Salford constituency a marginal? Who’d have thought? And to help retain the seat there are, apparently, plans to train Labour party members in the art of community engagement, before unleashing a series of coffee mornings and think tanks on the unsuspecting masses. Beware Salford – you are about to have your flesh pressed!
Meanwhile, Hazel Blears’ attempts to rebuild her reputation and reconnect with the people of Salford are, I hear, falling slightly flat. I was speaking to a woman in Charlestown who attended a women's only curry and comedy night. She told me that Hazel turned up uninvited, demanding to speak to the gathering. Obviously she was told that this was not on but still wandered around the tables with her new Hazel can help leaflets before making her exit. The feedback to this stunt was far from favourable, I understand, with unprintable words written on the leaflets telling her where to stick them.
Next thing I hear is that she might just be barred from one of Langworthy’s most popular watering holes. Apparently, she booked a room for a meeting with a few students, but forgot to pay for the room or the food. To add insult to injury her protégés were seen to take out their own booze instead of buying from the bar. Then again, now her expenses are being watched a bit more closely the off licence might be the only option.
Hazel’s certainly rocking the boat. A little bird tells me that she even wants a private audience with members of Salford’s biggest trade union branch to try and convince them that she will act in their interests. Well, as these employees work in local government - the Department she headed for years as a minister and which suffered below inflation pay rises and service cuts under her tenure - they might take some convincing!