SALFORD STAR MAYORAL CHALLENGE: DAY FIVE
Previously the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge gave the candidates a chance to tell the electorate their views on what salary they would take, their most dastardly plans for the city, Peel Holdings, Eccles, the Quays Cranes, Council secrecy, the riots, Chimney Pot Park housing, Chapel Street, affordable housing, Buile Hill Mansion, Barbara Spicer, asylum seekers, Media City and poverty.
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day One – click here.
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day Two – click here.
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day Three – click here.
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day Four – 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 the final six questions…
QUESTION 1: Should ASDA be built on Swinton Precinct?
This question relates to the proposals to build a new ASDA, despite there being two big supermarkets almost next door and despite the fact that it's partly to be built on the site of an old burial ground…
Pat Ward: Whilst Asda could generate employment, polls suggest it would affect existing small businesses causing more unemployment than the employment it would generate, so my initial reaction would be no.
Norman Owen: Who's going to stop it?
Michael Felse: No. The time has come to ask people what they want and I will push this one back onto the drawing board then turn the board upside down. I feel Swinton already has mistakes caused by wrong decisions and we cannot allow ASDA progress to come back and bite away what is sacred. If I am wrong prove it.
Ian Stewart: Again criteria should be 'In who's interests would such developments take place?' If they are in the interests of residents and their families - they should be approved. If they are not in the interests of residents and their families then within the scope of the regulations they can and should be rejected.
Joe O'Neil: Hard question - the precinct is dead we need the jobs but we must ensure all the small businesses survive, we need to offer local shopping not Peel's Trafford centre.
Michael Moulding: Over 313 resting souls including a World War 1 soldier who sacrificed his life, including victims of the 1885 Clifton Pit Disaster or to have them dug up for Asda? Over my dead body!
QUESTION 2: How would you cope with a probable two thirds Labour majority constantly blocking your plans, unless you are in the Labour Party of course?
Norman Owen: I am made of stronger stuff than two thirds Labour majority.
Michael Moulding: I will stand up to them, take them on and argue the case. I will campaign in their heartlands for what I believe is right! Take the fight to them.
Pat Ward: I would expect the cabinet to agree with plans that are beneficial to Salford and if they are blocking plans just because they can, the cabinet will be held accountable by their electorate.
Michael Felse: An important question which has different answers depending on the level of resistance but I expect all Councillors to toe the line where the public vote has instructed them to act in the best interests of Salford. If a scenario brought a constant blocking then I will dissolve the Council, forcing an all out election.
Joe O'Neil: Highlight any blocks to the public and named votes on all issues .Show the public every week who was blocking what.
Ian Stewart: I don't accept the premise of this question! If I am elected I would seek to work in partnership with the Council. I believe this would be in the best interests of the People of Salford and their Families. However, legally the buck stops with the Elected Mayor. Part of my skills lie in being able to get people to work together for the greater good of the City.
QUESTION 3: How important are Salford's green spaces– would you fight to save them from developers?
Ian Stewart: All important! Always have fought for them - always will. I support the 'Mossland Strategy' and would like to develop Salford as a 'Garden City', bringing together all the brilliant community 'Green Initiatives'. Developing the concept of 'Adopt a Garden' for the 700+ people waiting for Allotments. This would assist the elderly, disabled and others who have difficulty looking after their own gardens
Joe O'Neil: 100%
Michael Felse: One of my top 6 pledges is a Green Belt Charity run by local people. It will be a partnership with Cooperatives UK (for legal support) and have authority to legally challenge any planning that endangers Salford. It will receive a grant up to £1million (start up investment) as a fresh Green Belt vision for Salford.
Pat Ward: There are so many brown field sites in Salford that are in need of regeneration, I do not think it is necessary to take new/green spaces until we have no alternative. Yes I would fight to save them.
Norman Owen: Yes.
Michael Moulding: My green credentials are second to none! YES, YES and YES!
QUESTION 4: What do you think of the Salford NDC's `succession strategy'?
The Charlestown and Lower Kersal New Deal for Communities was a £53million disaster – and now it's gone does any candidate actually know or care what's happening in the area? There is a `succession strategy' but it's harder to find than a diamond in a pig's butt…
Michael Felse: If something is left to decay it can die, one would argue we can be proud of New Deal for Communities. Not all of it was good but the here and now will tell us we have a vibrant future for communities influenced. Life in Salford for the families will never be the same. The succession lesson is hear people.
Michael Moulding: I have not briefed myself on it but will do!
Ian Stewart: I am aware of history and demise of New Deal for Communities. It was exclusive to certain areas of the City should have been city-wide. Strategic decision making should be made by resident's at the most local level achievable. If elected, I would need to work hard to 'get up to speed' on current NDC Succession Strategy and how it sits with the public, before making any considered suggestions.
Pat Ward: On the polls that have been carried out, this has been a good thing for Charlestown and Lower Kersal, but £53m cannot be awarded to every community.
Joe O'Neil: Not much.
Norman Owen: Closer scrutiny and uncertain future regarding finance and mainstream involvement. Many questions have to be asked in this area.
QUESTION 5: What are your views on trade unions?
Michael Moulding: Absolutely necessary to protect workers rights and employment. Been a member of Unite, Unison and PCS.
Joe O'Neil: Today we need them but worried of the influence on Labour and how your money flows through.
Norman Owen: As an ex shop steward and convener in TASS, they are good in the workplace but should not interfere in local politics and the mayoral election. UNITE SHOULD NOT RUN THIS CITY.
Michael Felse: My first job (aged 15) was at the local coal mine, where my father, brother and uncles worked. My uncle had his back ripped out through national coal board neglect. My father died of dust on his lungs; my brother of a heart attack after respiratory illness. Personal experiences tell me Trade Unions have a place.
Pat Ward: There will always be a place for trade unions because there are always going to be injustices in the work place.
Ian Stewart: Lifelong UNITE and Coop Party Activist and advocate for the most vulnerable - proud of it! Gained my education through the Trade Union and Cooperative Movement. 20 years a TGWU Organiser, Secretary UNITE Parliamentary Group, Vice Chair of Parliamentary Joint TU Group. Trade Unions can be a 'Force for Good'. Look forward to working productively with TUs and other Partners if elected.
QUESTION 6: Do you agree that anyone who says `Vote For Me!' is an arrogant, careerist egotist who's not worth voting for? Are you a power crazed tosser?
Joe O'Neil (GP): Ask me again after the election. I served with the Liberal democrats for four years, little power but god it felt good to say I helped people. But I can think of a few tossers…
Ian Stewart (L): "O wad some Power the gift tae gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!" Translation of Robert Burns quote above: "It doesn't matter what I think of myself, it's what the People of Salford think that's important.
Norman Owen (LD): No, just a Joe Bloggs in life. Trying to do my best.
Michael Felse (ED): No and No. But reserve my opinion on political parties in Salford that have represented Salford for 20years of neglect or individuals in the Mayoral who take support for granted. Nowhere to be seen is my fair comment when they use post office or misguided souls to deliver leaflets on a candidate's behalf.
Pat Ward (I): I am not asking people to do something I wouldn't do myself and that is to "VOTE FOR ME". Not arrogant or egotistical…passionate about my city.
Michael Moulding (CAP): It depends who it is. I don't want the power for myself I just want to be able to help as many people as I can.
This ends the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge and now it's make your mind up time. Are any of them worth bothering with? Vote takes place tomorrow, Thursday May 3rd.