Monday, 12 May 2014

Green Party & Rochdale's Labour politics

IN one-party states such as we have the equivalent of in a number of our northern towns, it doesn't matter how the vote goes in several of the coming local elections up North, including Rochdale in Greater Manchester.  Philip Gilligan in a letter in the Rochdale Observer (7th, May) writes:  'Given the number of seats that they hold, it seems clear the Labour will retain control of Rochdale MBC [and that] who emerges as leader of the (Rochdale) Labour group on the council will have more immediate impact than the group's number of council seats.'

This is particularly important because former Rochdale MBC leader, Richard Farnell, has been tipped to stand against the current Labour leader of the Rochdale Council Colin Lambert, after the local elections are over later this month.   Mr. Gilligan writes:
'It may also be a particularly pertinent question in wards where the Green Party candidate is one of those expelled by the Labour Party in 2009 after calling for an investigation into the then Prospective Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Simon Danczuk or is one of those who resigned in protest at those expulsions.'

Gilligan then asks:  'I presume that Mr Danczuk also has views about who he would prefer to see as leader of the Labour group.'

This represents something of a challenge to the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, at a time when he is about to be probed by the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee to answer questions about his recent book 'Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith', that builds on the original case presented in May 1979 by the editors of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP).  There is not much love lost between the current leadership of the Rochdale Labour Party and what may be called the Danczuk tendency, which has at times criticised the Rochdale Council over its management of sexual grooming in the town and its investigation into the Knowl View school scandal in the 1980s and 1990s.

The presence of the Green Party in the local elections may cause a bit of an embarassment to the ruling Labour group and Mr Danczuk; more so with a couple of disgruntled and expelled former Labour Party members standing as Green candidates in two wards.   The Greens in Rochdale have been particularly active in the anti-asbestos campaign to Save Spodden Valley to which Danczuk was a Johnny-come-lately, and the departure of the malcontents from the Labour Party in 2009, two of whom are now standing in the forthcoming local elections could add to the pain.  The expulsions of these malcontents in 2009, had something to do with Simon Danczuk, a holiday tiff in August 2008 with his nearest and dearest while on holiday in Alicante, and a letter they wrote at the time to the Rochdale Observer calling for an investigation into the domestic 'tiff', which it was later decided, after an official Labour Party hearing into the malcontent's behaviour, brought the 'Labour Party into disrepute'.

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