you don't need much room - a phone box or a Mini would do) and consider if, just maybe, it's not the Labour Party, the media or even Jonathan Schofield's fault that you've been wiped out. But rather your own. Then, get a bit of humility, apologise to Manchester people, and come up with some policies that might actually appeal to us.

The suggestion that there is no need for any cuts in Manchester is absolutely ridiculous. Your government has cut vast sums of money from the poorest local authorities in the country in a way that is hitting and hurting the poorest in our society. Anyone who lives in this city and has even the most passing acquaintence with the less well off can see that. Do you live in Cheshire or something?

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

You should be applauding Mr Leech for exposing this deranged lot keeping this stash to themselves. They will have known about these art treasures worth millions for a while i bet, whilst giving us all severe austerity measures in the meantime, i mean, they could have hardly imposed their own version of the cuts and then announce they have this lot could they? The sooner they go the better, they couldnt organise a chimps tea party let alone a city. They also have rare Chaucer books too and other original bookish delights in the underground of Central Library that they dont advertise much too either (understandably so i suppose in this bent crime ridden city) which are now at a secret location.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

I think there are very few books in the basement of Central Library at the moment, my strange little friend, as it is currently being refurbished. Perhaps the "secret location" you refer to is that Bond Lair that is City Library on Deansgate? Or do you mean in the salt mines in Cheshire where the books are being stored before being returned to Central Library when it reopens? Or perhaps the moon?

Kevin PeelJuly 6th 2012.

I think the city would have to pay someone to take John Leech off our hands.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Just a couple of years left to go, councillor... Less, with a fair wind...

DavidJuly 6th 2012.

You are a fine one to criticise Mr Peel.Exactly how how people bothered to vote in your council seat?.Yet you no doubt get all the benefits of being a member of the council.Why don't you resign and save the people of Manchedter some money.You certainly won't be missed anymore than him.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

I couldn't make my mind up about Mr Leech for a while.

Then I read about how he was caught driving around in his mini without road tax. Rather than hold his hands up and admit to being a wee bit busy and making a genuine mistake (like we all do) and for which he would have earned my respect for being honest, he blamed it on the Royal Mail and claimed not to have received his reminder.

It might sound petty but to me I got the impression he is untrustworthy and would rather blame somebody else for his oversight than accept responsibilty for what is an everyday oversight.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Although I do accept that Royal Mail do lose post (about 0.1%), I just don't believe it in the case...

AnonymousJuly 7th 2012.

Would we enjoy reading Sleuth if he was not so opinionated and.............funny?

SoapysudsJuly 7th 2012.

I do not know why people are criticising John Leech for, when the council is pulping 1,000s of library books?

DavidJuly 10th 2012.

One wonders if Mr Schofield will be calling Labour,Blunderlabour in his next Sleuth column in the light of their having to pay out substantial damages in compensation to the promoters for cancelled reggae concert back in 2008.Also will he be asking his Labour mates on the council to answer the accusations of the promoter Mr Forrester that the Labour council is only interested in having rock concerts in its parks?.Some people may interpret that as being racist,not wanting black music events in the cities parks.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2012.

Sleuth is not me he's a composite character but David I think you're lovely.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

David = Zzzzzzz

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