Monday, September 15, 2008

The Monday Cyril: Saintly Knight Throws Toys, Again

On 6 September Councillor Ibrar Khan had this rather measured letter printed in the Rochdale Observer:

Dear Editor,
Before I express my sadness at Sir Cyril Smith’s fall from grace, I would like to make one thing clear. I have no political axe to grind. My family has always held Sir Cyril in the highest regard and, indeed, my father was once his polling agent.
However, to discover that our former MP wrote to Turner and Newall asking them to write him a speech for a critical Parliamentary debate, which could have seen asbestos banned and saved thousands of lives, makes me feel angry and let down.
Over the years my father has suffered illness that I believe is a direct result of him being exposed to asbestos at Turner and Newall. As a child I remember going to see him at work and sitting on his shoulders as Sir Cyril Smith handed out presents to workers at Christmas. I never thought for one second that our MP was ignoring substantial evidence being put to him about the dangers caused by asbestos exposure and rubbishing groundbreaking documentaries like Alice – A Fight For Life. This documentary showed how lives were being decimated by an industry that lied, covered up and failed to face up to its responsibilities. And yet, Sir Cyril, in his wisdom chose to attack it in Westminster and take the side of big business, ignoring the rights of thousands of workers.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Sir Cyril then had the nerve to appear on BBC North West Tonight this week and say that “nobody made them work there. They could have left."
It would have helped if the workers had been able to make an informed choice.
Yours sincerely,
Councillor Ibrar Khan

The substantive points are I think as follows:

1. Councillor Khan is sad at Cyril's demise. His family have been supporters in the past. What he says is not a personal or political attack;
2. Sir Cyril Smith had a speech written for him by TBA when he could have made a principled stand against the Miracle Killer;
3. Sir Cyril ignored and talked down substantial evidence including a fine documentary on Yorkshire TV;
4. Sir Cyril appeared on TV recently and suggested the workers could have shipped out if they didn't like the risks.

Here is Cyril's response, printed by the Rochdale Observer in possibly their highest selling edition this Saturday:

Dear Editor,
Councillor Khan is not a person to whom I would normaly reply, but his letter about me (Observer, 6 September) needs correction. My first advice would be to write about things he understands.This letter clearly shows he has no idea on the subject.
The parliamentary debate to which he refers had absolutely nothing to do with banning asbestos. It was solely about an EEC Directive on controlling it. MPs of all three parties took part, not one of them called for its banning. It was not the subject of debate.
I did invite T&N to advise me what they would like me to say, a move I considered and still do to be very wise and proper. I made it very clear to them that I and not they would decide what I used and said and I did so.
To seek advice from experts is perhaps something that Councillor Khan would do in future.
No one, I repeat no one, who took part in the debate made any reference to banning and had they done so, would have been ruled out of order by the speaker. For me to do so would have been to put 2,500 employees on the dole.
I hope the voters of Wardleworth vote in future for a councillor who knows what they are talking about and reserves comment for such matters.

Sir Cyril Smith Emma Street Rochdale

Not really dealing with any of Councillor Khan's substantive points and being deeply unpleasant and also party political with it.

Some corrections for Cyril and Paul to consider:

A. The Speaker chose that the debate in 1981 should be on the Labour amendment not on the Bosses charter. This amendment sought to add a direction of travel towards eliminating asbestos. Cyril must know this full well and is therefore a lying toad. As well as a very rude bastard in dismissing Cllr Khan as not a person he would normally be bothered with.

B. The word on the street is that barring extemporisations round interruptions Sir Cyril's 1981 speech could be one delivered by the Company, if they had the bare-faced cheek and the opportunity to do it themselves. In fact they would probably have toned it down a bit. Let's hope that one of these days their text emerges and we'll be able to run a critical eye over the two versions. Did he even adjust his text to debate the amendment? Is his failure to follow the business why he maintains his crass ignorance of the essence of the debate?

[Perhaps if the two texts are as close as I suspect rather than as far apart as Sir Cyril maintains he should hand back his knighthood (Wot? No Baronetcy?). Perhaps he should hand back his MBE? And perhaps he should have any statue or portrait in a place of honour recycled for scrap? He would certainly have to scrap his idea of the Sir Cyril Smith Foundation for Lost Boys. Or whatever he wants to call his permanent legacy to the town. On top of an unnecessarily busy cemetery that is.]

C. The essence of the debate - solely on the amendment - was on whether a few words suggesting movement eventually towards replacing this foul, jagged, stealthy cough mixture could be included in the minutes of the house. And even if it went further ... surely putting 2,000 people on the dole is better than putting a quarter of them and many of their families, friends, neighbours, and the users of their magnificent products in the morgue?

D. I thought Sir Cyril had given up politics? Obviously not. His attack on the councillor and call for him to be defeated at the poll for having the guts to stand up to the old fraud is very unfortunate. Particularly as Councillor Khan's own comments had been so temperate.

Even now Sir Cyril is showing absolutely no empathy with those dead and dying from asbestos, and those left behind. Pah-chuffing-thetic. It is time for Paul Rowen to take Cyril and Dave to one side, bang their thick heads together, tell them to cease and desist Defending the Indefensible.


Anonymous said...

There are people in Rochdale and families of asbestos victims worldwide who are sickened to the core by the attitude and opinions recently expressed by Sir Cyril Smith.

Sir Cyril's nasty, vindictive words are very telling. They are the actions of an arrogant bully who is used to getting his way and not having to explain his behaviour. Caused in part by a fawning cult of personality and a protective local media. The Rochdale Observer in particular has acted in a very partisan and biased manner in its editorial line. The headlines, the positioning of the articles, the drip feeding of readers letters and the provocative stance that ensures that a hugely minority view (protecting both Sir Cyril T&N and asbestos) is given more than equal billing with the often silent but dignified majority that knows something is very wrong about what has happened at the Rochdale asbestos factory for decades.

For the past 2 weeks the agression has been clear. Anyone who dares challenge the facts about asbestos and T&N is lambasted with petty political insults.

Those who have supported Paul Rowen MP's apparent stance on behalf of asbestos victims and those whose health could be threatened by the lethal legacy of T&N must now feel abandoned.

It appears that the efforts of Paul Rowen MP's political agent has been to use smear tactics to protect the very questionable actions of Cyril Smith. The forced responses by some of the Rochdale councillors has been incredible and heartless.

They have missed the point in a most spectacular fashion.
To say that workers knew the risks and could have left anyway, that the public at large are not in any danger, the issues have been overstated, asbestos was no worse than any other dusty product,to suggest, with dark undertones that the other politicians and trade unions did nothing, to insult those workers and families by suggesting they did well out of T&N so such keep their mouths shut, to deperately wheel one lone voice of a senior manager is all very telling.

Paul Rowen is in a difficult position. Of course he wants to defend an old friend and mentor but is he prepared to do this at the expense of his credentials as a caring and consciencious MP who has been so outspoken about the dangers of asbestos?

As it stands, Paul Rowen appears to be a hypocrite and shallow political opportunist weighing up what is more important to him. Either votes that can be gleaned from the residual deference to Sir Cyril or standing out as his own man on an issue that involves the lives and deaths of his constituents and that of those now affected by the past products of a factory that has put Rochdale on the map.

Who is the real power in Rochdale? Is Paul Rowen a mere puppet controlled by a young David Hennighan and an old Sir Cyril Smith?

The spotlight is on him. He needs to step up to the challange. If not then Paul Rowen's credibiity as a principled and respected MP will be tarnished.

Anonymous said...

Rowan is a chip off the old block. He uses people just as shamelessly than the old spanker Cyril and the young spunker Hennegan.

Rowan doesn't give a flying fuck about asbestos. He is more interested in his own backside and the fact that Cyril has been covering it for years.

A shallow opportunist fuckwit that is deep in the shite.

No wonder people don't vote anymore.

tory boys never grow up said...

And Cyril seems to have forgotten his 1983 speech where he accused those who had a far better understanding of the facts than he ever had of scaremongering.

Cyril would now appear to have dropped his extremely weak benefit of hindsight argument and is now claiming expertise on the matter of asbestos and resorting to slandering one of its victims - how low is he prepared to sink.

My advice to Councillor Khan is not to let the lying so and so get away with this rewriting of history.

Chris Paul said...

To be hobest the thing that horrified me most of all about St Cyril's letter was this:

"Councillor Khan is not a person to whom I would normally reply"

As an opener this must be offensive to a large proportion of Rochdalians who happen to be Asian, or younger than Cyril, or supporters of other parties, or simply dare to disagree with the old bastard.

Did Cyril write this obnoxious stuff himself? Or can we detect the Delerium Tremens hand of Dave Drunkagain?

Chris Paul said...

Hobest? Not a new word. Should be "honest".

Anonymous said...

See:For Cyril and Drunkagain see New Testament:2Peter2:Verse22.