by Les MayTO judge by his letter in last Saturday's Rochdale Observer Councillor Allen Brett is seriously rattled at the return of David Hennigan to local politics. Now I know that Mr Hennigan is up to his neck in efforts to whip up support for protests against the recent rise in councillors expenses, but let's face it if Labour and the Tories had not made the mistake of voting themselves a rise at the present time, the Lib-Dems would not be able to 'make hay while the sun shines'.
In complaining about Mr Hennigan 'peddling his nasty brand of personal and offensive politics' Councillor Brett displays a conveniently short memory.
After Simon Danczuk's book was published in April 2014 there were repeated demands from Labour activists that named Lib-Dems should 'apologise for Cyril Smith'. This only stopped when it was pointed out that when Cyril was conducting his fake medicals and spanking bottoms at Cambridge House he was a member of the Labour party. And of course the late Mr Roger Chadwick is on record as saying that he told the Labour agent about Cyril's activities in 1966. Whose turn to apologise now?
When this ploy brought only ridicule a story was drummed up about some notes which someone working for ex-Lib-Dem MP Liz Lynne had (probably) made of a telephone conversation about Cyril Smith 20 years years earlier. Trivial though the story was it did not stop a Labour councillor writing a letter to the Rochdale Observer which started off referring to 'notes', which a few lines later became a 'file' and finally a 'dossier'.
As for when the 'nasty brand of personal and offensive politics' came to Rochdale though there has always been antagonism between the parties it seems to have appeared in a particularly virulent form at about the same time as Mr Danczuk was selected as PPC for the town. I hasten to add the caveat that 'correlation does not imply causation'.
If you are sceptical check out this website:
It ran from November 2008 to February 2010 and styled itself Rochdale Alternative Website (RAW). By using images of the front cover of Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) it sought to give the impression that it was somehow taking over from where RAP left off, though having studied the content, I doubt that co-editors of RAP would have had anything to do with it. They always had the guts to put their name to what they wrote. Something that very few of those who contributed to the site ever had the courage to do.
If you have the patience to check out all the postings you’ll come across both personal abuse of Rochdale Lib-Dems (including of Hennigan) and closet homophobia. You’ll also find both the same knowledge of Cyril Smith’s antics at Cambridge House and the misspelling of people’s names that characterises Danczuk and Baker’s book.
Interestingly enough the very first words to appear on the site mentioned the cartoon which Danczuk and Baker used in the second edition of their book without seeking permission from RAP’s co-editors. This resulted in the book’s publishers later paying £250 for the privilege and Mr Danczuk having a boy’s toilet in Gambia dedicated to him.
For the full story see:
It is rumoured that RAW was run by a group which referred to themselves as 'Team Danczuk'. However there seems to have been a ‘great falling out’ which may have mirrored what was happening in Rochdale Labour party at the time.
After the ‘great falling out’ a fake version of RAW looking identical to the ‘real’ one appeared which Labour party members used to attack each other and announce that they were not going to campaign for someone they called ‘Dumchuck’ (and other things).
Someone seems to have decided that these postings suggested that there may be less than wholehearted support for Mr Danczuk amongst Labour activists and had the ‘fake’ site taken down. But it did exist and you can still find traces of it on the web if you look hard enough.
The ‘real’ version of RAW does not reflect very well on Labour either. Whilst it still exists it makes Councillor Brett look like a Humbug who complains about a Lib-Dem activist when Labour activists have done much worse. It also reminds people that complaining about Paul Rowan claiming 40p for a banana looks like silly whinging when set against Simon Danczuk claiming £11,000 for two of his children staying with him and then having to repay it when it came to light that it never happened.
But from my perspective it does serve one useful purpose. It points up just how much Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker owe to the work done 39 years earlier by the co-editors of RAP David Bartlett and john Walker. What becomes
very clear after reading the RAW blog is that far from being the man who ‘outed’ Cyril Smith, Simon Danczuk is just a ‘Johnny come lately’.
I have no evidence that Allen Brett, Simon Danczuk or Matthew Baker were responsible for the content which appeared on the RAW website. But it would be remarkable if they were not at least aware of it.