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.

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7 Responses to Salford Labour’s Peel Holdings Hypocrisy

  1. Tom Murphy says:

    Iain,

    One aspect of your last paragraph is plain wrong: I know not of a single volunteer who flyered for the Yes campaign who received any payment. If they did, then I’m guessing my cheque must be lost somewhere in the Christmas post.

    I’m not sure the same can be said for the No campaign’s shark suited standard bearer and mini-skirted accomplices however.

    If in doubt though – make it up, eh?

    Tom.

  2. Iain says:

    All the flyerers I met in Manchester City Centre seemed to be paid workers for the promotions company employed by the Yes campaign. The only volunteers I met with flyers were from related groups like Clean Air Now and they were distributing their own band of leaflets rather than the official Yes campaign leaflets.

    Nonetheless I thank you for your clarification and I have changed the “any” in my final paragraph to “many” to reflect the fact that you kindly volunteered your time for the Yes campaign without payment.

    Now, any comment on the substantive points raised above?

  3. Michael Joslin says:

    Once again Lindley you have shown a breathtaking naivety, that sadly seems to have been evident in your recent dealings including your slating of me on the Internet. Peel Holdings quite rightly deserve the criticism that they receive. Would you like to defend Peel Holdings sanctioning a video being filmed on their premises claiming that a young woman would get raped if there were a Yes Vote? Would you like to support Peel Holdings in their bullying tactics to get through their planning applications?

    Andrew Simpson admitted at the South Manchester Reporter debate that one of the reasons Peel Holdings was so opposed to the TIF bid was because they would lose business, because TIF would regenerate our inner city areas, provide business investment and actively support our economy and crucially take customers from the Trafford Centre.

    At the same debate Andrew Simpson spent a large portion of the debate ramming Liz Phelan, for not releasing the spending figures of the Yes Campaign. Yet when I asked him exactly the same question and asked him to detail his employment with Peel Holdings and the amount Peel has given to the No Campaign, he refused. He declined to mention that he is Peel Holdings Director of Corporate Relations and that he personally or someone in his office would have had to sign off the ‘rape video’. He declined to release the finances of the No Campaign. So don’t you dare go on about the Yes Campaign refusing to release their finances, when the No Campaign refuses to do the same.

    As for your laughable comments about the business supporters of the Yes Campaign you clearly haven’t heard about United City, whose list of supporters is available here http://www.unitedcity.co.uk/supporters+club.php which is the equivalent group to GMMG, and as such a prominent No campaigner you really should be aware of.

    There was a large number of totally unpaid activists campaigning on this, including myself, however when Peel Holdings puts in such a large amount of money into the campaign it is no surprise that we were totally outgunned.

    Sadly I think you’re position of TIF is more related to your ardent following of party line rather than genuine belief in a No Vote, based on your complete ignorance of the facts.

  4. Iain says:

    Welcome, Michael. Such a shame you have to introduce yourself with such a tedious rant. Let’s deal with some of the points.

    Once again Lindley you have shown a breathtaking naivety, that sadly seems to have been evident in your recent dealings including your slating of me on the Internet.

    Slating you? How comical. Let’s have a look what I actually said.

    “If that video [Lucy Powell's pro-TIF film] has been watched by 50000 registered and undecided voters, I’ll eat my webcam. It’ll be Mike Joslin sat at his computer pressing “refresh”…”

    It was a bit of a joke, and in any case are you denying that you watched that video multiple times?

    As for naivety, you were the one who thought that the TIF vote would be yes, and staked your own money at evens on the outcome.

    Peel Holdings quite rightly deserve the criticism that they receive

    I never said that Peel Holdings were immune from criticism. They have done plenty of things with which I profoundly disagree. I thought their attitude at the recent planning meeting for Salford Forest Park was appalling and I said so on this very blog.

    Would you like to defend Peel Holdings sanctioning a video being filmed on their premises claiming that a young woman would get raped if there were a Yes Vote?

    As you’ll be aware I called that video distasteful and counterproductive, and it was not filmed by Peel in any case. Besides, the overriding message was no different from the Vote Yes posters which implied that pensioners would be unsafe if the TIF bid failed.

    Would you like to support Peel Holdings in their bullying tactics to get through their planning applications?

    Of course not, but unlike you I’ve actually stood up to Peel over one of their planning applications, and I have attended two meetings this month to do just that.

    As for your laughable comments about the business supporters of the Yes Campaign you clearly haven’t heard about United City, which is the equivalent group to GMMG, and as such a prominent No campaigner you really should be aware of.

    Of course I’m aware of United City, but I can find nothing on the web to connect United City to the Yes campaign. The links between GMMG and the No campaign are clear and open.

    There was a large number of totally unpaid activists campaigning on this, including myself, however when Peel Holdings puts in such a large amount of money into the campaign it is no surprise that we were totally outgunned.

    Are you really suggesting that the No campaign outspent the Yes campaign? That’s a laughable assertion… and that’s before you add in the £3m of taxpayers’ money spent promoting the bid.

    Sadly I think you’re position of TIF is more related to your ardent following of party line rather than genuine belief in a No Vote, based on your complete ignorance of the facts.

    No, my opposition to TIF was based on the fact that it was a bloody stupid idea and a completely flawed package. Fortunately we had a democratic vote on the issue, and 85% of Salford residents agreed with me. Bad luck.

  5. Michael Joslin says:

    I thought the TIF vote would be yes for quite a long time. Correct. But what I didn’t reckon on was the dirty, naive and scare mongering campaign put together by GMMG. I was wrong and I am more than happy to accept that I got my prediction of the result wrong.

    You have totally ignored the fact that Andrew Simpson said in a debate that he would not release the figures of the No Campaign and say how much Peel contributed and what their role was in the campaign. The United City Group is clearly linked to the Yes Campaign, look at joint press releases and other related media activity. I don’t understand how you can criticise the Yes Campaign for not displaying the list on their website, when such a list is not available on the No Campaign website.

    The video might not have been filmed by Peel, but it was filmed on Peel properties and again you have failed to address my point that someone from Peel MUST have approved the video’s filming.

    Please don’t be so arrogant to say that just because you are a local Councillor and I am not does not mean that I have not campaigned or stood up to Peel, which I actually have done in various jobs I have had in the past.

    As for the idea being bloody stupid, I don’t know where to start. Manchester’s economy will lose £500 million a year due to it being the 4th most congested city in Europe, the highest child asthma rates in the United Kingdom and we at a real risk of losing 50,000 jobs over the next few years. In a scheme that would see at least 10,000 direct jobs, thousands more of indirect jobs, thousands more from the resulting business investment in our city and the vibrant economy that it will create.

    I’m sure we’ve both heard the arguments many times so there is no point going over it again, but what I do want to know is do you think it is acceptable that Manchester is so congested with millions lost a year due to congestion? If you don’t, then what exactly would you propose to do about it?

  6. Richard Carvath says:

    “85% of Salford residents” THAT COULD BE BOTHERED TO VOTE agreed with you Iain. Whilst I was delighted with the massive victory for the NO campaign, the one thing that really annoyed me was that the turnout for the referendum in Salford was just 57%.

    It makes you want to tear your hair out when even in a straight yes or no vote – in which every vote unquestionably makes a difference – and in a postal ballot where people don’t even have to attend a polling station, still… over four out of ten Salfordians remained silent.

    I actually find it disgusting, the high level of apathy and the contempt for participation in the democratic process. I firmly believe that the single biggest factor which has kept Labour in power in Salford for so long – despite Labour being atrocious, and despite there being better alternatives – is ‘just’, ‘merely’, apathetic inertia.

    Salfordians are very good at slagging off Labour… but why oh why do [typically] less than half of them vote? It drives me nuts when so many people have suffered and sacrificed and died for the right to vote in free and fair elections, only for the enfranchised people of today to throw away that which is so precious. It actually creates the perversity in which we have elected dictatorship; we have non-democratic [ie no popular mandate] ‘representation’ but which can parade its electoral ‘success’.

    Why am I writing this here? We all know this! I just get so hopping mad over low turnouts! I’d use the f word but I know that this is a nice Tory blog.

    For me, Hazel Blears is the living embodiment of what democracy is reduced to when over half the people remain silent. Hazel Blears is in my all time Top 10 of the most diabolical and unsuitable people ever to have got into Parliament.

    Salfordians need to know that at the next General Election…

    Don’t vote – get Hazel again.

    Get Hazel again – get another five years of utter crap from the queen of crap.

  7. helen vernon says:

    Just a few things I wanted to add:

    The congestion charge, and current changes to on street parking both encourage people to go to the trafford centre where parking is free.

    I personally think that the cost of parking and amount of congestion is an incentive to use public transport where possible at peak times in itself, and I doubt I’m the only one. I think a lot of people who drive in need to, I.e. They have something to transport so the congestion charge was just a money maker, not a congestion cutter.

    The voter turnout was low, but I was living in the area at the time, and don’t know anyone in my block of flats who got leafletted, canvassed or received a vote. Funny how you’re ignored when you would have to pay to go to the supermarket next door.

    I hate hazel blears. I hate labour.

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