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Mary Burns
 

TWITTER OF THE YEAR - A HAZEL BLEARS SPECIAL...

 

At the beginning of July, Hazel Blears, Salford MP and Minister For Communities and Local Government, launched her BIG IDEA – a White Paper called Communities In Control: Real People, Real Power, which commits the government and other public bodies to greater democracy and accountability…

"It's all about shifting power from the people who've got it into the hands of local communities, local people" she said "so they can have real influence and control over what happens in their lives."  Sounds good so far…

In the intro to the White Paper, Hazel conjures up images of "the Chartists who marched in their thousands at Kersal Moor in Salford"…"the women who chained themselves to railings and went to prison to win the vote"…she even makes reference to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester and those fighting Mugabe in Zimbabwe…powerful stuff! 

So how do we get this in the UK now??? Well, we could try using her Community Power Pack. This tells us how to get modern day Hazelocracy with some top advice like…`sitting around in circles'…`providing teas and coffees'…and putting up `appropriate decorations'…The pack encourages us to use `sticky dots, Post-it notes, beads, BluTack, flipcharts and paper tablecloths' to help register our views…

This Blue Peter style democracy would have gone down really well with the Chartists et al – `So you want to overthrow the state and rid the country of corrupt politicians? Just place a red dot on the flipchart …and do you want tea or coffee with that?...Mind those balloons as you go.'

                                      *****

In order to help launch this brave new Hazelocracy our MP tried really hard to engage with the common people via a battery of `empowerment blogs'.  She talks a lot about alternative media being a `forum for debate' so I thought she'd love the Salford Star – I e-mailed her Empowerment blog asking if she'd perhaps send us £100 donation.  Her people at the Empowerment Dept wouldn't put that on the site, so I wrote again asking for a letter of support.  They wouldn't put that up either…
Dear Mary,
Thank you for taking part in Hazel Blears' Empowerment Blog.  Unfortunately we have been unable to publish your contribution…etc etc.

Empowerment?  Don't ya just love it!


                                *******
Hazel's also been doing empowerment forums as part of her BIG IDEA, and Twittering, which is a kind of texty type thing that works on mobiles and the web.  Hazel's Twitters gave regular updates and a real insight into her working life, including…

July 16th 12:40pm: "about to have some lunch…"
July 17th 2:31pm: "down at the House having a late lunch…"
July 23rd 5:00pm: "enjoying a nice cup of earl grey…"
 
As that great Salford lad and revolutionary, Fred Engels might have said `Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your…er…afternoon tea'…

 

GIVING PEOPLE A VOICE


"A strong independent media is a vital part of any democracy…"
Hazel Blears

Public Funding In Salford For Community Media…

Salford City Radio:
£175,000 plus free studios, offices and transmitter hosting. Backed by Salford City Council.

Social Media Centre at Salford Innovation Forum
£484,000 inc £300,000 for `community' space.  Backed by Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC/Salford City Council

Salford Star
£0 no public funding in Salford since launch. Totally independent. Backed by a few collection tins in the community.

P Pearson wrote
at 20:24:26 on 20 May 2009
Now that MPs expenses are being made transparent, what about the same for Salford Councillors. Lets see their allowances and expenses published.
 
june smith wrote
at 02:51:34 on 21 April 2009
Just love this page as am not a HB fan. Have only just discovered your mag. Never heard of it before, but keep up good work. We need folk who will report the true facts. Goodonyuh June ps..am 82 years old. Lived in Salford 58 years. Am 4th generation Australian, but love it here. My ancestors were free settlers, saling on Louisa Baillee in 1848. Thought you may like to know. JJS
 
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