"Last Wednesday afternoon I was sat in front of my computer and thought `I'm not very happy with what's going on around Salford at the moment'" Victoria Connett recalls "So I set up this Save Salford group, added a few of my friends and then it just went through the roof…I think all this is a step too far for everyone."
Victoria, and virtually everyone in Salford, was horrified last week when plans were announced by the Boundary Commission to wipe Salford from the political map. The constituency of Salford would no longer exist – some parts going into Leigh, other parts going into Swinton, and Salford itself, from Langworthy to Ordsall, including the Quays, going into Central Manchester. This on top of Kersal and Broughton which were already taken out of Salford before the last general election and shoved in with Blackley.
"People have strong political views and are very protective over Salford" Victoria explains "I think for them and for me it's a step too far because once you change the constituency and it becomes Manchester Central they're going to end up saying `We don't really need a city of Salford with a council any more'. Get rid of that and Salford's gone."
For Victoria, Salford's already being eroded…
"I started piecing things together in my mind, like Chapel Street and the University putting Manchester on its logo, and now the boundary changes…Is it all behind closed doors - one little step at a time to eradicate us?"
She's obviously hit a chord in the city as her little Facebook group has grown and grown, and now become a huge political snowball that even Salford MPs and councillors are trying to board. The media are on the case now too, as the group grows by around a thousand new members every day.
Indeed, so many people are posting comments that people's e-mail in-boxes are getting clogged up with notifications… "I know" says Victoria "My friend just got back off holiday and he said `I've had 35 e-mail notifications in about three minutes – what's going on?' I just tell people now to switch off the e-mail notification option on the group site.
"It's still growing and now that we've got the group it's time to do the action" she adds "We're trying to move it off Facebook by doing press interviews, and my plan is to work with other people who have the same goals as me. The Black Lion pub has backed us and the Salford Music Festival people are happy for us to come down with petitions and raise awareness."
The group has applied for a formal e-petition from the Government and is in the process of producing a petition that anyone can download and take around their workplace or mates. T-shirts are also being produced for sale and there are plans for some sort of actions. But Victoria draws the line at a protest march for the sake of it. For a start, where would the march go – Salford Civic Centre? It's not Salford Council destroying its boundaries, nor is it Manchester…
"This is not an attack against Manchester, and a lot of people don't realise that it's not Salford Council doing this either" Victoria explains "It's the bigger picture of the Government supposedly cutting down expenses but the Tories are taking away mainly Labour strongholds, funnily enough, and a lot of people need to be aware of that.
"We may have a march to the public hearing in October but you only need one or two people to kick off, that's how the riots started and I don't want my name on anything like that" she adds "It's very early stages and it will all take a lot of organising."
But Victoria is prepared to do it with the huge support she's garnered in less than a week. It's to Save Salford.
"People think that our city status is being taken away which it's not, it's just being taken from the political map" she concludes "But I feel that in the long run that's where it will lead, that's just my opinion."
And the opinion of well over five thousand people at the moment – and it's growing every minute…
To join the group search SaveSalford on Facebook.
The public hearings on the Boundary Commission changes are at the Britannia Hotel on Portland Street in Manchester on 11th and 12th October – click here for further details.
You can also write to the Boundary Commission to protest against the proposals – for details click here
See Previous Salford Star Articles...
* Salford Disappears In Boundary Changes - click here
* Save Salford facebook Group Launched - click here
Photo by Steven Speed