Pedestrians and motorists on Chapel Street were stunned this afternoon as Bez unveiled a massive billboard urging Salford people to `Join The Revolution' and vote for the Reality Party at the forthcoming General Election in May.
The giant poster, quoting the Salford coat of arms motto `The welfare of the people is the highest law', and the classic slogan `Power To The People!' launched the Reality Party's campaign to fight two seats in Salford. Bez is to stand in the Salford and Eccles seat being vacated by retiring MP Hazel Blears, while Jackie Anderson is taking on sitting Labour Party MP Barbara Keeley in Worsely and Eccles South.
"This is the launch of the campaign and we've got a few other ideas too because we're going to campaign like nobody's ever seen campaigning done in Salford before" Bez told the Salford Star "This billboard is the start of it and it's going up for two weeks on the busiest street in Salford, so hopefully a lot of people will get to see it because thousands of people drive past it every day. It's a great way to let people know what we're doing, that we're serious about it and hopefully we'll get plenty of attention from it."
While the Reality Party is based in Salford, it's hoping to stand candidates nationally too, with one already confirmed standing in the seat that UKIP's Nigel Farage is hoping to win. Any Reality Party candidates will have to be self financing at the moment as the coffers are empty but Bez is hoping this will change, with a proposed supergroup in the pipeline starring himself, Shaun Ryder and Ian Brown...
"Shaun's agreed to it, Ian Brown's 99% and we're going to launch the supergroup at Granada Studios although it's all still up for negotiation" he explained "ITunes have said they would put a track out and there's a possibility we could raise up to £1million for the Party, with some money going to Coffee4Craig and the homeless charities, so that it benefits everyone in Salford. Hopefully we can have a great effect and make some difference."
Bez is already trying to make a difference in Salford by getting a permaculture centre off the ground in Pendleton but the heart of the Reality Party campaign, he said, is democracy and getting people involved in a new politics.
"We believe in true democracy and are trying to create a new language, getting away from all those old political terms and all that, because we've never lived in a true democratic society, so that's what we would like, a true democracy for Salford people" he explained "What we've got now is that Greater Manchester Mayor - what is all that about? It's not democracy. It's definitely not been discussed with us. It would be alright if they even told us what they were planning but no, they don't even want to do that. They make all the decisions behind closed doors. True democracy is what we're fighting for, otherwise we're slipping into this dictatorship that we haven't asked for."
The two main Salford seats will be contested by a range of alternative parties, with the Green Party, TUSC and the Pirate Party as well as the Reality Party already declaring their intentions.
"I think it's good that we have all these independent parties because we need to get people politically aware as we can't let the powers that be keep on getting away with what they're doing" Bez said "The more parties offering political alternatives the better it is for us.
"At the last local election we ran in Irlam and out of eight thousand people, six thousand sat at home thinking they couldn't make a difference" he added "We need to get the message to those six thousand people that you can make a difference – let's do something about it..."
Jackie Anderson, the Reality Party candidate for Worsely and Eccles South, underlined the point, saying she's actually experiencing the results of local Council and national Government policies...
"I've been made redundant and lost my job, and I'm at the point of being made homeless so I'm living through all that at the moment and it's hopefully given me quite a good experience to help others" she said "We've got simple ideas and we want to put them forward.
"We've been doing this for eight months, we've got 22,000 followers on Facebook and they've been teaching us what they want" she added "We've also been doing surveys with the local population and we're basing our manifesto on what people are saying they want. It's about poverty, austerity measures, the Bedroom Tax and more."
Tomorrow Salford City Council will announce a staggering £55million of cuts to public services and the Reality Party certainly opposes such measures...
"I think they need to think about the amount of cuts that have gone through already and just be able to have the guts to say `No' but we know that's not going to happen" said Jackie "How can anything else be taken off people? What's left?
"There's so many people losing out" she added "One of my friends hasn't been able to pay to have their gas turned on for a year because he can't afford it through the Bedroom Tax. People are coming to the Reality Party for help because they can't get legal aid or appointments at the Citizens Advice Bureau, so it's that local focus that we want but there's so much that needs to be done nationally too. We need to get the money decentralised."
So the revolution starts in Salford? "Yes please" urged Jackie "It's got to be Salford!"
Photos by Steven Speed