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Sleuth 20/07/07

Win a packet of fags, the Confidential position on Congestion Charging and the bailiffs move in on Manchester International Festival's party

Published on July 20th 2007.


Sleuth 20/07/07

Burnage Tandoori
Given the recent smoking ban Sleuth was delighted to find that the entrepreneurial spirit of Manchester is alive and well. Check out the menu below from the Burnage Tandoori. This place is offering a free packet of cigarettes with every take-away order over £15. Sleuth called to ask whether it was the Mughi Tukra (chicken fillet with garlic and ginger) which went better with the fags or the Balti Exotica (lamb, chicken tikka and prawns with fresh herbs and spices)? The management weren’t letting on.

Manchester Confidential Phone Line
Concerned about all the telephone scams in the news from the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV regarding fake prizes and fake winners, Sleuth has decided to take action. All those depressed by the tricky broadcasters can call Sleuth on 0800 547 8196. This gives them an opportunity to win a night out in Burnage Tandoori discussing the Congestion Charge with a Hollyoaks star of their choice and a free packet of fags. The prize which doesn’t exist will be awarded at 10pm but please carry on phoning until the following midday. Calls cost £1.99 a minute - all of which will go to a fighting fund to pay for Gordo’s meals. To enter answer this simple question: Why am I so stupid to enter these competitions? A) I am deluded, B) I am gullible, C) Onions.

Difficult places to get barred from No 1: Starbucks
Howard Sharrock, bon viveur and general good egg of this parish, likes it just so. Purchasing a coffee at the Starbucks on the corner of Tib Street in Piccadilly, he objected to an overflowing mess disfiguring his take out java. The manager argued back and it escalated. “Here’s your money,” said the manager finally, “I’ll take the coffee, now get out and I never want to see you in here again.” Apparently the poster below is being circulated across Starbucks worldwide: a sort of global caffeine ASBO. Sleuth has heard that Mr S plans to get banned from a launderette, a village fêtê, and the Buddhist Centre very soon.

Manchester International FreakivalSleuth was with his good friend Matthew Frost, the man with the joint best moustache in Manchester, the other day, discussing Manchester International Festival’s Il Tempo del Postino, the show which featured girls urinating on stage and a bull trying to shag a wrecked car. “You know,” said Matthew thoughtfully, “I think in a perverse way you enjoyed it?” “Exactly,” said Sleuth.

Cross-city travel
The Manchester International Festival after show party was due to be held in the Cotton House, the restaurant built in the wrong place at the wrong time on Ducie Street, Piccadilly. Ear to the Ground, the gorgeous pouting event organisers now sharing office space with Confidential, popped down to the Cotton House and started to set up. A moment later the bailiffs, accompanied by the Police, popped down to join them, closed the place down and gazed happily at the equipment which might help settle Cotton House creditors’ bills. Negotiations took place and after the bailiffs were shown delivery notes for the goods in question they backed down. The party went on after a quick shuffle across town to Relish bar conveniently positioned close to the Festival Pavilion. Everybody happy then - except the Cotton House of course.

US model behaviour
Sleuth would like to thank the blogger on http://ysr23.com/blog/?p=427 for this nice pair of pics regarding the Congestion Charging debate and the models who never were in the promo leafet. Remember in that document Terry from Rochdale, was a ‘self employed van driver who makes several deliveries across Greater Manchester from 7am'. And also likes ‘to go to football matches and because they are out of peak times, he doesn’t pay’. Of course Terry was really from the USA and no doubt calls football soccer and thinks Rochdale is the capital of Finland. Anyway our dear blogger found another pic of Terry celebrating his fee from the Greater Manchester local authorities.

Congestion Charging – a Serious Sleuth
The MEN’s headline today claims they’ve obtained ‘a leaked copy of the findings’ of the opinion poll on Congestion Charging which was supposed to be released on Monday. Sleuth found this in his inbox this morning from the City Council: PRESS RELEASE: The future of transport in Greater Manchester. Issue: Immediate. Embargo 8am July 20 2007. Some leak. It had arrived the evening before. Still the more important deal is this: ‘Among residents, 57% agree with the principle and 32% disagree, among businesses, 47% agree and 38% disagree.’ Not a clear majority but enough of an endorsement for the local councils to proceed to Parliament with a more concrete proposal.

Congestion Charging – the Confidential position
Sleuth can let readers know that Manchester Confidential has agreed to support the transport infrastructure proposals as long as the promised pre-delivered package of massive improvements is in place before congestion charging starts. The councils of Greater Manchester need to work out a method whereby the public can trust them that this is the case as a matter of urgency. Manchester Confidential doesn’t believe there should be a referendum: we vote people in to make decisions. A full article will follow on Thursday.

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

BoJuly 20th 2007.

all this schtick about being anonymous and lacking the 'cojones' to call yourself by your real name is a bit rich from the man who goes under the name of Sleuth is it not?

CymanJuly 20th 2007.

Just whom, how many, & what demograph exactly did they consult to gain these so seeming 'favourable' figures to support congestion charging? Manchester City Council Staff? A 'fait accompli' I say to gain revenue, but beware City Centre Rate Payers on how they will first gain the capital funds needed to impliment!

SleuthJuly 20th 2007.

You're right he's got lovely eyes.

JamesJuly 20th 2007.

Some of these comments here are a bit odd about the site, isn't it supposed to be a bit of fun? Anyway I think Il tempo at the Opera house was very good and yes it was it a bit extreme but made some interesing points about the audience and the performers relationship in an age were we can all be performers via the web and reality tv. I hope the international festivla when it returns in 2009 as brave again.

mirandaJuly 20th 2007.

I didn't know channel m had been done for fake phonelines too. tell us more sleuth

ADIJuly 20th 2007.

The pamphlet had actors. The "poll" is obviously rigged, as no one I have met knows anyone who was asked, and no one Ive met agree with the charge. It will be introduced unless we become French for a few days and occupy the city. Who will decide the improvements are good enough for the charge to start. My guess ...GMPTE. Where will the money go ? To the pockets of private transport companies. Citizens of Manchester ....Is this what you want ?

mirandaJuly 20th 2007.

What with Mark Garner threatening to sue himself for libel and Sleuth simultaneously libelling channel m, today is a good day for Manchester lawyers.

SleuthJuly 20th 2007.

Channel this and Channel that. Total slip of the keyboard. Corrected as soon as you brought it to our attention Miranda. Thanks for that and apologies to all concerned we like to be loved by one and all. And by the way Miranda, would you like to be our pro bono legal advisor?

Mark GarnerJuly 20th 2007.

Go on, as it's just sleuth and it's Friday lets have a little fun. David, my apologies about the over sixties jibe, you can see that even we have to put up with silly twats as readers, eh anon? Come on eh, show us how big yer red pencil is you little ray of sunshine.

Sue PJuly 20th 2007.

I work for a business in Altrincham and I was surveyed on the phone by a firm called Aspect Marketing on behalf of AGMA. They told me the contact list had come from the Chambers of Commerce.The question design was so poor, the survey results could not accurately reflect my opinion. I was so incensed I wrote to Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority to point this out and to give my opinion on RUC. I sent my email on 23 May I am still waiting for even an acknolwedgement, let alone a reply.

Sleuth fan reallyJuly 20th 2007.

Yea Bo, I expect Sleuth is a real person. I think he lives at 15 Bridgewater Street, Urmston. I think he probably is a Private Eye. And I think he does dress like that and carry a camera as shown.

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJuly 20th 2007.

To David Ottewell, I think you are a superb journalist, and as you say a real journalist, and of course we knew that about release dates and we wanted to provoke a reaction. So why was it so important to get this poll news out three or four days before the Monday publication? Sometimes it's not important at all to do the scoop, it doesn't change anybody's minds, it doesn't make the debate any more informed. I just wish the MEN would come out one way or the other in favour or against the Congestion Charge. And next time I see you at five-a-side at Whalley Range I'll get my boys to take on yours and we'll wup you.

Rob AdlardJuly 20th 2007.

As we're talking about what serious journalism, I can't help thinking its perhaps not your job not to come out on any particular side yet. I think my questions Mark were valid and not rehtorical - I was asking if in suporting it you have resolved or found answers to all the questions which are preventing people from supporting the charge. The MEN David can of course can do a great deal to help this, why can't we have answers to things like the reason Sir Richard Lease went from saying the Congestion Charge would never happen and would be hugely damaging for the city and region to supporting it - what changed, we need to know. We need to know the details and the figures he is so reluctant to release, or did he leak them to you so you could make up your mind? Surely we all have the right to know, he has qouted different figures for the vlaue of the TIF insisting it was 1.4 Billion, when all other records state 1.2. He wouldn't say how much it would cost to set up, what the annual running costs were, whats worse than witholding info is if he actually doesn't know!The Congestion Charge is not the best way of borrowing the money, we need to look at alternatives, and we're in this state anyway because of New Labour's reluctance to fund infrastructure in the regions - delays with projetcs like Metrolink create the huge cost, where they could have been completed if the funds had been released 10 years ago. We don't have a fraction of the infrastructure that London did before it introduced their CC which hasn't worked in actually reducing congestion, or being a big money spinner. If ours is going to work better, lets hear how. I think its perfectly reasonable to oppose this until more convincing arguments are made. I found it odd that everyone trashed the idea of selling the airport. Its the worst performing airport of its kind, other local authorities that sold their airports do better under private ownership, without huge council tax hikes. Its not the best investment of the money, it simply fulfils socialist ideals of the council feeling they are 'sharing the wealth' as Sir Richard put it, with the people of Manchester. The only good reason Sir Richard seemed to have for not selling it is that our council tax bills would rocket - this is shocking, it means we're getting dreadful value for our money if the only way we don't have the most expensive council tax in the country is to subsidise them from airport dividends! The tax-obsessed socialist republic of Manchester rolls on....

David OttewellJuly 20th 2007.

I'm the MEN journalist who wrote the congestion charge story. The poll findings were originally due for release next Monday. I got a leaked copy around midday on Thursday. I went to AGMA/GMPTA for a quote. A relevant spokesperson told us that, as a result of the leak, they intended to bring forward the release of the figures. We said that would be completely unfair. Clearly, they've decided to put something out anyway, with an embargo as a (not particularly acceptable) sop to us.You can quickly and easily check the truth of this account with whoever sent you your embargoed release. Ask them if they know who leaked the figures to me (they don't). Ask them if they wanted these figures to come out as and when they did (they didn't).In the meantime I'll get on with the journalism.

Mark GarnerJuly 20th 2007.

Wow, a lot has gone on here since I went for a pint last night.

mirandaJuly 20th 2007.

and while I'd love to accept the position of advisor on matters of politeness and honour at mancon it's more than one woman's work I'm sure.

Sleuth FanJuly 20th 2007.

Ooooh Mr Ottewell... a little tetchy today aren't we?

JohnJuly 20th 2007.

"The councils of Greater Manchester need to work out a method whereby the public can trust them " , may I suggest all the mendacious politicians on these councils resigning en masse might be a start. We all know that there is absolutely no chance of the councils putting the revenue from the congestion charge into the sort of clean, efficient, cheap public transport that the region so desperately needs. As soon as they get their greedy little hands on the money it will just disappear into that black hole that exists in every town hall in Britain.

johnJuly 20th 2007.

bad manners were miles better

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJuly 20th 2007.

Barry, opposite of that. We love our product we don't think it is crap in the least. Far from it.

BarryJuly 20th 2007.

...just to clarify - not the joe 90 stuff! Careful you don't do a Ratner Gordo.

AnonymousJuly 20th 2007.

surely not?!?!! The editor must have more important things to do. I always thought it was done by an intern or something.

HenryJuly 20th 2007.

so when you take the p*ss out of posters its ok. when anon takes the p*ss out of you its attcking. right. all anon did was point out that garner acts dumb sometimes then smart the other times. is that not true? doesn't he refer to anon as a twat? and I'm always told to stop reading too cos I slag things off. do you stop reading and commenting on the men when you do nothing but slag it off. behave and grow up you imbecile. savvy?

CliveJuly 20th 2007.

Interesting for Confidential to agree with the Congestion Charging. Still open to the idea myself, but why not have a referendum. This is a seriously big issue, nobody is saying have a referendum for every thing that councils need to do, but a mortgage of £1.8bn on the Greater Manchester councils for 25 years to help pay for the improvement is a huge burden to carry. A referendum would put a pause on the decision as well. To me it seems to have been announced and delivered with remarkable speed. The poll is very convenient.

David OttewellJuly 20th 2007.

Is that what a writer would call a non-sequitur? Alas, as a mere fact-checking, story-finding journalist, I will never know.Have a good weekend,D

SleuthJuly 20th 2007.

Dear Anon, aren't we taking ourselves a little seriously?

Mark GarnerJuly 20th 2007.

he he... that's the other difference, you posh journalists know what non-secatuers are as well as get to go home on a Friday...

Rob AdlardJuly 20th 2007.

Yes who was questioned? I don't know anyone in the city who has taken part in this survey, and it is so hugely from others, such as the Federation of Small Business finding 98% of their 200,000 plus members against it.Why not have a referendum? They're afraid of the result thats why....when turnout in the city centre to vote in council elections is 16% I wouldn't say its a sufficient endorsement of the system and a referendum would give added confidence in just where people stand on this. It certainly doesn't have the support of the business community (apart from Manchester Confidential of course) so we can take it these were all residents in some location that were asked in this survey?As I've said before, the question is not IF we need investment in our transport, but how, and is setting up a hugely expenseive tax the best way of borrowing the vast amount of money involved? Lets hear the council come clean on the figures as they seem to have done their best to not say, or misrepresent them so far (with Sir Richard Lease quoting different figures above the official value of the TIF fund) Will it indeed cost about 450 million to set up and 150 million per year to run, with a revenue of 50 million per year? Will it do better than London's charge in preventing car journeys where traffic is now back to 98% of the original. If its going to be so much more succesful that that lets hear how? Presumably ManCon hasn't just decided this on a whim that they support it, you must have answers to these questions that the rest of us don't know?

CliveJuly 20th 2007.

Is that what van drivers girls look like in Rochdale?

mirandaJuly 20th 2007.

Me, I'm just a fan of good manners.

mirandaJuly 20th 2007.

seriously though, you should probably think about apologising before you get in trouble

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 20th 2007.

Barry is a nice name especially for that little island near Cardiff. Anon is horrible though and means diffidence, no cojones or if not that at least lacking the imagination of Secret Squirrel.

m poolJuly 20th 2007.

I'm not sure if I'm being thick here so maybe you can put me right Bo: you're saying that the editor and sleuth are one and the same? And that the editor is having a go at people for posting anonymously in response to the column that he himself writes anonymously? I'm sorry but I think the irony of that would be too rich, even for mancon.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 20th 2007.

So a guy or a girl or an alien or a creep called Anon is attacking Manchester Confidential. Right Anon this is what we are trying to do here: present an alternate view to the established Guardian Media Group (but only when we have to because of course we will inevitably agree on so much). Now we may not be to your style Anon so you have: a) the option not to read us, b) the honesty to give your name. If you don't give your name you are: a) a coward, b) a coward. Reveal thyself. Fact: Gordo is the publisher, I am the Editor. All the content here is my bag, when he disagrees he might fire me but until then I decide what goes on the site. Savvy? Pat Karney we love you because you give your name. And we will have that Castlefield debate on 1 August, looking forward to what we can do with this key city area. And we never ever censor the readers except for obscenity and libel. Never. Ever.

wayneJuly 20th 2007.

I could be cynical about these comments but I'll hold fire because I also believe that are some good politicians and this seems like an honest attempt to deal with the transport issues, particularly the region's uncordinated badly regulated public transport.

BarryJuly 20th 2007.

Have to say that I agree with anon.So that'll make me a silly twat too.What's the difference between 'anon' and 'secret squirrel'? Both are anonymous - just like barry.

Mark GarnerJuly 20th 2007.

Rob, we have had a look at this one ad infinitum. i think thats the term. Jonathan and I shall publish a joint statement next week and as usual give everyone the right of reply. We may or may not be popular but we will declare where we stand. Good to see you chipping away by the way, you are showing commitment which is good.

AnonJuly 20th 2007.

Good work again Garner. pesudo-intellectual one minute, debates about democracy, Dickens etc, then pseudo-thicko 'non-secatuers' (how very amusing)the next. Calls people pompous, then is pompous. Your response seems to be dictated by the best way you can belittle someone who's pointed out a mistake. Your lack of a a fixed position just shows your lack of principle. How the weasel twists and turns etc.I'm so gonna get it now, aren't I? I'd go for the 'my, we are taking ourselves a little seriously attack'. I love that one.

cllr.pat karneyJuly 20th 2007.

What ever next--media fall outs in the city.I presume Man Con and the MEN will be leaking to us soon at Town Hall Towers. Can't wait.Why so many anon postings? Lets hear from real people. Thanks Shaun Ryder

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJuly 20th 2007.

David, keep up the good work and thanks for posting. Of course whether your organisation are led by the authorities I suppose depends on policy decisions about various issues which is fair enough. I feel that Sleuth's job is to be cheeky, wry, have a laugh and if that occasionally riles people (which it clearly does) then job done. Sleuth is as somebody pointed out on an earlier posting a private eye, if not Private Eye quite yet. One day maybe because it's the sign of mature city when it can laugh at itself without getting personal. We should arrange a five-a-aside match by the way although I feel the MEN might have a bigger pool of players to pick from than Confidential.

trevJuly 20th 2007.

It's odd that you always expect the worstfrom politicians. They are capable of doing remarkable good too. I support the charge.

SimonJuly 20th 2007.

I think Sleuth might have a bit of a thing for Channel m, the amount of times he mentions them. A crush on Andy Crane perhaps?

SahJuly 20th 2007.

There was a Chinese take-away in Bolton once which used offer to bring the wine from the offy for you. Given the smoking ban that's perhaps a better way for the Burnage place to go.

WayneJuly 20th 2007.

Did they the Burnage Tandoori tell us which type of fags they were supplying? And what's the limit of their deliveries?

David OttewellJuly 20th 2007.

Jonathan - it's fine. At least we are all clear now. You'll appreciate that it's important to me that people know (a) that we're not passing off hand-outs as genuine exclusives (which this was), and (b) that we are working hard to get information and break stories, and not simply be led by the authorities. Do scoops matter? Interesting question and one that's too big to address here. But proactively hunting for stories definitely does. Anyway, like I said, we're all clear now and it's forgotten. But beating my lads at five-a-side? You will be hearing from my lawyer...

SleuthJuly 20th 2007.

Sorry Miranda, that was Channel 4 not Channel M.

Jonathan Schofield- editorJuly 20th 2007.

Henry I love you and at last we can talk. Hey we should talk. We are the writers, do you wish us to be bland? What do you think we should do? And aren't we allowed to stir it up a bit?

ShazJuly 20th 2007.

Trev, good point. Let's see how the thing proceeds now. I would rather lead the country with an initiative like this then follow another part of the country in th future. I also think that Manchester and other towns have had some really good, decent hard-working politicians trying to do their best and sometimes really making a massive difference.

secret squirrelJuly 20th 2007.

Anon-LOL....MG/Gordo, I think the "Mcr's answer to Michael Winner" routine is starting to become a bit obvious....Pompous, lack of principles? Aren't those the qualifications for becoming an MP? :-)SS

Mark GarnerJuly 20th 2007.

When Sleuth comes back from his lunch, I will give him a jolly good telling off Mr. Ottewell. Nice to have the difference between my writers and you journalists pointed out, clearly my writers are the ones who get read by people under sixty.

AnonymousJuly 20th 2007.

I cannot believe the government want to yet again penalise the workers of the city, They bring in a congestion charge and who loses out yet again but the law abiding citizen who works hard for a living. How about making a standard charge on all prescriptions for the people who cannot be bothered to get a job. Stop making it so easy for the lay abouts and make them contribute!

JohnJuly 20th 2007.

No, Trev, it's not at all odd that we expect the worst from politicians, it's realistic. Would these good, decent hard working politicians by any chance be related to the toerags who recently tried to extend the parking regime till midnight seven days a week, a totally indefensible attempt to extort more money from parking charges which they attempted to justify with the Orwellian arguement that 'it would make it easier to find a parking bay' ?

AnonJuly 20th 2007.

How unfair SS (with those initials, unsurprising): Gordo/MG could never resemble an over-fed, ruddy-faced, pocket-full-of-bungs, Tory shire MP. Perish the thought. Just as his editor, Joe 90/Jonathan Schofield, certainly would never resemble his pointy-headed, party wonk/research assistant with a penchant for...I'll stop there

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