Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ninth annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards, which are given out to honour the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy activities over the past twelve months.

This `Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government’ dates back almost ten years and, for some reason, is usually won by whoever is in charge of Salford City Council. So ladies and gentlemen, crush your opponents, stifle criticism and rattle your ice picks for the worthy winner, Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart!

Salford Mayor Wins Stalin Award Salford Star Mary Burns Award

Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart

Yes, Joseph Stalin was infamous for his show trials, forced loyalty support and the crushing of opponents. Here in Salford we almost have a parochial, small time, big fish squirting in small ponds reflection of the Soviet system.

Following on from yesterday’s Welcome To 1984 Mary Burns Award to Salford City Council, which recognised staff being monitored for criticism of the Mayor on social media, this special personalised award for Ian Stewart comes on the back of his actions to quell protests and stifle opposition – even from his own Party.

It was in February this year that a Council meeting was due to be held to pass over £30million of cuts, and protests were expected in the public gallery. Rather than face up to potential criticism by anti cuts campaigners and families of disabled people who were about to have their services axed, Stewart sent an email to Labour Party members, urging them to pack out the public gallery at the cuts meeting and show their support – for the cuts (see here).

“The Labour council will be discussing the budget and are expecting there to be protests” he wrote in the email “We would like to reduce the protest by getting Labour supporters in the gallery. If you are able to come along you will need to be at the civic centre in Swinton by 9am and you will need a ticket.”

Of course, there were no tickets for ordinary members of the public who might have wanted to show their disapproval, and Labour Party members, disgusted at the Mayor’s actions, leaked the email to the Salford Star…

“This is a blatant attempt to stifle democratic protest in this city” stated Salford Against The Cuts “Since when does he have the right to declare the public gallery an all-ticket event so as to pack the gallery with his supporters?  Where is the openness and transparency he has promised, and which the law requires? The fact that the email was leaked shows that even Labour Party members are sickened by the cuts and his Stalinist methods.”

Once Stewart’s not very cunning plan was revealed, the ticket idea was dropped and members of the public were allowed first come first served access, with a handful of Stewart loyalists actually cheering the cuts.

The Mayor was at it again when Labour Party councillor, Paul Wilson went public with his proposal to stand for Mayor of Salford – before the `great man’ had announced that he was stepping down from his lofty post (see here).

This terrible betrayal for `disrespecting the Mayor’ was met with a show trial where Councillor Wilson had the Party whip removed and is now forced to sit away from other Labour councillors at meetings…

Wilson’s treatment shocked even long standing Labour Party members, who told the Salford Star…”He’s been stitched up good and proper”… “Nobody’s clear why this has happened, I think it’s just for upsetting Ian Stewart…it’s an attempt to crush any opposition to him.”

So, ladies and gentlemen, slap up your Soviets and glitter your gulags for the worthy winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government…

Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart!!!


Stephen Kingston

First published in the Salford Star, Star date: 22nd December 2015

All images: Salford Star


The ninth annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards ceremony will run throughout the festive season

2015 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards…

• The `My old man’s a dustman and he reckons the change to three week black bin collections is more to do with a dodgy PFI deal than with saving the planet’ Award… Salford City Council – click here

*The Welcome to 1984 Award – Salford City Council – click here

* Trevi Fountain Award – Salford City Council – click here

* Feed The Rich Award – Fred Done – click here

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