Salford Star hosts make or break meeting on Hazel Blears… and sneers at Carlos Acosta

When I wrote about the Salford Star a couple of years ago, I got some odd comments. The BBC’s move north was about to be confirmed, with the Salford Star the closest thing to opposition.

In a nutshell, editor Stephen Kingston reckoned any new jobs would go to outsiders. The city’s regeneration had already forced long time Salfordians out of the area by replacing their homes with new builds they couldn’t afford and the BBC would further displace this indigenous population.

Getting behind Kingston two years ago was Cath (earning less than £11k pa), who reckoned Irlams o’th’ Height to Salford Quays would be an impossible commute (it turns out to be 27 minutes by public transport). Cath’s sneering attitude to aspiration seems to sum up what is wrong with the Salford Star. There is little doubt that it connects to Salfordians, but its message is deeply conservative. It is deeply cynical of change, wants the old industrial jobs back – within easy walking distance – and tells its readers that the world owes them something. It fails to encourage Salfordians to adapt and prosper.

Sadly the Salford Star has been forced to give up print and go online. But with Hazel Blears in trouble Stephen Kingston is dodging questions around a challenge to Blears. Kingston’s fear of letting in a Tory seems overstated. The last couple of elections have seen Labour’s vote drop below two-thirds, but it’s the Lib Dems who have made headway. Kingston plays a leading role in the Hazel Must Go campaign and tonight may be decision time. He may well emerge as a credible challenger to Hazel Blears.

All of which makes the Salford Star’s sneering at Carlos Acosta both terribly predictable and terribly depressing.

With his scally background – Cuban truck driver’s son (youngest of eleven) who skipped school and dreamt of being a footballer – Acosta should be the perfect candidate to inspire Salford’s youth. That Salford can attract the world’s greatest dancer (albeit on Manchester’s coat tails) should be a source of pride. Events like this put a place on the map and inspire outsiders to invest.

And Salford needs to inspire investors. At the moment it is, claims one influential voice, ‘ONE SHOCKING CITY’.

6 thoughts on “Salford Star hosts make or break meeting on Hazel Blears… and sneers at Carlos Acosta

  1. When you say:

    “There is little doubt that it (i.e. SS) connects to Salfordians”

    Do you have anything to back that up Mr SN Sir? If it did they’d surely have bought it and advertised in it and it wouldn’t have gone bust and the council’d be run by the SWP and I could go on but I won’t.

    And do you know that Salfordians are actually from only about one seventh of the city with 6/7ths considering that that’s somewhere just before Manchester a couple of miles down the A6 or A666 (I kid you not)?

    Are you saying that Steven Kingston himself will be standing? What happened to the TU geezer from Liverpool? And would that really be a good idea for anyone concerned?

    And would IotH to the Quays actually be less than a 27 minute walk?

  2. Chris
    I found the Salford Star, when it was a print publication, to be a good read.

    I don’t believe it won its awards by stuffing judging panels with SWP supporters. It was editorially balanced with decent interviews with Salford faces like Christopher Ecclestone, Peter Hook and Maxine Peake. It’s criticisms of Salford’s regeneration and the Lowry’s community outreach deserved to be heard, even if its final analysis was weak.

    Commercial success was never going to be easy in a climate where the best established print publications are struggling.

    That is has been at the centre of a number of community campaigns is evidence that it has been able to connect.

    The SWP is an entryist organisation and the Salford Star is an obvious target.

    Nevertheless, even if the Salford Star has been infiltrated and the Hazel Must Go campaign has become an SWP front, Labour does not come out smelling of roses. The party could learn a lot from Stephen Kingston on the mindset of people who are still core voters, but are increasingly disaffected and who occasionally flirt with the BNP.

    Today it is terribly vague about last night’s meeting. As for Stephen Kingston’s candidacy… call that mischief making.

  3. Steph/ven would not be an ideal candidate. Various reasons.

    Eileen – I know the 27 mins was on public transport. My point was that it is less than half an hour’s walk from most of the township of Salford to the Quays.

    I might add that public transport routes are easily changed where there is demand.

    I have personally been making the case for Mcr style shuttle buses. Linking Salf Uni to UM and MMU and Chapel Street to Quays. I think the URC is up for such ideas, enthusiastic even.

  4. Let’s get a few things straight.

    1 Stephen Kingston is in all probabilty right, the majority of jobs at the BBC will go to people from outside Salford.

    2 Very few, if any, local residents wanted to move out of the area, they were given no choice.

    3 Over the last three decades Salford has been turned into an industrial wasteland with major emlpoyers pulling out of the city leaving behind huge levels of unemployment & all the problems that engenders. Can anybody blame them for being left ,deeply cynical of change’ when the changes in seem to be detrimental to their lives? Adapting & prospering is very difficult to do from a dole queue.

    4 Stephen Kingston has not played a leading role in the hazel must go campaign. The Salford Star was asked to back that campaign & is doing so. Nor has Mr Kingston expressed any desire at all to stand as a candidate against Hazel Blears.

    5 The criticism of Carlos Acosta’s visit was to do with the cost, over £9000 for him to warm up in a corridor. The girls who attened the day made the comments about the difference between what they expected & what actaully happened.

    I can’t help wondering what your agenda is & when or even if you have visited Salford & spoke to the people living here recently.

  5. The Salford Star rightly complains about child poverty, high unemployment, low educational achievement, poor life expectancy and more.

    Then it exclaims that this is how bad it was before the recession. This is how bad it was when so many others were enjoying boom years and employers were importing so much labour the Tory press was fitting daily. The Salford Star never asks why Salford failed to benefit from that boom.

    You say we shouldn’t blame people for being deeply cynical, given the socio-economic change they’ve experienced over the last thirty years. But why should we even care that they are cynical? The Salford Star seems to think somebody owes Salford a living, but nobody does.

    Ridiculously you suggest that adapting to change is a difficult thing to do from a dole queue; if you’re out of work long term, you have time to acquire new skills and should be taking advantage of any support on offer. Sadly, many people have fallen out the working class to join the lumpen proletariat.

    Of course, the majority of BBC jobs will go to people from outside Salford. Many of the BBC’s workers will have relocated from London. But given that employers that have left aren’t coming back, the challenge to people from Salford is to acquire the skills new employers like the BBC require. If they don’t rise to the challenge, others will.

    If the Tories were to win the next election, Salford would have to adapt to an even harsher environment. They have thought out loud about abolishing the minimum wage and would almost certainly allow it to depreciate with inflation. The benefit dependent would be given a rough ride. But that’s what happens when you don’t take responsibility for your own future.

    The Salford Star could and should be challenging the people of Salford, but it merely whinges.

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