Star date: 27th April 2012 


Part 3 of the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge. Today the candidates give their views on everything from Salford Precinct, to housing to Buile Hill mansion, to transparency and Barbara Spicer. And would they fund the Salford Star?

Click here to find out…

Salford Star Mayoral Challenge Salford Star Barbara Spicer
Salford Precinct
click image to enlarge


Day One and Day Two of the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge saw the candidates disclose what salary they would take, their most dastardly plans for the city, their views on Peel Holdings, Eccles, the Quays Cranes, Council secrecy, the riots, Chimney Pot Park housing, Chapel Street et al…

To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day One – click here.

To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day Two – click here.

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 aim 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. Here are the six candidates who took the Salford Star Challenge…

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)

They each had no more than four lines to reply, to stop reader boredom creeping in. Here's how the candidates responded to six more questions…

QUESTION 1: When did you last shop on Salford Precinct? Was it a fun experience?

Ian Stewart (L): Got most of my shoes and clothes from Salford Market as a Kid. I bought my wife's wedding ring at the Precinct Jewellers shop in 1968.   Had a coffee with a friend in the Precinct last month obviously been there campaigning. Due to meet Precinct Owners to discuss their plans for development. I would need total info and consultation with public - to form my view.

Michael Felse (ED): Two weeks ago on my interchange from the number 9 bus. I went into Tesco after I ate my egg barm from the "friendliest café" in Salford on my way to the Post Office for stamps and remember picking up the "Ask Frank" £5 t-shirt off Salford Market same day. Salford Markets always fun experience.

Michael Moulding (CAP): I last shopped on Salford Precinct two weeks ago and very much so because I bought some bulbs from Wilkinsons. I love gardening so I love buying gardening products.

Joe O'Neil (GP): No, only go to the pound shops and the guy who sells the dodgy inks on the hand cart.

Pat Ward (I): Saturday 14th April 2012. I went to do some shopping but I was also campaigning and chatting to lots of people about the lack of consumers and the general demise of this shopping facility. A lot of people were unhappy about the eradication of the market which was a Salford institution.

Norman Owen (LD): This lunchtime, also I am the person who designed all the sprinkler installations on this precinct and re-engineered the pump design on Churchill Way.

QUESTION 2: Would you change Salford Council's current plans for its affordable housing strategy?
This question was designed to see if the candidates knew that the affordable housing strategy for new developments in Central Salford is being wiped out (see here) – shock, horror or not?

Joe O'Neil: Yes, a total disgrace.

Michael Felse: Salford housing plans are a disaster owing to having been driven off course by the Labour council that wants to borrow money on never-never credit and saddle Salford residents at a time when professional advice calls it madness. I would sack the current councillor cabinet housing members.

Norman Owen: There is very little or no strategy, this is the current policy, stick one finger up in the air and find out which way the wind blows.

Pat Ward: Yes. The plans are vague and the action plan is not met. Any strategy should be protecting our current assets, working on pro-active plans to make the most of what we have. Investment is needed into Salford's many vacant properties, instead of agreeing plans for expensive private accommodation.

Ian Stewart: 1997 Tories stopped Salford from building Council Houses and forced sale of Salford Houses. Tories wouldn't allow us to build new houses with money received from sales. Few houses available now. I need to understand current Council strategy in order to develop sensible ideas. Problem: Low wages, no mortgages. I will investigate setting up 'Salford Community Bank' to fund/develop social housing.

Michael Moulding: I would review the strategy to ensure we are building enough affordable housing and the percentage of new social housing is an adequate provision to house Salford families, alleviate Salford's housing crisis, reduce homelessness, increase the number of rented cheap affordable housing and to create jobs. If it was changed it will be to increase numbers of new homes.


QUESTION 3: What are your views on Buile Hill Mansion?
This is the mansion in Buile Hill Park, the former Mining Museum, that the Council sold off to Salford Reds owner, John Wilkinson, who planned to turn it into a hotel. This still hasn't happened, Salford Council still hasn't been paid, yet recently Wilkinson's planning permission was extended…

Pat Ward: I think it needs money spending on it as does Monks Hall museum, but we need someone who is interested such as the National Trust or a Heritage group and not a developer who will change it for commercial gain.

Norman Owen: If you've seen my manifesto you know I am in support of restoring the mansion.

Joe O'Neil: One more wasted part of our past.

Ian Stewart: It is my current opinion that the house needs sensitive development which will retain the main building and public access and ownership of the Park. I would not be prepared to see the building just fall down. Therefore, all development proposals which meet the aforementioned criteria should be considered. We need a proposal which will benefit the People of Salford and their Families.

Michael Moulding: A beautiful building that should be available to the whole of Salford

Michael Felse: It is in a fantastic location and should be handed back to Salford's enthusiastic community as a National Centre for Social Enterprise bringing in a partnership of voluntary and community sector organisations as a perfect fit for new social enterprises that installs a network for the future community spirit of Salford.


QUESTION 4: Should Barbara Spicer [Chief Exec Salford Council] stay or go if you are elected Mayor?

Norman Owen: Go.

Michael Felse: Warning and Beware, anyone standing to be Salford Mayor should have the experience of understanding employment law. If they are foolish in saying an employee goes in advance it will automatically give a tribunal no option but to award damages. Unfair dismissal can outrank any Mayor salary by £500,000. 

Ian Stewart: Where a Chief Executive is carrying out her or his duties efficiently and competently in the interests of the People of Salford and their Families, she or he should always have the full support of the Elected Mayor. The current Chief Executive is well respected in Salford and beyond, therefore she would have my full support as would the rest of the Council Staff.  We need maximum stability.

Joe O'Neil: Go

Michael Moulding: On £200,000 PA ? Go!

Pat Ward: Initially I feel that the role of chief executive of the council would be redundant and an unnecessary expense. However I intend to carry out reviews on all principal roles within the council and will review this role and its effectiveness and should an alternative option be appropriate, then I will of course action that.


QUESTION 5: If elected Mayor how would you improve transparency in the Council?

Joe O'Neil: Offer Salford Star the keys to look around

Ian Stewart: Work to improve Scrutiny and Community Committee systems. I would develop the Cooperative Council Concept, 'Cooperative Commission' with 'Mini Commissions' Developing Democracy and Transparency. Improve communications, social media and networks to reach all age groups. It will be lot of hard work for those who are prepared to be involved – councillors and non-councillors alike.

Michael Moulding: More Council decisions in public. Rearrange Council meetings to make it easier for the public to attend ie evening and weekend meetings. Invitation sent to schools and colleges for our young people to get involved. I have guaranteed that my door is open and I will be holding weekly surgeries if I am mayor. I will be a working Mayor.

Pat Ward: One of my key priorities is to create a transparent and customer-led local authority. I want to involve Salford people in the decisions that affect them and I want to be open about the decisions that are being made by publishing them clearly in local press and online.

Norman Owen: I would improve transparency by getting rid of the bloody mindedness and dictatorship which is present under Labour.

Michael Felse: I will lead by example in proving the Mayor is open to scrutiny.  I will bring a new change in politics by publishing my income and expenditure in the local press. The scandal of MPs expenses (in which public distrust for politicians was created) has to be reversed and I expect nothing less that transparency.

QUESTION 6: Should the Salford Star be back in print – if you agree, how would you help sort this?
A bit of a trick question this – while we'd love the candidates to want the magazine back in print, would they try and win our favour by saying they'd fund it? The Star has to be independent and we wouldn't expect the Council or the Mayor to fund it…

Michael Felse: Yes. I need an open, honest, public press as I am opening up staff whistle-blowing to force into the open waste and to give those who fund the council (local people) the best reason to trust what goes on in their Council.  Salford Star is brave, unique and it will survive because it proves truth is a must.

Norman Owen: Yes, promote funding on the positive side.

Joe O'Neil: Yes the only publication willing to challenge. PS: No, I don't need a Salford Star mug...

Ian Stewart: No Comment – but nice try!!!

Michael Moulding: Absolutely so you can take the "Michael" out of me! No problem! I will do what I can to help. Salford Star is good for democracy!

Pat Ward: I think demand for print is declining. The popularity of the printed news is down to content and I don't think a Mayor should be influencing content or a 'free press'. Partnership working with the council and local businesses could increase the viability of putting the paper in print, but essentially this is down to Salford people.

















Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 20:34:31 on 30 April 2012
I'd like to thank Michael Felse for being so forthcoming and joining the debate via the Salford Star comments column. Unlike others he clearly sees that the people of Salford are those who matter when it comes to mayoral role, hence his taking time to write here. So, being that Mr Felse is clearly following these pages, I am sure he will not mind clearing something up for me? My vote is not yet allocated so who knows, might be one in the bag if he decides to answer. The thing is, Mr Felse, I am a little worried about certain aspects of the English Democrats take on immigration. I would like to ask you about that, if I may? Firstly, on your party website, it says: 'Those potential immigrants who are unable or unwilling to make these payments will not be allowed into the country.' Now. My wife is American. We have paid a great deal of money for her and my American daughter to be allowed to live here. Being that neither she nor I are rich, professional people, it has been quite a struggle for our family to be allowed to live in the same country. Sounds crazy when you put it like that, doesn't it? Anyway, I wanted to ask if - on top of the thousands of pounds we were forced to pay for visas and flights etc; and on top of the fact that I had to produce six months of pay slips and bank statements, be in full and permanent employment, and still show that I had £104 per week left over after paying rent, food, bills, travel costs, etc - your party would not have let them in without us paying another lump sum? This seems to me like your party is in favour of rich people being able to emigrate anywhere they please, as is the case now, but not so for the poor people of, say, Salford. Can you clear this up for me? Your site also says: 'The English Democrats support whatever measures are necessary to bring mass immigration to a complete end.' Does that include a promise to end our involvement in illegal wars and destabilising activities in other countries which, despite often being the cause of mass immigration, make many politicians (however provincial, unimportant, and pathetic) very rich. After all, I am sure we would not have seen an influx of Iraqi or Afghan citizens if we had not spent the last ten years carpet bombing their nations in the name of 'democracy'. All in all your entire immigration blurb (I hesitate to call it a policy as it is bordering on the xenophobic and would be logistically impossible to implement even if not) seems to me the kind of opportunistic hot air which is aimed at getting into whatever office is available by any means possible. I would not go as far as to say your party sound like a gang of 'right wing crapckpots', as I have heard it described, because I believe even right wing crackpots have an ideology, as twisted and intellectually infantile as it may be. But the English Democrats just seem opportunistic in the extreme to me. Please do correct me if I am wrong. I am just trying to get to the bottom of things here and, as somebody who wants to be my 'elected official' I would think you would be pleased to help. So, in my opinion, and I will happily stand corrected if wrong, but just as the term 'National Socialism' in reality bore no relation to anything resembling socialism, so the 'English Democrats' seem to resemble nothing close to a democratic party. At least, not when said partys website is littered with words phrases like 'the repeal of the human rights act', 'punitive fining', 'deportation' and an end to offering sanctuary to those fleeing torture and seeking asylum. I should mention, as an aside, that as an actual human I rather like the idea that I have rights and feel like only a completely baffled lunatic would want them repealing. Human rights that is. So, being that you have been such an active presence on the Salford Star comments page, I wonder if you could clear up some or all of these very queries for me, just so we know exactly who you are and what your party stands for. I do not mean to suggest that you or your party are a gang of racist dickheads, as I know you are quite keen on litigation at the mere suggestion of such, but I would like a response so that you can clear up any confusion before I cast my vote. I am sure you will reply post haste, but please don't resort to spouting the usual pseudo political plop which we are used to hearing when these questions are asked. Credit us with some intelligence, if you would? Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Winston Smith wrote
at 23:28:25 on 29 April 2012
@Duke - I'm not surprised, Labour have the same attitude to canvassing as door-to-door salesmen. They don't know anything about the product they're selling, they don't give a toss whether it works or not and if anybody asks awkward questions they don't give a shit, just keep moving on to the next house until they find a mug who believes their bollocks. I'm not surprised he told you to write to Cameron, it's standard for the main parties to blame each other, it's all they've got, nothing positive to say or do, certainly not as far as Salford is concerned.
Pyewackette wrote
at 13:13:30 on 29 April 2012
The Mayor will assume responsibility for the CEO role .Spicey will not be needed . Obscene-salaried Spicey must be made redundant . I am sick of paying for the bitch . The ignorant , arrogant Clouncil traitors will answer to the People of Salford for appointing a CEO on such a grossly inflated salary in this rotton Deadcity . The sooner we kick them all out of office the better .
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 13:12:59 on 29 April 2012
Hey Dukie, I don't think towing the party line is something specific to Labour councillors & MPs. They are all the same.
duke of wellington wrote
at 11:17:29 on 29 April 2012
@Winston Smith, just spoke to labour councillor Ronnie Wilson on the campaign trail, I asked him what he and labour have done for this area ,I asked about the closure of Tootal drive school the loss of the mining museum, the willows, Weaste cricket club, the part closure of hope library the loss of half of Stott lane playing fields to a car park hope high school, also the loss to Salford of the maternity ward at hope hospital.he told me it's all the Tories and lib/dens fault the mess were in, so I asked it had nothing to do with 13 year's of labour under blear and brown or 35+ years of labour controlled Salford council then, it had nothing to do with Gordon brown turning a blind eye to what the banks were doing, it was brown who deregulated the banks that brought the this country to it's knee's. Mr Wilson asked me to write to Cameron and ask him why we had lost the above, he cut our money, so I said then this labour controlled council didn't spend £22.million on the Salford reds stadium, £3 million a year on the BBC philharmonic orchestra or nearly £1 million on the Lowry centre or the £15 million we lent peel holdings whilst this city cuts vital services then, he said we didn't spend £22 million on the red stadium, I said what was spent on the stadium then, he said he didn't know but it was no where near £22 million, I said was it right that this council spends this kind of money on a private business and minority sport that only attracts a small number of fans, I gave a ball park figure of around 3500 fans he said this figure was wrong it was more like 7000 fans,I then said it was right then to spend this kind of money on a private business and a multi- millionaire whilst council services are going down the drain, no answer, I got on to the orchestra and the £ 3 million, he said the people of Salford love going to the see and hear the orchestra, I said knock on a few of the door's ask these people if it worth £3 million a year of their tax money and by the way I already pay for this with my tv licence so in effect I am paying twice for this orchestra. only a small minority of Salford people go to watch rugby or the philharmonic but these organisation get a bigger slice of Salford tax payers money than they should be getting, we got on to the Buile hill mining museum, he said he was on the planning committee and voted against it, I said you didn't vote against it you sat on the fence, he said he voted against it, I said I was at the meeting, you gave this great speech against it, and when you were ask to vote on it by the chair person you abstained you didn't vote for or against if, you sat on the fence you didn't have the courage of your conviction, you bottled it you towed the party line and voted against your constituents wishes. I also asked him to look at the Salford star web site and see what real Salfordians think about this labour led council he just laughed and walked away. always the same problem with labour MPs and councillors they all tow the party line, can't think for them selves, the lights are on but no ones home.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 07:24:45 on 29 April 2012
The answer to getting rid of the deadwood is simple. As her job can & probably will be done by the Mayor then make her redundant. It may cost a bob or two, but what's the point of paying two incompetent money pits.
Michael Felse wrote
at 22:12:34 on 28 April 2012
As we move into a final busy campaigning week I thank Salford Star for this seriously entertaining stack of questions. Disappointed FOUR candidates treated Salford Star's challenge invite with their absence. I need to add to BobJ that where dismissal is brought, case of a past "Council Directors" an appeals process keeps them on the pay roll. Your estimate of an unfair dismissal is £s under-stated considerably for that reason. I stand by my comment on what is and what is not wise in potential Mayor providing answers on employment law even at a risk of the answer not being popular. I thank comments for telling us what local people think. Great.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 22:11:30 on 28 April 2012
Andrew, I'm afraid that Pat Ward lost any credibility when she refers to "customer led local authority". Are the council just another branch of Tesco? Customers purchase goods or services, I was under the impression that I was a citizen of Salford, not a punter buying a sack of spuds or tin of beans.
suziejones wrote
at 22:11:07 on 28 April 2012
Barbara Spicer is overpaid, but you can't just sack someone there are laws, you know. As for Moulding look at his website what an idiot,everyone gets SLAMMED! by him, what an egocentric dwarf he truly is, anyone for mayor but that moron
andrewbehan wrote
at 07:06:59 on 28 April 2012
Commonsensepreveils Pat ward seems down to earth seems to realise that the council machinery needs a tweek or 10. not a politician like some of the others. give her a go. Everybody keeps saying there in it for Salford Pat seems to want the best for Salford.
Bob Jones wrote
at 21:48:41 on 27 April 2012
Q4 narrows down the choice for me: J O'neil, Norman Owen, and Mike Moulding were the only candidates that said what i want to hear, boot out the current CE a new mayor cannot function with a Labour leaning CE. Michael Felse can i just point out some basic maths (sack her, pay off = £600k max, keep her, pay = £800k over the 4 year term), considering you or one of your challengers will be doing her job anyway why should we pay her £800k for the next 4 years. Mr Stewart you say "The current Chief Executive is well respected in Salford" what part of Salford are you refering to, it must be the council chamber, everyone i have spoken to thinks she is an overpaid waste of money and space. The only way we can get rid is by electing a mayor who does not tow spicers line as the current Salford council have not got the political will.
salford pimpernelle wrote
at 21:47:55 on 27 April 2012
Ian Stewart,total wanker.he's only got one boss and that's the labour party and screw the people of salford, tell him there's a tin of creosote on the way to him to protect the splinter up his arse from sitting on the fence, he speaks like a true politician the lips move but says f**ck all. labour has been in charge of salford for over 35 years and all they have don in that time is line the pockets of them selves and their developer's and multi millionaire friends at the expense of salfordians. salford star ask the candidates in light of the betrayal of salfordians in salford when it comes to developments and developers, with these cheap to build, ugly buildings they throw up then charge a fortune for, would these candidates bring a change in the planning procedure and allow an equal number of members of the public from the community where a controversial development is to be built and allow these people to sit on and vote on the the planning committee, instead as is now where it is all don behind closed doors before the public are allowed in ( and lets allow internet cameras in on meetings, like there going to do in courts ). lets have openness transparency and democracy, where salfordians are put first before developers. stewart, if your not good enough to be our MP your not good enough to be mayor. SPOT ON WINSTON SMITH. Ian Stewart IS ONLY INTERESTED IN KEEPING ALL THE LABOUR SKELETONS IN THE CUPBOARD, SLICE STEWART IN HALF AND YOU WILL SEE LABOUR RUNNING ALL THE WAY THROUGH NOT A SALFORDIAN MAN, JUST ANOTHER LABOUR PARTY BROWN TONG.time for change vote labour out
Winston Smith wrote
at 10:49:59 on 27 April 2012
Outrageous! Do Labour think people still really fall for this stuff??! Ian Stewart's answer to Question 2 proves Labour intend to fix nothing - no need to, just keep on blaming events from the last century. Even though Labour have had full control of the council and 13 years in government since then!!! Salford's problems are totally Labour's creation. Excuses, blame, Govspeak and avoiding BBC radio debates (and therefore providing 'good' publicity for the BNP). Do we really need a mayor like that?
Ripped-- Off Taxpayer wrote
at 10:49:51 on 27 April 2012
Hope Spicey gets the well-deserved Order of the Boot ASAP , saving this Broke City's Ripped- Off Taxpayers over £200,000.00K per year . GOOD RIDDANCE . £200,000.00K saved for services for our elderly , without any effort . Demand huge reduction in Council Tax Extortion ,to bring more in line with our adjacent councils . Nothing less will suffice .
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