Campaigning (and not setting a rate)

This chapter deals with the period 1984 to 1985 when left-wing councils fought together against the Tory government and refused to set their rates as a protest about caps on expenditure, which in some councils resulted in councillors being personally surcharged, sent to prison and being barred from future office. The first part deals with issues such as how the left-wingers in control were able to find ways to support the miners’ in their strike, and implement policies relating to anti-apartheid and peace. It also covers how the Council opposed the deportations due to changes in the immigration laws by Thatcher’s government and supported Viraj Mendis, amongst others, in their fight to stay in the country. There is a lot of detail about the complexity of voting at the time of setting the 1985/86 budget for the Council. That detail is a lesson in how every vote counts when you have a majority of only 1 and there are multiple factions who align at different points, so someone being sick, or about to have a baby, can be critical. Jump to Editor’s Comments

Opposing the Tory government
The Labour Group and City Labour Party Relationship
Campaign and Public Information Sub-committee
The Manchester Magazine
Supporting the Miners
Manchester the first UK Nuclear Free Zone
Anti-Apartheid in South Africa
Friendship with Nicaragua
Anti-war agenda
Supporting asylum seekers
Fighting the Government by not setting a rate
Learning about the budget
The Petition for Manchester
The detail of the budget and all the meetings
The Three Opposition Groupings and a majority of 1
1st Extraordinary Meeting Friday 22nd March 1985
2nd Extraordinary Meeting Monday 25th March 1985
Two meetings on Sunday 31st March 1985
Considering disciplinary action against the Party Right
Back to the Campaigning
City Party involvement in budget setting
Strategies for Defending Jobs and Services
Setting the budget for the 1986/87
May 1986 Local Elections
A swing towards Labour across the country
Continued press assault, with just cause?
Looking forward to the 1987 general election


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Editor’s Comments

This chapter has been the most work so far. It’s so long and such a detailed chapter. I have added sub headings as best I can to break up the text and try to indicate the content of the section that follows. I find the detail of all the voting so very difficult to keep up with. I have extracted into bullet points in some places to try to make it clearer. I don’t understand some parts, but have left them because it may be that it’s because I’m not involved in that political world and it may make more sense to those who are. This is the first chapter that I have put in the expanding sections from the sub-titles, trying to make it easier to navigate


[1] Andrew Kilburn was appointed Head of the Unit, Janet Heron as a campaign worker, and the Town Clerk appointed Laura Hawkins as the administrative assistant. The Group leadership were very suspicious of this, as she was a Communist Party member and married to the Secretary of the Trades Council, which was antagonistic towards the Labour Left. In March 1987 Jim Battle (currently Deputy Leader of the Council) was appointed as a third campaign worker.

[2] After December 1987, only a further seven copies were produced, sporadically, until its demise in July 1989.

[3] A lot of work was done behind the scenes on this by the City Administrator (Vernon Cressey) who was personally committed to the NFZ movement.

[4] South West African People’s Organisation, the national liberation party of Namibia.

[5] Editor’s note: perhaps this term needs explanation

[6] For each department of the Council, there was a Committee which had responsibility for its staffing and other expenditure and income, and Chief Officers had to provide ‘estimates’ of what they expected to spend in the year. The ‘base’ budget was supposed to be the ongoing, normal expenditure, with any additional expenditure required regarded as an ‘improvement’ bid and separately requested from the Finance Committee.

[7] John Nicholson also liaised with the leader of the Merseyside County Council, Keva Coombs. He was a strong ally and an antidote to the Militant Tendency approach in Liverpool.

[8] Explained more later.

[9] Association of Metropolitan Authorities

[10] Association of County Councils

[11] One of the ‘vacancies’ was Eddy Newman’s seat in Blackley and I think the other vacant seat was Levenshulme. Eddy had been elected as a Euro-MP in June 1984, but as his vote was needed, he didn’t resign from the Council until March 1985. Ken Barnes was elected in the Blackley by-election in May 1985.

[12] Editors note: this bit has been re-written to try to make it clearer to follow for the uninitiated.

[13] The 17 Right voting with the Liberals were – Hugh Barrett, Colin Brierley, Ken Collis, Pat & Gordon Conquest, Bill Egerton, David Ford, Alison & Leo Kelly, Reg Latham, Hugh Lee, Colin McClaren, Paul Murphy, Derek Shaw, Sid Silverman, Michael Taylor, Alan Wood. The 6 voting with the left were: John Broderick, Harold Brown, John Gilmore, Duncan Healey, Bill Jameson, Sally Shaw.

[14] Hall, Hamnett, Smith

[15] The package included 1% unspecified cuts across all budgets, use of £27.5 million special funds (building repairs etc), cuts to all the units (£5,000 from the Gay Centre grant, £19,400 from Lesbian link, £100,000 from the Neighbourhood Services budget (leaving £65,900), £120,000 from the Police Monitoring budget (leaving £18,700), £160,000 from the Campaign Unit (leaving £45,000)). But, his budget included £3 million for improvement bids to be considered by the Policy and Resources committee.

[16] Editor’s note: A Standing Order is a rule that the Council operates by. The nuance of this motion is lost on me, but leaving it in.

[17] Editor’s note: Which perhaps refers back to the Liberals’ motion to set a rate by 1st April, except that was defeated.

[18] Editor’s note: the language here is Kath’s and dismissive, but have left it in as it shows her view of the idea and how the budget was being allocated. It doesn’t necessarily mean it was true.

[19] P&R 13th January 1986 agreed £2,000 towards Lambeth and Liverpool councillors Legal Assistance Fund. At Council in February, the opposition tried to amend this and the Labour Right abstained. 47 Liverpool councillors were surcharged thousands of pounds each, and disqualified from office. The fund-raising necessary to prevent Lambeth councillors (including their leader – Ted Knight) from going to prison, went on for a long time, but they did eventually raise enough money to pay the surcharges.

[20] The Strategy Sub-committee was set up in November 1984 and was chaired by Graham Stringer. It consisted mostly of committee chairs and was the powerful, central body that controlled all the major decisions of the Council. It was preceded by a Strategy Working Party set up in October 1984.

[21] I’ve been unable to trace any written record of this so-called advice

[22] 12 new Labour members were elected, with 11 of them on the Left: Graham Ballance, David Black, Eric Bullows, Andrew Fender, Mark Hackett, Dave Lunts, Yomi Mambu, Shirley McCardell, Khan Moghal, Chris Morris and Ray Whyte. Howard Hatton (Lab Right). Also 1 new Tory & 2 new Liberals. 34 seats had been contested (2 in Rusholme). 3 Tories lost seats – Whetton, Kershaw, Aikman.

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