Saturday, 22 December 2012

Post Office Cleaners Win Claim

CLEANERS and engineers who work on contracts at Royal Mail, and who were threatening walk out yesterday, have now called off their action after Royal Mail offered a significantly improved pay award.  The workers had voted 91 per cent for strike action in a secret ballot.  They had originally been offered a below inflation 1.5 per cent pay rise which, according to their union the CWU, would leave most of them below the level of the living wage.

The Communication Workers Union members are employed by facilities management company Romec - which is 50 per cent owned by Royal Mail. 

An eleventh hour proposal from their employer was good enough for the postal executive of the Communication Workers Union to call off the action.  The strike would have hit Romec – a facilities company jointly owned by Royal Mail and Balfour Beatty that supplies cleaners and engineers to post depots. The workers had been offered a rise of just 1.5 per cent over 27 months – but a revised offer of 3.1 per cent over 15 months will be put to union members for their consideration. 

Ray Ellis, CWU negotiator, said: 'These workers have stuck together and refused to be bullied into accepting an insulting pay offer. They were furious that Romec bosses had paid themselves bonuses of between 9 and 15 per cent. The new offer should take everyone over the living wage – it’s a great victory.’

Friday, 21 December 2012

No Room at the London Flat for Arthur Scargill!

ARTHUR Scargill today lost his long running fight in the High Court with the National Union of Mineworkers to look after him with his running costs for his London flat for the rest of his life.  He will also lose his claim to fuel allowance at his Barnsley home and the NUM successfully disputed that it should pay for the preparation of his annual tax return.

Arthur Scargill has occupied the Barbican apartment - rented from the Corporation of London - since June 1982.  The rent and other expenses were paid by the union until 2011, except for a period between 1985 and 1991 when Mr. Scargill paid for this upkeep.

Now the London appartment, described to me as 'Arthur's knocking shop' by one NUM miner, and valued at £1.5m, has become too much for the NUM to shoulder because it costs the union £34,000 a year. 

The judge rejected Scargill's claims that the union's payment of the rent on the flat was intended to replace the benefit his predecessors had enjoyed and was therefore a lifetime benefit.  The judge said the claim was not reflected in the original minutes of the NEC, was not backed up by the contract Scargill signed, and pointed out that the union had continued to subsidise the mortgage on his Yorkshire home.  Arthur, for his part, claimed the judgement was 'perverse', and contradicts the evidence in the case.  The judgement will come as a relief to the NUM and the working miners.

'Spanks for the Memory'! in Private Eye

THE current issue of Private Eye describes how former Labour councillor Eileen Kershaw - mother of DJs Andy and Liz -  'has shed new light on why investigations into her late friend Sir Cyril (Smith) were abandoned.  She tells the Rochdale Observer of Smith's alarm when he learned that Knacker was investigating him in the late 1960s.  According to Kershaw, "the worry caused him to forgo his usual supper of pie and chips ands start popping Valium".  She remembers a conversation between Smith and his parliamentary predecessor in Rochdale, the late Jack McCann, a Labour whip, who "declared that he would call on the director of public prosecutions to drop the case".  This contradicts the CPS's recent statement that a prosecution of Smith did not take place in 1970 because the DPP considered the charges "stale" and "without corroboration", rather than because of any political pressure.' 

The writer in the Eye also adds:  'Kershaw's testimony also contradicts a statement made a week earlier by a former Rochdale councillor who told journalists:  "I worked with him (Smith) at nearly every school governing body in Rochdale and never heard a whisper."  Her name?  Eileen Kershaw!'

Monday, 17 December 2012

Colin Blunstone at Saddleworth Civic Hall, Uppermill!

Colin Blunstone was due to appear at the Friezland Village Hall in Greenfield, Oldham, a number of weeks ago but had to cancel the concert due to what we understand was an attack of laryngitis.

The English pop singer-song writer is best known as the lead singer in the 1960s band the Zombies, which also included Rod Argent who went on to form his own band. The Zombies are still performing and earlier this year appeared at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth.

The cancelled concert at Friezland Village Hall has now been rescheduled and Colin Blunstone is due to perform at Saddleworth Civic Hall, Uppermill, on  Sunday 3rd February 2013. Tickets are available from the promoter Neil Williams at NEILBLUESNIGHT@HOTMAIL.COM  (07707 090108) or contact Saddleworth Civic Hall, Lee Street, Uppermill, on 01457 876665 for box office and enquiries.

Northern Anarchist Network Statement.

The Northern Anarchist Network Statement to the Movement passed in Burnley on December 8th re my removal from the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair has received widespread support across the UK.    We would welcome additional signatures   to the statement   which   can be found in the Tuesday December 11th posting on this blog.    There has been no response from either the bookfair organisers or the Anarchist Federation and it is awaited with interest.

The Blacklist Support Group comment on Kerr!

Ian Kerr, chief executive of the Consulting Association and full-time blacklister of trade unionists and environmental activists since 1969, when he started work for the infamous Economic League died on Tuesday.

His £50,000 a year salary + bonus + BUPA + Mercedes company car lifestyle, funded by the major UK construction firms including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Carillion, Kier, BAM, AMEC and AMEY came to a halt when the illegal conspiracy was closed down in 2009. 

At a recent appearance at the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting, he remained totally unrepentant about decades of victimising safety reps in the building industry. Kerr was supposed to have supplied an additional witness statement to the inquiry naming names of senior company Directors who were the ring leaders of the human rights abuse.

The Blacklist Support Group will not be donating to his collection. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rumour that the Blacklister Ian Kerr is Dead?

THE story on the street is that the blacklister Ian Kerr died yesterday of a heart attack.  Two weeks ago Kerr was subjected to a Parliamentary investigation.  His death has yet to be confirmed, but the source of the story is Colin Trousdale.  Colin is the electrician from up Bacup in Lancashire, who Private Eye yesterday said may have been blacklisted from a job on the Media City site.

Since this article was posted, we have received confirmation that Ian Kerr (pictured), died last Tuesday, 11th December 2012. NV Editor (16/12/12)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Son of Tameside education boss convicted of drug offences!

Although he's only a council joiner and not the Queen, this year (2012), could turn out to be an annus horribilis for councillor Gerald (Ged) Cooney (pictured), the executive cabinet member for (Learning and Achievement) at Tameside Council, in Greater Manchester.

As the councillor with responsibility for both children's education and libraries in Tameside, it has been a difficult year for the Droylsden West Labour councillor. Cuts in library services that were implemented in October, have seen the closure of  five of the thirteen Tameside libraries, job losses, and a substantial reduction in library opening hours. Though many library staff  saw their hours and pay cut, eight senior library mangers, including library boss, Adam Allen (a Geordie with a background in sport), have received pay rises after cutting services, from a council supposedly strapped for cash.

While libraries closed and other public services got axed, the leader of  the council Kieran Quinn, told an incredulous public that services were not being closed but 'redesigned'.When mother's and  kids took to the streets in an attempt to keep their local libraries open, Cooney (who like Quinn always sticks to his press office script), told them in his oft-repeated mantra, that it was "important to remember that libraries were about services not buildings" and that the "new offer would provide a modern and comprehensive service that will meet people's needs." Few people were taken in with his claptrap.

Even though the Libraries and Museums Act 1964, requires council's to provide "an efficient and comprehensive library service", the library boss recently told a public meeting of Denton West-End library users, that the way things were going, there might not be any libraries in Tameside in the future.

More recently, the council's education boss has come under fire after the 'The Office for Standards in Education' (Ofsted) revealed that Tameside ranked as the worst local authority in Greater Manchester for education and the fifth worst nationally. The Ofsted report - that ranked every local council across England for the percentage of students attending schools which it rated good or outstanding - says that "Only a third of Tameside's secondary school children attend good or outstanding schools" and that this is one of the lowest figures in Britain. According to Ofsted, only 34% of secondary school pupils attend a Tameside school that is rated good or outstanding and only 57%, of Tameside's younger pupils, attend a good or outstanding primary school, which is the lowest figure in Greater Manchester.

The council have responded to the Oftsed findings by referring to exam tests results that they say show that Tameside school children are getting a good education. They also say that the opinion of Ofsted inspectors on the perfomance of schools, is a 'subjective measure of many factors such as leadership and capacity to improve'. But no matter how hard Tameside Council try to spin their way out of this, the Ofsted report is damning and must be deeply embarrassing for both the local authority and councillor Cooney, as the Executive Cabinet member responsible for education.

Last year, councillor Cooney claimed £31,998 in allowances from the taxpayer for running failing Tameside schools. Although he's listed has being employed as a joiner by Manchester City Council, it's doubtful that he spends much time in his overalls, given his many other positions that are connected with his political role. Apart from being a Tameside councillor, he's also a member of the Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership Trust and a Member of the Economic and Learning Partnership. He also lists membership of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund Panel and membership of AGMA's board of housing and planning.

There have been calls for Councillor Cooney to lose his executive cabinet post for (Learning and Achievement) because of the Ofsted criticism of Tameside schools. But as this is the season of goodwill, perhaps we should feel slightly sorry for him. Having taken flak during the year for library closures and failing schools, he now as pressing domestic concerns of his own.

Last month, councillor Cooney's son appeared in the dock charged with drug offences. Simon John Paul Cooney, of Parvet Ave, Droylsden, was fined £400 with £125 costs for possessing cocaine. Although his appearance in court received a brief mention in the local Tameside Advertiser, it failed to get any mention whatsoever in the local Tameside Reporter, that is now owned by New Charter Housing Trust Ltd. Whether this ommission by the newspaper had anything to do with the fact that Councillor Cooney is the Chairman of New Charter Housing, is debatable. However, some people might suggest that if Councillor Cooney cannot keep his own house and kids in order, then there is little hope for Tameside schools and the areas school children.

'Mangy Kerr', Colin Trousdale & 'Media City'

TODAY'S Private Eye reports on the 3,200 trade union activists in the British building trade who were on the blacklist of The Consulting Association run by Ian Kerr, and denied the ability to earn a living.  The Information Commissioner (ICO), who raided the offices of Mr. Kerr's Consulting Association three years ago, has informed MPs looking into the scandal that the files he took represented only about 10% of the stuff held by Kerr.  Mr. Kerr has now told the MPs that he has now destroyed everything that wasn't taken by the Information Commissioner.

It was admitted by Kerr that some 200 environmental activists were also on his books.  Private Eye says:  'He did not identify who had requested the information, but at the time the affair caused controversy, when it emerged that the Department for Transport was paying private detectives to spy on and serve writs on protesters.'

Private Eye concluded by asking if The Consulting Association 'provided information which led to workers being prohibited from working on the (construction of) BBC's new "Media City" in Salford, which opened last year, Kerr admitted to being consulted about unnamed "media centres" and Manchester electrician, Colin Trousdale, who had an extensive Consulting Association file, claims he was blacklisted from the project.'

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

5- years of Steven Acheson at Fiddlers

Dear Comrades, 
I would like to invite you to join me in going down to Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in Warrington on the morning of Wednesday 19th December to join other workers in marking the fifth anniversary since electrician and UNITE member Steve Acheson was sacked from a job on the site. For the last four years Steve has protested outside the gates of Fiddlers Ferry. Steve has campaigned against blacklisting in the construction industry for years and has fought alongside other workers in struggle. You might remember him from when he spoke at the Salford May Day Rally in 2011. 

Steve is a staunch trade unionist in every sense and I hope workers can get down and give him the support he needs. 
If you would like to give a Christmas donation to the Fiddlers Ferry appeal you can do so by giving it to Steve on the day or by giving me a call on 07817434240 and I will arrange to get it off you to take down. 

In solidarity, 
Steve North
President, Salford Trades Council 
Actionsnw nssn (
President, Salford Trades Council 

Crime Chief to act on Child Abuse

GREATER Manchester's new police and crime boss has called for a meeting of the area's ten town hall leaders to find ways to protect kids from sexual exploitation; such as the recently exposed offences of Cyril Smith, the former Rochdale MP, accused of abusing young boys, and the recent case of nine men convicted for grooming teenage lasses for sex in Heywood.  Tony Lloyd, elected as the first police and crime commisioner for Greater Manchester last month, gave the topic of sex abuse top priority for the coming 'first meeting of the police and crime panel,' according to tomorrow's Heywood Advertiser.

Elected to his post two weeks ago, Mr. Lloyd said:  'We know the events that took place in Rochdale shocked people across all the communities in Greater Manchester but we also know these aren't isolated cases.'  The meeting is expected to take place early next year.

It was well known in Rochdale that Smith had been accused of abusing young lads, and the police were convinced in the 1960s that the former Liberal MP for Rochdale, was an active paederast after they investigated claims he interfered with boys at Cambridge House hostel for lads.  Yet, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case at that time.

Since then Rochdale Council has been seriously slagged-off for not following up of signs that teenage girls were the subject of sexual grooming by a ring of taxi operatives linked to two takeaways - the Balti and Tasty Bities -  in the Heywood area of Rochdale.  Both of these are now under new management. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Statement to the Movement:

THE Northern Anarchist Network meeting in Burnley on the 8th, December, unreservedly condemns the treatment handed out to NAN supporter, Barry Woodling, at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair on the 1st, December, 2012.  He was subjected to intimidation, threats, and verbal abuse at the hands of one of the organisers called 'Veg' assisted by Anarchist Federation members, including Nick Heath.  In addition to being harangued as an 'imbecile', a 'dullard', and a 'fucking disgrace', he was accused of being an 'anti-semite'.  Barry was subsequently thrown out of the bookfair.  Such a monstrous charge beggar's belief in view of his Jewish roots, and the murder of a member of his family in the Nazi Gas Chambers in the 1940s.

 We thus call upon the organisers of the bookfair, and the Anarchist Federation to unreservedly apologise for their authoritarian actions, and to offer a guarantee that there will be no repetition of this in future.  It seems that the Anarchist Federation and the Bookfair organisers are doing the State's work for them by attacking the NAN and its supporters.
The following 55 people have now agreed to have their names added to the
list supporting the above statement.  Not all of these are anarchists,
and most were not in attendance at the Northern Anarchist Network
meeting at which the decision was made to make this declaration
supporting Barry Woodling.  It is a declaration that any decent person
may sign.  These are the signatures so far:

Paul Arnold (Manchester); Kevin Brenan (Bristol), Stacy Bluer (Salford), Mariam Shaw (Longsight), Donavan Pedelty (Wales); Trevor Bark (Northumbria); Grace Bamford (West Yorkshire); Basil Landau (Manchester); Neel Tiwana (Manchester); Sheilia Simpson (Manchester); Neil Donaldson (Shropshire); Diana Garcia (Manchester); Johnathan Davis (Manchester); Dan Fernandez (Manchester); Mingus (Manchester), Sal Choudhry (Manchester); Martin Hopwood (Manchester); Martin Gilbert (Cumbria); Barry Woodling (Swinton); John Simkin (Lancashire); Eileen Hall (Burnley); Deon Bamford (West Yorkshire); Duncan Ball (Shropshire); Ilyan Thomas (Wales); Jim Petty (Burnley); Laurens Otter (Shropshire); Brian Bamford (Rochdale); Chris Draper (York); Derek Pattison (Dukinfield, Greater Manchester); Joe O'Neil (Swinton South, Salford); Bob Crane (Bury); Yvonne Dodge (Radcliffe); Camilo Melara (Manchester); Johnathan Simcock (Derbyshire); Denise Bamford (Todmorden); Anna Jeffery (North Yorkshire); Adele Dodge (Radcliffe); Patrick Finnerty (Rochdale); Sean Dempsey (Bury); Dave Douglass (South Sheilds); Rachel Whittaker (Republic of Ireland).

Martin Bashford (York), Dave Chapple (Bridgewater), Chris Chilton (Bolton), Susan Reddington (Bolton), Elaine Cross (Bolton), Denis Pye (Bolton), Dameon Bamford (Todmorden); Dave Fogg (Manchester), Lydia Morrel (Manchester), Heike Gabernowitz (Manchester), David Hernandez (Manchester).

CARLOS ANTONIO FIGUEROA LILLO (MADRID, Spain), John Lawrence (Oman), Seamus Cain (USA)

Donald Rooum, the veteran anarchist cartoonist long associated with Freedom Press in London, expressed his personal support for the spirit of the statement in so far as it represented a call for civil liberties and a more inclusive approach, but indicated that he wished to find out more.  Others, particularly some associated with Bristol Radical History Group have also expressed their concern  and offered to mediate.  Up until now mediation has proved impossible.

Cyril Smith: CPS sites Bribery & Obscenity

TODAY, new allegations emerge regarding historic documents and files relating to Cyril Smith, the former Rochdale Liberal Democrat MP.  The Crown Prosecution Service has now said that it has found that a file was received in the early 1970s, when Smith was then aged 42, regarding an allegation or allegations involving indecent and obscene publications.  Then in the early 1980s another file was submitted in which there was a claim involving the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act of 1889:  this 19th Century law forbid the bribery of a member, officer or a servant of a public body.

These files would be left-over allegations held by the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before it was subsequently forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after it was set-up in 1986.  Some of these separate files, according the a report in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer, reached the DPP's office in March 1970, only to be forwarded to the CPS in the late 1990s.  The CPS has now revealed that there are three separate files on Cyril Smith.

Smith at present stands accused of abusing eight young lads at Cambridge House hostel on Castle Mere Street, Rochdale, in the early 1960s.  Northern Voices' first revealed this on the 13th, November, shortly before the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, gave details in his speech to the House of Commons at around 4.30pm on the same day.  On that day Simon Danczuk told the House of Commons of 'young boys who were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by 29 stone bully imposing himself on them' . 

Now, the CPS has dug these new/ old files up from out of what the police call the CPS's 'Salt Mines' believed to reside somewhere in Cheshire. Surprise, surprise, the CPS has said it cannot judge the degree of seriousness of the allegations or what, if any, action was taken.  The CPS just say that they are making this public now 'in the interests of openness and transparency', and to cover their own backsides, of course.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tyne & Wear IWW: Condemn Bookfair Attack

LAST night, Dave Douglass told us at Northern Voices that the Tyne & Wear Branch of the IWW had this month moved a resolution condemning the attack by members of the Anarchist Federation on the Northern Voices' Bookstall and the editor of N.V. at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the 27th, October 2012. 

Alice-in-Wonderland 'Anti-semitism' Charge Against Nephew of Holocaust Victim at Manchester Anarchist Bookfair

'YOU'RE A f**king disgrace!,' yelled Londoner Nick Heath at the local Jewish anarchist Barry Woodling as he was escorted out of the Emergency Exit at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair on December 1st, only to have to climb down a small fire escape. Mr. Heath is a prominent anarchist intellectual and member of the Anarchist Federation (A.F.) in London. At 3.30pm a week ago last Saturday, the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair decended into a scene from Alice-in-Wonderland, as Barry Woodling, with Jewish origins from Swinton in Salford, and a supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network, was accused of 'anti-Semitism', forced by Mr. Heath and others to leave the Bookfair.

Earlier in the day Barry Woodling had distributed a leaflet outside the bookfair at the Peoples History Museum, complaining about the Bookfair's organisers failure to allow the anarchist body - the Northern Anarchist Network - to have a stall at the Bookfair. This small protest had passed off without incident, and it ended at noon. Mr. Woodling then went in to enjoy the bookfair, and attended a workshop between 1pm and 2pm, dealing with the Mexican town Cherar's attempts to create a free community whose citizen's govern themselves. The rest of the day he spent wandering around the stalls at the Bookfair and talking to friends such as the people on Bob Jones' Northern Herald Bookstall

At around 3.30pm Mr Wooding was confronted by one of the Bookfair's organisers who goes by the pseudonym of 'Veg' (so-called because 'Veg' is believed to be a vegan or maybe because he is a bit of a vegetable?); 'Veg' accused Barry of being an 'anti-Semite' because, it was claimed, that he had distributed a leaflet with an 'anti-Semitic' reference in it, which the organisers had had complaints about during the day. 'Veg' refused to explain either who had complained or what precisely was 'anti-Semite' in the leaflet, but began pushing Barry and threatening to deal with him when he got him outside; 'Veg' is a man of slight build, but he behaved provocatively calling Barry an 'imbecile' and a 'dullard'. At one stage some other customers intervened to try to reason with 'Veg', but he was persistent and was soon joined by others, including Nick Heath from the Anarchist Federation and some of his London friends, and a man from Didsbury who has previously used the pseudonym'Iron Column', and has been close to Sally Hyman, who led the attack of the bookstall of Northern Voices at the London Anarchist Bookfair in October. 

Neither 'Veg' or 'Iron Column' are believed to be members of the Anarchist Federation, but 'Veg' is an AF groupie and attends their meetings; 'Iron Column' is close to Sally Hyman, and both have been involved in previous complaints against Northern Voices and the Northern Anarchist Network. Yet, the latest 'anti-Semite' charge against Barry Woodling now takes us into the realms of Alice-in-Wonderland and crackpot politics that has few rivals in a sane society. Mr.Woodling, besides being a supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network, is well known in left-wing politics in Manchester. His Jewish family connections are perhaps less well known, but his mother is Jewish and her sister, Elsa Greenman, died in Auschwitz; his uncle, Liam Greenman survived Auschwitz, lived into his 90s, and Barry lovingly wrote about him in Northern Voices No.5 in the Autumn of 2005. In the Spring/ Summer [2006] issue, Northern Voices No.6, Barry Woodling wrote a sympathetic review of Dave Chapple's booklet 'Henry Suss & the Jewish working-class in Manchester' published by the Somerset Socialist Library, and in Northern Voices No.9, Mr Suss's daughter, Sali Money from Stroud sent the following letter to Barry [published in Northern Voices No.9]:
'Very many thanks for the article [in Northern Voices No.6] on my father Henry Suss... We all really appreciated your [Barry Woodling's] presence at Dad's memorial do. It is a great comfort to know he's impacted so well on others! It makes it all worthwhile!' 

Seen in this context the 'anti-Semite' charge of 'Veg', the bookfair organisers and by implication, Nick Heath and Anarchist Fed., is daft.  Barry Woodling has been on many anti-racist demonstrations in Manchester, not to mention his presence at James Keogh's Blue Plaque inauguration in Ashton-under-Lyne Library in November 2011 [James Keogh died in the Spanish Civil War fighting Fascism in 1938], and then there is his involvement in the Manchester electrician's campaign against the blacklist in the British building trade, and he was on an electrician's protest at a full Council meeting at Ashton Town Hall only last December, and is currently a supporter of 'Manchester Occupy'.

Mr. Woodling is clearly a distinguished political activist, who has ethnic Jewish ancestors going back donkey's year. Why did the Anarchist Fed. and the bookfair organiser pick on Barry Woodling? Whatever we think about the politics, and most folk in this country rightly don't think very much, this kind of thing is political illiteracy of a very high order. It is a vivid example of what Ludwig Wittgenstein, another man of Jewish origins who studied at Manchester University, called 'aspect blindness'. Now perhaps we are wrong to say that these boneheaded blacklisters of Northern Voices, like the bookfair organisers and AF, who seek to gag and ban people and publications, are 'Nazis by nature'; we may be wrong because though they use the methods of the Nazi they profess to be libertarians. I would argue that it is by their actions and their methods that they should be judged, much more so than by their abstract theories. And yet, what kind of Nazis would have been so dumb as to pick on Barry Woodling of all people, and accuse him of 'anti-Semitism'?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Simon Sucks-up to Main Stream Media

Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk Snubs Alternative Press
SPEAKING this week in a debate in parliament on the regional media following the Leveson report, Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, praised both the Manchester Evening News (MEN) and the Rochdale Observer.  No doubt he thought such praise would help his future career and bring him more favourable coverage in the main stream regional press.  Refering to the MEN he said:  'While I am talking about journalists I will mention Jennifer Williams, who works for the Manchester Evening News, and the recent Cyril Smith scandal.  She has pursued that story and written well about it on several occasions.'  Of the Rochdale Observer he said 'It is the people's champion'.

 But in doing this he ignored the work done and the risks taken  by the regional alternative media, such as the Rochdale Alternative Paper who did most of the spade work and Northern Voices, in developing the Cyril Smith story and in making his speech in the House of Commons revelant by getting a new key witness in Eddie Shorrock.  The main stream media simply jumped on the bandwagon once Paul Waugh, with our help, had posted the Smith story on his Blog on the 6th, November.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VIII:

A Quick Soup for Today -  Aubergine, Tomato, Garlic and Coconut Milk Soup
Lindsey Bareham in her book 'A Celebration of Soup' writes:  'This is an easy and delicious soup of no real origin but with South-east Asian overtones.'   She adds:  'The coconut milk, which is rich mild and nutrious, combined with the quickly cooked vegetables, and fire from the garlic and chilli, provide a good balance of textures and flavours.'

Serves 4-6.
400g/ 14 oz. aubergine.
225g/ 8 oz. tomatoes.
900ml/ 1.5 pints chicken or vegetable stock.
400ml/ 14 fl oz tinned coconut milk.
2 tbsp groundnut oil.
2 small onions, finely chopped.
1 fresh chilli pepper, cored, de-seeded and finely chopped.
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
1 tsp salt.
a big pinch of white pepper.
a pinch of sugar.

Peel and cut aubergine into 1-cm/ 0.5-inch cubes.  Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 60 seconds, peel and chop into small chunks.
Bring the stock and coconut milk to simmering point in a large pan.  While they are simmering, heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil.  When hot, stir-fry the onions, chilli, garlic and aubergine at high heat for 4 minutes until nicely browned.  Drain on absorbent paper, then add to the soup.  Add the seasoning, adjusting to taste.  If necessay add a bit of sugar.

Anarchist Shot in Parisian Revenge Attack

WE keep being told by the odd member of the Anarchist Federation that we should think ourselves lucky that we got away 'lightly' with the Salad Cream Queen's attack on the Northern Voices' bookstall at the London Anarchist Bookfair, last October.  'You got off lightly,' said one over-dressed AF member at the Bookfair and this seems to be the general attitude of the Anarchist Federation who also had a presence at the Manchester Bookfair last weekend.  This led to absurd charges of 'anti-semitism' against one supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network.  But when you read what happened a hundered years ago in Paris, you know how some of these people's minds work:

December 4th, 1912:  Anarchist Shot in Revenge
PARIS:  An attempt at murder, supposed to be an act of revenge on the part of the notorious Anarchist, Lacombe, was committed about six o'clock yesterday [Dec 4] morning in a small apartment in the passage de Clichy.  A man named Erisbach, better known as Ducret, also an Anarchist, had lived there with his wife for several years.  Aroused by a knock at the door yesterday, the wife, thinking it was a neighbour, who had called them as usual, got up, lit a lamp, unlocked the door, and went back to the bedroom.  A moment afterwards she was surprised to see a man enter, holding a revolver in each hand.  He advanced toward her husband, and said:  'You sold our comrades, now your turn has come,' whereupon he fired twice and severely wounded Erisbach.  (From the Herald Tribune 100 years ago)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pat King at Number Ten Gallery

23rd, November 2012-31st, January 2013.
Pat King  - Retrospective
Number Ten Gallery, 10, Bailey Street, Rochdale, OL16 1JG.
Open:  Mon. - Sat. 9am-5pm.  Tel.... 01706  354076.

This exhibition is to celebrate and remember the life and skills of one of our talented local artists.

Pat's students and friends will know of her enthusiasm for watercolours and many will still be using her advice and techniques in their work.

The work is priced so that students and friends are able to purchase a picture in her memory.

A percentage of sales will to Pat and Jack's favoutite charity - Smile Train.

Laurens Otter is well!

A WEEK ago Laurens Otter, the veteran anarchist from Wellington in Shropshire now well into his 80s, returned to his home after a triple-heart bypass.  His wife Celia contacted Northern Voices to say the Laurens is well and improving after his operation at the Wolvehampton hospital.  All his friends in the Northern Anarchist Network, at Northern Voices, in the Church of England and beyond will wish him and Celia well. 

Salud  compañeros y buen vida!

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VII:

Cyril Smith's a Pork Pie & Chips Man

LAST SATURDAY, in the Rochdale Observer, Eileen Kershaw, a former Lancashire County Councillor, told the journalist Katie Fitzpatrick that she recalled 'a conversation with Cyril Smith and his predecessor Jack McCann (the former Rochdale MP) about the abuse allegations, during which the late Labour MP declared that he would call on the Director of Public Prosecutions for them to drop the case "because this man is being persecuted".'  Soon after that the case was dropped.

Eileen Kershaw, who claimed that she was one of the last people to see Cyril Smith before he died two years ago, said the worry about the allegations put him off his 'usual supper of pie and chips' and he started taking pills to calm his nerves back in the 1960s.  Eileen said:  'He came to our house and had pie and chips but then he stopped (and) he wasn't himself...'  So we're dedicating today's dish to Sir Cyril Smith.

Pork Pie (6-8 portions) Cheshire:
This sweet and savoury pork pie from the early 18th century has hardly changed in concept since it was first published by Mrs. Glasse in Edinburgh in 1747.
2 lb. pork fillets.
1 oz. butter.
1 lb. peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples.
Salt and pepper.
2 oz. sugar.
1 pint of whote wine or cider.
8 oz. savoury shortcrust pastry.
1 egg.

Oven:  350 degrees F; gas mark 4; 1.5 hours.

Trim the pork fillets of membranes and sinews, and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Butter a 3.5 pint pie dish and arrange layers of pork with layers of sliced apples, sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper, nutmeg and sugar.  Pour over the wine and dot with the remaining butter.  Cover with the pastry, brush with beaten egg and bake until firm, and well brown.

Government work scheme described as 'worse than useless' in helping people back into work!

The government denies that its 'Mandatory Work Activity' (MWA) programme, amounts to forced labour even though it's mandatory and does force the unemployed to undertake 30 hours of unpaid work each week for up to four weeks at a time, if they want to retain their Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

Although research carried out by the government, indicates that the MWA  fails to help the unemployed to get back into work after completing the scheme and seems to do little to get the long-term unemployed back into work, it is nevertheless being hailed by government officials as a huge success in getting people to sign off the dole.

Figures recently released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), show that two-thirds of benefit claimants referred to the MWA programme fail to turn up for their placement because they either take a job or stop claiming state benefits. The report says that since the scheme started last May (2011), more than 90,000 claimants have been referred to MWA by Jobcentre staff. Of the 33,000 who began work placements, the remaining 57,000 found some work while others ceased claiming benefits. Anyone who is referred to the scheme and does not complete an unpaid work placement, is liable to have their benefits stopped. The DWP have confirmed that 6,000 people were stripped of their benefits for refusing to participate in the scheme.

Although critics say the scheme is forced labour, government officials say that it helps the unemployed to "develop personal discipline and other habits required for employment." Under the rules, any unemployed person judged by jobcentre staff to lack personal skills required to find and keep a job, must do unpaid work placements in return for their benefits.

Despite the government's own research findings into the efficacy of MWA, Mark Hoban, the Employment Minister who published the figures for MWA, said that the figures confirmed that the MWA scheme was "helping to push people off benefits and into work." He added:

"Some people will go to great lengths to avoid having to get a job, but sitting at home on benefits doing nothing is not an option for those who are fit and capable of work..."

While MWA might be having some effect in driving people off the dole - who don't like undertaking unpaid forced labour - it is less clear whether these people are going into paid employment. At a time when Britain is in a double-dip recession and there is little economic growth and nationally, there are 34 people applying for each vacancy it takes more than a pristine CV to get a job. In some regions, there are many more people chasing each vacancy. In October, when Jaguar Land Rover advertised 1,100 jobs at its plant in Birmingham, over 20,000 people applied.

The latest figures released by the DWP into the government's 'Work Programme', the 'worse than useless' job scheme which has helped just 1 in 25 back into work since starting in June last year, show how mainly private contractors, are failing to hit their target of getting 5.5% back into work. Although the government says that they would expect at least 5% of people to get back into work without any sort of government help, none of the 18 Work Programme contractors managed to hit their target of getting 5.5% of the 878,000 people referred to the scheme into a job lasting 6 months during the 14 months that the Work Programme was in operation. The Work Programme did in fact get less than 3.5% of people into work which was  mainly short-term, part-time roles, at a cost according to the BBC 2 Newsnight programme, of £14,000 per job and not £2,100, as suggested by the government. Since the programme commenced in June last year, the government have spent in the region of £412 million on a scheme which has helped fewer people into work than would have got back into work, without any government intervention.

The government say that it is too early (14 months), to judge the Work Progamme on job outcome and 'sustainment payment alone' because the programme helps people into work for 2 years or more. But there is evidence that the official figures put out by the DWP are misleading and far worse than suggested. Had the evaluation been done in the regular way from June 2011 to May 2012, instead of June 2011 and July 2012, the figure would have dropped even lower to 2.5%.

Need less to say, it's not only by the use of statistics that government's seek to mislead the public. Disinformation and the 'scrounger' agenda have been used by the government to make the public more amenable to £18bn of cuts in welfare benefits which has been taken up and reported by some journalists, to create a stigma attached to claiming state benefits. The Chancellor George Osborne does not refer to the unemployed but the 'idlers' who are "sleeping off a life on benefits" and there is no mention of the millions of people who are desperately looking for a full-time job. On previous occasions, Osborne has claimed that some families are taking £100,000 a year in housing benefit when in fact this only applied to five families in Britain. His announcement that no one would get more state benefits than the £26,000 median wage, represented less than 1% of people on benefits who were living in high cost temporary accommodation in London. Yet this kind of strategy, which tries to portray people on benefits as living the high life at the taxpayers expense, as successfully hidden the plunge in living standards for million of others through housing benefit cuts. Today, only one-in-eight people claiming  housing benefit are not in work.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Northern Anarchist Cookbook VI:

 How to Kosher Meat & Poultry
Meat and poultry should be put in a bowl especially kept for this purpose, entirely covered with cold water and left to soak for 30 minutes.  Wash every bit of blood from the meat before removing from the water.  Then place it on a smooth wooden board with holes in it, lightly sprinkle with salt.  Let drain for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly in cold water.

Poultry must be drawn before being koshered.  Liver must be cut through and washed thoroughly.  Sprinkle with salt, grill for a minute or two on each side, then use in any way required.

These instructions are according to ritual requirements and should be carried out independently of and before those given for preparation of individual meat recipes.

Barry Woodling was thrown out of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair last Saturday, allegedly for being an 'anti-Semite'.  We dedicate the above ritual to Barry.

Shami Chakrabarti – raises blacklisting issue on BBC TV

'Phone hacking wasn’t the only privacy or information scandal of recent years and it’s very sad that the construction worker blacklist scandal has really not attracted the same attention.  One of the big things about phone hacking was that a private investigator was storing up all this personal information, people’s phone numbers and so on and that was used for phone hacking. Something similar happened with the Consulting Association that was storing up the names of people on a blacklist. They were blacklisted because they were trade unionists or they were raising concerns about health and safety; but health and safety on a building site is potentially a life and death matter. There were people whose lives were ruined; they found they couldn’t work in the construction industry for years and years and years.
'Interestingly, going back to Leveson, one of the things that hasn’t been touched on in all the coverage, is that Leveson is really concerned that the current Information Commissioner’s Office really didn’t do everything it could have done about phone hacking…. That would apply to this hideous blacklist that has been kept about construction workers.

'Now it seems, The Observer tells us that this has affected the Crossrail project and people have been blacklisted and not able to work on that.' 

Blacklist Support Group statement on Crossrail:

'It is a disgrace that public funds are being spent on blacklisting trade unionists on the Crossrail project. 
Workers have been dismissed from the largest construction project in Europe for raising safety concerns about high voltage cables and for joining the UNITE union. For nearly 3 months there have been daily protests about blacklisting on Crossrail and the firms involved have constantly denied that it is taking place.
On Tuesday Ian Kerr, chief officer of the Consulting Association blacklisting organisation told MPs that his members had talked at length about Crossrail during meetings to discuss the list: "An awful lot of discussion took place at Consulting Association meetings about the Crossrail project.'

In addition Ron Barron, the most senior industrial relations officer on the entire Crossrail project has lost his job last week after investigative journalists discovered that he was a proven blacklister having cross-checked job applicants against the secret blacklist of workers to be barred from the industry, a list that he helped to compile. An employment tribunal found that he introduced the use of the blacklist at his former employer, the construction firm CB&I, and referred to it more than 900 times in 2007 alone. 
The evidence of blacklisting on Crossrail is damning and overwhelming - none of the blacklisting firms are now even attempting to deny that these discussions took place.

This is a major systematic breach of human rights by big business subsidised by tax-payers money - when are they going to come clean?

Crossrail and the construction firms on Crossrail should make a public apology, pay compensation and reinstate all the UNITE members who have lost their jobs on the project. A union recognition agreement on the project is required as a matter of urgency for the public to have any trust in these people.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Cyril Smith Cover-up: Who Pulled the Strings?

 Eileen Kershaw's Recollections
EILEEN KERSHAW, a former Lancashire county councillor from up Whitworth, has recovered her memory and talked to Katie Fitzpatrick for tomorrow's Rochdale Observer.   The dots are starting to come together in the mystery of the how Cyril Smith may have escaped justice in the1960s.  Was he really a paederast and a child molester who got his political cronies to intervene to get him off, when the police had him by the short and curlies?

There are still plenty of questions as to what really happened and who did what to help Mr Smith in his time of need.  But it seems clear that the network of friends that existed within the political classes allegedly helped Mr. Smith at that time.  What part did Jack McCann, the former Rochdale Labour MP, play to get the then Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the case against Smith?  It is now clear, from what Eileen Kershaw says, that Smith called upon his old friend in the Labour Party to get his assistance and that 'the late Labour MP declared that he would call on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for them to drop the case'.

Eileen Kershaw told the Rochdale Observer that Smith would 'maintain his innocence to us (Eileen and her late husband, Jack Kershaw) and we would put up with it night after night from 8.30pm to 3am.'  She now says that:  'After the case was dropped he went back to being his normal jolly self'

At that time Jack McCann was a Labour Whip in the House of Commons, and that may have given him a chance to have a word with Jim Callaghan who was Home Secretary in the Labour Government between 1967 and 1970 .  Talk about wheels within wheels in the corridors of power.  Did Jack McCann in trying to help his old mate Cyril, who had been in the Labour Party, get 'Sunny Jim' Callaghan to get the DPP to ditch the case?  What a thought!  Our readers must judge for themselves what may have gone on, but networking is not a new phenomena.

Northern Anarchist Cookbook V: Soups Under the Pavement

TODAY we're on soup - spicy soup - curried parsnip soup to get it 'reet, and the texture is, as Lindsey Bareham says in her 'Celebration of Soup''thick, fluffy and creamy'.  That just reminds of David (not Dave) Under-the-Pavement, who tomorrow will be organising the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair at the Peoples History Museum.  Ms. Bareham writes:  'The key to its success seems to be the combination of lightly sautéing the parsnip with the onion and garlic, the curry powder, and the slow simmering until the parsnips are soft, before puréeing the soup.' 

I do not accept what Ms. Bareham writes about using commercial curry powder, and I believe this soup is much better when one grinds one's own spices.  We dedicate this soup to David Under-the-Pavement for his loyalty to the renegade anarchists and blacklisters, who we have had occasion to refer to in our other recipes.  He has continually done their bidding over the years.
1 medium onion, chopped.
1 large clove of garlic, but preferably two split.
1 very large parsnip, peeled and chopped.
1 medium floury potato, peeled and diced.
2 heaped tbsp butter.
1 level tbsp flour (optional).
Then the spices:
Instead of 1 rounded tsp of shop bought curry powder (which is usually stale) use
1 tbsp of the following:
1 rounded tsp ground turmeric,
0.25 tsp ground fenugeek.
0.5 tsp of fresh chilli or dried red chilli.
1 level tsp of cumin seed.
1 heaped tbsp coriander seeds, all to be pounded together and the surplus bottled.
1.1 litres/ 2 pints of good stock (Marigold).
2 pints of water.
Salt & pepper.
150 ml/ or 0.25 of a pint of single cream.
1 tbsp of chopped chives or parsley.
Cook the onion, garlic, parsnip and potato gently in the butter, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour and spices.  Cook for 2 minutes, giving the whole thing a turn round form time to time.  Pour in the stock gradually.  Leave to cook.  When the parsnips are tender, purée and dilute to taste with the water.  Correct the seasoning.  Re-heat, add the cream and a sprinkling of chives or parsley, and serve with bacon croutons and crusty bread and plenty of butter.

What's in a name?

BELOW are two e-mails:  one a demand from 'Alex', the Secretary of the Anarchist Federation, telling Northern Voices to 'remove' from the NV Blog the names of some of the perpetrators of a public attack on the Northern Voices stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the 27th, Oct. 2012; the other the response from the Northern Voices' Editorial Panel to this demand.  We have to report that as of yet there has been no reply to our e-mail from the Northern Voices Editorial Panel
From: National Secretary AFed (
Sent: 06 November 2012 22:01:45 
In two recent articles on your "Northern Voices" blog you posted the
names of anarchists including members of the anarchist federation,
please remove them immediately.
National Secretary
Anarchist Federation

Dear Alex (sent 14th, Nov. 2012),
I am sorry for my delay in answering your instruction below (above). I have had to consult the other members of the NV Editorial Panel. The position is that you must tell us:

Does the Anarchist Fed. disassociate itself from the threats issued by the leaders of the group that confronted the editor of NV: Sally Hyman/Miller, Mike Ballard, Claire (Nottingham) & Andy (London) and the other members of your organisation?

Until we have a clear statement from you and the Anarchist Fed. in writing on the participation of your members in this attack at the London Anarchist Bookfair on the Northern Voices' stall and its editor, we cannot possibly consider your demands below. Hope that you will be able to oblige.

Brian Bamford: NV Editor & Chair of the NV Ed. Panel

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Kerr by name and Cur by nature. Police held regular meetings with Blacklister!

The following report which we list below was sent to us by the Blacklist Support Group and is a precis of the evidence given by Ian Kerr, the blacklister of the 'Consulting Association', who gave evidence this week to Scottish Affairs Select Committee:

"One revelation after another today as convicted blacklister Ian Kerr broke his silence today and gave nearly 4 hours worth of evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting.  Among the more jaw dropping evidence:

Kerr has been a full-time blacklister since 1969 - previously employed by the Economic League before he became the Chief Executive of the Consulting Association.

Cullum McAlpine - Director of several companies within the Sir Robert McAlpine group was the first Chairman of the Consulting Association after providing a £10,000 start-up loan following the demise of the Economic League.

Consulting Association meetings took place in the Sir Robert McAlpine London HQ.

Sir Robert McAlpine paid Ian Kerr's £5,000 fine, solicitors fees, and costs associated with closing the organisation including redundancy money for the 4 staff to the order of £25,0000 in order to keep McAlpine's name out of the scandal.

Kerr was paid £50k per year + car + bonus + BUPA + life insurance.

Kerr's wife worked as the organisation's book-keeper.

The main contact for each company was at Director level or similar.

Police held regular meetings with senior members of the blacklisting operation with information flowing both ways.

Union officials provided information about their own members that ended up on the blacklist files. Ian Davidson MP described this as "the union putting the kybosh on someones employment."

Kerr and other blacklist spies were sent undercover into union meetings.

Widespread blacklisting took place on the Olympics construction project by McAlpine, Skanska and Balfour Beatty.

Crossrail - "An awful lot of discussion took place at Consulting Association meetings about the Crossrail Project."

200 Environmental activists were blacklisted (these files were not seized by the ICO).

All documents and computer records have now been burnt or destroyed.
Other blacklisting operations were in existence including Caprim Limited which was set up by the former managing Director of the Economic League.

Kerr refused to answer the question as to whether he was part of the official vetting operation for Irish workers on MoD projects - after a long pause he asked if he could answer that question in private.

Safety Reps were blacklisted if they were too persistent and likely to delay a project.

the Consulting Association breaches at least 2 articles of the European Convention on Human Rights - Pamela Nash MP."

Full video coverage:

Dave Smith - Blacklist Support Group said:

"Kerr himself is a pathetic figure. But a pathetic figure that got rich and lived the high life by running an illegal blacklist that put thousands of innocent decent hard working people on the dole for years. Kerr's actions took meals from our kids tables. He may feel no remorse but we are angry and we want justice.

It was the matter of fact way that he described the systematic abuse of power by big business that I found most shocking. As if we were just an inconvenience in the way of companies wanting to make big profits.

It has taken years of campaigning to get Ian Kerr to spill the beans in public. I have a message for the supposedly respectable Directors of multi-national construction firms, police officers and corrupt union officials who were all part of this conspiracy - get a good lawyer, cos we're coming after you next.

Blacklist Support Group represents blacklisted workers involved in the High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine for "tort of unlawful conspiracy". Guney Clark and Ryan are the representing solicitors with Sir Hugh Tomlinson QC the Lead Counsel."

NORTHERN VOICES & Cyril Smith in the Waugh Room

 For Barry Fitton, Eddie Shorrock and other former residents of a Rochdale boys' hostel, today marks a small step in something simple yet fundamental: finally being believed.

The CPS's admission* that the DPP should have prosecuted Cyril Smith in 1970 is the first ever official acknowledgement of the abuse they suffered at his hands.
The cops closest to the investigation knew they had a case, particularly with eight different witness statements. Yet the DPP rejected the case as 'NFA': no further action.

For decades, no one was interested in this story and it was only Private Eye and the blog Northern Voices that kept it alive in recent years.

I'm pleased that we at helped to bring this case back to life when we published Barry and Eddie's testimony earlier this month. You can read our original report HERE and a fuller feature HERE (as well as my blog on Rochdale's civic pride) on Tuesday this week.

Simon Danczuk was then brave enough to go public in Parliament, raising our report and referring to stories he too had been told of Smith's abuse and the possible cover-up of the allegations (read his full speech HERE).
But the real credit should go to David Bartlett and John Walker, the co-editors of Rochdale's Alternative Paper.

I remember RAP as a boy growing up in the town. An inky, irreverent newsheet, it was the blogosphere decades before the blogosphere was invented. A sharp contrast to the well-established Rochdale Observer (which until only this month never actually referred to its upstart rival by name), RAP carried titbits of controversy and gossip that others daren't carry. It even had an infamous 'Fat Man' cartoon strip which lampooned a certain larger than life MP.

Yet the paper was deadly serious when it ran its 'Strange Case' story back in 1979, just before the general election in which Cyril Smith ran for re-election. Bartlett and Walker were the real pioneers in printing the first claims that Smith interfered with boys at Cambridge House hostel.

They were amateur journalists (with dayjobs as college lecturers) but they had affadavits and produced a first class expose of a man who seemed to view Rochdale as his personal fiefdom. They weren't scared off by Smith's legal threats but he issued an injunction and threatened libel enough to deter the many national newspaper journalists who descended on the town to snap up RAP's infamous edition.

Only Private Eye had the balls to repeat the claims at the time. Tabloid and broadsheet alike, despite having lots of hacks in nearby Manchester, just didn't touch the Cyril Smith story.
Bartlett and Walker were never interested in the limelight for themselves. Even when the story resurfaced this month, they kept in the background. But tonight, hearing the CPS news, John Walker told me he felt vindicated:
"We are delighted that after 40 years, these boys - now men - are finally being listened to and given some form of public justice for what they experienced. RAP played a part 30 years ago in highlighting their story and I just hope justice will prevail. I hope they can get at least some kind of closure. It has always been about making people hear their voice."
There's perhaps another point here worth mentioning. When we first printed our allegations a few weeks ago, some media organisation were nervous. Some felt it was just 'the wrong time' to touch another story of 1960s and 1970s abuse by a public figure. Tonight they look like they will be less reluctant.

Yet it was some good old fashioned journalism - not by newspapers, but by an online-only website like ours and most of all by a 'rag' like RAP - that got this story out.

With Lord Justice Leveson due to report on Thursday, maybe there's a lesson of sorts in that.
*FOOTNOTE: The decision of the CPS to go public today took some at Greater Manchester Police by surprise. They were all set to go public tomorrow with their own announcement that they referred the case three times to the DPP. Has the CPS tried to get a quick PR win by getting its statement out today, before the cops make clear where responsibility really lay in 1970?

Northern Anarchist Cookbook IV:

Northern Voices - Slippery Chicken & the Slippery Sophistry of the Civil Servant
TODAY'S salad is special because it is one of Northern Voices' own recipes that we are presenting to you the day before Radio Four's 'Food Program' presents its Food & Farming awards.  It is our 'Chicken & Mango Salad with Warm Pine-Nut Dressing'; we claim it as our own even though it is based on Francis Bissell's 'Chicken & Melon salad with Sesame Dressing'.  And, as a special treat we are going to dedicate this dish a very special man - Mike Ballard - who has distinguished himself as someone who has been nothing if not lofty in his demeanour - Mr. Ballard has had a reputation as an educated man and original thinker around Greater Manchester's political circles and is now a groupie who attaches himself as a kind of fellow-traveller to the Anarchist Federation in this country. 

Of course, our recipe for Chicken salad is simply a variation on Francis Bissell's, but it is possible to claim it is original because the rule for creating a new recipe only requires that I substitute at least two ingredients, in this case Mango and pine-nuts for Melon and sesame seeds, and Hey Presto! we've invented a new dish.  Mr. Ballard's approach to politics is rather similar to our approach to cooking - a few slights of the hand, a sprinkling of new ingredients and all the logic of the managerial tick-list, and behold he has a theory based on some cookbook concept.  Mr. Ballard is a recently retired civil servant - a former housing manager at Manchester Council.

'I took a pragmatic stand,' he told me earlier this year, 'when I accepted the decision to ban Northern Voices and the NAN (Northern Anarchist Network) from last December's Manchester Anarchist Bookfair''Perhaps you would have preferred it,' he added, 'if I had adopted a more principled position!'   At that time he claimed that he had invested too much time and energy into the event to let principles stand in his way.  So it was that both the NAN and Northern Voices were effectively blacklisted from the bookfair by the organisers and no clear explanation as to why was forthcoming. 

Worse was to come at the London Bookfair on October 27th, this year when Mr. Ballard joined a group of twelve Anarchist Federation affiliates that molested and threatened the sole stall-holder on the Northern Voices' stall at 10 in the morning; giving me until 11am to vacate the premises.  What kind of anarchism is that?  This incident has now been well documented as something more like Kristallnacht or the Rise of Arturo Ui than civilised politics.  This incident has now been well documented on this Blog.  No doubt Mr Ballard will produce some splendidly slippery sophistry to justify him being part of the raiding party, even if he was not present when the schoolmistress, Sally Hyman, finally ejaculated the salad cream on her second visit at 11am.  As Orwell wrote of W.H. Auden (see 'Inside a Whale'):  Mr. Ballard's kind of sophistry is like 'Mr Auden's brand of amoralism is only possible if you are the kind of person who is always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled.'  For this reason I think it is very appropriate that we dedicate this highly recommended and delightfully slippery Chicken dish to Mike Ballard.

Serves 6:
3 5 oz./ 140 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
2 mangoes, sliced, deseeded and peeled.
2 tbsp of pine-nuts.
3 tbsp of sunflower oil.
1 tbsp of rice or sherry vinegar.
2 tbsp of shredded fresh root ginger.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed.#
2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil.
Poach or steam the chicken for 8 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, slice, and arrange the slices on plates, alternating with slices of mango, or put a fan of chicken slices on oneside of each plate and a fan of mango slices on the other.  In a small, heavy frying pan, toast the pine-nuts until golden brown.  Scatter them over the chicken and mango.  In the same pan, mix all the other ingredients, except the sesame oil, and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and spoon over the salad.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

NORTHERN ANARCHIST COOKBOOK III: French Dressing & Dominique Strauss-Kahn

NOW-THEN it's a month since the Oldham schoolmistress, Ms Sally Hyman put on her star performance as the 'Salad Cream Queen' with her soldiers of the British Anarchist Federation in a scene from the 'Nutcracker Suite' at Queen Mary’s, University of London on the Mile End Road during the London Anarchist Bookfair, but now the French are at it with a play called 'Suite 2806', which opened in Paris this month and is based upon the actual 9-minute encounter between the 63-year-old Mr. Strauss-Kahn and a West African maid who he was accused of raping in a New York hotel room; the tale is extended to cover more than an hour which Doreen Carvajal describes in the Herald Tribune as 'a duel of words and psychological torment'.   The play's director, Philippe Hersen has said he sees Mr. Strauss-Kahn as a 'modern day Marquis de Sade who used his power to seduce women.' 

There is reported to be 'queasiness (that) still seems widespread in France' about the lustful Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his appetites for sex with almost everything that moves, and already a proposed film about Strauss-Kahn with Gerald Depardieu in the leading role was dropped for lack of finance from uneasy production companies.  Yet on the night of the Parisian play's premiere it was a sell-out. 

Jelle Saminnadin, who plays the maid, said she knew men like Strauss-Kahn, adding:  'I've encountered men like that with power... (i)f you have money then you think you have power over everything, including women.'  Eric Debrosse, who takes off Strass-Kahn, had to bleach his hair white and put on more than 13 pounds, on a diet of sausage and French fries.  The idea of French fries only brings back memories of Sally, because someone suggested that Northern Voices should in future fill its bookstall with French fries, so that we can spread the salad cream over them when the 'Queen of the Salad Cream' comes round again.

In commemoration of these two events let's dedicate today's recipe for French Dressing to 'Andy' from the London Anarchist Federation - a loyal soldier of the Salad Cream Queen on the day of the Anarchist Bookfair:
3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1 teaspoon of Wine Vinegar/ or Sherry Vinegar.
1 teaspoon of French mustard.
A big clove of Garlic.
A small bunch of chopped chives.
A teaspoon of chopped tarragon.
A pinch of sugar.
A pinch of salt.
A liberal sprinkling of black pepper.
All mixed up together
Vive la France!!!

Rochdale Council Snubs Rochdale Online!

AFTER some speculation about Rochdale Council leader, Colin Lambert's attitude to the website Rochdale Online it was confirmed today that Rochdale Council has withdrawn its co-operation from the website Rochdale Online, in possible breach of its own media policy.  Yesterday, Rochdale Online reported as follows:  'Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed in an email that it is refusing to respond to enquiries made by Rochdale Online, this further escalates the ongoing discrimination by Rochdale Borough Council against Rochdale Online; the Council has also been refusing to issue media releases to Rochdale Online that are routinely sent to other local and regional media organisations, and has even told a non-council organisation that it cannot publicise an event on the free Rochdale Online events diary - it could and did!'

This is a freedom of information issue, and Rochdale Online yesterday reminded us of the 'Local Authority Code of Conduct', stating: 'Publicity about local authorities and the services they provide should be freely available to anyone who wishes to receive such information in a format readily accessible and understandable by the person making the request or by any particular group for which services are provided.' 

At no time, it seems, has Rochdale MBC had any discussions with Rochdale Online explaining why it is 'flouting the Code of Conduct' and snubbing the website.

Furthermore, it is reported that Colin Lambert, the Labour leader of Rochdale Council, cornered a Rochdale Online reporter in a local restaurant shouting:  'Rochdale Online is finished'.  It seems that Councillor Lambert is a bit thin-skinned about the website's persistent failure to bow to his lofty manner. 

For more go to

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


THE earliest salads were simply collections of herbs and vegetables, dressed with oil and vinegar.  According to British Cookery edited by Lizzie Boyd:  'More complex salads were developed in the course of time and with them more refined dressings; of these the salad sauce, composed of hard boiled egg yolks pounded to a paste and mixed with various ingredients, became the basis for today's creams and dressings.'

A dispute is still going on in some circles as to whether it was 'salad cream' or 'mayonnaise' that Sally Hyman projected over the Northern Voices' Bookstall at last October's London Anarchist Bookfair?   If the good school mistress could help us out on this with a comment we would be glad of her help.

Last night, I had a late press conference at around 10pm with John Walker, former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper because, he claimed, down South they eat later than us up North because they have to wait till 8pm for the mayonnaise sauce to benefit from a good airing; salad cream such as Sally ejected at the London Anarchist Bookfair doesn't require such attention and as a consequence we can eat earlier and call it 'High Tea' rather than 'Dinner' in the evenings.  Thus, this recipe for Mayonnaise we dedicate specially to Alex (remove the names)the Secretary of the national Anarchist Federation based in London:
6 egg yolks.
0.5 teaspoon of salt.
1 teaspoon ground pepper.
1 teaspoon of English mustard.
3 fluid oz. of white wine vinegar.
2pints salad oil.
Juice of half a lemon.

'Ought Sexual Grooming to be Nationalised under Workers' Control?' asks Mack-the-Knife

GIVEN the recent revelations in the case of Sir Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, one has to ask if the spirit and nature of sexual dalliances, seduction and grooming has not declined over the years.  A letter in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer certainly set me thinking that something has gone seriously wrong with sexual grooming in the age in which we now live:  Alan Richardson writing a Readers' Letters to the editor argues that 'What Sir Cyril is alleged to have done was common practice at the time (the 1960s & 70s)' and furthermore 'In the 1950s it was common practice for school boys as young as nine to have the cane and as an eleven year old, I along with about 30 others were given the slipper on our bare backside because someone did something wrong and would not own up.'  All good clean fun and punishment for the lads concerned and the perpetrator no doubt; I write 'lads concerned' because it would not likely be girls that got battered as that would not have been acceptable even then.

(Mr. Alan Richardson, may well be the same Alan Richardson who was in the year under me at Brimrod Secondary Modern School in Rochdale in the early 1950s; so I know precisely what he is talking about.)
How right Mr. Richardson is can be judged by the low level that miscreants now conduct their 'sexual grooming' in the backs of taxis or the environs of local oriental takeaways, compared with the days of yore, when Sir Cyril administered his huge hand on the bare buttocks of the residents in the splendors of the 'Quiet Room' at Cambridge House on Mere Street in Rochdale centre.  There doesn't seem to be any romance any more!  At least Sir Cyril applied a wet sponge to the backsides and uttered 'There, there!' to the lads, who may well have been sobbing their hearts out.  At least the school-masters wielding their canes and slippers with such gusto, had to fill-in the Black Punishment Book after working up a sweat with the slipper in the staff changing room at Brimrod Secondary Modern School.

All we getting now is bunga-bunga on the backseats of taxis around town as young lasses are forced to do their bit amid the debris, the discarded pizza packets and the smell of curry.  This shift away from the kind of institutionalised or even nationalised punishment on the welfare state to a version of free-lance sex and violence linked to the local takeaways; suggests a serious decline in the standards of sexual grooming in our time.  This surely we must put down to the rise of the free market and Thatcherism in the 1980s and the BIG BANG?  Gone is Sir Cyril Smith with his tender loving care and wet sponge and in comes Hayak and Herbert Spencer, the degenerate Darwinism of  Friedrich August Hayek and the survival of the fittest.

What we need now comrades is a proper system of institutionalised sexual grooming that only the State can provide - none of this freelance stuff provided by the taxi drivers and their ilk.  The days of the free-market capitalism such as Bertold Brecht gave us in the 'Three-penny Opera' must be ended and lets get back to a time when righteous men like Sir Cyril Smith ruled the roost:  let's nationalise 'sexual grooming under workers' control' and keep the spivs out.

Manchester Anarchist Bookfair

IT is reprehensible that the Northern Anarchist Network which has the support and active participation of anarchist groups and individuals  has been effectively banned from the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.   I attempted to post a comment on the web site giving my name and e-mail and it was blocked.    Censorship and bans imposed by the bookfair organisers should be condemned.    Everyone attending the bookfair should hold the organisers to account and seek an explanation  for such authoritarian actions which are the hallmark of marxist leninist organisations and have no place within the libertarian movement.

The Daily Mail - an apology from a former editor of RAP - John Walker

IN the past I may have, inadvertently, given the impression that I regarded the Daily Mail as an unpleasant right-wing rag that pandered exclusively to the Little Englander self-interests of Britain's comfortable middle class. I may also, accidentally, have had occasion to suggest that the publication, run by the heirs of nineteen thirties-fascist sympathisers, who today display a contempt for the underprivleged and underdogs, does not deserve a place on the newstands and breakfast tables of this fine country of ours.

Some of my words may have been misinterpreted as indicating that I felt that the publication's contempt for foreigners - asylum seekers and migrants whose pigmentaion was not totally white - was absolutely dispicable.

It would be unfortunate, in the extreme, if these impressions were conveyed to you, in our frequent conversations on the subject of the Daily Mail.
I would like to clarify any such misunderstandings and possible ambiguities about my attitude to the newspaper and today declare my belief that it is a fine upstanding organ of deceny, seeker of the truth, and purveyor on insightful political analysis.

For now I feel at ease. For over thirty years some of my ramblings have been treated as those of a delusional paranoid fantacist. Her Majesty's Daily Mail has now exonerated me form such charges. I am a free man, and officially declared sane by the heirs to Rothermere in Saturday's edition. Saturday was, incidentally the day of my oldest son Owen's wedding, to Sarah.
So, as one chapter closes - another opens.

Please take a moment to read the link, below.

John Walker: Former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), but now living in the East End of London.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Photograph the Kerr tomorrow!

Ian Kerr, the only person to have been convicted because of the blacklisting scandal, will be giving evidence in parliament at a Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting in employment on Tuesday. Kerr was the Chief Executive of the Consulting Association which coordinated the blacklisting of trade union members on behalf of 44 of the largest construction firms in the UK including Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Costains, Kier, Bam and Vinci. He was fined a paltry £5000 for a breach of the Data Protection Act in 2009.

Blacklisted workers from the Blacklist Support Group, whose lives have been ruined by the illegal conspiracy will pack the public gallery and have a mass photo call outside parliament.
Photo-opportunity with blacklisted workers
1:30pm Tuesday 27th November 2012
Outside Houses of Parliament, Westminster.
Live video stream of convicted blacklister Ian Kerr giving evidence to parliament - starts at 2;30pm on Tuesday.

Any journalists interested in the story please contact me for more info


THE pantomime season began early this year, on the 27th, October in fact at the London Anarchist Bookfair (see our post below 'Falling Over Five Leaves' on Tuesday 30th, Oct. 2012, or the  Five Leaves Blog at  {dated 28th, October 2012})with Sally Hyman making her debut as the 'Salad Cream Queen' and Mike Ballard doing a turn as her ugly sister, and a troop of Nutcracker Soldiers from the Anarchist Federation of Great Britain, marching forth to give the event a feeling of supreme menace.  Ms. Hyman did a sparkling turn as the dignified Queen of the salad cream, bless her!  For this reason Northern Voices - Radical Voice of the North, is dedicating its first recipe of the season to her for her delightful performance and handling of the salad cream tube at Queen Mary’s, University of London on the Mile End Road with such skillful aplomb that she must have spent hours practicing in front of the mirror.

Ms. Hyman lives in Oldham, and is an English teacher who was in 2010, honoured for her work at the annual Human Rights Awards by the pressure group Liberty at London’s Southbank Centre.  At the time of her award, at the age of 51-years, she was working at the Waterhead Academy.

For this reason, and Northern Voices' commitment to the arts particularly theatrical performances, we are dedicating our first dish of this season to her.
Salad Cream Dressing:
1 dessertspoon of dry mustard.
1oz. sugar.
1 tablespoon of flour.
Pinch of Salt.
2 eggs.
7.5 fluid oz. vinegar.
0.5 of double cream.
Mix the mustard with the sugar, flour and salt.  Blend in the eggs and vinegar.  Put mixture in a double boiler and stir until it thickens.  Leave to get quite cold, then add enough cream to give a pouring consistency.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Daily Mail Claims 'Damning Police Files' Snatched by MI5

AT our now daily press conference on Northern Voices this morning, John Walker, formerly an editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), told me that Andrew Malone had run with the story of 'Cyril Smith, child abuse and chilling claims of a political cover-up'.   This is the latest break in the story we on N.V., Paul Waugh and Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk first released almost two weeks ago. 

The Daily Mail story gives the background of how the newspaper RAP was first established in the early 1970s.   The Mail writes that in May 1979, the Rochdale Alternative Paper'Known as RAP, the newspaper, which cost 9 pence and was distributed by volunteers in pubs, devoted its entire cover to a story headlined:  Strange Case of Smith the Man.'  Then 'Inside across two pages, the report detailed - in harrowing, graphic terms - the systematic sexual abuse of young boys at a children's home set up by local dignitaries and funded by the Lancashire town's Rotary Club.'  Yet, it says:  'What really created a stir was the man identified as the chief paedophile: Cyril Smith.'  This man, it says was 'Elected as the local Liberal MP in 1972, a position he held for the next 20 years, the 29-syone 50-year-old was as famous for his weight as his political views.'

The article continues:  'Known nationally as "Big Cyril" the unmarried politician had first come to prominance when he bizarrely named his mum as First Lady of Rochdale after he became mayor in 1966, saying he wanted to "thank her" for everything.'

Eeee Northern Mothers, you can't beat 'um!  It's a pity you can't marry 'um!

'No Cocks Please, We're British!'

THIS week, the OK cafe in Manchester banned the 'Cock O' the North' (Vol.2 No.1) after a complaint came in from a customer.   Under the curious libertarian/ totalitarian rules of the cafe, it only takes one complaint to get a publication kicked out.  It's no wonder then that after the recent trouble at the London Anarchist Bookfair in which the 'Northern Voices' stall was attacked by a group of protesters from a body called the Anarchist Federation, that Donald Rooum, the anarchist cartoonist who creates the character 'Wilcat', said that 'If you scratch a libertarian you'll find an authoritarian underneath!'

Friday, 23 November 2012

Ukraine's Genocide: 'The Big Lie' - Stalin's Secret Blacklist

No Sign of Simon Danczuk M.P. or his party colleague the Ukrainian, Stefan Cholewka
AT the Ukrainian Club on Mere Street, Rochdale I've just been to see a smashing documentary film about the Holodomor or the Genocide in 1932-1933 in the Ukraine of 7-10 million innocent victims of the man-made famine enforced by Joseph Stalin.  It was produced in the USA by Bobby Leigh and Marta Tomkiw and it is called 'HOLODOMOR:  Ukraine's Genocide - 'The biggest lie, the best kept secret'.  But though the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, was down to address the commemorative event on the program there was no sign of him at either the Rochdale Memorial Gardens for the ceremony in Rochdale town centre or at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Mere Street.  Nor was there any sign of his Labour Party Ukrainian colleague, Stefan Cholewka.  

The film was put by the Rochdale Friends of Lviv & the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Rochdale Branch).  I'd just been to the memorial ceremony in the Rochdale Memorial Gardens and was invited back as my cousin is married to a Ukrainian lass.  The opening footage was mostly newsreel shots in black and white covering the run up the the Russian Revolution, and Lenin's early policy of Russification of the Ukraine after the Revolution attempting the crushing of the Ukrainian language and identity.  The film showed that this policy was later dropped by Lenin, when it became apparent that it was not working and the agricultural yield declined. 

Years later, Stalin introduced a program of forced integration of all republics within the Soviet Union.  This involved the forced collectivisation of the peasants, restrictions on the use of the Ukrainian language, and the absorbing of the Ukrainian civilisation into the Soviet system.  The literature suggests this led to economic declines in crop yields and weaking of agricultural productivity in the 1930s.  State intervention resulted in the undermining of productivity of farming.  This caused conflict between the government and the farmers. 

In 1932, the Soviet regime decided to punish the Ukraine.  A booklet published by Kyiv Olena Telina Publishing House in 2008 that I got at the showing of the film states:  'Bolshevik polices in Ukraine were goal-orientated and systematic in nature.. the goal was to create conditions that doomed millions of Ukrainian farmers to stavation.'    This was done by confiscation of all food resouces, the isolation of the population and the prevention of escape insearch of food.  This document claims:  'In the fall (Autumn) of 1932, the Bolshevik government's actions began to clearly display the essence of what is defined as genocide by Article II of the Convention of the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th, 1948. 

In July 1932, the Kremlin demanded unrealistic grain procurement quotas for the Ukraine.  These absurdly high quotas, set so high that they were impossible to achieve, gave the government the legal basis for applying repressive measures against all who failed to meet the targets.  On August 7th, 1932, the Soviet government adopted a resolution in which 'embezzlement of collective farm property' was punishable death through shooting or 10-year prison terms.  This law became known as the 'Law of Five Wheat Ears'.  On the 8th, December 1932, the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Stanislaw Kosior, reported to Stalin that the republic's Party had authorised a blacklist of six villages and that 400 collective farms had been blacklisted by decision of oblast executive committees:  certain villages remained blacklisted until the end of 1933.  Blacklisting collective farms, villages and entire regions resulted in their complete isolation and expropriation of all food resources, which often meant death for all their residents.

Famine was the result and in the spring of 1932, nearly a third of the population of the Zinoviev region, or 28,000 people, fled their homes.  Records suggest that there were 3 million refugees by the spring of 1932.  By February 1933, thousands of farmers were starving and local government bodies got a strict order:  'All organisations, except GPU strutures, are prohibited from keeping records on incidents of swelling from starvation and death from famine.'  Village councils were ordered not to specify causes of death in their registries.  And, In a new order issued in 1934:  all civilian registry office death records for 1932-33 were to be destroyed.

Both the film and the booklet state:  'Responsibility for the death of millions of Ukrainians during the man-made Holodomor rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.'  The booklet in a chapter entitled 'The Guilty Party' declares: 
'In addition to extracting all food resources... (t)he scale of the judicial repressions applied in Ukraine in 1933 was comparable to the Great Terror of 1937-38.  According to official data, more people were arrested in the republic in 1933 than were in 1938.' 

The booklet concludes:  'In the long list of Soviet crimes, the Holodomor of 1932-33 stands out as the most grave and horrific crime committed in 70-years the USSR existed.'  And, that '(t)he famine was man-made and led to deaths of millions of Ukrainians.  Responsibility for the crime rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.  Stalin was responsible above all.'

Fortunately, the Ukrainians in Rochdale since 2009 have been bringing this issue of the famine to the public attention.