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’.