Star date: 10th May 2010 


"If you're stupid enough to vote for her then wallow in your own filth" A Brief Encounter Blog

"hazel blears is still in salford? evidently salfordians can't read, so its pot luck as to where the cross went." Amyinyourface via Twitter

Websites, blogs and newspapers up and down the country have reacted with shock and horror to Salford people re-electing Hazel Blears in the General Election. Most of the stuff written has been vicious, patronising and spiteful, attacking both our city and its people, dredging up all the old stereotypes and prejudice.

Here, we analyse the Hazel fall out – beware X rated language!

Click here…

"She's a minging, unprincipled little gravy train sponger who really should be shot. However there seems to be 16,655 dickheads in Salford who are stupid enough to vote Labour and re-elect the little parasite…

"Up yours Salford, never again will I spend a penny in Salford whether that be in a public lavvie or watching Salford RLFC (now known as Salford City Reds), or even visiting the Lowry. If you're stupid enough to vote for her then wallow in your own filth."

This post, from a blog called A Brief Encounter, is typical of the country's mood towards Salford and its people in the wake of the city re-electing Hazel Blears as MP, despite her central media role in the expenses scandal.

The SKY News web comments were typical of the vitriol poured on our city…

"Hazel Blairs was counting on the stupidity of Salford Labour voters and she got it. She need not gloat as anything Labour put up as a candidate in Salford would have been elected." Jam62

"..our democracy will cease to exist, due in no small way to the 16000 or so voters of Salford and Eccles who voted for this disgraceful woman." Albion.

"The area has 'high unemployment and crime'. No wonder Labour are voted back in. Under what other party are you better off not working?" Scotletmak

"Are they all stupid up there? By voting for her, they are condoning dishonesty and greed." Allan Hansen

And Twitter was no better…

"The cheating corrupt Hazel Blears voted back - thick, unthinking, immoral Labour vote. Says everything" JKS79

"Salford hang your collective head in shame..." MRRX

"Hazel Blears? What stupid cnuts voted her back in?" TbishopFinger

"By the way how thick are the people of Salford to re-elect that vile woman Hazel Blears?" Craigmmorq4

"hazel blears is still in salford? evidently salfordians can't read, so its pot luck as to where the cross went." Amyinyour face

"Salford is a toilet, and will remain so when MediaCity takes over the town. But Hazel Poxing Blears proves that the many-headed are idiots." Mediaevalman

The smaller the websites, the more vicious the forums. This stuff from bbs forum

"You have obviously never been to Salford then...Door locked windows up and put your foot down. It's one of the worst areas of the country. The state handouts are used as pin money, the big money is in drug dealing. I've seen top of the range Merc's, BMW's,Lexus etc parked outside the DHSS offices." Vito

"Salford is deprived but a lot of decent hard working people live in the City and you shouldn't tar them all with the same brush as the odd scum bag" Wigan Bear

"Of course there are many decent people in Salford just as there must be the odd one in Somalia". Vito

Nice eh? In the national press there was just shock. Hazel "remarkably" held onto her seat and "escaped punishment" despite Salford being in "open revolt last summer", wrote The Guardian. While The Daily Mail added that hers was the stand out result of the night… "Perhaps most surprisingly, Hazel Blears was re-elected as an MP in Salford."

So was Hazel's re-election as MP "remarkable" and "surprising"? And are we all "thick" in Salford for voting Ms Blears back in?

The first thing is that the majority of people in Salford did not vote for Hazel Blears. 45% of the electorate didn't vote at all. And of those 55% who did vote, around 60% of them didn't vote for Hazel either. She got 16,655 out of 41,533 votes cast. Or 16,655 out of 75,482 possible total votes. Or 22%. So, under a quarter of people in Salford voted for Hazel Blears. And 9.4% of people `swung' away from Labour towards the Lib Dems.

But Hazel Blears still got elected with a 5,725 majority, which under our current voting system is a ringing endorsement. So was it an endorsement of Hazel Blears or fear of Cameron's Conservative cuts that got Hazel back in?

Before the election the Salford Star said that Salford people had a terrible dilemma – to vote against Hazel or vote against the Tories. And post election, Salford people's attitude is explained by both the comments on the Star website and the people we have spoken to. Here's two quotes that sum it upand far from the Salford slagging that has been going on around the country these show that people thought hard and long about how and why they voted and can articulate it perfectly.

"I voted Labour because it was a vote for the party not the individual" says Mary "That over-rode my feelings about the individual. Labour was the best of the parties because they said they would protect working family tax credits, and they're not the party who are going to offer big cuts in corporation tax for the banks who got us into this mess. Labour aren't going to axe inheritance tax for the wealthy and bring back fox hunting. They have invested a great deal of money in education, and people who dispute this clearly can't remember the state of our schools in the 70s and 80s under the Tories when it was one text book between three pupils."

A comment by someone called `Salford Freak' on the Star website also sums up the anguish…

"I've decided to explain, rationally and without hyperbole, why I decided to vote for Ms Blears. I am not a stupid person and the argument that the Salford electorate are 'stupid' or `don't care' offends me. I'm a socialist and this dilemma literally kept me awake at night. Literally. I made that cross in the box with tears in my eyes because I was torn. I was torn between allowing Labour to lose another seat and by default, allowing the Tories to win the election, or voting for David Henry.

"I remember Thatcher's Tories…I remember how she decimated public services, marched her stiletto heels all over workers' rights and cut any element of strong, united society she could get her hands on. I remember 1997 and the wave of optimism under a Labour government. I remember my increasing disappointment as Labour failed to deliver on what it promised me, though I do remember those small victories too - minimum wage and tax credits being two.

"I remember watching Hazel on the telly, waving her cheque about, and I remember feeling literally sick to my stomach….I had a decision to make. Fight the Tories or fight Hazel. And I'm not scared to admit that I chose to fight the Tories. But I'm also hoping to fight Hazel from the inside…

"…What I'm ashamed and sad about is that the constituency Labour Party put me in this horrendous dilemma. They had a choice, both before and after the expenses scandal, and I feel that they failed to do the right thing…. My Labour party (a bunch of good people) had the chance to rid Salford of everything that was wrong with Blair's Labour party and deselect Hazel for Salford and Eccles - both when the boundary changes were first announced and after 'rocking the boat'. But they didn't have the balls. If anyone should be ashamed of themselves, it's the people in that room that day…

"…I'm hoping that this electoral crisis will force the Labour party to re-evaluate its roots and return to socialism. Is that the right decision? A lot of people here will say no. And I'm still not sure I did the right thing…Maybe I'll lie awake every single night and rue the day I voted for Hazel. I hope not. I hope it pays off. But that's why I did what I did. Castigate my decision making if you want, debate it with me. But don't call me stupid and don't accuse me of not caring."

Salford remains officially one of the most so-called `deprived' areas in the country, despite the Labour Party being in office since 1997. It's bad. But what came before was worse. And families clearly remember it.

When people were making up their minds to vote Labour - and by default keep Hazel Blears as MP – they obviously thought that the few crumbs on offer were better than the proposed smashing up of the kitchen offered by other mainstream parties. It was the only logical conclusion.

Perhaps the rest of the country's big mouths who slag off Salfordians and would vote to remove Labour might want to examine their own heads.



Hannah Alicia Roche wrote
at 7:23:12 AM on Thursday, May 13, 2010
I was one of the people who was also unable to vote for David Henry,but living in Hulme meant that I could vote for a TUSC candidate last Thursday. I wholeheartedly commend those who were involved in the campaigning to make TUSC happen in the first place (some of who I know) and despite Blunder Blears getting back in I feel we can now mobilise even further against the new Tory rule,despite the low amount of votes that was recieved for the TUSC candidates in Greater Manchester and Salford (a little bit of optimism doesn't hurt). This was the first ever election that I voted in as a 20 year old student and I am in no way disappointed with the outcome,as I gave my vote to the left rather than a party with too many hypocrises to count. And Tony,if I may reply to your comment,you refer to people of the HMG campaign as ''A load of unwashed jerk offs spouting outdated and irrellevant left of left platitudes with nothing in the way of what they would do if elected'' as people that I know personally through campaigning outside Salford Women's Centre in my free time as well as in the Socialist Party of Manchester and Salford. Steve North did a sterling job as did Allison and David,to raise the issues of what Salford has turned into under New Labour. They even set up a Charter for Salford to actually put across what they wanted. New Labour could not do that for a second as they have veered off onto a different tangent and we have someone leading Salford and Eccles who is no longer a representative of the working class. To call these people jerk offs is the most insulting thing that you could ever say,lest you be party political in the first place. These three people (and more) represent Salford,not for their own ways and means like Blunder Blears,but for the means and needs of other working class Salfordians too. Thank you.
bob wrote
at 7:23:09 AM on Thursday, May 13, 2010
Minimum wage a victory? Do you think Hazel blears or anyone she knows would work for that? £5.90 an hour, the lowest in the EEC, a victory? I suppose Iraq and Afghanistan are victorys too. The complete erosion of our civil rights, a millenium dome, the bailout of the banks, more victorys. Minimum wage a victory, yeah right..a pyrrhic one.
Allison wrote
at 1:26:55 PM on Wednesday, May 12, 2010
In reply to tony. If you looked closely at the activists within the hazel must go campaign you will find a diverse group,many of whom had no previous connections in politics. I was involved as a working housewife and mother that wanted to see a bit of common sense injected into local politics and more reflection in what our community needs. I have been labelled hard left, militant, and even violent (albeit by the sex obsessed,homophobe richard carvath).Upto now I have chosen not to dignify such statements with a response.However tony whoever you are I will not be labelled unwashed in fact if you knew me I'm sure you would find me quite fragrant, I can also vouch for my colleagues good hygiene practice too.
Gayle wrote
at 8:19:37 AM on Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Blears was by far the WORST candidate Labour could have put up. If it wasn't for that old witch the would be no BNP hijacking the show. The Hazel MustGo group had a first class candidate. Refreshing and eloquent. Give it time he will go far. Don't think they got enough publicity though. He got more votes than the other socialists coalition efforts. Better as a Green next time IMHO though. Regret to say I voted Lib Dem. Tories in disguise. If only I'd known then what I know now. I'd have Salford Freak, sad for you. Id get in touch with them and offer some support if you have regrets.
tony wrote
at 11:26:26 PM on Tuesday, May 11, 2010
part of the reason was the pathetic campaign and candidate of the 'hazel must go campaign.' A load of unwashed jerk offs spouting outdated and irrellevant left of left platitudes with nothing in the way of what they would do if elected just a load of crap abot what we are against blah blah.
Steven North wrote
at 11:48:00 AM on Monday, May 10, 2010
I thought it might be worth commenting on this as the Secretary of the Hazel Must Go Campaign and as agent for David Henry our candidate in the election. The people of Salford are not stupid. We spoke to numerous people on the doorstep who explained that the reason they intended to vote Labour was to keep the Tories out of power. We tried to explain that the Tories had no chence of winning but that fear is a strong one. As someone who, as a child saw my family suffer under Thatcher and consequently hated her with a passion beyond my years I can understand that fear. This was a polarised election. People did not feel they were able to take a risk with their vote. We spoke to many who instinctively agreed with our call for investment in public services and against corruption in politics, but felt they could not take the chance this time round. Smaller parties were squeezed around the country as people backed Labour or Tory - both fearful of the other depending on their social class. The unfortunate reality - that both parties ultimately believe in the same system and the same cuts - will become clear over time, but for the moment I don't think anyone has the right to ridicule Salfordians terrified of a Tory onslaught. What we involved in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - the banner Hazel Must Go adopted - intend to do now is make sure that we continue to take our case to the people of this city, so that we are in a strong position to fight further hospital cuts, school closures and job losses when they appear. Those of us believing that Salford can have an anti-cuts, anti-racist, pro-public services alternative have to work to earn the trust of those who saw us as anti-Blears opportunists and nothing more. We intend to call a public meeting in the next few weeks and invite the people of Salford to join in the discussion on how we prepare ourselves for the onslaught that our city is aboout to experience. The bottom line is that whoever you voted for on Thursday it no longer matters. What will matter is how people respond the next time they come for a hospital ward, or a nursery, or jobs or homes. If we respond then and stand up for out services and our livelyhoods we will have far more imact than we ever could ticking a box. If we fight back and refuse to bear the brunt of an economic crisis we did not create, we can then look the rest of the country square on the eye and be proud - whoever our MP may be. Steven
Janice Taylor wrote
at 11:46:21 AM on Monday, May 10, 2010
I am astounded and very saddened that the people of Salford voted in the Hazel Blears woman.Do they read newspapers or listen to the news,do they have sutch short memories.Saddened by the fact that two smashing and very hard working councillors lost their seats!!!! In Weaste and Claremont. Regards Janice Taylor
Stu Noo wrote
at 10:53:41 AM on Monday, May 10, 2010
My ward comes under the banner of Worsley & Eccles South, however the Labour candidate standing for a seat in the IN SALFORD big house contest was Bab's Keeley. The interesting thing in this is that the polling paper listed her address as Sale. At least Blears and indeed the other main party candidates actually live IN SALFORD, and perhaps get a measure of what is happening at grass roots level...
Will Youds wrote
at 5:56:54 AM on Monday, May 10, 2010
unfortunately, although i live in Broughton (a part of Salford) and pay my council tax to Salford, i was unable to vote for a Salford MP as they have decided to change the boundaries so that Broughton is now in the ward of Blackley and Broughton. I was therefore unable to vote against Blears...despite being a Salford citizen There's democracy...
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