Star date: 25th April 2012 


A couple of weeks ago the Salford Star sent all ten candidates the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge, thirty probing questions to find out where they stand, what their personality is like and how much they actually know about Salford and its issues.

By last week only three candidates had responded but our `chicken' article pushed three more into responding. See what the six candidates have to say -Out of touch or on the ball? You decide…

Click here for full details…

Salford Quays Cranes All Materials of Value Removed Stalinford
Salford Money Man
click image to enlarge


So, only six of the ten candidates who want to be Mayor of Salford could be bothered to fill in the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge, thirty questions that aimed to go beyond campaign propaganda and find out where they stand politically, what their personality is like and how much they actually know about Salford and its issues.

There were policy questions, campaign questions, some fun questions and even a few trick questions chucked in to see how they would respond. They each had no more than four lines to reply, to stop reader boredom creeping in. 

Our `chicken' article (see here) prompted some more candidates to reply and the six candidates who responded were…

Ian Stewart – Labour Party (LP)
Joe O'Neil – Green Party (GP)
Norman Owen – Liberal Democrat Party (LD)
Michael Moulding – Community Action Party (CAP)
Michael Felse – English Democrats (ED)
Pat Ward – Independent (I)

So, without further ado let us see how they measured up to the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge in no particular order…

QUESTION 1: If elected Mayor what salary would you take?
This question was aiming to gauge their motivation – just in it for the money?

Michael Moulding (CAP): I understand I am entitled to receive up to £100,000 per annum in law that is allowed. I will ask for no more than £35,000 pa meaning a saving of £65,000 pa!

Norman Owen (LD): Between £65,000 - £75,000. This is based on my salary when working as chief engineer and also my current council allowance.

Pat Ward (I): I would accept the salary that is being offered to all elected Mayors (except the London Mayor) but I would be open to discussions regarding performance-related aspects of this wage.

Ian Stewart (LP): Whatever I am given. I want nothing to do with setting the wages or expenses if I am elected as City Mayor. I came through the Parliamentary Expenses debacle with a clean bill of health, but it left a scar. Therefore: I am on record as stating that a totally independent body would decide and impose the wages/expenses. I mean it!

Michael Felse (ED): TBA as the level is not set. My policy will save millions of pounds including passing back 50% of council tax to local people which puts my worth towards the higher end of a Mayoral salary scale. With much to do but all achievable it puts my personal expectation in being the full time Salford Mayor at £72,500.

Joe O'Neil (GP): 50% reduction on current Leader's salary.

Question 2: Peel Holdings are `a necessary evil'/`just pure evil'/ `a wonderful, wonderful company' – which of these statements is closest to your views?
Will any of the candidates have the balls to stand up to Peel?

Norman Owen: A necessary evil.

Pat Ward: Peel Holdings contracts have not been managed well by the council leaders and the number of jobs created has not met the expectations of Salford people. I would not choose any of the above statements.

Joe O'Neil: A necessary evil

Michael Felse: None. It is unwise to categorise potential investors.  Salford is in a situation where property parcels are privately owned.  The Mayor has to work in the confines of the law but can bring in protective powers. My way will create a Salford Green Belt Charity run by local people that best protects all Salford.

Michael Moulding: What about "an unnecessary evil?" ie They will be treated no differently under my stewardship than any other organisation. Salford first, Salford last. They can like it or lump it!

Ian Stewart: None of the above!  All Companies/Developers would be treated with an equitable approach. If their proposals benefit the People of Salford and their Families they will be considered for support. If on the other hand their proposal is deemed not to be of benefit to the People of Salford and their Families, then rejection will be considered and implemented!


QUESTION 3: What's your most dastardly plan for Salford if elected?
The candidates' chance to expose their hidden agendas…

Pat Ward: Not exactly dastardly but I do intend to review all senior positions.
Ian Stewart: I think the Star has been watching too much Dastardly and Muttley on children's TV!!! Ok so I'm a bit out of date! Or is it Dick Dastardly and are you calling the election process "Whacky Races Now?"

Michael Moulding: If I could return the city to the County of Lancashire! It's where the city belongs! Forget Greater Manchester it's false!

Norman Owen: To remove the magenta colour of the city and replace it with the green and gold that were the colour of the buses.

Joe O'Neil: Match peoples pay to results, slash the consultants, and make sure people understand we are Salford, not the last bus stop to Manchester.

Michael Felse: Dastardly plan is an unusual phrase but fits with my belief that each ward in Salford needs 20 Community Directors, new posts, entry requirements (not open to council executives, must have community experience, voted in by local residents, pay £40k) to head up social enterprises in their community.


QUESTION 4: If elected Mayor will you save the cranes?
Deliberately vague, to see if they knew about the peril of the blue cranes on Salford Quays…

Ian Stewart: I have an emotional tie to the Cranes. I worked at the TGWU office on Merchants Quay for years looking daily at the Cranes. They remind me of the Industry when Salford and Manchester were in their 'Pomp'. But more important they remind me of the blood sweat and tears shed by the Dock and related workers. However, hard decisions on protection of the most vulnerable – People first always

Joe O'Neil: Yes my old fellow worked on the docks God rest him, sick to death on how this city is being ripped apart.

Michael Moulding: Absolutely YES!

Pat Ward: If elected, I will consult Salford people on this. What Salford is missing is community input. If the people of Salford feel that the cranes are a local landmark and want to protect them, then it's important as Mayor to represent the feelings of Salford people and protect the cranes.

Norman Owen: Yes.

Michael Felse: Fact is the metro tram line runs alongside the cranes that have been deemed past restoration. If they fall onto a tram with people inside then Salford Council can face a manslaughter charge. For safety reasons I will remove the cranes and hold a memorial dedication ceremony to workers with a boat pageant.


QUESTION 5: Is Eccles dead?

Norman Owen: In present state, yes.

Michael Felse: No. Eccles is capable of an amazing future because it has pride, identity and courage to survive.  What is needed are opportunities that do not see the only option as car park interchanges, shopping malls or any acceptance of broken promises as a given lifestyle.  Local people have the power to inspire change.

Michael Moulding: Not yet, but if this council has its way it soon will be!

Pat Ward: It was very busy around the area of Morrison's supermarket, but it is sad to see the main precinct was so empty. I was campaigning and reminiscing about the old market and Dollycraft. Eccles was a hive of activity in those days and could be again if the right person is elected.

Ian Stewart: No, In spite of government efforts, Eccles must be revived. A new E.M. [Elected Mayor] will have to deal with what exists. EM needs a long term Co-operative Partnership Approach strategy which the residents of Eccles help to develop and have ownership of. The key to that is Residents, Politicians, Council Staff and others working together to identify, develop and achieve the Vision.

Joe O'Neil: Yes.

QUESTION 6: Are too many of Salford Council's decisions made in secret under `Part 2'? If elected how would you change this?

Michael Felse: Changing this is an integral part of my SalfordGate inquiry. I am the only one candidate calling for the inquiry, but considering I was the first whistle-blower that caused the wave that became the Donnygate inquiry (with arrests of 21 councillors, some hit with jail sentences) my reason to end secrecy is proven.

Norman Owen: Yes, better understanding with partnerships is needed. No deals behind closed doors.

Ian Stewart: Not in a position answer the first part of that one. I don't know yet. However, my approach to change would be consistent. I would want to know what has been – what is the situation now – consult as widely as possible – plan change – consult and review – then decide and implement – then review and modify if necessary. This is the only way to develop 'change for the better'.

Michael Moulding: YES. Look at the procedures preventing disclosure to ensure more decisions are publicly available and I have been known to leak a document or two. Don't believe me ? Google Mick Moulding - "I am the mole".

Joe O'Neil:  Open the doors so the public can view what goes on behind closed doors.

Pat Ward: Yes there are. If elected, I want a community driven council so there will be transparency in all decisions and only items that are going to have a detrimental effect on Salford or our residents by being released will go into Part 2.


These are the candidates' answers to the first six questions of the thirty. Over the coming days we will hopefully learn about their views on the Salford riots, MediaCityUK, Swinton, Urban Splash, the Salford Star, poverty, trade unions, Barbara Spicer, their own egos and the Higher Kersal Lake Project…

Four candidates didn't take up the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge – Paul Massey, Independent; Bernard Gill, UKIP; Edward O'Sullivan, BNP; and Karen Garrido, Conservative.

See Salford Star Mayoral Challenge Day 2 - click here

                                                           Day 3 - click here













at 16:59:15 on 27 April 2012
An insult to the ANT HILL MOB . At least the AHM knew what they were doing in the Wacky Races , unlike this bunch of self-serving parasites .The only interest this sorry bunch of wasters have in Salford is how far they can get their snouts in the Taxpayer - Funded Trough , just like the inept leeches who have destroyed this City . Just more of the same bullshit . Come on , you lot . Who's slashing council tax ? Who's getting rid of Scary ? If you are not promising to do these two simple tasks , then SOD OFF . CON/LIB/LAB TRAITORS , SOD OFF anyway .
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:49:10 on 27 April 2012
Yep it is the Wacky Races and this bunch resemble the Ant Hill Mob.
dlp6666 wrote
at 14:49:03 on 27 April 2012
HighSchoolMaths - surely only 1 director for each Ward? Still, 20 x £40k = £800k, so yes, where would the money come from?
High School Maths wrote
at 12:07:48 on 27 April 2012
Q3 - Michael Felse. 20 community directors *20 wards = 400 staff. 400 staff * 40,000 salary = £16,000,000 (before on costs) Great saving!
Ian OBrien wrote
at 10:52:22 on 27 April 2012
"Ok so I'm a bit out of date! Or is it Dick Dastardly and are you calling the election process "Whacky Races Now?" Is he on acid? Wtf?!?!?
andrew behan wrote
at 08:36:39 on 27 April 2012
Just looked at the first question I Just love Ian's response!He wants no part of Salary process.He came out of the election expenses with a clean bill of health(what about the monthly bill of £400 for food?sometimes claimed whilst Parliament was In recess,where are any of the receipts?)What happened to the house that the Taxpayer was paying £1400 per month for to pay the Interest? Has It been sold? Can we have our Tax back? Barbara Keeley never claimed for food and even our dear friend Hazel only claimed £200(I know Ian's a big lad but come on)!! Would have given Ian the oppourtunitiy to answer this question direct at BBC Radio debate but he never showed up!What did he say he will always listen to the people of Salford? Right I've calmed down now so will read the rest.
Peter Davies wrote
at 18:59:44 on 26 April 2012
A lot of thought provoking questions in these comments and the article. Perhaps the Mayoral Candidates could give us some of thier thoughts along the lines of the questions raised. That to me would be a big eye opener.
Michael Moulding wrote
at 06:33:49 on 26 April 2012
Mike Moulding Slams Mayoral Opponents ! The Community Action Party candidate for Salford Mayor slams his opponents for trying to deceive the Salford electorate and says their cost will not be worth their Mayorality ! The Community Action Party candidate for Salford Mayor Michael Moulding slams his election opponents for trying to deceive the Salford electorate. All Mayoral candidates were asked to complete a Mayoral Challenge by the one and only Salford Star were all candidates were given 30 questions to answer testing candidates on their knowledge, experience and values. Only Michael Moulding and five other candidates participated and therefore Mike slams the other four for not participating saying "They have failed the challenge." However, Michael Moulding also criticises two of the candidates in relation to their answers and Mike believes there is strong evidence that the Salford electorate are being deceived. Salford Star asks "If elected Mayor what salary would you take ?" Michael Moulding, Community Action Party candidate for Salford Mayor has given a guarantee that he will ask for no more than a £35,000 PA salary, albeit he can recive over twice that amount if elected. But Mike remains disatisfied with answers given by other candidates and he genuinely believes the electorate are being deceived. Firstly, one candidate says as he intends to cut Council Tax by 50% he is value for a salary of £72,500 PA. The Community Action party says "What if he doesnt cut Council Tax by 50% ? Does he still get the £72,500 ? Mike Moulding says "Constitutionally this candidate cannot cut Council Tax in half because they have NO councillors and have only four standing in the local elections. A Mayor in order to get their policies through Council unchallenged need at least 20 Councillors to have any chance. Therefore, even if all four of their candidates were successful and I dont believe a single councillor candidate of theirs will be successful, they still would not have the numbers required to impose such a cut in Council Tax. He wont be able to achieve it." Mike continues "I ask myself does this candidate lack intelligence to understand the procedures of the Council or is he trying to decive the electorte when he says he will cut Council Tax. Any decision of this magnitude needs the support of at least one-third of the Council in order for it not to be blocked. Thats at least 20 Councillors. They cannot get it through and he knows this and therefore he may be trying to deceive ?" The Community Action Party also believe that any referendum will be blocked by Council in the same way as a referendum involves the whole city and therefore the referendum again would have to be given the go-ahead by Council. Mike Moulding says "They just cannot do it." Therefore, Michael Moulding gives his challenge to this candidate who says hes value for money because he will cut the tax by the amount he cannot "If you are value for cutting Council Tax by 50% as your excuse to receive £72,500.00 PA and you dont achieve the cut by 2013 what are you worth then ?" In completing the Mayoral Challenge an ex-MP says that he will not set his salary but will involve an independant to set a salary scale for Mayor and that his experiences in the expenses scandal for members of Parliament, albeit he says he came through "unscathed" but "left a scar." Michael Moulding says "The candidate concerned has ducked the question. I could have easily said that I will ask someone from outside to set my rate costing Salford Taxpayers even more money, and do this knowing I would easily get more than the £35,000 I have committed myself to." The Community Action Party notes that whilst this candidate had not become embroiled in the MP's expenses scandal unlike his colleague Hazel Blears (MP for Salford & Eccles but lets not forget Swinton) we believe as MP he was rewarded very handsomely indeed. The Community Action Party candidate for Salford Mayor Michael Moulding says "A Salford Advertiser article dated November 2nd 2006 claimed that the then Eccles MP topped the Salford list with expenses amounting to £139,736 for the previous year as well as a salary of over £60,000 which means in that year his total cost was near a staggering £200,000. If you averaged that sum over his tenure as MP this candidate could easily have reached a staggering sum of £2 million pounds." Mike Moulding says "Not bad for a trade unionist!" Mike Moulding has limited himself to £35,000 PA and no more. Mike says "I know I could have more if I wanted to but I dont. My public service record is a proud one and second to no-one. I campaigned for a directly-elected Mayor because I want a better Salford. I paid for the campaign out of my own pocket. I have done thousands of hours of voluntary work all in an unpaid capaicity and probably costs me thousands to do it. Its called public service." "What happened to the concept that you do things for public service with little or no reward. The only reward I have asked for is to cover my living expenses and a little disposal income to help me rejuvinate myself for the hard work ahead." Mike concludes "These candidates will not be value for your tax money. I am confident I can do the job of Mayor as good as if not much better than any of the other candidates and I will do the job because I believe in public service." The Community Action Party asks the electorate to treat the non-participants with extreme caution as their failure to respond could indicate that their asking price for such a role may be even more than the candidates that had the guts to respond. END www.mikemouldingcommunity-action.over-blog.com
RWL wrote
at 20:12:29 on 25 April 2012
Is Eccles Dead? One of the main problems seems to be that the laws of supply and demand are dead. Why are so many vacant commercial premises left to just rot? Logically, you'd think the rental price would start coming down just to get somebody in and paying at least something, but prices still seem high enough to completely scare off startup businesses. I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of the would-be Mayors on this...
D . Clemo wrote
at 20:12:24 on 25 April 2012
£35,000.00 is a fair salary for the Salford mayor . Of course all other council salaries must not be more than this , as the mayoral role carries most responsibility . Therefore any leeching parasite currently earning more than this must accept a pay cut- or leave . Plenty of people unemployed in Salford will do these jobs . Looking forward to massive changes at the Madhouse , and a much reduced wages bill . Greatly looking forward to a massive reduction in council tax ,which is essential , easily affordable and long overdue . Time to end the Madness at the Madhouse .
Insider wrote
at 12:47:49 on 25 April 2012
Some further questions: Why do we have so many councillors? Why are 12 of them salaried or given additional allowances? Why do we need £200K (the police authority give her a bung too) Scary Spicer once we have a paid Mayor? Why are we subsidising Salford Reds and the Philharmonic? Why are Directors and their assistants paid too much? Why does Manchester run Salford? Why does Scary Spicer bend over for AGMA? Why has scary Spicer got 3 PA's (my wife was made redundant as a PA in the Council Spicer's remained untouched!) Why does the council subsidise a hotel in Southport? How much did the scouse consultant Marsh and the chuckle brother ex Spicer's poodle Brady get paid of? ITS A TOUGH WIDE WORLD OUT HERE SALFORD COUNCIL NEED TO GET REAL!
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