Star date: 4th May 2016


Wendy Olsen, who is standing for the Green Party in the Salford Mayor election, believes that the role should be political, and would promote an anti-cuts policy, while trying to reverse the power that developers and speculators have in the city.

"We want to be on that ballot paper to give people an alternative to Labour" she says. But what is that alternative and do the Greens stand a chance?

For the full interview click here...

"The Labour Party is split in two equal parts, it's a disaster; you don't know what they mean any more and you can't trust them..."

The Green Party's Wendy Olsen is in no doubt that she is flying the flag for humane political policies in the city...

"It's a Labour dominated council and we think it has an inner looking approach to politics" she explains "It's not very political now, it's almost like a corporation so we want to have a political alternative.

"The role of the Mayor should be political" she adds "It should be leading, but at the moment they're letting the Council staff tell them what they can and cannot do, and that is completely wrong. It needs to be reversed and I don't think Paul Dennett, the Labour Party candidate, is going to challenge the current city council system at all. But the Greens would."

So how would the Greens challenge that system? "You have to decide on the priorities and make those decisions" Olsen insists "Sometimes councillors begin to see the Council as if it was a business, but it's not a business. The Salford Mayor has a leadership role, and we should be moving the whole way we think about economics towards a more humane and less austerity approach.

"I will not agree with the cuts" she says "It's morally wrong to cut that budget, so wrong..." That's easy to say but how would she do it? "The Council will have to change its reserves level, and we need to work on borrowing and postpone payments

"There's a high risk of Council legal officers saying `You must not do that', and I would oppose them and say `Your job is to find out how we can maximise our spending'" she explains "That's the political role of the Mayor – to insist that these officers help the people of Salford..."

The Greens favour more regulation of landlords, a jobs programme focussed on renewable energy production or local food production, more preventative policing, and encouraging residents to think about how economic policy should be changed radically to help negate inequality in the city. Olsen would also try and reverse some of the developer power that's going on in the city...

"We have towerblocks going up all over the place in Ordsall with no parks, no primary school places and no place for families to mingle; it's becoming expensive and like social cleansing" she says "Mocha Parade is a disaster and needs support. In Whit Lane and Charlestown they want to take the riverbanks away from the people and give them to incomers: it's all been planned but they're planning the wrong thing.

"There seems to be an issue with Salford Council's relationship with some large corporations" she adds "The developers in Salford have a lot of power, they seem to get a good deal and that's because they can represent their interests in small back rooms, in secret. But the people of Salford don't have an opportunity to present their views. There may be some secret conduit where Labour Party members can give their views but it's secret."

Wendy Olsen promises a more open and democratic Salford and pledges "to try and control the Greater Manchester Mayor...Greater Manchester is becoming a mega city and Salford will be destroyed in that."

Indeed, whoever becomes the next Mayor of Salford will be king or queen of almost nothing. Loads of council public services have been hived off, privatised or outsourced; from swimming baths to social housing, to social care and schools. Greater Manchester devolution, while promising more local decisions, will see even more control being taken from the city...

"Why did they agree to devolution?" she asks "It seems they were offered sweeteners, enjoying building white elephants and spending money in Manchester. They should have had a North West assembly but instead Salford signed up to Devo Manc. I would have objected."

She believes that the cycle lanes that have been installed on main roads all over the city were merely a "sweetener for the deal that Labour has signed...They are trying to make cyclists safer, but in Salford people are more likely to use a car; we understand that people have to travel...A lot of it is also irrational, like they have space for pedestrians on the Crescent, where there are no pedestrians."

Meanwhile, the flood that hit Lower Broughton is high on the Green agenda... "There were a lot of things about the floods that upset us but we also look at the background to it, like there was no snow and nothing holding the water back on the hills because of global warming" she says "Climate change is here and it causes these extreme weather events like heavy rain. But at the end of the day the whole economy is overusing oil reserves and putting carbon into the atmosphere which creates the global warming. We need to change the way we use energy."

Obviously for the Greens, fracking isn't the answer and they were the only political party standing in this election that publicly opposed the IGas exploratory drilling site at Barton Moss... "I think some Salford councillors were questioning fracking but, because of the discipline found it difficult to speak; the same with council staff" she says "We act democratically; we have open meetings and want to be available...As Mayor I'd be very clear that we're here with the permission of the public."

The problem would be that if Wendy Olsen was elected Salford City Mayor there would be a hostile majority of Labour Party councillors ranged against her. How would she cope?

"We have an association of Green councillors, so I've had training" she reveals "But if we win Mayor we'll also win a group, so if there's five or six of us we have voice, and I think that's where we're heading."

Since the last election, the Greens haven't really been vocal in Salford, only popping up when it's time to vote. How can they justify this? "It's only two years since we've been an active party in the city, it's still being built up" she explains "Many of us also have jobs and so it's difficult in practical terms. But we want to be on that ballot paper to give people an alternative to Labour...

"The Labour Party is split in two equal parts, it's a disaster; you don't know what they mean any more and you can't trust them" she adds "Most have converted to Corbyn, at least in name, but I would question whether they support his agenda. It's a dangerous thing to do, to keep voting Labour without knowing what they represent."

The full list of candidates standing for Salford City Mayor on 5th May...

Robin Garrido – Conservative Party – click here for interview
Wendy Olsen – Green Party
Paul Dennett – Labour Party – click here for ass interview
Owen Hammond – UKIP – click here for interview

*See also previous Salford Star article – Salford Mayor Election on brink of democratic disaster as no-one can name candidates or parties standing – click here

On 5th May there is also the local election – see here for details

Photo by Steven Speed

Mary Ferrer wrote
at 07:16:07 on 18 May 2016
Stephen,thank you
Stephen Kingston wrote
at 20:57:24 on 17 May 2016
See Salford Resident's comment below... While I'm absolutely, definitely not a supporter of UKIP and all it stands for, when Mary Ferrer was a councillor, she was one of the best. If only other councillors had her spirit and `balls' Salford would be a much better place. Salford Resident, you are a very sad person.
Salford Resident wrote
at 20:53:04 on 17 May 2016
Oh, "Retired Mary", it just proves again your unconsciousness... The proof of the pudding is in the eating!
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 17:38:40 on 17 May 2016
Thank you grafficks man for your kind words.i hate was is happening to our city.Glad you said younger haha. Salford resident do you not understand, I am not going away.i will carry-on,this is my hometown and I don't like what is happening to the city and the people who live here. Think you have paranoid mixed up with caring. You want to try it sometime
Salford Resident wrote
at 07:44:19 on 17 May 2016
'Retired,tired Mary' your so paranoid about many things... lol
Grafficksman wrote
at 07:43:52 on 17 May 2016
@Salford Resident: Like many you seem to have fallen for the persona you have projected onto Mary Ferrer. (I do realise you were attempting sarcasm and irony!) Actually she reminds me of a young version of "Miss Marple" depicted by Joan Hickson: very tenacious, strongly principled, and a seeker of justice and truth. And woe betide anyone who falls foul of her principles!! A few councillors with her principles, of any political complexion in the Salford Council Chamber, would make our City a better place! And rather those who change parties when they no longer are at ease with their Party's policies than unprincipled "Corbynistas": political "chameleons" who change their stances to "fit in" with their Party's political changes.
Booted of Broughton wrote
at 07:43:34 on 17 May 2016
That was a rather unkind, vitriolic and unnecessary attack against Mary Ferrer I have to say by "Salford Resident"... he's probably "on the level", the illuminated square with nudge and a wink. Forgot to say.. as this article is about HER after all- Well done Wendy! Did we ever get to see how many second preference votes you got for the greens? :)
mary ferrer wrote
at 21:00:42 on 16 May 2016
Councillor B,sorry Salford resident. Thank you for being so concerned about my health.but please don't worry, I have lots of fighting years left yet. Pity you don't have that much concern about your voters in Swinton?? South maybe.I must admit I have upset some people over the years,most of them your fellow Labour councillors,and by god I have years and years left in me to make sure people hear about your old cronies who keep topping up their pensions with OUR money making sure their rich mates get richer and richer while letting the decent people of Salford down again and again. So Mr H i am here to stay. If not on the other side of the chambers,in print and at as many PUBLIC meetings as a little old lady,like me can attend
Salford Resident wrote
at 18:46:00 on 16 May 2016
Oh, sad marry F. you have already been recognise and 'loved' and 'cherished' by so many 'Friends'... over all this years doing such a 'great job' upsetting people with your awkward approach! A woman of your age shouldn't respond in such violent way. "your precious health" can be damaged. and we all don't want this surely.... "Retired Mary" would go along well with your 'motto',of course if you have one or ever had an idea to be involved in!
Salford Resident wrote
at 13:53:22 on 15 May 2016
Joe O'Neill, you have such a poor, nervous judgements on this issue, you can't see beyond your own big nose. And ones again it shows, you never were for a clear and 'clean' types involvements. That is your 'underestimated' nature.
mary ferrer wrote
at 13:53:13 on 15 May 2016
I think salford resident could be a rather useless labour council from a ward not that far from me going in the direction of Swinton.swinton be the main word. Said person can find the time to slag people off,but can't find the time to help and look after the ward he represents. Spend it bit more tine in your ward and start doing some bloody work. Drugs,anti social behavior litter.gangs. Your the sad one. Taking thousands year after year and doing sod all. Have a nice time. I note your style of writing from another site you had a pop at me on.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 15:22:21 on 14 May 2016
Booted as a good point. Sadly I am still expelled from Labour after 9 years. My point is let's pull together with our new Mayor. It may redefine politics. Inclusion, diversity, equality and society all helping save Salford.
joseph.oneill wrote
at 15:22:15 on 14 May 2016
SALFORD RESIDENT I think a few days in a secure location could help. You can rant all day but be honest with yourself you may need help for your anger issues. who really cares what you think I don't Marys to polite to tell you so give it a rest I am sure Steve's readers have better things to concern themselves with. You never mentioned what branch of the Labour party you are in.
Salford Resident wrote
at 13:36:32 on 14 May 2016
WOW, what a "Mixed Caramel Slices" a pompous 'ME,ME,ME'-Joe O'Neill and very sad Mary F. your both such a joke and are going to anywhere. You talk about guts...ha-ha, your both never knew what is having guts and as I mentioned ones you are both a blackspot for ukip.
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 18:42:13 on 11 May 2016
I never could understand people using aliases. If you feel passionately about something,what is wrong with using your name. Must have something to hide??? At least I have the guts to say what I thing and put my name to it. Mary Ferrer
joe oneill wrote
at 10:28:10 on 11 May 2016
Salford RESIDENT I do believe you can get help for your anger issues,you can call me all you wish thick skin and dark glasses sadly come with the role. I often worry when people fear putting their real name what do they fear, Labour Councillor or Labour SUPPORTER? I would read your post before you post you my reconsider do you look like a depressed nut or not. regards.
Salford Resident wrote
at 07:45:31 on 11 May 2016
ukip did well!!! I am sure if all Salford people have voted then it could bring a desirable result with a lumpy changes. Alas just 30% of people are active and 70% are just like their lullaby.
Salford Resident wrote
at 07:44:53 on 11 May 2016
Oh Joe O'Neill you want people's judgement, oh dear how sentimental it is. I thought a label "ME,ME,ME" would suit you soooo well... Well, I am not a bitter one. Would you like a sweet candy? a ray of light? Of course if you can reach it...
Booted of Broughton wrote
at 17:41:18 on 10 May 2016
If Michael Felse is so keep for everyone from our various factions to "come together as one"... wouldn't it just be easier for everyone to get in with The Labour Party, and any disagreements can be fought from "within"? Joe O'Neill is a well respected community activist first and foremost, regardless of the various groups/political parties he's stood for over the years, hence his commendable personal vote. Perhaps too much bad blood has been spilt over the years for people such as Joe to contemplate ever joining the Labour Party - but we all know this city today is 90% red through and through. The Labour Party is the people's party (apparently!) they should be reaching out to "the other factions" - particularly the political drifters, and they know as well as we all do - you "got to be in it, to win it". They let Norman Owen join after all didn't they? hahaha
Mchael James Felse wrote
at 11:25:41 on 10 May 2016
Hi Joe, do not let the little horrors get you down. UKIP did well in offering diversity to Saltord. The next 4 years need us all to come together to save Salford. We can expect little help from the Tory Councillors meaning we others must work together.
joseph.oneill55@gmail.com wrote
at 21:43:35 on 09 May 2016
SALFORD RESIDENT. what's wrong with your real name? Anyone would think your a bitter Labour Councillor or supporter. How can I drag UKIP down 11 second places as chair,130 votes from wiping out Howard Balkind. second place again this year in a pack of seven, So I have eye problems part blind in one eye does it worry you I have to wear reactor lites? you really are a sad type,a question was asked and I offered a response but you seem a little peeved. I will let people judge your comment,
Salford Resident wrote
at 18:26:29 on 09 May 2016
I just really wonder what kind of advice you (Oneill) could give to a resident???? How About to migrate from one party to another... I think your a going to any further then 1950... you think wearing black shades could disguise you from being a GREEN (the most disgraceful pic I ever seen) Your a Blackspot for ukip, dragging them into the abyss of unknown.
Booted of Broughton wrote
at 13:30:09 on 08 May 2016
It wasn't that long ago... but people seem to have forgotten the previous incarnation of the Green Party in Salford! At least four of whom are now UKIP candidates, including the previous Green Party Mayoral candidate Joe O'Neill and former Lib Dem councilor, then (briefly) Mary Ferrer (remember her!?). It's all very confusing if you don't keep up with the constant defections and such like. Felse... weren't you with the Eng Dems last I heard? Ahhh Salford's talent for political cross-dressing never ceases to amaze me!
Michael James Felse wrote
at 07:05:45 on 08 May 2016
Glad to debate with you again OS in this fine media forum. I am not a UKIP spokesperson, but over 8000 of my neighbours in Salford voted for them. UKIP can be proud. Now we have a Labour Mayor I will trust him to do good in Salford. It makes no sense attacking any group, instead we must all put Salford first.
Joe Oneill wrote
at 07:03:49 on 08 May 2016
Old Salfordian Just to Answer some points,If UKIP are approached officially they will offer advice, they can draw on the legal team or advisor on what they can and cannot do, we hold no positions within Council to act on behalf of residents,in my past position i have spoke for and advised on numerous planning issues to the extent on stopping one 24 hour supermarket and the building of houses on a site that would have had detrimental effects on residents,Planning is a dangerous area with numerous pitfalls for those fresh to the field i would be lying if i tried to say i did not find the subject daunting. If anyone wishes to speak with UKIP officials it will be arranged,if no one knocked on your door you would not be on your own i hand delivered 12,000 leaflets knocking on doors in reality is difficult but there is always a contact address or phone number for people to speak with us.Every one is free to vote and free to question.each party has good and bad points i suggest you have found yours stick with it,you wish to talk i would gladly oblige.
Old Salfordian wrote
at 15:58:53 on 07 May 2016
Hi Michael, ukip has never knocked on my door in Salford. Perhaps, they have been too busy spending the £1million that they have been bankrolled with by that sleazy Tory pornographer Richard Desmond. So, what, if anything, has ukip done since the meeting with Shirley? No further action, I presume? As for the Greens, how do you know that no further action has been taken by them? Do you attend council scrutiny meetings? Do you know if they do? The trouble with your juvenile posts, Michael, is that you all too readily try to find tenuous arguments to denigrate others and other parties, whilst doing nothing yourself other than promoting the failing Tory project that is ukip. Good luck to the Greens in Salford. I hope that they continue to grow and gain support. A breath of fresh air for Salford!
Michael James Felse wrote
at 20:51:22 on 05 May 2016
Hi OldSalfordian, sorry if you missed the messsage, but it was the Greens being described in the story, which made me ask what action did they take after a cup of tea. I am not a UKIP spokesman, but I know for a fact those UKIP people have been knocking on the doors in Salford without pause. Whereas Greens own admission was they were too busy with day jobs to go out knocking, presumable the same excuse as to why a no further action policy was used by the Greens. You decide which mate, but me has already voted UKIP.
Old Salfordian wrote
at 18:34:45 on 05 May 2016
Hi Michael, I would ask what did ukip do after they went to meet Shirley about green spaces, if indead thay ever did. It is easy to come and have a cup of tea, but is only a waste of everyone's time if no action is taken. Did they chain themselves to the railings or stick action posters on lamp posts or go along and talk to the sitting Mayor to demand results? No, No and No. Do not be fooled dear Shirley, the nice ukip people only want your vote. They need to prove they can knock on doors before we trust them with Salford.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 11:55:50 on 05 May 2016
Hi Shirley. I would ask what did the Greens do after they came to meet you about green spaces. It is easy to come and have a cup of tea, but is only a waste of everyone's time if no action is taken. Did they chain themselves to the railings or stick action posters on lamp posts or go along and talk to the sitting Mayor to demand results? No, No and No. Do not be fooled dear Shirley, the nice Green people only want your vote. They need to prove they can knock on doors before we trust them with Salford. UKIP will for sure do better.
shirley jones wrote
at 07:36:38 on 05 May 2016
At least Salford Green Party were one of two parties that came to meet with residents opposing the proposed sale of green public open space land at Hill Top Moss. They listened and gave advice, and no election was due then. Our local MP (Labour) Barbara Keeley refused to listen & refuses to meet with concerned residents at all, despite stating that she fights to keep Salford's green open spaces open & free from inappropriate development. FOI replies prove that she was in fact actively supporting developers proposals and was actively meeting with them, yet could not find time or even want to listen or meet with concerned local residents???? Crazy!! Same with Paul Dennett Labours candidate for Mayor, he asked me to add him on FB, then promised to meet with us but so far never has.
white wrote
at 07:35:43 on 05 May 2016
I am a Labour Party member, but I can't in all conscience vote for Dennet.
Tracey wrote
at 20:40:56 on 04 May 2016
I will give my vote to anybody who can stop Salford Heritage being deleted
Old Salfordian wrote
at 20:40:53 on 04 May 2016
A Breath of fresh air, at last! Far better than the staid grey-suited careerists and opportunists that's on offer from the other parties again
Tom nolan wrote
at 09:23:46 on 04 May 2016
well gonna vote for this lady as you all know my thoughts on the rip off developres innsalford and the salford reds money fiasco stewart caused.wats he goin now got a cushey back hander job or holiday in 20 star hotel..i wonder.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 09:23:42 on 04 May 2016
I cannot accept the excuses put by the Greens candidate that they are too busy having a job to put their time into fighting for Salford. This makes my final scores, Tory 4 out of 10. Labour minus 3 out of 10. UKIP 9 out of 10 and Greens nil.
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