Way back last year I on behalf of The Community Action Party was campaigning to "Save our Swinton". Much is referred to in previous blogs but so much has happened over the past few months with this campaign, our successful fight for a directly-elected mayor for the city of Salford, the Asda planning application and other campaigns in the town, then I feel the time is right to remind everyone about the "Save our Swinton" campaign, what it was about and where we are at.
The town of SWinton was technically abolished in 1974 when it was incorporated into the city of Salford, to many dismay. As time has passed many Swintonians have noticed a deterioration in their town, their idnetity as being SWintonian being put at risk, the loss of their rugby club to the town and so much more about SWinton, being SWintonian, as a town and the idnetity of being SWintonian being respected instead, as a few wrongly have implied that somehow being SWintonian is being anti-salfordian.
The government initiated a parliamentary boundary review because they wanted to reduce the number of MP's in parliament. The Boundary Commission for England was given this task and eventually made preliminary recommendations. In our city they proposed the setting up of a SWinton consituency, primarily to replace the Salford & Eccles constituency. Their proposals would have also meant others parts of the city being incorporated into other constituencies.
These proposals were for parliamentary boundaries only. The city of Salford is not at risk or being abolished by these proposals as I have said on numerous occasions in previous blogs.
In essance what this meant was that in including the Manchester Central constituency the three Labour MP's of currently in situ, including our own Hazel Blears would be reduced to two. This reorganisation is UK wide so the total number of MP's UK wide was being reduced. WE can argue the merits or not for this, but this is not my role and therefore intend to concentrate on the issue at hand.
In Salford our Hazel Blears constituency and Barbara Keeley's in the main was being converted into one constituency of a SWinton constituency, although part of Hazel's constituency was being included into a Manchester constituency. Nomatter where you lived in the city or what part of the city you come from, you will still live in the city of Salford.
So the Boundary Commission for England proposed a SWinton constituency. The furore this caused to some. The Salford Labour Party including Swinton's Derek Antrobus and all SWinton's councillor's were opposed to a SWinton constituency, The Salford Advertiser were against a SWinton constituency and even Hazel Blears herself was against a SWinton constituency.
A vociferous Save Salford campaign emerged and it seemed to me a very bizarre situation we ended up in.The for the retention of the Salford Constituency said their identity as being Salfordian was being put at risk, the city of Salford would be at risk, which I have to say was complete nonsence and all sorts of other reasons why the Salford constituency should remain over the proposal to set up a SWinton constituency.
In isolation at home I thought is it me or what ? Whats wrong with a SWinton constituency ? If a Salford constituency is good for Salford then surely all those same reasons are good for Swinton. In my activities in the community for Swinton I took the time to speak to generations of Swintonians who have felt aggrieved about their identity of being SWintonian being stolen from them, the town no longer existing and all of a sudden you have to be Salfordian.
Even on Hazel Blears office door on Langworthy Road she mentions she is MP for Salford & Eccles but no mention of SWinton at all even though she is our current MP. Some Save Salford campaigners I thought were a little rude to the thought of having a SWinton constituency as though being Salfordian was somehow more superior to be ing SWintonian. It was wrong.
I decided to take a massive risk politically and support a SWinton constituency. I live in SWinton, whats good for Salford is good ffor Swinton. All the reasons for supporting the SWinton constituency are on previous blogs and I set up a Save our Swinton campaign to support the Commission's recommendations.
I went on Salford City Radio to explain the reasons why a SWinton constituency should be supported, the benefits to the town of Swinton and about respecting one's identity whatever your identity is whether that be SWintonian, Salfordian, Lancastrian, one, two or all of these. I campaigned on a theme of mutual respect because it seemed this was completely lacking in some quarters to Swinton's detriment.
The personal abuse I got was extra-ordinary at the time. Not only from politicians but from some Salford people who in essance tried to bully me into submission.
Swinton was and is worth fighting for. What is good for Salford is good for SWinton.
I delivered thousands of leaflets in the city and in Swinton encouraging people to support a SWinton constituency, set up an online campaign and attended the public hearing organised by the Boundary Commission to support a SWinton constituency.
I want to make it clear that ALL of the Labour councillors in SWinton and Salford voted against a SWinton constituency at a meeting of Salford City Council, including SWinton North councillor Derek Antrobus who I believe has betrayed the town of SWinton.
The consultation has finished. All comments made are being made public soon and it is anticipated the results will be known soon. I am confident a SWinton constituency will prevail but if it doesnt we for sure know who to blame.
The Salford Labour Party.