Thursday, December 09, 2010

Oldham East and Saddleworth: Shortlist Development 2

One strangeness about the Labour List review of the prospective runners for the candidacy was that only one female candidate was mentioned. Early doors Maryam Khan who stood in David Chayter's patch in May had been mentioned, but a daughter-dad run off was never really on the cards. And so only the fanciful speculation about our own Lucy Powell remained.

Now Ed Miliband's chief of staff, Lucy Powell's name has often been mentioned in connection with the seat, but really? Why would she? Categorically NO is the word from sources extremely adjacent to Ms Powell.

With Elwyn for the Yellow Tories and Kashif Ali for the Blue Tories this could all be a bit of a testosterone fuelled male affair. There was talk for some good while - emanating from Tory members who think themselves very much in the loop - of a celebrity woman candidate (Kirstie Allsopp) for the Blues, but that story did not develop legs, possibly because Manchester Tories were tipped off (by moi) and took robust evasive action.

So just three wise men is it, this Christmas tide?

But what's this? Step forward Gwenda Manco, born in Oldham, decades in Labour in the area, social enterprise founder (working with vulnerable women in Rochdale and Oldham), aged 56, two grown up sons, hubbie retired from a successful local haulage business, and ten years working in Styal women's prison.

Proper salt of the earth local woman, contributing immensely but quietly to the community, with some strong local champions.

Gwenda runs a hand spinning business, very appropriate indeed for the area with its dark satanic mills textile heritage, and currently also works as an Associate Priest, working in the community mostly, based at St James' Church, Calderbrook. In fact it was Chaplain she was at Styal.

Is there another cleric in the House? Now Paisley's gone?

If Labour want someone on the shortlist and possibly even as a candidate - though there would be a mountain to climb to shift Afzal, favourite of the powers that be in Oldham I understand and a brilliant MP in the making, then a throughly local, textiles business, woman priest could be just the ticket.


Truthwillout said...

Well Elwyn Froggit can't complain about her being an out of towner can he?

Not sure how active she has been in the Labour Party. I'm presuming she is a Rochdale member, living in Littleborough, but had not heard of her until recently.

Being pedantic it's Calderbrook without the E.

Chris Paul said...

Pedantic E is a goner, thanks.

My research indicates that Gwenda has stayed right out of the local Labour Party's championship infighting and uncomradely behaviour and that she deplores the horrid nasty politicking of the boys-will-be-boys of the town.

What colour rosette they may be wearing from time to time.

This seems to me to be a positive qualification for shortlisting. And a chance under New Generation rules to show that participation in carve ups and knifings and sucking up to gangsters - again of any and all persuasions - is not a necessary part of politics in this part of East Lancs.

Not any more.

Chris Paul said...

(should be) .. Whatever colour ..

Truthwillout said...

Been watching from the sidelines myself for some years for same reasons,about time things changed.

Good luck to Gwenda in OE&S,she would be a clever choice should the CLP see sense, though Afzal's name has been the one touted.

I for one will be making the short trip to help beat Selwyn.

Shona Abernethy said...

"But what's this? Step forward Gwenda Manco..."

Chris, what does this mean? Has she said she's interested? Does she even know about this post?

From what you've said about her she seems to be A Good Egg. But what are her policies and what's her experience?

The party will want this by election to go to a safe pair of hands. Although, I agree that an anglican vicar would be rather a change in morality. Perhaps a better bet for a normal election process than a by election?

Pennine bulge said...

Jack Brassington should stand.
What Oldham needs is a cross dressing interwebber who relishes in helping feeble Fib Dems scrape through in the Pennines.

If "Dinut's" vixen ways are good enough to help Dale "There's More" Mulgrew keep his seat then Selwyn Froggit should lap up this cheeky "laydee's" advances.

But Tom Stott in a boob tube and Mick Coates in a miniskirt but no deoderant would be taking it too far!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't care for the nasty politics in oldham either but I get to the Clp meeting month after month year after year and I do my bit to change it. I do not know this woman at all. Pulling ones skirts aside is not a good enough reason for not helping in the party especially when it seem that there is a change omf mind when lucrative employment beckons

Truthwillout said...

Well done Labourlist 0 out of 3. Going to be an interesting selection meeting, but 3 pretty safe choices. Suspect it will be between the 2 ex Mayors

Chris Paul said...

Shona Abernethy - yes, of course Gwenda was up for it. See today's MEN interview.

Anonymous 15:15 - Gwenda is in Rochdale, where things are much worse IMHO than in lovely Oldham.

Truthwillout - Labour List had some bizarre unchecked favourites and also some self-promoted impossibilities. But I also got 0 out of three. With the benefit of hindsight I might have guessed these others despite their lack of publicity. I suspect you're wrong about the ex Mayors. But any of them will do the job.

I've now blogged about the shortlist HERE.

Truthwillout said...

To be fair to Debbie, she has been working her ticket hard over the last few years and has been willing to take on challenges. Colne was always going to be a struggle, I personally like her, and would much rather have her in Rochdale than the current incumbent. Same goes for Gwenda, who knows what could happen in a few years time or maybe sooner?