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SALFORD MAYOR STEWART MEETS HIS MAY DAY MATCH
 

Star date: 7th May 2012 

`THINK MORALITY, JUSTICE AND SECURITY FOR THE PEOPLE OF SALFORD – OR I'LL COME KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR'

New Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, got his first ear bashing threat today when he appeared in Bexley Square to address the Salford May Day Rally.

Alice Searle, speaking to the rally on behalf of the Salford Pensioners Association, waved a newspaper from 1942 at the Mayor which announced the birth of the Welfare State. She then warned him not to be "conned by the money" or she would "come knocking on your door".

Over 300 people attended the annual May Day Rally at Bexley Square before marching into Manchester to a further rally in Cathedral Gardens.

Full story and loads of photos here…


Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
Salford May Day Rally 2012 Salford May Day Rally 2012
click image to enlarge

As over 300 people gathered in historic Bexley Square for the annual Salford May Day Rally, Ian Stewart got a taste of what to expect, having now become the city's first elected Mayor.

Before even beginning his first day in office, Ian Stewart had a copy of a 1942 newspaper announcing the birth of the Welfare State waved at him by Alice Searle of the Salford Pensioners Association, who read out a few lines…

`This is profound in its significance for the lives and happiness of the British people - a plan not surpassed or rivalled in the world, a plan to guarantee security from want…'

"That was written 70 years ago" said Alice "And 70 is the average age of our pensioners today. Those people believed this, they felt secure with this, but what has happened to that ideal? We now have pensioners anxious because of what's happened to the health service and their social care. Elderly people are not just bothered about themselves, they're worried for their adult children who might not have a job, who can't get a mortgage, and their grandchildren who haven't got a job, or can't afford the debt they'll get in from their education."

Turning to Ian Stewart, she asked if he was a pensioner…

"I speak to you as a man and a pensioner, and someone who we have just employed" she said "We're going to pay you a salary, possibly a big salary..."

"I don't know" he replied sheepishly...

"We are his employers, remember that" she told the crowd and turning back to Ian Stewart added "It's our money, so I've got a message for you. Remember this document, remember the principles upon which the Welfare State was founded, don't forget that. Every time you make a decision into your mind should come morality, should come justice, should come ordinary people. Do not be conned by academies, do not be conned by the money, forget that, money doesn't give you what we need. We need security for the people of Salford. If you don't do your job Mr Stewart I'll be the first person knocking at your door…"

Ian Stewart nodded agreeably. A few minutes earlier he had told the Rally that when he starts in his office tomorrow "I'm one of the lucky ones that has a job now…It's wrong that there are still people in Salford and in other cities who have to live in deprivation, without affordable decent homes and without a decent wage and income."

Almost acknowledging that some of his policies will be unpopular with trade unions and the left, Stewart urged the movement to work in partnership with him to "safeguard the people of Salford…and to try to find alternatives to the savage cuts that this Government is making".

He added: "I know that we will have arguments and fall outs but that's what happens within a family. You don't get divorced every time you have an argument with your partner…We must make sure we keep our collective voice strong, how else are the people of Salford and this country who have no voice going to be represented? Who gives a voice to the people in our city? We in the labour movement first and foremost have a responsibility to do that…"

Fire Brigade Union General Secretary, Matt Wrack, addressing the Rally, spelled out what was expected for there to be no divorce…

"This past week we've seen a huge rejection at the polls against the austerity agenda of the Coalition Government" he said "But I think the message that has to go to Labour councils across the country is that people didn't vote to see someone else implementing the cuts, they voted against the cuts and we want to see them standing up against cuts and the services and jobs that we all rely on."

Making reference to Salford's unique Working Class Movement Library which documents workers' struggles over two centuries, and the Battle of Bexley Square (see here), Wrack urged people to "learn the lessons of the past so we can organise for today, and build for tomorrow because the agenda we are facing is about rolling back all of the gains that have been won by the Labour movement in the past 200 years…

"Thatcher used to say there is no alternative and that's what they're saying today" he added "Even after the local elections the Tory right is saying what we need is more deregulation in the labour market to allow them to force wages down even more to bail out the profit system...We now have hospitals in the NHS run by private companies, we now have private companies moving into education, the fire service has got private company parasites moving in to take control – it is a scandal that all these gains of civilisation that we've made are now under attack.

"If we listen to those people who say there is no alternative we are doomed" he concluded "We have always said that `If you have no alternative then we will build our own alternative', that's what working people have done in the North West and that is what working people in the North West have got to do going forward…"

The attacks on working people across the globe, as well as in Salford and Britain, were at the centre of the May Day sentiments. References were made to what's happening in Greece and Spain; while a message of support was read out from workers in Iran facing "terror and violence".

Hilda Palmer of the Manchester Hazards Campaign spoke passionately about the Coalition Government's attack on health and safety at work and how Workfare Minister, Chris Grayling, wants to abolish 84% of health and safety regulation…

"You ask any family of someone who has been killed or injured at work and they will tell you that they weren't killed or injured because of too much regulation, it's the opposite" she said.

Hilda quoted frightening figures - in Great Britain last year 1400 people were killed in work related incidents or committed suicide because of the stresses of work. Up to 50,000 people died through work related illness, which is six people an hour, and two million people said they were made ill by work.

"More of our families will be killed and injured as a result of what this Government is doing" she said "No-one voted to die at work and that is what this campaign is about…"

For those who haven't got work and its health and safety issues, Alex Halligan of the Salford TUC Unemployed Centre, promised to take the fight to the Government…

"52% of people under the age of 27 are unemployed in Broughton where I live" he said "It blights this city, one of the worst affected in the country…"

Steven North, Secretary of Salford City Unison stressed the importance of May Day…

"In a time of austerity and attacks from the Government, not only hell bent on destroying the living standards of working class people but also the traditions that we depend upon, it's important that we recognise this day and it's place in our movement…"

After the Bexley Square Rally, a colourful, noisy march featuring two bands, a sound system and a red rainbow of flags and banners snaked into Manchester, via Chapel Street and Deansgate for a further rally at Cathedral Gardens.

* Main photo shows Alice Searle showing Ian Stewart a copy of the 1942 newspaper proclaiming the birth of the Welfare State

** Thursday May 10th Pensions Strike Rally

On Thurdsay public sector unions PCS, UNITE and UCU are on strike in support of their pensions. There is a Rally in Manchester 12:15-1:30pm at the Mechanic's Institute on Princess St, and a march setting off at 11:30am from Salford Central Station on Gore Street.

Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 11:49:51 on 09 May 2012
"...It's wrong that there are still people in Salford and in other cities who have to live in deprivation, without affordable decent homes and without a decent wage and income." This jumps out at me. When I now hear the phrase 'affordable homes', I no longer think of council or social housing properties, which a single man who may be on benefits could afford, ensuring he would always have a roof over his head despite all the other tribulations those of us not on 100k per year face every day. Nowadays, and especially in a context with Salford Council, I think of that lovely little walled in community called Whitewater Drive, off Llittleton Road. Here are some of the councils 'affordable homes', only affordable if you happen to have access to a mortgage worth 150k or so, and a job in management to pay for it. Mr Stewart has cleverly thrown that term, quite casually and unnoticed, in to his blurb in the correct context, but I would challenge him as to what he actually means by that? I think what he means are the homes his council can make money on by selling prime realestate (which belongs solely to us, the people of Salford) to developers like Miller and Countryside. Only, of course, after purposely running down the actual affordable homes which were there to service the people of Salford in the first place so that they can demolish them. Just as they did around Langworthy Road, and just as they want to do in other areas of Salford. And what do the people who live there get in return? A bribe called 'compensation' if they are lucky, and shifted, like the gypsies of old, or the poor blacks in South African shanty towns, to some other holding pen until that becomes worthy of the developers scrutiny. So, when these people say 'affordable homes', ask them what they mean. Ask them if they are affordable to old age pensioners, or young families who have never lived a Britain, or Salford, with the kind of economy which offers them anything more than a few hours a week cleaning up at the University, or more recently, holding open doors at MediaCity. I will tell you now what the problem is with the modern 'Labour party' and Labour in Salford - they hate us. They see nothing but doleite, drug dealing scroungers. Shit, I am one of these people and I see us like that sometimes. But it is not true. It is tabloid mythology. Gutter press finger pointing to keep us all looking at the other way while the likes of salfords Labour council fleece us of what little pittance we have, only to hand it to Peel and their billionaire ilk. I would bet my last pound that when Stewart has been walking around some council estate, talking to the locals, he goes home and scrubs himself clean. These aren't Labour men. They are do no labour and they hate us more than the tories. And you know why? Because they hate themselves and want to scrub away any memory of where they came from. In Thatchers Britain - and we are still in Thatchers Britain - they all want to be middle class. They can rely on my utter contempt.
 
Charrington wrote
at 06:03:35 on 09 May 2012
I wouldnt hold your breath. His comments about falling out spells out clearly he's towing the Blairite line. "Yes i'll do nothing but continue with neo-liberal policies as my Party wishes but as were a family you keep funding and voting for us". Labour is dead to working people I wish those people would wake up and realise it. These dogs that call themselves Labour have done anything and everything to destroy every principle the party was founded on. its almost a deliberate act when you realise what they have destroyed and undermined. Tories in sheeps clothing. Thatchers greatest achievement!
 
A.P. wrote
at 05:52:27 on 08 May 2012
Nodding Dog Stewart better understand . We expect big changes in this city , not more of the same austerity shite . Stewart's stuffing his pockets with a lot of OUR money . He'd better work for US. He'd better sort merry, spicer and the rest of that shower of torybastard lapdogs out . Or we will come knocking on his door , and smash it down ..
 
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