As Zelo Street noted recently, although Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk is yet to hear the result of the party’s inquiry into his conduct, which was sparked at the end of last year after he was splashed all over the front page of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun over his “sexting” a 17-year-old girl, party members and Councillors in the Rochdale area are already regarding him as yesterday’s man.
To this end, Spanker Si has found himself removed from the Christmas cards sent out on behalf of the party, and now Zelo Street can show readers an example of the new format. Those for Milnrow and New Hey contain the message “Season’s Greetings from your Milnrow and Newhey Labour Team” along with the photo of Councillor Neil Butterworth … but not one of the MP. Instead, Mayoral candidate Andy Burnham is shown.
But Danczuk still has one influential friend - Rochdale Council’s leader Richard Farnell, who is always ready to put in a good word for him. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, being associated with Farnell just became a whole lot less attractive, after he drove through a whopping 34% increase in Councillors’ allowances, which will see his own wad increase by over 50%.
You read that right: in Rochdale, a town which, as one Zelo Street source put it bluntly recently, is “on its back”, and where many workers will have been lucky to have seen a pay rise of any kind - most will be grateful just to have a regular income right now - their elected representatives have just voted to award themselves a several-times-inflation-busting pay rise. The numbers make for grim reading.
Spot the missing MP
As the excellent Rochdale Online has shown - they have a fully itemised chart showing exactly how much is being trousered, and by whom - the bill for this newly enabled largesse will rise by £172,600 to an annual total of just under £900,000. Farnell will see his own slice of that rise to just over £41,800. Deputy Leaders will now get over £26,000. Other cabinet members will see a rise to more than £24,500.
Some Labour members, and indeed some Councillors, are mortified at the shameless troughing of their colleagues. Some voters are not only binning their Christmas cards, they are also taking to social media to say so. Some are refusing them. Councillors are showing a reluctance to attend public meetings. The only good news for Labour is that the opposition leader - Tory Ashley Dearnley - also voted for the 34% increase.
So the last thing Labour needs, with the Lib Dems making hay over the affair, is to have in place a clown of an MP like Simon Danczuk. Just when Spanker Si might have thought that there was a glimmer of hope for him, his pal Farnell has put the ball in his own net and made Danczuk guilty by association (Farnell made matters worse by claiming “We have to accept the recommendations made by the panel” (and accept the increase in allowances). Rochdale Online has also shown that one to be untrue).
Simon Danczuk has hitched his wagon to the wrong cause once again. Sad, really.