Star date: 31st December 2017


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 11th annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards, which are given out to honour the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy activities over the past twelve months.

Many have pointed to Salford City Council as Jeremy Corbyn's political ideal but, hey, God help us if it's true! Shutting a disabled kids home, charging disabled kids' parents for transport, wage cuts, staff cuts, friendships with brutal Chinese regions and more. Ladies and gentlemen sing 'Ooooh Jeremy Corbyn, what the hell's going on here?' for the winner of the Corbynista Council of the Year...Salford City Council and Mayor Paul Dennett!

Full details here...

Jeremy Corbyn visits Salford Precinct Jeremy Corbyn visits Salford Precinct Salford Gentrification
Save The Grange at May Day Salford Unison wage cuts and job cuts protest Salford Star Mary Burns Award
click image to enlarge


Goes to...


Ladies and gentlemen, with Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey by his side, and Salford councillors and the Salford Mayor lining Salford Precinct earlier in the year declaring their love for the socialist saviour, many media types have anointed Salford Council as the perfect Corbynista place.

Now, while we're sure all residents would love this to be true, what universe are these media air heads living in?

This year has seen wage cuts for Council staff, more jobs axed, attacks on disabled kids and their parents; councillors trousering extra payments and Council fat cats getting huge pay hikes; developers given the financial freedom of the city; the 'cash-strapped' Council investing hundreds of £millions in office blocks while refusing to open up empty buildings for the homeless; formal friendships with a brutal Chinese region...and loads of spin about how great and Corbynista it all is...yay!

Back in August, the Salford Star noted how, if it had been a Tory Council that wanted to shut the city's only home for disabled children, Labour councillors would have been frothing with indignation (see here).

As it was, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, made the decision to close The Grange, despite over three thousand people signing a petition opposing it, despite GM Mayor Andy Burnham supporting the campaign to keep it open (see here), and despite Salford UNISON accusing the Council of lying to justify the decision (see here and see here).

At the meeting when Dennett made The Grange closure decision, there were shouts of 'Traitor' and 'Shame' from the public gallery (see here), as UNISON's Ameen Hadi slated the stance..

"They should be fighting with us against austerity rather than afflicting cuts on the poorest, especially when they haven't consulted properly and especially when they are going to be in dispute with this union" he said "It's not good enough from a Labour Council and we will use all our resources to fight the decision."

The closure of The Grange is currently pending a judicial review, as Salford Council is now 'consulting' on cutting the transport budget for disabled kids to get to college and nursery, making their parents pay (see here). Now in the offing is the closure of the 262 Children's Home in Eccles, which the Council is discussing behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, in October, Salford councillors unanimously voted to cut wages by over £100 a week for workers in the Council's Regulatory Services, while making 14 redundancies, as staff protested outside the Civic Centre (see here).

The department deals with issues like food hygiene, trading standards and slum landlords, and a member of staff told the Salford Star that "We won't be able to safeguard the welfare and safety and residents of Salford"; while UNISON branch secretary, Steven North, added that the move was "potentially dangerous".

Mayor Paul Dennett noted at the cuts meeting the importance of the service and how Tory cuts were a "driver" for the 'restructure' but added that it was "absolutely the right approach" and that is was "a good piece of work".

Yep, everyone knows about the vicious and evil Tory Government cuts to local government but the magic money tree in Salford continues to be bountiful for everyone, it seems, except the most vulnerable...

...But 'hark' we hear councillors say... 'We announced a £3million fund to tackle poverty in January' and a plan for new libraries in September which would 'buck the trend' of national closures...

Hmmm. The £3million anti-poverty fund turned out to be, on closer inspection, just over half a million pounds on actually tackling poverty, unless you include £300,000 on extra street cleaning as vital help for the vulnerable. Meanwhile, £2million of the £3million was for 'affordable homes to rent'...

In the twelve months since this announcement, nothing has happened except a statement from the Mayor in July (see here) saying that homes would be built by the Council for private sale, rent and affordable rent, presumably from the £2million; the idea being that the private sales and rent would cross subsidise the 'affordable rent', which isn't social rent.

Meanwhile, when the Council was urged by everyone, from Salford and Manchester Street Support, to JVA, to Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, to open up its empty buildings for the homeless, the request fell on deaf ears (see here).

And then there was the great library spin, with City Mayor, Paul Dennett, announcing  that "expanding and upgrading library services – is amazing and such a bonus for the people of Salford..."

In reality, the move sanctioned a cut of £549,000 for the service, one quarter of all library jobs axed, DIY empty existing libraries and new 'click and collect' book locations (see here). Even the report that went to the Council's Cabinet stated that "Community libraries are key in preventing social isolation and loneliness"; but, hey, the bottom line and 'progress' comes before 'social isolation and loneliness'...

While there were cuts and a few crumbs for the vulnerable, hundreds of millions of pounds were found for prestige projects...

£200million was found by the Council to invest in posh office blocks at 100 Greengate and Two New Bailey (see here); the Salford Red Devils £1million loan 'holiday' was extended again until 2020 (see here); a further £632,500 loan was handed to the Council's loss making joint venture AJ Bell Stadium taking the total to almost £25million (see here)...

...over £87,000 was spent on councillors televising their own self-congratulatory council meetings (see here) and £300,000 was approved to pay for a My City Salford 'digital hub' at MediaCityUK which would allow the Council "to push messages" and "supports communities to do more for themselves...without the need to contact public services" (see here)...

While the vulnerable were making do with crumbs, new Salford Council accounts revealed that six of the Council's highest paid officers got pay rises of up to £12,000 on salaries already well in excess of £100,000. The highest paid officer was City Director, Jim Taylor, trousering £187,503, including pension and £7,677 electoral duties.

The accounts also revealed that only 22, of around sixty councillors, got the basic allowance of £10,509, with the rest charging up their incomes with all kinds of special payments for being Executive Lead Members, Support Members, Chairs of Scrutiny Committees and Panels, Opposition Leaders, or sitting on outside bodies like the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester.

While all this was going on, in the background developers continued to turn Salford into a giant Monopoly Board with the dice loaded. In September, at the Labour Party Conference, Jeremy Corbyn made a keynote speech, insisting that "After Grenfell we must think again about what are called 'regeneration' schemes.

"Regeneration is a much abused word" he added "Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out."

The Salford Star drew Mr Corbyn's attention to the High Street Estate in Pendleton at the back of Salford Precinct where Salford Council has been up to its neck in 'gentrification', with rows of affordable housing tinned up, awaiting demolition. In the latest phase 149 social properties have been handed 'decant notices' while just 52 so-called affordable houses will be built to replace them (see here)...

... According to the last public figures available, over the whole of Pendleton, 885 affordable properties are being bulldozed, with only around 500 so-called 'affordable homes' being built, out of 1,500 new houses... 'Gentrification' at its finest...

Over in Greengate and Chapel Street, home to vigorous development of unaffordable housing, the Salford Star reported in September that out of 4,172 apartments and houses that have received planning permission, only two affordable properties will be built – in line with, yes, the Tory Government's nasty National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) but also Salford City Council's own developer friendly policies, which allows them to avoid £millions in planning fees and the provision of affordable housing (see here and see here).

Meanwhile, Salford Council and City Mayor, Paul Dennett, talk the ethical talk that must be music to Jezza's ears...So how about the 'agreement of co-operation and friendship' that Mayor Dennett signed with the Mayor of Urumqi in China, in March?

Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang region which, last month, ordered every car owner in one of its areas to install a GPS tracking device or they would be banned from buying petrol. Urumqi also saw 10,000 armed Chinese army troops swamp the streets, and the place is also the subject of an Amnesty International campaign to free a critic of the government who has been jailed for life...

"It was interesting to meet and find out how much we share in common with Urumqi" said Dennett after signing the deal (see here)

Dennett's had his own community problems this year, with residents in Kersal standing their own Independent by-election candidate in March, in protest at the way their views were ignored during the Salford City FC stadium planning process. The candidate drew enough support to split the vote, allowing a new Tory councillor to sneak in and take the previously safe Labour Party seat.

The news drew national attention as the media and some Salford Labour councillors jumped on this as 'proof' of Jeremy Corbyn's lack of support with the electorate. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was nowt to do with Jezza (as the subsequent General Election went on to prove) and everything to do with the attitude of Salford Labour Party controlled Council (see here and see here).

While Salford Council talks the Corbyn talk, it certainly ain't doing the Corbyn walk . So ladies and gentlemen, sing 'Ooooh Jeremy Corbyn, WTF?', and give up your principles, ethics and political education for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Award for Cobynista Council of the Year...

Salford City Council and City Mayor, Paul Dennett!!!

If Paul Dennett would like to make an acceptance speech please use the comments box below

Winners of 2017 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...

Feed The Rich Award (part 1) – Fred Done – click here

Disappearing Salford Award – Villafont – click here

Dick Turpin Award For Services to Bridge Hold Ups – Peel Holdings – click here

Carly Simon Award For Vanity – Councillor Derek Antrobus – click here

Feed The Rich Award (part 2) – Conservative Government and the HCA – click here

Grenfell Tower Urgency Award – Salford City Council – click here

Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government – Salford City Council – click here

Shameful and Unacceptable Practices Award – Greater Manchester Police – click here

Self Destruction Award – Salford UKIP – click here

Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize – Salford City Council – click here

at 15:57:09 on 06 January 2018
If Mr Felse stands in an election for Mayor of Salford, under which party's banner will he stand. There are still one or two he hasn't yet been a member of.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 09:28:17 on 05 January 2018
I too hope Mayor Dennett will take a safe Labour seat to free up another contest for Mayor of Salford where I could stand to give everything back to the people of Salford. I estimate billions are held in assets while local problems surmount. Let me get a full value audit to turn our Council into a profitable venture while it wipes out social problems and gives back the assets to us all.
corrie ten boom wrote
at 07:55:12 on 05 January 2018
I watched a fantastic tv movie on channel five years ago. In it, Peter Coyote played maverick San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. In the film Harvey came over absolutely fantastic, a genuine man of the people, who actually stood for something. A man who actually had principles and beliefs and was willing to shout them from the rooftops. Now why can't Mayou Dennett be like that? What's he scared of? I've actually met him years ago, and I feel that he's a decent and caring man, but since becoming the Mayor, he's actually turned into The Invisible Man. Like I've said, I like him and think that his heart is in the right place. I just want him to get his mojo back and start showing a bit of Harvey Milk spunk. I'm serious, and I mean spunk as in pluck, balls, even grit, true Rooster Cogburn type grit. After all, what's he got to lose? Show some guts and he could one day be remembered with all of the affection and fondness as New York City's LaGuardia. Like I say, what's he scared off? Why has he become the Silent Man of Salford, or like his predecessor, Ian Stewart, The Invisible Mayor? I can't help but wonder whether he has his eye on a safe Labour seat and a place in Comrade Corbyn's shadow cabinet.
Jonny wrote
at 08:41:04 on 03 January 2018
The Grange only had 2 kids resident because the Council was refusing to refer other appropriate beneficiaries there. The ongoing betrayal of local people by putting developers interests above those of residents is a huge scandal that the Star rightly exposes. More requirement for building social housing and fewer sweetheart deals won't scare off the developers, it will just make Salford a better place to live. It would also allow Salford to balance its books without having to make some of the inappropriate cuts it has done.
grange wrote
at 12:41:20 on 02 January 2018
The Grange Was Literally Supporting Two Kids
S. P of Salford wrote
at 09:05:33 on 02 January 2018
@ Salford star, wouldn’t it be great if each of those 51000 gave £1 each month, maybe then Salford would have a opposition, all be it, in print. @ Marc, Linni loo makes good points, labour are the bearers of all Salford’s problems.
One Salford Action Group wrote
at 09:04:52 on 02 January 2018
Ah Ah at last Labour blogger has realized 51,000 visits a month on Salford Star will bring the downfall of Salford Labour as more people tune in for the facts. Throw the insults Labour man it only adds to the eventual end of your controlling communities style. @Felsey.
Joe O'neill wrote
at 09:03:34 on 02 January 2018
Ray of Sunshine, the man with no real name, he prefers to attack and smear under the cover of a mask. Its funny really if i write it was what i feel and believe in, penned under my own name that way i have put my head above the parapet and open to face a response. You say why have i turned on the people who elected me as a Labour Councillor i would suggest you research your facts i was elected as a Liberal Democrat working under Councillor Owen, and although i play the Political game i was proud to work with him. I understood working for a minority party i would never change Labours Policy but i gave 100% for four years helping any individual who came to see me no matter how they voted, and you? what can you say you have done for the people of Salford? I will continue to fight and try to gain the peoples backing time after time coming second to Labour and yet i come back why because i have a passion and a belief for the people of this city, you ask for policy i state on this forum i will meet you anytime in a place of your choosing to discuss openly my views and you? i feel you are little than a keyboard warrior hiding under your alter ego a waste of peoples time and sadly my patience.
S. P of Salford wrote
at 17:28:42 on 01 January 2018
Well said joe o Neil, the labour councillor that calls himself Rayofsunshine, it’s a pity you don’t spend as much time speaking up for the people of Salford as you do coming on her trying to denigrate people who do care for Salford and it’s people, like joe and Mary. Thanks joe and Mary for at least trying to make a difference. It’s a pity that the Salford electorate car’t give a fraction of the time you two give and go and vote, Salford would’d be in the the mess it is in now, we’ll rule the day we didn’t vote, when we’ll no longer be allowed to vote, we’re not far from dictatership.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 17:28:19 on 01 January 2018
Joe, when are you going to come off your high horse and make concrete proposals to improve the situation in Salford? Personally , I doubt whether you're capable of coming up with anything - after all a lard arsed numpty can't change its spots! So, come on then Joe, what is your solution to austerity or the provision of affordable housing or ensuring that local people are able to açcess high quality and high paying employment? Whilst you're at It, perhaps you could explain why you callously betrayed the people who helped to elect you as a Labour Councillor?c
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 11:16:10 on 01 January 2018
Ray of Sunshine please crawl back under your rock, do us all a favour before you accuse people of rants look at some of the utter shite you force on the people who come on the site You really have some serious issues but i believe there is help in the system for people like you.
Retired socailst wrote
at 11:16:07 on 01 January 2018
News about Salford Labour having helped ex asylum seeker from Africa win Langworthy goes to show how far Salford has come towards inclusion. Funny really one of the lowest polls a percentage turnout close to single digits where the majority of the electorate did not want the candidate or suffered from creeping apathy, inclusion! i think not,PS Wrote what branch of labour are you with:)
Alice wrote
at 09:42:21 on 01 January 2018
I am a Corbyn supporter and believe in his policies for a fairer distribution of the public income from taxation. Maybe there are some Salford Labour Councillors who feel this way too; there are others who have adapted the Tory policy of austerity which has attacked public services and given into the Developers, whose only aim is to maximise their profits. In other words some Labour Councillors are on the side of these right wing capitalists. What has happened to their principles? Are they voting this way to preserve their salaries? Are they Tories disguised as Labour? Many people in Salford are disappointed with the current approach of this Council and this is why they will agree with the Star's critical decision to give such an award. If you're not sure do look at the evidence referred to in past reports.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 09:42:09 on 01 January 2018
More barely literate drivel from Joe O'Neil. Hasn't he cottoned on that nobody is interested in his deranged rantings? When is Joe going to come clean and admit that he's an out-and-out right wing crank?
Marc wrote
at 09:41:51 on 01 January 2018
@linnyloo what have YOU ever done for Salford?!? Probably just taken!! People like YOU need locking up and the key thrown away! Happy new year!
at 09:41:14 on 01 January 2018
News about Salford Labour having helped ex asylum seeker from Africa win Langworthy goes to show how far Salford has come towards inclusion. Best news of 2017 in how Salford is shaping up its future. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/fifteen-years-ago-wilson-arrived-14094142
Linny loo wrote
at 11:58:52 on 31 December 2017
Shame on you Salford Mayor and all the councillors, you are just a load of nodding dogs. You don't know what you're doing. If you do then should all be locked up and key thrown away. This once great City is being ruined by the decisions taken by the members of the council who in my view are overpaid with the exception of those on the basic allowance. I ask myself why do we need 60 or so Councillors for what ? They have got rid of services the city needs, cut staff and wages. In fact it's hard to see what needs governing. Oh forgot they need to vote on closures, and of course the planning permission for the fat cat developers. I fear for all vulnerable groups as we run up to the next budget, after saying that the back office Directors will already have discussed what they want to close next it's just a case of telling the council how they need to vote, sadly they will vote without questioning the outcome of their actions
Salford Star wrote
at 11:58:47 on 31 December 2017
See Joe O'Neill's comment below...Don't know about just 'activists' reading the Star - 51,000 readers last month; that's a lot of activists!!!
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 11:56:14 on 31 December 2017
I wrote on my blog that the star was the last remaining opposition within Salford, i criticised the Labour Council for starving the Star of information, i was amazed that the ex leader of the Council raised in response my comment of the star being the opposition, he felt it not independent, the realty the Star forces the Truth to raise to the top of the Agenda. These Stories are frightening people are going without homes, without jobs, poor facilities, and in the end suffering health issues as a result death is a factor of people at an early age in Salford, the final nail, sad that most readers of the star in it's present form are the political interest groups those who class themselves as activist, without regular mainstream use it's voice is limited perhaps it's time the small political groups used it's message and tried to use the information the star editor works so hard to get into the public domain. The Tories on Salford Council have little interest in the City in General and Labour are the Party of self interest. I will never forget the ex Labour Mayor in the advertiser on his retirement from the Labour Party stating only two people have the power in Salford,how Labour criticise the Tories and yet have no answers the response from the people of Salford Silence, and sadly that is the reality self interest if i am ok sod the rest. PS the award was earned by Labour again.
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Star date: 20th January 2019


Salford's Margaret McHale turned one hundred this week as her six children and relatives gathered for a huge party at The Broughtons Care Home. Born in Hanky Park, Margaret moved around central Salford, to Ellor Street, Warburton Street and finally to Littleton Road, as part of the slum clearances.

A proper Salford lass, Margaret worked on Lancaster Bombers during the war and as a machinist in Strangeways, and, as the family partied with residents and staff, there were a zillion anecdotes that will echo with loads of local families.

Full details here...


Star date: 20th January 2019


Electricity North West, the region's power network operator, is looking to take on young Salford people and has places for craft apprenticeships, which include overhead line workers and cable jointers, and higher level apprenticeships, which include roles such as design and control engineer.

Full details here...


Star date: 18th January 2019


On 9th January at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the judge allowed an eight day extension for those homeless people currently occupying the old doctor's surgery in Eccles. The case has now been set for the end of January, giving them an extra two weeks to prepare a legal defence.

Meanwhile this week, the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, which is helping the Shelter, took delivery of loads of pairs of thick winter socks and around one hundred toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes donated towards its new Medical and Dental Surgery for the homeless and ex-offenders.

Full details here...


Star date: 17th January 2019


After Lower Broughton's 'at risk' Grade II listed Victoria Theatre was sold last year, there were fears that it would be pulled down for development but the Salford Victoria Theatre Trust has today announced that its new owner "has engaged with the group to seek out a way forward, even vowing to consider plans to restore it for its original purpose".

The Trust is now putting together a business plan and pitch to present to the owner at the end of the month, with a meeting planned with Salford City Council next month to discuss the theatre's future.

Full details here...


Star date: 16th January 2019


Before a full meeting of Salford Council this morning, residents campaigning against development on green spaces in the city held a demonstration outside the Civic Centre.

Representatives of campaigns including from Campbell Road, Duncan Matheson, Walkden and Buile Hill Park then went into the meeting to hear City Mayor, Paul Dennett, say that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was "protecting green belt and green spaces", after Carol Boyce of Saving Our Neighbourhood had accused the Council of "throwing residents to the wolves of rampant development".

Full details here...


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