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SALFORD MAYOR IAN STEWART TURNS CHICKEN
 

Star date: 5th November 2012

MAYOR `TOO BUSY' TO TALK TO SALFORD STAR

Today it's exactly six months since Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, had his first day in office. The Salford Star wanted to interview him to hold him to account for those first six months but he won't speak to us, citing how "extremely busy" he is.

Not too busy, we believe, to write an unchallenged article for the Manchester Evening News arguing "that we must improve how we communicate with local people". You what? We conclude that Mayor Ian Stewart is too chicken to face a proper, critical examination of his record so far…

Full story here…


Ian Stewart Salford Mayor Writing in the Manchester Evening News
click image to enlarge

Six months down the line since Ian Stewart's coronation as Mayor of Salford and the Salford Star wanted to do an interview with him, holding him to account on his record so far.

For the first couple of months Stewart argued that he needed to get the full details of how the Council worked, so we thought we'd give him six months to get his head around it all and then do a full interview.

We wrote to him at the beginning of October pointing this out. But, like many people in Salford who have written to the Mayor, we didn't get a response. We wrote back and received a couple of e-mails (see below for full details) saying "We are extremely busy trying to protect the most vulnerable members of our Community" etc etc... "I will ask my office to get in touch with some suitable dates…"

No such dates have been offered. So we conclude that the Mayor of Salford is just too chicken to be held accountable by the Salford Star. Contrast this with former Salford Council Leader, John Merry, who would invite the Salford Star into his office on the afternoon of budget announcements to explain his decisions. Indeed, despite the Star being one of Mr Merry's fiercest critics, he never, ever, refused us an interview or comment.

Ian Stewart argues that he's too "extremely busy" to meet the Star for half an hour or so. But he wasn't too busy to write a large unchallenged diatribe in the Manchester Evening News last week, ironically, berating the media for not giving him positive headlines…

…And, even more ironically, stating that "we recognise that good communications are needed…we must improve how we communicate with local people, because the threat to public services in Salford is the most serious in our history. We need to tell them what's going on and why…" etc etc.

It's a funny way of doing it Mr Mayor! What do you think we wanted to talk to you about? Pie eating in the House of Commons?

No, no, no. We wanted to talk about cuts to public services, and cuts to services for `the most vulnerable members of our community'. We wanted to ask you how you can lead a Labour Council cutting wages for your own staff while promising a `Living Wage'. We wanted to ask whether you personally would be taking a cut to your £69,000 salary.

…We wanted to ask you about £100million cuts and £100million spending on prestige projects, like fountains. We wanted to ask you what is the point of the `ceremonial Mayor', when you seem to be grabbing his limelight, giving out certificates and lighting the bonfire at Buile Hill Park tonight….

…We wanted to ask you what your Assistant Mayors do all day, given that most of them don't hold public meetings. We wanted to ask you about your £15,000 worth of `Connecting Salford' booklet, when you appear to be disconnecting Salford. We wanted to ask you about your election night speech when you promised to "generate transparency" – when, in fact, it's been the complete opposite…

Since May, when you got elected, there has been no public disclosure of Council payments over £500. Since May, the amount of publicly accessible meetings and documents has been slashed. Since May, nine Salford Star questions to the Council have been unanswered, including…

 In June, a request for an interview with the Council around involvement with Salford City Reds.
• In July, a question on the Mayoral budget.
• In September, an explanation of over £100,000 fees paid to Peel Media at MediaCityUK.
• In September, a question surrounding affordability and the Pendleton PFI.

You complain about media coverage, Mr Mayor, but since you got elected, promising to "generate transparency", the attitude of you and your Council's towards this particular media outlet has been shocking.

We totally agree with you that the ConDem Government is to blame for many of Salford's current and forthcoming hardships. But we also have to look at our doorstep. And on that doorstep sits you and your Council, Mr Mayor. Who is holding you to account? Not your completely Labour controlled Council and committees. Perhaps you'd like your own column in the Salford Star to write whatever propaganda you want? No chance! 

We're very sorry that you're too "extremely busy" to meet with us. What with lighting bonfires, giving out prizes and attending functions, we totally understand. The offer is still there for an interview. Maybe your new spin doctor can sort it out?

See previous Salford Star articles on Ian Stewart…

New Mayor Promises More Transparency - click here

Ian Stewart Meets His May Day Match - click here

Salford Mayor Salary Stunner - click here

Salford Mayor Transparency Promise In Flames - click here

Mayor Disconnecting Salford - click here

Salford Council Seeks More Accountability - click here

The Ian Stewart Salford Star Emails…

We wrote to Mr Stewart at the beginning of October requesting his anniversary interview. No response. We wrote back mid October and got a reply from his `Office' explaining that due to "work commitments" the Mayor was unable to do an interview "at present".

We replied that we found it "absolutely shocking that a Mayor who talks about `Connecting Salford' doesn't actually want to talk to the press about his current role. We do try to give the Council the opportunity to comment as much as possible on stories which go out to our 22,000 readers but we can only do this if the Council responds. Now we have to tell those readers that the City Mayor refuses an interview with the Salford Star, because this is what it amounts to. No prob."

Then the Mayor himself got a bit touchy and wrote back how we had failed to turn up for other interviews and that him declining an interview was "no different". Again, we replied saying this was "absolute rubbish" – we said we'd have a chat with him on the night he got elected but couldn't hang round waiting for the national media scrum to end. Apart from that, nothing had been formally arranged.

He wrote back again… "You will be aware that the City Council is currently occupied with dealing with massive cuts in spending imposed by the Coalition Government. We are extremely busy trying to protect the most vulnerable members of our Community. I am sure you will understand why this takes full priority for me at the moment, however, I do understand your needs and will be happy to accommodate them when time allows. If you can leave this with me I will ask my office to get in touch with some suitable dates."

We responded, explaining that we too are "extremely busy exposing massive spending cuts imposed by the Coalition Government and Salford Council …would you like to give us some new dates? If you don't want to do an interview that's fine - and we'll pass it onto our readers".

To date no response has been received so we conclude that Mr Ian Stewart, Mayor of Salford, is chicken…

See also: Salford Star Launches Countdown Clock To Get Rid Of The Mayoral System - click here

Michael Felse wrote
at 10:00:55 AM on Friday, November 16, 2012
Reg has an excellent suggestion. MichaelM is correct, we are stuck with the Mayoral system for 10 years and an obvious solutions is to change the person in the Mayor's seat to gain the trust of Salford people. This is the thinking out of the box that can put the spirit into a better represented Salford.
 
Reg Howard wrote
at 1:24:51 AM on Friday, November 16, 2012
I have been watching the comments on this thread with great interest,the many good ideas which have been put forward indicate to me that all is not lost in Salford,at last, people from different political backgrounds are begining to talk about getting together and creating a stratergy to defeat labour.so, how about this for an idea, get all of the groups in each ward, i.e.tenents ,mum and baby, gardens ewtc ewtc, to get together with politicaL activists and let them nominate their own candidate, then thewy could rally all of their friends and neighbours to vote for that candidate, allowing for the fact that the majority of these people would normally be none voters, their votes could swing the elections, as the former chairman |(now retired)of Salford Green paty, I would offer my support to this and any other scheme which resulted in co-operation between groups interested in this city,not their pockets.
 
Michael Moulding wrote
at 8:07:57 AM on Thursday, November 15, 2012
Justified criticism from the Salford Star about Ian Stewart but the solution ? To get rid of the Mayoral system ? What about voting the man out and getting someone new ? These are the facts :- 1) The system was changed in a referendum. 2) The Mayor was elected by the people. 3) The Mayor is making a botched job. No surprise there then and what is Salford Star's answer ? To change the system ! How about encouraging Salford people to vote for an alternative Mayor next time around ? The decisions Ian Stewart makes can be so much different with a different Mayor but Salford People selected Ian Stewart ! Is the city of Salford really saying they would rather change the system back than vote out an incompetant Mayor even as early as 2016 ? Who is to say a different Mayor would not make completely different decisions ? I am certain they would. The Trade Unions in Salford are hypocrites ! On the one hand they oppose cuts, oppose job losses, reduced pay, cuts in services etc etc - All extremely valid points YET they fund the machine and the party IE Labour and Ian Stewart that savagely implement these cuts whilst spending some of this much needed money on Spin Doctors and trips to India ! The Trade Unions should keep their mouths shut where Ian Stewart is concerned and his Labour Cronies because they funded them and their election campaigns ! Whats the saying ? "You reap what ........... ?" I agree with many of the comments above but clearly if a man is doing a crap job you vote them out. Its that simple. However, if Salford people are so reluctant to vote for anyone other than a Labour candidate and that candidate is completely useless or a donkey wearing a red rosette then who's to blame ? Its certainly not the system ! Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader, Community Action Party
 
wrote
at 1:57:26 PM on Monday, November 12, 2012
I have just watched the BBC television coverage of the Bristol Mayoral Debate. 15 candidates-half couldnt orate their own manifesto without reading it off a piece of paper and the other half spouting the usual party political mantras. So, pts a toss up between the Birthday party candidate and the guy with the feather in the red hat....I wonder what sort of monster have we unleashed with these mayoral positions
 
DEREK CRANE wrote
at 6:53:13 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
WE REALLY MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER TO RID THIS CITY FOREVER OF THIS BUNCH OF CONMEN MANIFESTING THEMSELVES AS LABOUR . MAYOR GREEDY STEWART SHOULD BE ASHAMED , BUT LIKE THE REST OF THE TAXPAYER LOOTERS , THE I'M ALRIGHT , JACK MENTALITY WILL PREVAIL LET'S GET RID OF THEM !!!!!!!!!!!
 
Val wrote
at 12:01:09 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
Many parties were asked if they wanted to join the mayoral alliance, they either refused or just sat on the fence. I doubt any party in Salford would now genuinely work together for the good of the people - I would sincerely wish they would as its the only way the situation in Salford will ever change. If 2 parties and some independents can change the system, then imagine what a group could do. It breaks my heart to see how many of my relatives in Salford are treated. I'm disgusted about the waste of money (no change there though) from the Labour regime. Money that could have been saved and put back to the needy and vulnerable has been continued to be spent on further pet projects. Well perhaps they don't care because at least the new spin doc might make him look good! Mr Stewart and friends you should be ashamed of yourselves - the mayoral system works its the people that don't. Vote them out.
 
Joe O'neill wrote
at 2:49:25 PM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
The reality is simple. for the four years i spent with the Liberal Democrats in Salford,all seats were contested and out of those twenty seats only around 5% where fought,votes wasted,the Tories put candidates in the inner city ie Langworthy votes wasted,this year in one ward we had seven candidates fighting labour,imagine if we could come to some agrement to fight in seats we had a real chance of winning?we have the candidates but limited resources,we cannot beat a Labour group fat on allowances and union fat. But this time round we have Mr stewart and more than likely a police com,both wearing Labour colours,both high profile targets.If we bite the bullet and work together we could make the break through,
 
The problem wrote
at 12:39:25 PM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
The problem in trying to get all the other parties together with some sort of strategy is that they will not work together towards this. If they did and in each seat, only one candidate other than Labour stood, then there might be a chance. Then you would only have to try to get the donkeys who vote Labour because they say either "There is no alternative" or "They are all the same", to change their vote. Oh yes and some of the other 70% who dont vote.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 11:04:59 AM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
Michael, Orson, Steve, etc - maybe your time would be better spent trying out some strategic voting on November 15th with the Police Commissioner elections. Unfortunately, I predict that after the 15th, the police around here will be just another Labour organisation. I find it genuinely frightening that a Political Party will be in direct control of the police.
 
Strategist Steve wrote
at 5:48:13 AM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
Nice idea Mr Felse but i think to wipe Labour off the Salford map you need the support from all the other political parties. Looking at the 2011 local election if the cons, lib, green, and the independants had got together and been a bit tactical about if and where they stood their candidates the makeup of the council would be very different. It that election i belive the result could have been Independants 10, Con 5, LD 3, Green 1, Labour 1. That result had it been repeated at the 2012 election would have made Salford a very different place. Unfortunatly i don't belive more people will come out to vote in Salford until they see change only then will they see a point in voting at all, those that do vote need to be convinced to stop voting on national issues and start looking locally, every labour party leaflet i get in my letterbox at polling time is shouting about national issues that have nothing to do with the council, unfortunatly many fall for it though. Joseph you are spot on, you have to get out their now and get faces known, many people vote for someone whose face is known to them and door knocking now comes across a lot better to voters than at election time when the voter knows they don't give a shit but just wants thier vote.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 5:47:20 AM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
Joe puts the action point clear. There is room for a plan and I will attend a joint meeting. There is no local election in Salford in 2013 which does give a year to look at some kind of strategic plan. Count me in. Look forward to hearing from others willing to go that extra mile to improve Salford long term.
 
Terrance Annersley wrote
at 3:48:53 AM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
As Orson says , we certainly need an independent financial investigation into the way this city has been run ! The SHAFTED citizens of Salford DEMAND it ! WHERE HAS THE MONEY GONE , SALFORD CLOWNCIL ? We demand answers !
 
joseph.oneill wrote
at 3:48:39 AM on Thursday, November 8, 2012
Michael I think we should all sit round a table look at each others strength and come together,if only to look how we can dent Labour and show the people of this city there is an alternative. Mr Stewart has the benefit of the press,he can feed information at will,When you have the backing of the unions,and the huge sums of money Labour take from this city it makes the fight so much harder. I could have rspected any one who won the Mayoral fight and gave 100% towards this city,instead i feel anger with the shamless way Labour have dealt with the issues,i am sick of hearing Stewarts constant whine over the Tories, yes we understand the problem,but leadership is dealing with it,What's our next step? a pact of some sort,i don't have a clue but one thing is clear we have a free year where we must work to oust Labour,The Mayor is the key target like John Merry before if people can identify with something like the mayor he is the face of labour, he would be a better target than some Councillor who show up once a year,we need to put out press statement and work the wards it would be pointless coming out in a year and hoping to win,my doors open if any one wishes to talk
 
Orson welles wrote
at 10:15:14 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Smoke and mirrors at all levels , rules have been tossed away into the bottom draw , the people have a human right for answers from local council ...............or is this the road Joe Bloggs has to travel like it or lump it.. privatised Council housing , Social services , Pfi, outsourced public services, etc etc etc salford council allowed this crap weres the safety net for ordinary working folk taken away by am ok jack politics thrown to the private sector $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ I think we need a public enquiry to see were the moneys vanished to.?
 
Minty wrote
at 10:15:06 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Well , I've had enough of these inept clowncil shites . These greedy bastards want rounding up and bundling out of this city . 35 years of clueless misrule has destroyed this dead city . That abortion along the Crescent and Chapel St is the final straw .
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 1:28:52 PM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Agree with Ordsall V, we need a map of the 20 wards with one name for each, one on one fight in each at the Local election to oust Labour. If Paul Massey is up for it be the first to name your ward Paul. Joe, Pat, Michael and newbies lets make a plan of (dare I say Salford Solidarity) to rid Salford of this mess 2012 created.
 
Ordsall V wrote
at 10:06:10 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tell everyone you know to get registered and get voting next time, and in every available election local or national...only then can we have change, when people can be bothered.
 
Nachtschleper wrote
at 10:00:34 AM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Stewart's Modern Thesaurus. Work Commitments = Making paper aeoroplanes and flaying them across my office. Extremely Busy = Handing out book tokens and lighting a bonfire on 5th November. Generating Transparency = Feeding the plebs bullhit and keeping them in the dark. The most vulnerable in society = Peel Holdings and Salford City Reds.
 
DEAD CITY INMATE wrote
at 9:59:18 AM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
TOO BUSY ? WHAT AN IGNORANT BASTARD . NEVER TOO BUSY TO POCKET OUR MONEY THOUGH ! THE SOONER WE BOOT THIS SHITE DOWN THE ROAD , THE BETTER .
 
B R Stines wrote
at 10:56:53 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Disgraceful . The sooner we boot these torybastard nu-liebour traitors back into the slime they crawled from , the better for us all . Greedy bastard stewart is a joke . Spicer is a joke . This city is a joke .
 
Joe Oneill wrote
at 1:06:48 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012
The man is hear to collect his bloody pension,cluless inept and needs a spin doctor,Yes your right ar least John Merry had balls,this guy lost his in May.He is being run by his deputy thats the guy showing him what to do,the same old crowd at twice the price,and Salfordians voted for this. So who do you blame you blame those suffering from apathy, to boody bone idle to vote and Labours sheep,
 
H.G. SWELL wrote
at 1:06:23 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012
I wonder if this crew have credentials so "green" that they are busy shredding paper to feed the Peel generator? Nice to know that they care about the environment. They really do seem to have hell of a lot to hide. Mr Stewart seems to achieved his aim of generating transparency to the extent that he has now become invisible
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 9:43:46 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
The Mayor stuffing his face with toffee apples and lighting a bonfire are a hell of a lot more important to him than protecting the most vulnerable in our society. What a maggot. And what's worse, when we get our new Labour Police Commissioner, he'll be just as bad. Labour just don't want anybody to know what they're up to, on any front.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 8:08:53 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Salford Star should organise a public no confidence petition to be handed into Eric Pickles. I am sure all other Mayoral candidates will sign, showing the elected Mayor is out of touch with the people on the basis of a lack of success evidenced in the article.
 
debbie wrote
at 4:20:46 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Did you expect anything different, he needs a 'spin doctor' says it all delusions of grandeur spring to mind.
 
Red Babs wrote
at 3:32:18 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
And how many police officers will be used to protect Mr mayor while he is in the park? Be brave Ian, forgo the police protection you will have, they could be protecting the real vulnerable members of our Community instead of you tonight.
 
Kev wrote
at 3:32:01 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
If him and Spicer got it together they would be Spicy chicken (a cheap disgusting product dressed up to make it more appealing for which the provider then charges more than it's worth) how fitting.
 
Pyro phill wrote
at 3:16:01 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Excellent choice of fire starter i belive, if it's a damp night and the fire will not light then the mayor can talk to the fire. The resulting hot air should dry the wood quickly enough
 
Gareth L wrote
at 3:14:10 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Excellent article once again. These people are given the opportunity to speak and refuse, they don't like to face difficult questions. The Star once again shows it is the only independent media outlet in this city.
 
Guy of Gisborne wrote
at 3:14:01 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Is he just lighting the bonfire? Oh well i wont bother going then, but if he was sitting on top of it! now that would be worth 3 quid a hotdog to watch.
 
Sick of them all wrote
at 3:13:51 AM on Monday, November 5, 2012
What an arrogant , ignorant shyster Mayor Greedy Bullshitter is . People must remember the actions and unaccountability of this Greedy Parasite and his Army Of Parasites . This traitorous inept mob of shysters and wasters need booting out of this Dead City asap . They can take Greedy Spicy with them .
 
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