Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Labour Leader Brought Council into Disrepute!

                            Labour Leader Brought Council into Disrepute- by Brian Bamford

THE leader of Rochdale’s Borough Council, Councillor Allen Brett, has now been found to have ‘brought himself, his office and the Council into disrepute’. This was the finding of an investigation into his conduct earlier this year before the local elections.

The investigation which was conducted by an independent solicitor, was launched in April after the local website Rochdale Online published an audio clip of comments he made at a local Labour Party meeting.

In the audio clip, Councillor Brett is heard explaining at an internal Labour Party meeting how a government grant of £12million is to be spent on the borough’s roads and footpaths.

Ending the two-minute clip, Councillor Brett can be heard saying:
the budget remains fixed at £12 million [inaudible]. I’ve been given an indicative list of where it’s likely to have [sic], but I’m not releasing it - because I’ll deny I’ve said this, and I’m very reluctant to say it even in this room –  if we don’t do [sic] successful in one ward, I might not spend any money in that ward. You can work that out, but I’ll deny I’ve said it; I will.’
This is followed, says Rochdale Online by ‘murmurs of “Milnrow” (a Rochdale ward) can be heard from others in the room as Councillor Brett says: ‘Because I’m not having, like I was canvassing yesterday, to be told in Milnrow…’

Councillor Brett has long been under criticism from a section of his party because of his long-term support for the notorious former Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, and also his loyal backing for his disgraced former predecessor as Rochdale Council Leader, Richard Farnell, who was discredited in a recent inquiry into child sex abuse.

Monday, 6 August 2018

"Ever Had A Women In A Park?"

by Brian Bamford
George Orwell and son Richard Blair

DAVID J. TAYLOR, sheltering from the blazing sun in the patio of The Garden House Studio at the Holt Festival on the 24th, July, addressed the logistics of George Orwell’s love life. At one point he reminded us that Orwell had once asked friend if he had ever had a woman in a park? When the reply was ‘No!’; Orwell said ‘I have; no where else to go’.

Malcolm Muggeridge in his essay on Orwell entitled ‘A Knight of the Woeful Countenance’ writes:

Orwell characteristically held forth on the logistic difficulties which dogged the penurious amorist. Where was he to go if he could not afford a hotel room and had no private accommodation at his disposal? He himself, he said, had been forced through poverty to avail himself of public parks and recreation grounds.’

In The Garden House Studio

The occasion of this talk in Holt, Norfolk by Orwell’s award winning biographer David Taylor was an exhibition of the hitherto unpublished love letters from George Orwell to Eleanor Jacques in Southwold. The letters involved a correspondence between them which began in mid-1931, and continued until the 13th, January 1936, after he had married Eileen. According to Taylor their sexual relationship concluded around the end of 1932.

In one earlier letter already published and written in October 1932, Orwell recalled old times:

'It was so nice of you to say that you looked back to your days with me with pleasure. I hope you will let me make love to you again sometime, but if you don't it doesn't matter. I shall always be grateful to your kindness to me.'

Another reminisces about ‘that day in the wood along past Blythbugh Lodge – you remember, where the deep beds of moss were – I shall always remember that, & your nice white body in the dark green moss.’

'The Blyth Estuary-A Creative Haven'

The title of the Holt event in the pictureses patio of the Garden Studio was 'The Blyth Estuary-A Creative Haven' stems from an area called Blythburgh located on the main A12, about 4 miles west of Southwold in Suffolk. It was a place where Orwell and Eleanor used to go bird nesting, and he was later to refer to these trips together in his letters.

Mr. Taylor said 'Orwell's novels reveal a fondness for plein air frolics: they probably had their origin here.' The situation between Eleanor and Orwell was immensely complicated because she was also involved with Dennis Collings, who she later married, and who was a close friend of Orwell. Taylor describes their situation in Southwold as a classic 'Jules et Jim' kind of ménage à trois.

Bernard Crick in his own biography 'George Orwell: A Life' wrote:

'Eric (Blair or George Orwell) was soon to enjoy what may have been his first serious affaire. It is not without its difficulties, geographical and economic as well as the need to avoid hurting his friend Dennis Collings.'

Another aspect of Orwell, not dwelled upon by Taylor, is that he had an obsessive sense of being physically unattractive, and according to Malcolm Muggeridge 'Orwell did not find relations with the opposite sex easy (who, by the way does?)'

In a sense his early life was spent in a matriarchal pit smothered by the women around him. An isolated passage from a notebook, quoted by Crick (page 55), shows this:

'The conversations he overheard as a small boy, between his Mother, his aunt, his elder sister and their feminist friends. The way in which, without ever hearing any direct statement to that effect, and without more than a very dim idea of the relationship between the sexes, he derived a firm impression that women did not like men, that they looked upon them as a sort of large ugly, smelly and ridiculous animal, who maltreated women in every way, above all by forcing their attentions on them.'
Questions of Copyright

Introducing the topic Mr. Taylor pointed to Richard Blair (the adopted son of George Orwell and Eileen Blair) sitting near the back, and members of Eleanor Jacques' family. It's not clear who will have the copyright to the letters, as Richard is Orwell's beneficiary, but the letters are presently in the possession of the Jacques family.

On July 10th, 2018, The Sunday Times ran a story by D.J. Taylor no less, reporting that: 'Major literary finds rarely come more dramatic than the one uncovered at 23 Station Road, Southwold, Suffolk. While the relatives of the late owner were clearing the house of her effects, they decided to explore the garden shed. Here, amid piles of detritus going back half a century, they turned up a stout, buff envelope bearing the pencilled message “Letters to be destroyed EC”. Stuffed inside, and clearly extant, were 19 letters dating from the 1930s, some handwritten, a few carefully typed, each addressed to “Dearest Eleanor” and signed “Eric”. “Eric”, it instantly became clear, was George Orwell.'

Mr. Taylor concluded his talk by justifying his role as a biographer, the search for details like the love letters. He said biographers have no hesitation in grabbing every morsel of information about their subject.

After the talk by Mr. Taylor, we chatted with Richard Blair about the event and Tameside Trade Union Council's decision to take out corporate affiliation to THE ORWELL SOCIETY. The Tameside Trades Council had had its eyes wide-open when it took the decision to identify with Orwell and common decency at a time when politics is at a low ebb.

A few days before we were in Holt the Daily Mail had reported that students at Manchester University had painted over Rudyard Kipling's venerated poem 'If'. Bernard Crick claims Orwell drew upon Kipling's work when he wrote '1984'. We mentioned the relevance of Orwell to the reports about the attacks on Kipling by the Manchester students as we bought a copy of David Taylor's biography.

In the exhibition of Orwell's letters to Eleanor we noted one that was typed that talked about him tutoring 'an imbecile', reading a book on poisonings in the USA which he said was psychologically interesting and Plutarch*, who he recommends to her. Curiously, Plutarch born Greek and later became a Roman citizen was also a biographer, and among his quotes is this one which is vintage Orwell:

'I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.' Which is of course vintage Orwell, and something these politically- correct students in Manchester could do well to consider.

* Plutarch, later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist.

Sunday, 5 August 2018


THIS weekend, Greater Manchester Police have said that they are investigating a complaint of potential electoral fraud in Rochdale.   The police received a report on the 24th, May that related to the local elections on the 3rd, May 2018.  It is understood that a local candidate is being investigated. 

A police spokesman has told the BBC that a 51-year-old man had attended a voluntary interview and that inquires are still ongoing.

Northern Voices has been aware for some time of a number of allegations and complaints that have been circulating regarding the conduct of candidates in local elections in the Rochdale area.


"Corbyn's a racist, he refuses to sign up to the Internationally (IHRA) agreed definition of antisemitism and he exploited "HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY" (HMD) for his own prejudiced political ends."

That is what we are told but my experience indicates otherwise...

by Chris Draper

HMD 2017

Last year I read on the official HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY TRUST website that a holocaust survivor was coming to give a talk in my town on Holocaust Memorial Day. My wife lost a lot of family members in the Holocaust and I was generally interested so we decided to attend. What we encountered was truly shocking - the event turned out to be little more than a political rally for the State of Israel. Politicians who'd just returned from sponsored visits told us how marvellous and democratic Israel is despite its troublesome neighbours (I have retained an audio recording). To celebrate Israel's success we were directed to stand and sing "Hatikva" (Israel's National Anthem).

I subsequently asked HMDT if it thought this was an acceptable event to advertise on its official site. To be be specific I sent the following email:


Sent: 30 January 2017 12:24
To: enquiries <enquiries@hmd.org.uk>
Subject: H M D
Dear Sir or Madam
Is it appropriate to direct a public audience to all sing "HATIKVAH" at what was described in publicity as , "An Official Commemoration of the Holocaust Memorial Day"?
I understand HATIKVAH was adopted as the official anthem of the Zionist Movement at their first Congress in 1897 and has subsequently been recognised as the State of Israel's National Anthem. 
To direct a public audience to literally sing the praises of the State of Israel appears to me to be outside the laudable aims of H M D and an entirely inappropriate divisive political act.
I anxiously invite your official response.
Christopher Draper
I then received an unhelpful, non-committal response from "Joe Twilley - Communications Manager" Despite providing further extensive details of the event, including a written transcript of one of the politician's speeches and repeating my request for a clear response the last I heard from "Joe Twilley" was a January 2017 email saying he/she was out of the office but would reply when he/she returned - I'm still waiting!

Now HMDT is the organisation formally constituted to oversee HMD commemorations in Britain so I thought I should persevere. On 14 February 2017 I redirected my query to the Director of the Trust, Olivia Marks-Woldman. The next day I received an email from "HMD Trust" explaining that Ms Woldman was on leave "this week" but would "address my concerns on her return". 

Nine months later I'd still heard nothing further from either Ms Woldman or HMDT so on 6 November 2017 I emailed again repeating my question and asking if it might not be polite to reply.

Ms Woldman wasn't polite enough to reply. Although HMDT is supposedly a politically neutral charity it is demonstrably content to oversee and advertise events that demand uncritical support for Israel. HMDT is evidently happy to advertise events where guileless attendees are bombarded with pro-Israel propaganda and directed to sing Israel's National Anthem.

It seems there is indeed cynical political exploitation of HMD but the perpetrator has been wrongly identified.

Christopher Draper

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Cumbria Hiroshima Day

Cumbria and Lancashire Area Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
East Lancashire CND, Lancaster District CND, CND North Cumbria and South Lakeland CND
Thank you for supporting our aim to bring about a safer world!

Latest news about the events in Cumbria for Hiroshima Day 6 August when we shall display the CND logo, now the world symbol for peace, at three iconic sites, unfurl our banners and petition for a global nuclear weapons ban. 2018 marks 60 years since the founding of CND and to spotlight the urgent need, now more than ever, for nuclear disarmament we link these events with the commemoration of the first atomic bombing - Hiroshima, 6 August 1945.

Reasons for hope. The vast majority of the world's countries still shun nuclear weapons and in July 2017 more than 120 nations signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. We are asking our government to add the UK to the list of signatories and abandon its plan to replace the Trident system with ever more dangerous and ever more expensive nuclear weapons (this renewal alone now estimated to be over £205 billion).
We are urging you please to:

* Publicise and promote these events Tell your friends, family and neighbours; Seek support from your trade union, party branch and/or groups to which you belong;
Write to your local news media.

* Attend the events - feel free to join with us at any or all of these:
9.30am Monday 6 August Meet in the car park of the Dock Museum, North Road, Barrow-in-Furness LA142PW opposite the massive BAE Systems Submarines Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH) shed to raise our banners at the gates for our first photo-opportunity.

Mid-morning Petitioning in Barrow centre at the Workers Statue, Dalton Road LA14 1PU
11am Head out and on to Sellafield to highlight the present and urgent dangers of the radioactive legacy of our arms race. The A595 is a slow winding road so the journey although under 40 miles may take 1 hour 30 minutes. 12.45pm for 1.00pm Gather at the car park for a vigil at Main Gate, Sellafield CA20 1PG on the road to Sellafield station.

2pm Peace Picnic by Wastwater on the shores of England's deepest and most awe-inspiring lake, now UNESCO World Heritage Site (go through Gosforth village past the famous pie bakery following the road to Wasdale Head to the shore facing the screes)
3pm "Act of Hiroshima Remembrance" with sayings, symbols, poems and prayers, led by Rev David Penney, Priest in Church of England, and shared with members of the Peace Movement in commemoration of the A-bombing of Hiroshima and all suffering caused by nuclear arms; scattering petals on the waters of the lake from where daily 4 millions gallons of the water are drawn for cooling the radioactive waste.

* Wear your gorgeous costume, bring your banners and flags - Musicians, Singers, Artists, Knitters, Photographers, Young and Old, etc – all very welcome!
* and please bring some picnic to share!
* Donate to the costs of campaigning materials and transporting them

Please send cheques payable to ‘CND North Cumbria’ or make a direct bank transfer to CND North Cumbria [Unity Trust Bank, Account Number 54004777, Sort Code 60-83-01]
For full details of these events please contact:
Irene Sanderson (CND North Cumbria) Brookside, High Bank Hill, Penrith CA10 1EZ
Telephone: 01768 897071 • Mobile: 07720 842 529 • Website: www.cnduk.org
E-mail: irene@irenesanderson.co.uk facebook: north cumbria campaign for nuclear disarmament



NORTHERN VOICES has just learned of the death of our comrade Martin Bashford, who lived in Norwich having formerly lived in York.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Going off at half-cock?

Going off at half-cock?
By Les May

I recently came across this piece whilst researching the latest fashionable cause for whinging ‘microaggression’. I post it without comment.

“In 2011, a group of University of Wyoming students created a Facebook group called “UW Crushes,” where they shared anonymous declarations of attraction to one another. The police were called to investigate when one anonymous poster wrote: “I want to hatef–k Meg Lanker Simons so hard That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its [sic] hot and it makes me angry. One night with me and shes [sic] gonna be a good Republican bitch.”

Students who were members of the group asked the group’s administrators to remove the post. But Lanker Simons objected: “Actually, I want this to stay up. This is disgusting, misogynistic, and apparently something the admins of this page think is a perfectly acceptable sentiment.” She continued: “Even if it is taken down, I’m left to wonder if there’s someone out there with a violent fantasy about me—and likely other women.”

Police later determined that the post was a hoax and that the threat had been written by Meg Lanker Simons herself. Before the police arrived at this conclusion, a rally against “rape culture” had been held at the university.”

Tini Owens and Cliff Richards

Tini Owens and Cliff Richards
By Les May

That’s not the sort of juxtaposition of names you would expect. In case you don’t know who Tini Owens is, I will explain that she is a 68 years old lady who has separated herself from her husband for the past three and a half years, and wishes to be divorced from him without further delay. Under the present law she will have to wait another 18 months or so. Refusing her application to the Supreme Court the judges commented that the decision was made ‘with reluctance’ and was ‘very troubling’ but that it was not for judges to make the law, that responsibility lies with Parliament.

The news that Parliament makes the laws and the judiciary interprets them came as surprise news to some journalists who evidently thought that in matters of privacy they made the rules. As the BBC has learned to its cost, £800,000 and counting, they don’t.

The reaction to both these cases display our broadcast and print media at their worst. Columnists and editorial writers have suddenly discovered the UK’s divorce laws are ‘archaic’. One can almost hear the chant, ‘We want no fault divorce: when do we want it? Now!’

Where were these same columnists and editorial writers last year or the year before that, as the accumulated evidence of the past forty years pointed to the fact that one of the unintended consequences of ‘fault’ based divorce was that it frequently increased animosity between the parties?

As well it might. If the you can persuade a court to rule that other party is to blame all sorts of goodies fall into your lap. You get the moral high ground. You’ll get your legal costs paid. If you have children and you are so inclined, you have the perfect excuse for demonising their other parent and shutting them out of their and your children’s lives.

Although I have written the above in a ‘gender neutral’ fashion the reality is that for much of that forty years it was usually men who paid the legal costs and lost contact with their children. To stand beside the Trini Owens case I will mention that a man I have known all his life has not seen his son for forty years and when the bill for the costs of his wife’s lawyers fell through his door he literally shit himself because he did not know where he was going to find the money.

To judge by some of comments I have read about the decision in the High Court by Mr Justice Mann to rule against the BBC and in favour of Cliff Richards one would think that we are moving to an era of secrecy where nothing about an individual can be reported, and governments and corporations can hide their dastardly deeds.

It is being argued that the Mann decision rebalances the two articles in the European convention on human rights that deal with ‘respect for private life’ (Article 8) and ‘freedom of expression’ (Article 10). But this interpretation relies upon equating ‘freedom of expression’ with the public’s ‘right to know’. Not at all the same thing!

It should not be forgotten that had the BBC simply reported that the police had executed a search warrant at a Cliff Richards property it is unlikely that he would have taken the matter to the courts. As is so often the case the intent seems to have been not to report the news, but to make it.

I lost any faith I had in the BBC as a news organisation in 2014 and 2015 as I watched how it dealt with the fallout from Simon Danczuk’s book ‘Smile for the Camera’. Anyone who has actually read the book with a mildly critical eye soon realises that it is a very unreliable document and, as we now know, contains material that is untrue. But that did not stop the BBC seemingly taking it at face value and running a story which made it appear that RMBC had tried to cover up a report about unsavoury goings on at Knowl View school by Aids worker Philip Shepherd. Anyone seeing the BBC TV piece would not have known that the report largely refers to sexual activity between the boys.

Seemingly the media’s belief about ‘the public’s right to know’ did not include reporting Cyril Smith’s antics at Cambridge House which came to light in May 1979 in a long and well researched article in Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP). To the best of my knowledge only the Rochdale Observer has had the good grace to apologise for this failure.


Attempting to equate ‘freedom of expression’ with ‘the public’s right to know’ is treading on dangerous ground. Freedom of expression applies to an individual’s right to tell others what they do not wish to hear. It applies to things that are true, e.g. ‘the Nazis murdered six million Jews’, and to things that are false, e.g. ‘the Holocaust never happened’.

It is implicit in the media claim about ‘the public’s right to know’, that what is being disseminated is true. I don’t want to know things about Cliff Richards, police raids or MPs, which are not true. But if the print and broadcast media are going to rely upon ‘freedom of expression’ as their justification for publishing a story they should not be surprised if we begin to think they are using it as a guise for pushing fake news.