Wednesday, 26 November 2008
The USA Today blog has picked up on Kevin Maguire's article in today's Mirror about the bare faced cheek of Adam Power telling bald lies to protect asbestos apologist Cyril Smith.
What sort of idiot phones the media to say an MP (from another constituency and party) didn't make a particular statement and was taking libel action? Didn't he think that such serious claims wouldn't be checked? Is this hubris or just naiveity in the Rochdale Lib Dem spin machine?
No wonder current Rochdale Lib Dem MP Paul Rowen is trying to distance himself from young Adam Power. At best this is stupid behaviour and likely to be considered as unparliamentary conduct.
There are vague statements suggesting that Adam is beyond the Pale and doesn't work for Paul Rowen's office.
Such weasle words and spin simply won't wash.
Here is a photo of cheeky young Adam and Paul Rowen joined at the hip.
It is from a recent Rochdale Online article about Paul Rowen and Adam Power launching a young person's survey.
Someone fitting Adam's description was spotted close to Dave Hennigan as the often tired and emotional agent heckled Jack Straw's visit to Rochdale earlier this year.
The Manchester Evening News didn't cover the naughty boys' shameful shenanigans in heckling the Minister of Justice but there is mention of Adam Power "a Lib Dem agent in Rochdale" on Dave Ottewell's blog
Why is there such a mystery behind Adam Power and his work with Paul Rowen and Rochdale Lib Dem HQ?
Why is he such a secret agent?
Is Rochdale taxpayers' money being properly spent and accounted for?
Adam Power, Rochdale Lib Dems shagadelic man of mystery is today known to 2 million Mirror readers. It seems Adam has been a very naughty boy. He has recently been caught out lying 'in good faith' in a sorry attempt to spike news about calls to strip Cyril Smith of his knighthood.
Here is what Kevin Maguire's column in the Mirror has to say about the groovy Mr Power:
Mystery surrounds why bad news about Spanker Cyril sometimes never appears in the Manchester Evening News and Rochdale Observer.
What gets said by Lib Dem spin doctors to protect Cyril Smith?
An insight into Rochdale Lib Dem spin shenanigans can be found on Rochdale Online who followed the curious tale of Adam Power's unparliamentary conduct in briefing against the office of a nearby MP:
Tony Lloyd MP was a former T&N asbestos worker so he has every right to comment on the deadly mineral and company that Cyril Smith shamefully promoted and still defends to this day.
If Adam Power has attempted to deceive the media by:
actively claiming Tony Lloyd's press statement wasn't authorised by him and
that the Manchester MP was to sue the Rochdale Labour Party about this
then these shocking, malicious lies appear to be a serious breach of Parliamentary protocol.
But current Rochdale MP Paul Rowen's office probably know this and appear to have demanded distance from Mr Power.
Adam's last sentence in the Rochdale Online article is very mysterious:
“Mr Power wished to point out that he did not work for Mr Rowen's office, as suggested by Mr Danczuk”.
How very odd, given there is ample proof of a very close working relationship between Adam Power and Paul Rowen MP's Rochdale Lib Dems.
“Straight”, “single”, "Scorpio” Adam's public MySpace page was very clear about his work. “Occupation student/intern for an MP” and “Income: Less than £30,000”.
Then, take a peek at the Rochdale Lib Dem website. Look at the bottom (of the page) to see who publishes and promotes the work of that fine brains trust:
Published and Promoted by Adam Power on behalf of Rochdale Liberal Democrats, all at 144, Drake Strett, Rochdale, OL16 1PS
Adam Power, “all at 144 Drake Strett” (sic), Rochdale.
Who pays Adam Power (who says he works for an MP)? - Is it the taxpayer?
Who pays for the office at 144 Drake Street? - Is it the taxpayer?
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Whilst leaving his minions to defend his honour, Cyril Smith writes in this weekend's Rochdale Observer on another subject -the death of former Rochdale Tory Councillor Pamela Hawton.
Spanker Smith is also quoted in a Rochdale Observer article about the former Tory councillor who at times in the 1970's and 80's had responsibilities for Education, Health and Social Services in Cyril's Borough.
"‘good friend right up until her death’.
He added: "She was a very straight person who said what she thought and her word could be trusted. If she gave you her word she would stick by it."
Cyril pays tribute with very odd phrases in his letter:
"We shared many confidences".
"Her word was always her bond".
Have Cyril's comments given himself away? Here is a comment on the Rochdale Observer website:
"Pam was a lovely lady and extremely hard working on health, education and social service roles for Rochdale Borough.
People may be perplexed with Sir Cyril Smith describing her as a ‘good friend right up until her death' and that 'her word could be trusted. If she gave you her word she would stick by it.'
This man is unbelievable. I know what he is talking about and so do many others. Why does he have to talk in enigmatic code?"
19/11/2008 at 22:14
Pro-Cyril letters making up the central space 'balanced' with a lame letter from a Save Spodden Valley supporter and an obscure rant about politicians in general.
A very curious. A 2:2 balance. Curious because the web version of the Rochdale Observer has a huge 7:0 response against Cyril Smith
Also very curious is the line taken by the leading Pro-Cyril letters by a "Mr Berry" and Lib Dem Councillor Jean Ashworth. They are almost identical to a series of heartfelt defences seen on Rochdale Online a few weeks ago in reaction to a New Statesman article entitled Asbestos: The Lies That Killed. Those early defences were penned by Rochdale Lib Dem's often tired and emotional spin doctor, Dave Hennigan.
The basic lines include: Leave poor Cyril alone he is an old man and has done
so much, so selflessly for Rochdale. It was all such a long time ago. Other industries were dangerous too. He was defending jobs. This is all parochial and political by a few 'leftie' extremists. T&N was a good company and asbestos isn't that bad.
As with Watergate, note the non-denial denials. No substantive evidence to counter the claims made about Cyril Smith in the New Statesman and Kevin Maguire's column in The Mirror.
from someone often not seen in a good light,
living in "Hollow Spell"?
Just in case the Rochdale Observer decide to delete the negative comments relating to Cyril Smith, they are reproduced below. They are hard-hitting. No wonder Cyril's favourite chip wrapping didn't publish them...
"I come from a family of Liberal Democrat voters but I've been sickened by Cyril's attitude to what is clearly a mistake of judgment he made back in the 1980's. I once admired the man as an honest and straight-talking politician. Being somewhat cynical in nature I cannot but help being alerted to the blind defence of Cyril by some of today's politicians. What Cyril did was wrong and the more I read of messrs Taylor and Rowen mudslinging and avoidance makes me ever more suspicious of their motives to avoid confroonting a very thorny issue . Cyril Smith was a popular figure, he came accross as simple soul who people trusted. I'm very sorry to say that this genuine trust seems to have been abused. The daily Mirror quotes Cyril as saying he let Turners write speeches for him on asbestos so that he could look intelligent on a subject he knew little about. This makes Cyril sound like an honest fool. Why didn't he let his constituents know how he conducted himself in parliament back when he was our MP? How dare he risk the lives of his townsfolk by blindly parroting speeches that could have damaged the health of people all over Britain".
"All this stuff about Cyril has been going on for a while and doesn't show any sign of going away. Knowing Cyril of old he seems to be very careful about reacting to what is being reported. Is there more to this than meets the eye?
In the letters page Cyril and his brother Norman have thrown all sorts of careful accusations out- a 'left wing plot' by 'fantasists' and local 'idiots'. The thing about such claims are they don't need to be proved. They act as a slur rather than a proper explanation.
What makes me question Cyril's claims that this is merely some local plot against him is the fact that this is being talked about all over the country. National magazine articles, a national newspaper and a parliamentary motion. This is hardly some petty local feud.
And before I am accused of being political let me make something very clear. I voted for someone I consider to be a gentleman - Cllr Peter Evans. I know him to be a man of true conscience. The more I read about Cyril Smith from a variety of sources the more uneasy I feel".
"Whenever awkward questions are asked about Cyril all there really is as a reply is a tired old mantra "how dare they say this about Cyril the man who has done so much for Rochdale". Well, I'm old enough to know about what has gone on in Rochdale over the years and personally I don't think that this lame response washes. Why is asking questions about Cyril so taboo? Is he a sacred cow that cannot be challenged? I didn't realise we were in a North Korean type state and that the cult of personality was alive in Rochdale. After all the Rochdale Observer 80th birthday special pull-outs about Cyril, I am still none the wiser about all that Cyril has done for Rochdale. He has spent over 50 years in politics job, good for him, but does he really deserve a gold clock and our blind admiration? What has a really done that is so special for Rochdale? He spent a lot of time in various education and planning committees in the Council. Attended a lot of bring and buy sales and fetes. Put his name to a few charities (that have been run day-to-day by hardworking people who get little credit for it). As an MP he was unremarkable apart from being recognisable for having a very large frame and being outspoken to the point of rudeness, what did he really do? He seemed to spend more time acting the fool on the telly that actually conducting himself in Parliament. The news about Cyril having speeches written for him doesn't surprise me. Even his excuse that he did it to make him look intelligent is pure Cyril- defying anyone to criticise him and making sure there are insults aplenty to those who question his behaviour. Looking at Rochdale today what do we have to thank Cyril for? A mess of a souless town centre and monstrous high rise and concrete flats? Even his own area is one of the most deprived in Britain. Rochdale has been a bonanza for property developers who have made our town into a hotpotch of ugly cheap buildings strewn with potholed highways. There are many parts of Rochdale that are broken. But we keep getting told that we must doff our caps to Cyril Smith "Mr Rochdale"?
And before Cyril or his cronies accuse me of being some sort of leftie, let me make it very clear- the ONLY party I have ever voted for is the CONSERVATIVE party.
There are a lot of people who are sick and tired of excuses, threats and waffle from some local politicians. It is time for a few home truths and to dispel some harried old myths. Personally I don't care if Cyril keeps his knighthood or not but lets stop getting so much drivel about how grateful we must be to Cyril".
Let me spell this out in short simple words for this nasty character who has been found guilty of dishonourable conduct in the court of public opinion. We know all about Rochdale, Turner & Newall and asbestos. The north east is currently being decimated with asbestos related death and misery- much of it as a result of products from T&N.
Cyril Smith was an apologist for asbestos. He promoted the product and lampooned those in Parliament who expressed health concerns. It takes at least 20 years for deaths to occur after exposure to this deadly dust. Some of the people who are now dying in our region were exposed after Cyril Smith was documented in those incredible 1981 letters to be cozying up the directors of T&N, asking them to write his speeches, getting the Chairman and Managing Director front row seat to watch his rehersed performance in Parliament the day after he had treated them to a slap up meal in Westminster.
People are dying every week in Newcastle from horrible asbestos diseases. Cancers from a material that Cyril Smith still insists never put the public at large at risk.
Cyril Smith's actions when he was an MP were absolutely diabolical. His unrepentant attitude still is unforgivable.
Don't preach to us Mr Smith that we don't know anything about Rochdale. There is dust from your asbestos factory in our lungs. We don't blame the workers or ordinary people of your town, but we sure as hell are not going to forget the shameful collusion of Cyril Smith MP with the most senior directors of a factory that peddled death around Britain.
Cyril told the Mirror newspaper that 4000 asbestos deaths every year is not significant. 4000 families losing a loved one to a painful, cruel death before their time is not significant?
How does this man sleep at night?"
Frank Proctor, Newcastle
"Whilst I don't want to be tainted with desires of earthly vengeance, I have to speak out about the news stories in the Rochdale Observer and Manchester Evening News about Sir Cyril Smith being 'honoured' with a 'tribute' in the form of a painting.
This year the Manchester Evening News and Channel M reported on the terrible illness and death of Leigh Carlisle - taken from this world at just 28. She died of cancer from asbestos. A beautiful young woman who took her terrible illness in her stride without anger or resentment.
Her parents are devout Christians who take comfort in their faith, are not publicly bitter or resentful about their tragic loss, but still miss their daughter ever so much. Their pain and sorrow is palpable. We pray for them. They have a remarkable inner strength and decency. Young Leigh was born in 1980, within months of the then Rochdale MP Cyril Smith actively promoting the continued use of asbestos. It has transpired that these Parliamentary speeches were written for him by the leading asbestos company Turner & Newall.
In recent reports, Sir Cyril remains billigerant and aggressive to the point of arrogance. He appears callous and unrepentant about his past deeds.
Beautiful young Leigh Carlisle lies in her grave. Sir Cyril Smith gets a 'tribute' in the form of a painting".
"Do I detect a hint of bias in the reporting of this article?
"but had only been co-signed by three other MPs as we went to press"
Well, since you went to press this figure has tripled and most significantly it has been signed by the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Committee that looks into asbestos health & safety.
I have checked the Rochdale Observer website and cannot find any of the letters between Cyril Smith and Turner & Newall to read. Why not? Are the people of Rochdale not trusted to handle the truth?
The Rochdale Observer article mentions Cyril Smith saying he "made his own mind up and visited the plant at Spotland to see what it was like for himself". The article make no balancing point of fact that thee is a letter from Cyril Smith MP asking to attend the factory to rehearse his speech and will go over the draft T&N wrote for him "ten times" before meeting up with the personnel director. Hardly a spot inspection to gather facts in an independent manner.
Mr Rowen's comments are not helpful. He suggests we should forget the past and fight today's asbestos issues. But they are linked. Without knowing what happened in the near past then how can we understand and appreciate what to do about the huge problem posed by asbestos today"?
"Yes, I wondered why there was an article in Saturday's Ob about Sir Cyril being honoured with a painting for his birthday. His birthday was months ago and it looks as though the handover of the painting by the Ogden Trust happened in March.
Is someone trying to pull the wool over our eyes just because Sir Cyril is facing criticism?"
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
(or the curious tale of the never-ending Gobstopper)
An update on the Rochdale art mystery.
Media Spin 101.
When facing a torrent of bad news stories, hold fire, then, in the lull, issue a nice fluffy positive press release with a headline that will tickle the transistors of the Google newsbot.
This is known in the trade as “media distraction”.
For instance, former Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith.
He faces allegations of past parliamentary sleaze and collusion with killer asbestos corporation Turner & Newall. New Statesman, Private Eye and the Mirror have developed lines of investigation that is unearthing a scandal. An Early Day Motion has been tabled calling for Sir Cyril to be stripped of his knighthood.
In addition there are growing questions about his role as Lib Dem party fundraiser and Rochdale Lib Dem finances. Talk of black holes that even Steven Hawkins could never have predicted?
Then there are the unresolved
and extremely serious
allegations of sexual abuse.(web transcript of RAP May and June 1979)
What is the Guardian Media Group's take on recent events?
Two local titles apparently loyal to Sir Cyril are the Rochdale Observer and Manchester Evening News. As with many local newspapers, times are hard. Staff cutbacks and overwork doesn't help morale. Some say journalistic standards have dropped. This may be unfair but nevertheless many suggest we are in the age of “cut and paste” “churnalism” where hard pressed hacks over-rely on ready made press releases for media content.
How does media “distraction” work?
Last week was particularly bad for Cyril Smith's media profile and the Rochdale Liberal Democrat party who depend on Sir Cyril's profile and cash raising abilities.
In the aftermath of Kevin Maguire's damning investigation in the Mirror, an EDM was tabled in Parliament on 11th November. Kevin Maguire followed this up in his column and blog in the week commencing 10th November.
On the same day, Rochdale Liberal democrats issued its distraction press release. Sir Cyril “honoured” with the “tribute” of a painting to the National Liberal Club. All very cuddly and respectable. But curious as this was very old news. The painting was actually presented to the NLC in March 2008.
Paul Rowen MP wrote about the event in his "Letter from Parliament" for 4th April 2008.
The Ogden Trust also issued a press release about it to coincide with Cyril's 80th birthday (when heartfelt tributes were a little thin on the ground). It was already 5 month-old article back then.
So, has Cyril's portrait been used once, twice or thrice?
No, actually at least FOUR times -going back to at least May 2007.
Like a never-ending Gob stopper.
The fourth time around, Rochdale Online was first with the article on 11th November. A forum discussion began that questioned the timing and recycling of a very old story. it seems the local Lib Dem agent contacted Rochdale Online with extreme prejudice and demanded/pleaded/cajoled that this forum thread be taken off-line. He was successful.
The Saturday edition (15th November) of the Rochdale Observer also ran the distraction article.
Then the Monday edition of the Manchester Evening News.
The Rochdale Online article was updated today (18th November) to include a lovely reference to Cyril's portrait benefiting the NSPCC. Only thing is this is about a different portait reported even earlier in 2008 on Rochdale Online. Who would be nasty enough to question repeated reports of a presentation that helped a kidz charidee?
Well actually, quite a few concerned citizens do. Especially when there are unresolved allegations of serious historic sexual abuse regarding Cyril Smith. There is also disquiet in media circles about the way this old story of Cyril's portrait is being used again, and again, and again. Especially when there are reliances on references to young people's charities such as the NSPCC.
Some of the overworked staff in local newsrooms quietly question editorial decisions that protect Cyril Smith. Those who have been recently 'released' from their jobs are a little more vocal. Something very odd appears to be going on in the Guardian Media Group.
Is Cyril Smith being protected? If so, WHY?
Do some feel hoodwinked by falling for a rehashed press release designed to distract? Desperate media spin from the Lib Dem Last Chance Saloon?
Or is Cyril being built up for a fall?
Only time will tell. Again, and again and again.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
An Early Day Motion (2470) has been tabled in Parliament.
Kevin Maguire's column in The Mirror today has a follow-up and blog entry.
Old Spanker Smith remains unrepentant.
He thinks we should all respect his authority.
The Great White Asbestos Knight is no oil painting. It appears to be a watercolour.
Why has this news been published this week?
Is it to distract attention from the exceedingly serious claims of historic sexual abuse in Rochdale, such as that reported by Rochdale's Alternative Press in 1979. Or other exceedingly serious claims about historic sexual abuse at other places that held vulnerable children years ago, such as Knowl View School?
Is it to distract attention away from the real news about Cyril Smith being a shareholder, apologist, consultant, advocate, event organiser for asbestos giant Turner & Newall? Cyril Smith's recent comments on health and asbestos are a disgraceful embarressment for his party.
Is it to divert attention from the questions about Cyril Smith's role in Lib Dem party fundraising? Cash donations arriving at Emma Street then consolidated into easy, fresh smelling payments to the local and national Accounting Units?
So why has this article about a Cyril Smith portrait been published this week?
Especially as it is a shameless rehashing of old news. Lib Dem recycling?
Here is the very same press release - from 3 months ago - 15th August 2008
But take another look at the press release from 15th August 2008- it features a photo of Lib Dems raising a toast to at the newly commissioned portrait of Cyril the spanking, straight-talking, asbestos-loving Lib Dem party cashcow at the National Liberal Club in MARCH 2008.
A Novemember news article, really from March 2008 but also used in August 2008.
A 200% shameless recycling record.
Art-loving Rochdale Liberal Democrats are geting quite a reputation for spin and downright lying in good faith to the media.
or should that be
Perhaps the Rochdale Lib Dems could commission (or re-hash) a portrait of Rochdale after Cyril's 60 year political tenure?
Or for those really classy art aficionados, how about a portrait of the Rochdale Liberal Democrat Accounting Unit?
Saturday, 8 November 2008
"Cyril: There was no asbestos cover-up" and "Call to strip Sir Cyril of Knighthood".
2. Don't allow the facts to be known. Make some vague reference to documents being in "the public domain" but don't print them for the newspaper readers to actually see.
3. Add photo saying old man is "under attack again".
4. Tell people to comment online (or "@nline" as those cheeky chappies may want to avoid a copyright dispute with the internet news service called "Rochdale Online").
5. Make sure the news article isn't @nline to comment on.
The Rochdale Observer has reported on the move to strip Cyril Smith of his knighthood.
Although not quite in the rebuttal style of a previous article reassuringly entitled "Cyril: There was no cover-up on asbestos", it was still a gentle poke by the local newspaper.
The was no reporting in the Rochdale Observer of the direct damning quotes that Cyril gave to The Mirror, such as that asbestos cancer is not as bad as the flu, or that it is not infectious to husband to wife, or that he had allowed Turner & Newall write his parliamentary speeches for him on the cancer-causing but profitable material.
Rochdale Observer readers were not treated to the gem of a quote from Cyril published in The Mirror:
"Of course the speech was extremely useful to me because it made it sound as if I could speak intelligently on a subject I knew little about"
So, many readers in Rochdale could still be in the dark about what Cyril has been caught out on, absolutely bang to rights.
Instead there is a photo of Cyril with the pityful description: "under attack again". Just the sort of inflamatory comment that will allow some who know little about the issues to defend the former T&N shareholder and parliamentary promoter of a product that is currently killing over 4000 Britains a year.
However, depite suggesting he "didn't have much to add" Cyril has come out fighting and has accused Kevin Maguire's Mirror article as not being factual, but then added "beyond that, I don't want to say anything".
Isn't suggesting The Mirror and its associate editor are liars enough to be getting on with?
Surely not the way for Cyril Smith to win friends and influence people?
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Although his autobiography "Big Cyril" makes reference to his past criminal record, Cyril currently has a clean slate.
But given his published track record, could he do his bit to show solidarity for the orange high viz textile industry? Standby for a big order?
Chatter on the blogosphere about past publications claiming Cyril Smith's sexual abuse of young lads at Cambridge House hostel in the early 1960's. After a lot of threats and wind, the Rochdale Lib Dem agent conceeded that there would be no legal action against the Chris Paul Labour of Love blog.
Then came a New Statesman article called the Asbestos - Lies That Killed.
Followed by a BBC TV News report where the straight-talking Smith horrified the North West of England with his vile opinions on asbestos cancer victims being the authors of their own misfortune. "They knew the risks", "They could have left". What a sweet old gentleman...
Now The Mirror is pushing for Cyril to be stripped of his knighthood.
Plus a new Facebook site.
2008 is turning out to be Cyril's anus horriblus.
RAP had a lot to say about Cyril.
Another rumour is that Cyril pulled a few favours with someone influential in the media to eventually have the RAP magazine closed down.
Some thought RAP was vulgar and mentioned unsavory things that should be kept quiet.
Read the back copies today and they are still fresh and relevant. RAP was proved right, time and time again.
So, in the spirit of the once mighty RAP, that seemed to start and end with Cyril Smith, we wanted to do the same and discuss those allegations that refer to a corrupt, bullying, testicle sqeezing, arse spanking Godfather.
Hare Krishna, Peace and Love.