Reports from the Hazel Must Go Public Meeting

July 22, 2009 at 8:13 am Leave a comment

The first Public Meeting of the Hazel Must Go Campaign last Thursday was a huge success. Over 50 people came along to Pendleton Bowling Club to express their views on why Hazel Blears should no longer be allowed to represent the people of Salford.

The meeting was Chaired by Bernard Brough from the Salford Star, who introduced speakers such as Gary Duke, a long-time campaigner for decent facilities for students at Salford University, David Henry from Salford Youth Council and Leigh Edmenson, cousin of Neil Hill, the Salford housing campaigner who tragically took his own life last year after being blocked from taking his campaign against rent rises to the courts. Leigh’s heartfelt poem about the treatment of her cousin left few dry eyes in the room, and made the point better than any speech could, about the effect ignorance and cold-heartedness can have on people’s lives.

It was an energetic and lively meeting, and as well as the featured speakers all present were given a chance to tell their own stories of lies, hypocrisy and failed promises from Hazel Blears. Those who spoke told of the effect of failed regeneration, post office closures and other cut backs and closures in our communities. We were also joined by representatives from similar campaigns in Wythenshawe and Wigan and would like to thank them for their support.

Many felt that the Campaign should seek to stand a candidate against Hazel at the next General Election. The common consensus was that we should continue to build the campaign thorugh activity before holding a larger meeting in the Autumn where issues like standing a candidate will no doubt be discussed.

It was agreed that the next large public action would be to meet at Salford Party in the Park on Douglas Green on Whit Lane at 12 noon on the 1st August to take round the petitions and encourage residents to put up the “Hazel Must Go” posters in their windows. All are invited to come down and help out.

In the meantime, those who chose to get actively involved will be meeting as a Steering Group this Thursday to make sure that we continue to hold stalls and collect signatures whenever and wherever we can. As was said at the meeting, this is the beginning, not the end of this campaign. We will not be satisfied until we have an MP who generally represents the people of Salford rather than her own selfish interests.

If you would like to get involved please email blearsmustgo@gmail.com or call 07817434240. Thanks to all involved for their hard work. The real campaign starts now!

Steve North,
Hazel Must Go Activist

Below is a report by Steve Kingston of the Salford Star. The magazine has supported our campaign from the beginning.

I’d rather put my poodle up for election than Hazel Blears” declared Victor to much applause “The only thing she’s very good at is the Save Hazel Campaign…”

This set the tone of the evening as people from all over Salford aired their own grievances about the MP who won’t stand down. Rita, a nursery worker, said that so many people don’t know their rights – “I’m here to stand up for them”…

There were people from Langworthy who received almost nothing for their houses, complaining about Hazel’s grand plan for the area – bring in Urban Splash and hand them over £20million to re-do the properties at an unaffordable sale price.

There was David Henry from Salford Youth Council, complaining that the authorities were trying to shut them down as being `undemocratic’…There was Gary Duke, recently sacked from Salford University , who has helped to expose extravagant expenses of the University bosses.

There was Steve North from the Save Our Post Offices campaign which, he said, had Hazel’s backing before she went back to Parliament and did nothing. There were people talking about Hazel’s hypocrisy over the Hope Hospital Maternity ward closure…There were people who had never received replies to letters sent to Hazel. There were people who had their letters to Hazel passed on to the very people they were complaining about. There were people from Wythenshawe and Wigan sharing experience from similar campaigns against their MPs…

But, most poignant, was the poem about Hazel read out by Leigh Edmenson, in memory of her cousin, Neil Hill…

We’ve lost faith, you can’t be trusted,
Discovered secrets, they’re out, you’re busted,
You betrayed your people, your council’s tenants,
To lose your seat must be your penance,
Come on, face your fears Blunder Blears!

Everyone at the meeting agreed that this was just the start…the petitions, the posters, the campaign was well and truly launched. Watch this space.

For Neil

How long do you think you will last?
Now we all know what has passed,
2nd home claims, overnight lodges,
husband’s taxi fares, tax dodges,
Save your crocodile tears, Hazel Blears.

We’ve lost faith, you can’t be trusted,
Discovered secrets, they’re out, you’re busted,
You betrayed your people, your council’s tenants,
To lose your seat must be your penance,
Come on, face your fears Blunder Blears!

Blunders are what you do best,
like what happened with City West,
Your promises were hollow,
It was a bitter pill to swallow,
It will be remembered for years, traitor Blears.

Neil Hill, my cousin, salt of the earth,
A million-and-more of you, he was worth,
He stood up for people and for what was right,
He was a gem, a hero, and full of fair fight,
He stood up to you and what, Hazel did you do?!

The case was a whitewash, he couldn’t speak,
Then you hit him where you knew he was weak,
Excessive court costs you knew he couldn’t pay,
Well this is for Neil, he’ll have his day!
And we’ll all be there to shout. . . .Hazel you’re OUT OUT OUT!

Leigh Edmenson 2009.

The Manchester Evening News also covered the meeting:

“Hazel Must go” campaigners call for grass-root support.
 
More than 40 people met to launcha grass-roots campaign to oust Salford MP Hazel Blears. Among those at the “Hazel Must Go” meeting was people’s champion Alec McFadden, the TUC officialwho has announced he will stand against the MP at the next geeral election.

Local resisdents, anarchists, socialists and represenatatives from a number of organisations including Salford Youth Council attended the launch at the Pendleton Bowling Club .

Organsiers said the campaign would involve mobilising mass support on te streets of salford and urging residents to put”Hazel Must Go” postersin their windows.

The former minister survived a vote of no confidence…..avoid tax…..paid back money…….etc

The meeting heard speeches by people complaining of unanswered letters, broken promises and a sense of betrayal following the expenses scandal.
Campaigner Ameen Hadi set out ways members of the local community could help. He said”We want people to have a “Hazel Must Go” poster in every window,in every house, in every street. It may mean more meetings, more demos, on marches. We need to think creatively how we can involve everyone.”

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First public meeting Save Salford’s Tree of Knowledge

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