The Hazel Must Go campaign: a new charter for Salford
Our core principles were drawn up at a full public meeting in Eccles in September 2009 and agreed by the majority of those present. Guest speaker Martin Bell oversaw the democratic process after giving a rousing speech about the past, present and future state of our democracy. As the birthplace of the modern working class movement and the home of the Chartists (who fought for working class people to have the vote on Kersal Moor) we beleive this new charter (based on charters of the past) updated for a new type of politicis and a new generation is a fitting tribute.
We are proud to stand by our charter and David Henry pledges to champion these values which underline our desires for a fair, equal and greater Salford.
1. No cuts in Public Services! No Privatisation!
The Labour Party, like the other two mainstream parties has committed itself to cuts in public services. It has also shown itself to be a supporter of privatisation in the NHS, local government and other areas of the public sector.
All three main parties insist on cuts in public services, that will no doubt impact on the lives of people in Salford it is prepared to allow the scandal of bankers bonuses to continue – having already initiated a multi-£billion bailout at the tax payers expense.
The recession was not created by people in Salford – we didn’t really have it too good during the “boom” period – and we don’t believe we, the inhabitants of one of the most deprived areas of the country should have to pay for it through cuts to the services we depend upon.
As for privatisation, we have seen its effects in Salford. The best example being outsourcing of home care services for the elderly, the disabled and the long term-sick. Private companies are able to employ staff on low wages and demand increased numbers of visits from them to ensure large profits. Those who suffer are us, our relatives, our friends and our neighbours.
These companies are subsidised by our taxes and client’s benefits and they know that if they employ less staff and demand more work from them their profit margins will grow and the services clients receive will shrink. This is what happens, yet they are allowed to get away with it.
The current New Labour Government along with the Conservatives and even the Liberal Democrats support “savage” cuts and privatisation. We don’t believe either will achieve anything but misery for the people of Salford.
2. Defend the NHS! Restore the Maternity Ward to Hope Hospital!
We have already mentioned cuts in the NHS, but one clear example springs to mind – the closure of the maternity ward at Hope.
When the closure was proposed you insisted you would do what you could to fight it. Hazel Blears stood outside the hospital with the rest of us. Then she went back to Westminster and continued to support the Government’s program of maternity ward closures.
She told she agreed with the policy, but felt that it shouldn’t happen in Salford. Well, as proud as we are to be from Salford, we don’t think anywhere should suffer the unfortunate fate of losing its maternity services.
3. Public investment in environmentally friendly, council houses for Salford.
So called “regeneration” in inner city Salford has displaced communities and has created over-crowding and the inevitable social problems in outer areas like Little Hulton. All that has taken place in reality is a cleansing exercise aimed at getting rid of those people you don’t want to live near “exciting new developments” like Media City UK, or who might disrupt business investment by showing that poverty still actually exists in our city.
The failure to build council houses has meant an ever-longer waiting list for those seeking housing and has meant that despite politicians’ claims to the contrary that homelessness is now a major issue in the city. Privatisation of council stock has meant rent increases for the poorest, and profits for the new landlords. New Labour government and Hazel Blears supports these devastating initiatives.
4. No to School Closures! Decent Services for Young People.
Crowded class rooms and over-worked teachers should mean more, not less schools. However, in Salford it is the actions of local people that fought off we see the impending closure of St. George’s and the increased transformation of comprehensive schools to privately funded and owned Academies.
The New Labour Government has criminalised young people like no other. Crime and anti-social behaviour is not welcome in Salford, but it will not be prevented with ASBOs. We need decent facilities to offer alternatives to young people and to support those who are struggling to find work or educational opportunities.
5. No to corruption in politics! MPs on average public sector wages with reasonable expenses.
While the expenses scandal and Hazel Blear’s late payment of capital gains tax is not the only reason we are unhappy, it is clear that this is a major issue. We feel she breached the trust granted by the people of Salford and sought to serve herself instead of us.
We do not think any MP should be there for the money. We want an MP who genuinely wants to represent Salford people, and that is why any candidate supported by our Campaign would have to agree to take no more than the average public sector wage with reasonable expenses, constantly available for scrutiny.
6. Massive investment in public transport!
People in Salford depend on public transport, but what we have are unreliable, expensive and outdated buses and trains. We would want to see huge investment in improving our public transport, extending its use and making it affordable for everyone.
We would also expect our MP to take on the companies who own the buses and trains, and who are happy to make huge profits at the tax payers’ expense. Public transport should be run like any other public service – to serve the needs of the public, not to serve the greed of the rich.
7. Defend Jobs! We won’t pay for the Recession.
We are in a time of ever increasing unemployment and we want an MP who will help people fight for their jobs. It is not enough to blame the recession – we didn’t cause the recession. We are realistic. We know that the fight to save jobs is not always a victorious one, but we would want an MP who is prepared to do everything he/she can to support people faced with losing theirs.
Hazel Blears represents a Government that is prepared to nationalise banks, but not companies sacking their workers. In Salford, the Labour Council is already sacking workers and all three major political parties are prepared for this to continue.
8. Greater Government Investment in Salford.
Salford needs sustainable public investment and we need an MP who will fight for it. Government money has been poured into the banks. Direct investment in the building of council homes and the improvement of existing public buildings would improve our community and create jobs. Creation of training and social schemes for young people would give them a sense of worth and offer further opportunities
9. No to Racism! No to Divisive Politics!
We think this goes without saying, but unfortunately some of the legislation this Government has brought in has been divisive. Laws removing civil liberties have been heavily used against Black and Asian young people and Hazel Blears’ insistence on looking tough on immigration for the tabloids has played into the hands of the BNP.
We welcome a multi-cultural Salford and we want an MP who will stand up against division and will work to strengthen links between different cultures and communities. With the election of a BNP MEP in the North West, it is now more important than ever that our MPs make clear that all discrimination, whether it racist, homophobic, sexist or on the grounds of religion, is totally unacceptable.
10. Reduce Pollution! Protect our Green Spaces!
People in Salford care about the environment, but we don’t think we should feel guilty because we cannot afford the most energy efficient, up to date equipment. We think the Government and business should take more responsibility.
We want an end to the selling off of school fields, more investment in public transport and a program for the building of environmentally friendly homes on land that has already been used rather than green belt and parks. Furthermore, a programme of insulation for council homes, council, education and NHS buildings would create jobs and reduce energy use; helping to lower greenhouse emissions.