Salford Labour’s Peel Holdings Hypocrisy

Like any large company, Peel Holdings attract their fair share of criticism; sometimes that criticism is justified, sometimes it is not. I try to judge Peel – and any other company for that matter – on their actions. Where we agree I will happily say so. When I disagree with Peel – for example over their comical claims about traffic flow to the proposed Salford Forest Park – I will speak out.

Salford Labour have a bit of a bee in their bonnet about Peel Holdings. It’s largely caused by the Congestion Charge and TIF proposals, together with the defeat of Roger Jones in Irlam ward back in May. Following on from Lord Peter Smith’s lead, the Salford Labour website has decided to also have a graceless rant about the TIF result, which includes the following passage about Peel:

For some parties, a former ally now becomes the enemy as they now turn attention to two major developments planned for Salford. There is a bit of irony here because if TIF had succeeded, it may have been (according to to the ‘NO’ campaign) a less desirable proposition!

There is one major concern, it has been shown that some have no regard for politicians and will fund activities to undermine any local opposition. Against local politicians prepared to speak out against them, they may even arrange telephone surveys, pointing out there is alternatives. Should this come to pass again, WE ALL should be outraged and act accordingly.

Let’s take these comments in turn. First of all, the allusion to the Salford Forest Park and New Manchester Racecourse in Worsley. As a Conservative Councillor I judge each proposal on it’s merits (or lack thereof!). Contrast this with the attitude of the Salford Labour Party to Peel Holdings. They have been prepared to literally demonise Peel Holdings – Cadishead Councillor Keith Mann referred in Council to “supping with the devil” and even brought along his own long spoon as a prop – over the congestion charge campaign – but they are happy to take the Peel shilling when it comes to their flagship projects at MediaCity:UK and the Reds Stadium. It is arrant and unwavering hypocrisy.

As for the latter comment, third parties have a long history of taking part in the election process. Funnily enough I’ve never heard Labour complain about third parties having “no regard for politicians” when the third party campaign is to their benefit.

Of course the very notion of the Labour Party criticising property developers for daring to oppose their plans is laughable. After all the Manchester Labour Party – the architects of the Congestion Charge no less – have received tens of thousands of pounds in donations from companies like Ask Developments over the last few years.

Incidentally, the portrayal of those local businesses opposed to the Congestion Charge as some sort of shadowy sect is nothing short of double-standards. If you go onto the GMMG website, you’ll find a very long list detailing all the businesses signed up to the NO campaign. If you go to the Vote Yes website, you’ll find, um, no list at all.

We know who funded the NO campaign. So, will the Vote YES campaign be open and tell us who coughed up the hundreds of thousands of pounds (if not more) on billboards, newspaper advertising, flyers and paid lackeys to hand those flyers out – of course they couldn’t find many volunteers to do it themselves. Don’t count on it.