Manchester City Council

Ordinary People

The Conservative Party conference has now rolled out of town, and at the risk of courting a little controversy, these are some reflections on it. I can't do so without giving at least some political perspective. I have described myself as a socialist for some forty five years now and if I have to put a qualifier in front of that it is libertarian. I have been an active member of the Labour Party for thirty five years and there are a whole range of policies of this and the previous coalition government I am totally opposed to. When the TUC marched through Manchester on Sunday my sympathies were 100% with them and their opposition to the government's austerity programme.

However, for those who spat at and abused, indiscriminately, delegates going into the conference, and for those who think the Tories should be stopped from holding their conference in this city I have no sympathy at all. First of all conferences are a vital part of our visitor and tourism industry. 85,000 people in Greater Manchester are employed in the sector, a couple of hundred at the Manchester Central Conference centre alone. Attracting big conferences, and that includes the Tory Party conference, plays a vital part in keeping those people in work.

Secondly our country and the freedoms we enjoy as citizens is based on a consensus around a pluralistic, representative democracy, a consensus that both the Labour Party and Conservative Party are part of. It pains me enormously that at the last General Election we were beaten by the Tories, but beaten we were, and democrats have to accept the decision of the electorate ( though of course fighting to change their minds next time round ), but in a free, democratic country it is inconceivable that any of the main political parties should not be able to have their conference anywhere in the country.

Thirdly, banning things is just not Manchester. This city has a proud history of being at the heart of the fight for political freedom, but also for a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and welcoming society. Our relatively recent renaissance as once more a great city is at least partially dependent on our ability to welcome a multiplicity of beliefs into the life of the city. The spitters and the abusers do not represent the spirit of this city, they do not represent the ordinary people of this city, indeed they are the enemy of the ordinary working people of this city, and over the last few days they have embarrassed and damaged this city.

There are 15 responses to “Ordinary People”

  1. Guy-S Says:

    ''banning things is just not Manchester''! Unless your banning homeless people from sleeping in tents. Or banning homeless people from using the library toilets. Seems to me we are again experiencing a politically endemic lack of integrity from elected officials.
    1) I applaud the people who bring business (expos etc) to he city
    2) I congratulate the people who work hard and mostly on minimum wadge to service that business, and the business community.
    3) I also applaud the people of Manchester for having the guts and determination to stand up for what they believe in, and not just take what they are given. To walk the streets and ensure their voice is heard.
    That's what Manchester people are famous for. Giving a damn. Not being afraid to stand up and be counted. So a couple spat on a few Tory's, REALLY that's what you bring up in your piece. You're bowing to media and political pressure. Have a little integrity and stand up for the everyday people of Manchester. The people who really give a damn.

  2. D Says:

    I'm far from being a Tory but I welcome them here. Great to see Manchester at the forefront of news across the UK and the World, and of course the economic boost they bring with them - the City was brimming with life. Agree with Sir Richard that spitting is just not on. Everyone is entitled to free protest and that was demonstrated through the massive march on Sunday. On the whole, well done Manchester.

  3. Chris D Says:

    Manchester is a fantastic City, but it was let down by some inadequate policing. Legiimate protest is fine - indeed vital in a democracy - but the Police simply stood by while disgusting behaviour was allowed. I am amazed none of those attending reacted, given the provocation. But the Police failed to protect them - I saw one young chap with a black eye: he's been held and punched, plus the eggings, vile verbal abuse, face-to-face intimidation…Suggest you take this up with GMP. They sadly let Manchester down.

  4. Phil Says:

    When will we hear from you about Jeremy corbyn ? Will he increase labours chances and will be support devomanc ?

  5. C Smith Says:

    I think you'll find we mancunians detest the Tory party and nothing they say or do will ever be welcome here! Stop pandering to these vile hypocrites and send their filthy rhetoric elsewhere don't need or want them here they are SCUM! Signed One amongst many mancunians!

  6. Alan Royston Says:

    I totally agree that spitting, vile language etc plays straight into the hands of the Tories and is no acceptable. I must say that as for old fashioned heckling I see nothing wrong, we see it in the Commons every Wednesday. The incident with Jeremy Hunt, which I witnessed, was created by his own behaviour, even nearby police officers could not believe his arrogance. He did not need to walk down Portland Street. If I had acted in such a provocative way I would have been arrested.
    I'm an old fashioned socialist and believe in the right to protest. If the Tories wish to come to Manchester, it's fine by me. They have polarised society so much there are bound to be some in attendance we find unacceptable, for the most it was peaceful and in a carnival spirit.

  7. Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar Says:

    The Leader is absolutely right to condemn the behaviour of a very small minority but let us not forget to mention thoe vast majority of people from diverse backgrounds and of all ages who were standing up and protesting against austerity measures which have and will continue to have a major impact on the City's residents. It is important to mention the fact that Mancunians who have not elected a Tory MP for over 50 years were helping 'less than sober' Tories to get to their hotels and giving directions to delegates from outside the City; important to mention the professionalism of all the security staff, staff at the conference centre, the friendly private hire drivers, Hackney drivers, waiters & waitresses in the City's bars and restaurants as well as officers of GMP who are also bruised from cuts imposed on the policing service. Yes, there were a few hotheads but 99.9999% of Mancunians did the City proud and, although certain sections of the media are not interested in them, we Mancunians need to be applauding them.

  8. Tony Petrie Says:

    I applaud the leader for his comments. Law abiding people should be able to go about their business without fear of bullying, intimidation and violence. Ultimately the police prevented mass disorder at a political conference. What next wrong religion, colour, gay?
    Thank god these sad negative protesters have gone,now for a positive influx of rugby fans, welcome to Manchester!

  9. Tony Petrie Says:

    Councillors Akbar misses the point completely! Yes protest if you wish but do it in a positive and peaceful manner. Respect the fact that the conservatives were duly elected again by the people of this country, they have the remit.
    The Manchester city centre scene is vibrant at the moment because of the vision and risk taking of entrepreneurs. They are the wealth creators, councillors and other administrators are there to serve and support. Manchester councillors should be focussing all their energies on revitalising areas like Longsight and New Moston, areas that I happily lived in once which are now hell holes.
    Waiters, cab drivers etc. Are also there to serve with a smile, that's their jobs it's what they do!

  10. Walter Says:

    Thank goodness there is at least one councillor that is willing to talk up Manchester rather than talk it down. Sir Richard should be praising those residents who took care of the Tories despite the prospect of having their tax credits and other benefits cut. The Tories don't care about Manchester as their cuts show and the behaviour of a tiny minority should tarnish the reputation of our great city.

  11. Monica M Says:

    When Sean Anstee thanks the leader of Manchester City Council for admitting that a tiny few have embarrassed the city of Manchester, I am sorry you will have to excuse my anger. Once again the Tories have had a successful conference thanks to the city of Manchester despite their best efforts to destroy it. I agree with those who say that Sir Richard should be praising the ordinary people who helped make the conference a success

  12. Tony Petrie Says:

    Walter, it is the labour council you should be lambasting! They have been in control of the city. It has been on their watch where we have seen the decline of the housing stock, empty bomb sites everywhere and good citizens surrounded by yobs. Where the City has been fantastically reenergised is down to private investment both at home and from abroad.

  13. Walter Says:

    Can I just make clear that the last sentence of my previous comment should have been that a tiny minority should NOT tarnish the reputation of our city. In response to Tony, I have no love for Manchester Labour but it is the ordinary people who have revitalised this city.

  14. franky Says:

    It was ironic to see the tory delegates entering the Midland Hotel, after paying £250 to attend the conference. We have such poverty in this city and losing 40% of our income does not seem at all fair

  15. Not fooled Says:

    I find it baffling that the Tories choose to come to Manchester-a place that the leader recently stated would be £1M a week better off was it not for their continual attempts to priviatise the entire public sector and line their own pockets-and yet the leader continues to give "mixed messages" to both the electorate and his own workforce...every November it's the same old story-hand wringing and Powerpoint graphics showing "level of unsustainable cuts" in the local press-yet at the same time putting out the "welcome" mat for the very people who are threatening the jobs and security of those who would serve the people of Manchester in the face of continual upheaval and increasing level of need...and being brutally honest-until Mr Corbyn came along to finally start the Labour Party talking like "socialists" again rather than "Red Tories"-there has seemingly been next to no credible opposition or resistance from them since 2010.
    Mind you-not too many faces at the top seem to have been victims of the "£1M a week" cuts...



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

Recent posts