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Manchester’s Political Heroes and Villains: Is Hazel Blears launching an audacious bid to become Pope?

Comment by John Paul Shammas

This week in Heroes and Villains, a North-West UKIP MEP is equipped with hyperbole in his fight against the EU’s Orwellian nightmare, while Salford MP Hazel Blears wants to turn Salford into one big super-happy sweatshop of dreams.

Who’s been the goody of Manchester this week then? This week’s big prize goes to Salford MP Hazel Blears.

What’s she done that is so bloody great? The hope-giving extraordinaire is championing an initiative to give unemployed youths in Salford a bit of work experience to boost their employability!

And the initiative is called..? It’s called Kids Without Connections, which coincidentally was also the name of her 1970’s prog-rock band*. Salford has a pretty awful unemployment record right now, so Hazel is encouraging local businesses to get behind the initiative and help youngsters get that first big line on their CV.

Wow. That’s wonderful. Are these Tiny Tim’s getting paid then? Well, no, but hey – Salford is dominated by all the savvy, go-getting media-types these days.

But by backing this work experience initiative, Hazel Blears is giving the unemployed a chance to get that foot in the door and get that minimum wage job they so desperately have been avoiding.

This Hazel Blears sounds like quite a great lady! Oh yeah, the Hope-a-Tron 5000 really believes in the initiative – she even took on some work experience people herself to work in her office! And before you say anything, this isn’t a cynical, political game she has launched in an audacious bid to become the next Pope (I hear there’s an opening).

Why’s that? Well I hear that she actually really needed to get some work experience people in. This week, the Independent revealed how Peninsula Business Services, a company ran by one of the brothers who founded BetFred, donated £10,000 to the Labour MP. Presumably her office needed more staff to help them roll around on a big pile of cash.**

So who’s the baddy this week then? That would be UKIP’s North West MEP and star of the upcoming 2015 blockbuster Honey I Marginally Shrunk the Tory Vote, Paul Nuttall.

What’s he gone and done that’s got you so hot and bothered? Mr Nuttall has taken time out of his busy schedule of driving around in a van out offering free bags of sweets in areas densely populated with Conservative voters to speak out against the European Union’s latest draconian plans.

And what draconian plans are they? Internal EU documents released this week outline plans to develop a comprehensive social media and blogging strategy to create a ‘genuine online debate among MEPs, European political groups and parties, and voters’ ahead of the European elections in 2014.

Seems fair enough! Really? The EU wants to spend OUR money on essentially trying to get #Brussels4EVA trending. Want to know how much this is going to cost?

I suppose you’re going to tell me anyway? An extra £787,000 for them to literally spend more time on Twitter in a desperate attempt to convince people that they are not total buffoons ahead of the 2014 European elections. You’d think that they would be busy tackling ACTUAL issues!

Such as? Such as getting Greece back on their feet? Ya know, Greece? That country that used to be the hub for political philosophy and metaphysics and now is just known for its cheap package holidays and feta cheese.

So what makes this MEP chap such a baddy then? Well, his general sentiment is right – this is a really stupid idea and it’s such pie-in-the-sky proposals that make the EU such an easy target. However, to battle such plans, we need a reasonable debate that is informed by meaningful rhetoric.

You’re so sexy when you’re angry. Dude, not now…

Sorry. So what’s wrong with Paul Nuttall’s rhetoric? It’s crazy, that’s what’s wrong with it. Earlier this week he said of this social media initiative that ‘people are waking up in an Orwellian nightmare of the EU’s making’. Now whilst the EU may be incompetent, labelling their activity as an ‘Orwellian nightmare’ is the exact kind of statement that tars rational eurosceptics with the delusional, paranoid, crazy brush.

This UKIP chap sounds like he was the kind of kid that teachers had to warn about eating yellow snow! I would appreciate it if you leave the long-winded put-downs to me in future. It’s not quite fair either: the truth is, the EU aren’t involved in any plan to enslave us into a dystopian world where our every move is scrutinised by Big Brother, UKIP are just talking it up again.

What are they getting involved in then? They are just entering into the very boring popularity contest known as Twitter, dominated by smug-Atheists, Piers Morgan and One Direction fans – idiots, basically. If the EU want to waste their time on that, good luck to them. But if they want to spend our money in doing so, then we need rational voices to speak out against it… rationally.

*This may or may not be a joke. Unfortunately.

**This money was donated in May 2007 when Hazel Blears was running for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. The money may or may not have now been spent, so may not be available to roll around on.

Please note: Opinions expressed above are those of the journalist and do not necessarily represent the views of Mancunian Matters. The regular Heroes and Villains column is intended for entertainment purposes.

PIcture courtesy of Social Enterprise UK, with thanks.

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