MM chat to LGBT campaigner Mike Jackson
NATIONS IN CONFLICT
M M l o o k s a t t h e w o r k o f a r ti s t R e e n a S a i n i K a l l a t
Who’ll be Manchester’s next King of the Ring?
Let’s ‘Make Smoking History’
G r ea t er M a n c h e st e r r e si d e n t s u r g e d t o jo i n c a mp a i g n t o c u t h a b b i t b y a t h i r d b y 2 0 2 1
By Adam Wareing
One in two smokers are killed by their addiction, but Greater Manchester wants to lead the way in creating a generation free from cigarettes. In a new campaign to ‘Make Smoking History’, local residents will now have the opportunity to join the battle to cut smoking prevalence by a third by 2021. A survey has launched to gauge public opinion on the issue, and advocates of the programme called ‘History Makers’ will be the face of the cause. Backed by the ‘Don’t Be The 1’ initiative, its subjects include the possibility of extending smoke-free areas and fighting for tobacco retailers to be licensed. Greater Manchester has higher smoking prevalence than the national average at 16%, with one young person starting smoking every hour. Stop-smoking advocates and medical professionals met on February 12 to discuss the area’s radical plans in the company of Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. Burnham previously led the fight for smoke-free legislation enforced in 2007 and passed a bill as Health Secretary forcing shops to cover up cigarettes. He claimed parliamentary devolution has given the region opportunity to “go further, faster than anywhere else in the country” on the issue. Government measures have made good steps, he said, but Manchester can “take this on from the bottom up and do it differently and hopefully more successfully. “Let’s empower the ‘History Makers’ to get into schools and really get the message over as powerfully as we possibly can,” he added. The tobacco industry’s worldwide profits are greater than Coca Cola, McDonalds and Microsoft combined, and the survey will also aim to gain support for a ‘polluter levy’. On the war against tobacco companies,
the mayor claimed: “It’s sickening that tobacco companies are still profiteering on the back of disease and death. “Let’s make it plain to people that they are the enemies of the people here in Greater Manchester.” History Maker David Gorner, 45, explained why he wanted to get involved, saying: “I did it because I wanted to raise awareness of the problems smoking causes.” “It’s about getting out there and showing your face to tell people that there’s help out there if you need it and anyone can make a difference.” David gave up smoking as a bet with his dad but says: “I still have friends who smoke and I’ve had friends who died because of smoking.” Dr Matt Edison, a consultant in respiratory medicine, sees the destruction of what he cites as the “agent of death” on a daily basis. At the launch, he described smoking as “a corporate-driven human tragedy of epic proportions.” He believes the key to success is changing the perception of tobacco addiction from it being seen as a conscious choice to being recognised as a disease itself. “That’s a big culture change in the NHS. “For too long the process of treating this disease has fallen on the shoulders of a small group of specialists which have been progressively withdrawn.” The proud Mancunian feels the area needs to proactively reach out to smokers so they receive the care they need, not just simply ask them to seek help. He added: “If you come into hospital with an alcohol addiction there is a very clear pathway of how that is treated with medication - smoking does not have that same pathway.” Infamous local poet Tony Walsh hosted the event and linked Manchester’s proud, innovative past to the region’s possibilities of ‘Making Smoking History’.
He told MM: “If people recall my poem, This is the Place from the bomb vigil, it lists many of the radical thinkers and world leaders we’ve had here in Manchester.” Whether it’s Emmeline Pankhurst or whether it's the people who split the atom or developed computing here, it’s always been a city of firsts. “But it’s a place that struggles with some of the highest smoking rates in the country and some of the worst health statistics to go with that,” he added. “With the new Greater Manchester partnership we have a real chance to significantly reduce smoking prevalence in our city.” One of the initiative’s ‘case studies’, Micheal Brady, 66, was included in a ‘Don’t Be The 1’ online clip and began smoking at 12-years-old. The wake-up call came after being diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) following a visit to one of North Manchester’s pioneering lung health checks. He recalled: “I got up one the morning and I started talking to myself - I said ‘what am I doing’.” “‘I'm getting all this help from doctors and nurses, everybody's trying to help’, and I said ‘that’s it’, and I’ve never picked up a cigarette again.” On the initiative, he said: “I think we’re going in the right direction definitely, but unfortunately no matter who’s in government, they get that much tax off cigarettes, they’ll only go so far.” In a survey conducted by MM, 64% said they feel there needs to be more awareness campaigns warning of smoking’s dangers. While only 10% of those who were regular smokers admitted to being addicted. To fill in the History Makers survey and find more information on how to help Make Smoking History in Greater Manchester, visit www.historymakersgm.co.uk. HISTORY MAKER: David Gorner, 45, gave up smoking and now wants to help others do the same.
Who w ill be Manchester’s next king of the ring?
MM takes a look at 2018’s biggest and best prospects By Luke Madeira
Boxing is booming at the moment, with the likes of Anthony Crolla, Terry Flanagan and Scott Quigg competing on the world scene whilst representing the city. But who are the next group of fighters to follow in their footsteps and challenge on the world scene? MM has put together our top-5 hot prospects from Manchester to look out for in 2018.
Mark Heffron Having recently signed a promotional deal with Frank Warren, Heffron is being touted as not only one of Manchester’s top prospects, but he’s somebody that is being highly touted as a star of the future by people up and down the country. Trained by legendary Mancunian fighter Ricky Hatton, Mark ‘Kid Dynamite’ Heffron has an explosive style and natural punch power that can’t be seen in many other fighters. With 14 stoppages in his first eighteen fights, his power is there for all to see.
Last time out he stopped the very durable Lewis Taylor (the first time Taylor’s been stopped in his professional career), and the win put him in line for a shot at the British middleweight title. The man from Oldham is a huge ticket seller which will only work in his favour going forwards, and you should expect to see Mark on your television screens very soon.
Zelfa Barrett Another highly touted prospect from Manchester is Zelfa ‘Brown Flash’ Barrett. He came to the attention of the nation’s hardcore boxing community as soon as he turned professional, with his stoppage of Joe Beeden being the stand out performance of his first year in the paid ranks. His toughest test so far came against Eusebio Osejo in Bolton, where he was taken ten rounds for the first time - invaluable experience for what was to come next. Last time out Zelfa picked up his first professional title, the converted English featherweight crown, with a fourth round stoppage of Chris Conwell.
Next up for ‘Brown Flash’ is another tough test against seasoned professional Ronnie Clark for the IBF European title later this month.
Danny Wright Danny Wright has somewhat gone under
the radar so far in his career, notching up seven wins since turning pro in October of 2016. Another one of Frank Warren’s latest signings, Danny looks to have everything. Trained by Ben Lancaster, Wright’s fluid
HOT PROSPECT: Zelfa Barrett is being higly touted by experts.
movement creates opportunities to land shots that many people simply could not. ‘The Wolf’s’ fan base is growing from fight to fight and 2018 could be the year he is released onto the big stage. The destruction of previously unbeaten Ilian Markov has to be the highlight of his career so far.
Lyndon Arthur ‘The King’ has been destroying everything that has been put in front of him as a professional so far, with seven stoppage wins in his nine contests. Campaigning at light heavyweight, 2018 looks like the year he will be fighting for his first titles. Stoppages against the durable Elvis Dube, Josef Obeslo and Tayar Mehmed have put the boxing world on high alert to see what the future holds. Hailing from Moston, Lyndon is a strong fighter with power in both hands. His stoppage victories are set up very well behind the jab, and so far his opponents have struggled to deal with him. Next up is Saidou Sall on March 3rd at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester,
and provided he wins Lyndon will be looking to push on in levels very soon.
Kane Gardner Despite only having had three fights so far in his career, Kane Gardner has got a lot of people talking about him. His debut was an accomplished performance against Youssef Al Hamidi, but his stand out fight so far came against legendary journeyman Kristian Laight. Laight is famous for being able to deal with anything his opponent throws at him to see the final bell, but Gardner systematically dismantled him. Laight hit the canvas in the fourth round (which is very rare) and he was literally saved by the bell. If the fight had gone on any longer Gardner would have undoubtedly got the stoppage. Last time out Gardner stopped Andrew Ponsford to end 2017 3-0. With a few more learning fights, Gardner looks set to light up what is already a competitive division at super-lightweight, and all north-west clashes for titles are looking likely for Gardner in 2018.
Manchester’s Finest? Manchester has a proud history of producing some fine boxers over the years but not many as fine as the man they called The Hitman.
Proud City fan Ricky Hatton, one of England’s most proficient Boxers of the early 00s.
Hatton is also one of the few boxers awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Throughout his whole career, Hatton only lost 3 out of 48 professional fights. In his younger years, Hatton took part in 3 juniour championships as light-welterweight.
Hatton isn’t the only one in his family with a panchant for boxing, his younger brother Matthew ‘Matty’ Hatton took part in fight WBC light-middleweight world championship.
PRIDE IN PROTEST... MIKE JACKSON TALKS TO MM ABOUT THE LGBT AND MINERS ALLIANCE
By Hannah Molnar
KEY influencer of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) Group, Michael Jackson, talked to MM about his experience and role in the historical movement. The miner’s strike of 1984 - 1985 saw two seemingly unrelated communities, the miners and the LGBT, join together in support of each other’s rights as Margaret Thatcher fought to close Britain’s coal mines. The 2014 production, ‘Pride’ depicts a handful of core individuals from the LGBT community, Mr Jackson included, who united to raise money and march for the miners. Special screenings of the original video of 1984’s ‘All Out: Dancing in Dubais’ and the 2014 film ‘Pride’, alongside a Q&A with Mike, took place in Stockport in February. The LGSM was founded three months into the strike, when a chance encounter with friend, Mark Ashton resulted in an unexpected alliance which challenged societal stereotypes and played a small but important role in changing the course of history. Joining his friend,co-founder of LGSM Mark Ashton, in taking some buckets to the Gay Pride March of 1984, the two then began collecting for the striking miners. Mr Jackson told MM, ‘it was as simple as that’ and the amount of support they received financially, but also verbally, left them pleasantly surprised. Thatcher had reached her second term of office and public support was depleting. Mike soon became known as the ‘Keeper of the Flame,’ and as the secretary of LGSM, had a hugely active role in the LGSM’s activities, while rallying the troops when needed. “There was a lot of support within the LGBT community at that time but nobody had thought to lobby us for something like this. “Our community was beleaguered enough as it was, so I suppose people wouldn’t think naturally to appeal to the gay community to support another community” he added. Despite the LGBT community only playing a small role among the vast range of different people and organisations that helped the miners, their involvement was pivotal to the cause. This then led to the participation of miner’s labour groups, who then began endorsing and supporting gay pride events across the country. The new alliance and friendship between the two groups saw the passing of a motion, committing the Labour Party to support LGBT rights. “I never would have believed that we’d come as far as we have. But I don’t want to sound complacent either, we haven’t got complete equality and we still experience violence in Britain, and occasionally people are murdered”, Jackson insisted.
Raised by his grandmother, a working class single-parent of two, Mike was brought up in the midst of the depression in Accrington, Lancashire. His grandmother, who had learnt what politics was by experiencing the direct effects of the government’s decisions, was a detrimental influence on Mike, who became politically active from a young age. “She told me that in the 1930s, if the Tories got into power people would weep, because they knew that working class people would get a hiding. And that’s as true today as it was 80 years ago.” Mike was thrilled when he found out a film would be made documenting the actions of himself and the rest of the LGSM group. “I thought what we’d achieved was fairly remarkable and as time went by it seemed that history was forgotten because nobody was remembering it. “So when the possibility of it being documented was a reality that was great and imagining it being a movie was just incredible and now everybody knows what we did. “I’ve become more and more left wing and more and more angry as I get older. Because it’s the same fucking things we’ve been fighting 40 years for, housing, jobs and so on. I’ve been here so many times.” Despite the significant change that Mike has seen over the last few decades, especially for the LGBT community, he says: “In other respects, the material lives that we live, and the poverty and wealth and so forth, there’s not been much change at all. In fact I think that aspect is worse now than it was during the miners’ strike. “I don’t think that it is, it definitely is. The disparity between the very rich and the rest of us, it’s wider than it’s ever been in human history and that’s very concerning.” Mike believes that it is down to rampant capitalism, which he accredits to being ideologically driven by Thatcher. MM asked Mr Jackson for an example of how life as an LGBT was harder back before any political party backed the community and he replied, being ignored. “It’s one thing being attacked; it’s worse being ignored. Because at least if you’re being attacked, you’re in the public eye and you can shout.” As a student, Mike and fellow volunteers of a LGBT charity tried to pay to put a classified add up in their local newspaper, The Evening Centre, to advertise a helpline for the LGBT community. They were refused, as Mike told MM, due to the fact they were homophobic. “So there’s us trying to reach out to isolated lesbians and gay men, willing to pay for an advert and they wouldn’t even take our money off us,” he added. The volunteers then stormed they’re office and occupied their reception area in protest. Mike continued, “I doubt that The Evening Centre has ever apologised for that but at least now it would be illegal for them to do that.”
“The f ans r ecogn ised it By Jacob Bentley-York
For a generation of young Manchester United supporters, the Munich air disaster of 1958 is synonymous with the club’s enormous history and is something that clearly defines the principles seen in the players today. Earlier this month, United commemorated exactly 60 years to the day when 23 people, including players, staff and journalists, lost their lives when Flight 609 collided with a building on an icy afternoon at MunichRiem Airport. Attended by survivors Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, as well as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and the entire first team squad, the snowy afternoon at Old Trafford represented more than just a commemoration to the fallen. The day was a celebration of the traditions and ethos of what it means to play and support Manchester United. Speaking to fans after the service, it became apparent that, for those alive and born in and around the time of the tragedy,
the crash represented a catalyst for change at the club. It sparked an upturn in fans entering the turnstiles of Old Trafford and creating the worldwide support it has today. David Thompson grew up watching the Busby Babes from his home town in Northern Ireland and recollected the time he saw them on TV, when they played in the 1957 FA Cup final against Aston Villa. Despite losing 2-1 on the day, he described himself as “lucky” when referring to watching the young prodigies on TV when “black and white was a very new thing”. With this experience, the 75-year-old recollected the day it happened and how the news broke through to his small classroom in Northern Ireland and the substantial reaction that ensued. “When the news came through, the school was closed down as everyone seemed to be a Manchester United follower. “Even at the time, there were Irish players from both the North and South so there was a lot of interest," he told MM.
“What was very relevant was the days after Munich when Duncan Edwards died.
“We were all told at school in class and the teacher from the class next door came in and told the headmaster the news and he just shut the whole school as a result. On his love for the club and the reasons the Babes were so influential, Mr Thomp-
of a legacy
wa s a spec ial tim e” son added: “The legacy is seen worldwide and, even though they weren’t the greatest team in the world or the greatest team in Europe at the time, they certainly were the most loved team as there was never any animosity towards them. “It was all to do with the fact that they were young boys and that was very new in the game. Also speaking on the influence of the Babes and the reaction worldwide, 62year-old Salford born Ken Chapman, who was only three at the time, explained: “We’ve always been called the famous Manchester United and that to me seems to have revolved around the beginnings of what happened after the Munich air disaster. “This was particularly relevant in the way Sir Matt Busby carried on the traditions of the club in the years that were to follow which culminated in the achievement 10 years later when he won the European Cup in 1968. “Ultimately, I feel we carried on from there really and I just feel lucky to be part
of this great club. “ Other fans spoke of their own personal memories of members of Sir Matt Busby’s team prior to the crash and how they were affected by the tragedy. Alongside his friends, Mark and Iain, Shropshire-born James Allman, 76, said: “Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards were taking their national service near my home in Shropshire in the mid-1950s and they served in the Army Camp in Nesscliffe. “I will always remember the story about Duncan Edwards that I would share with my friends, as it was thought that Duncan was very friendly with a girl in the village, although we never knew how friendly though. “When I found out off the television the day it happened, I was shocked just like everyone else and it was big news as you can imagine.” His friends and fellow lifelong fans, brothers Mark and Iain Rogers, 54 and 60 respectively, added their thoughts on the memorial service.
“As usual it was very well staged and beautifully struck. “It’s what the club do best and I think it was done very professionally.” Clearly striking a chord with many fans, the service, led by club Chaplain Rev John Boyers, left supporters and players alike with these final words on the Munich Air Disaster and the memory of the Busby Babes. “We cannot remain in the past. We look back and remember as we have today but we must also learn to look forward, to aspire to touch the heights of past excellence again, and go beyond them. “We should let United’s past be a springboard for the future. “The sad memories of today must become a springboard of hope.”
EXPLORING THE BOUNDARIES OF WORLD CONFLICT
By Lauren Dent
THE exhibition was part of the New North and South network, which took place in galleries around Manchester from September 30 2017 - February 25 2018. Unlike the majority of the exhibitions, the museum invited Reena Saini Kallat to display her work because of the conversation it opens up between the natural world and humans. Reena Saini Kallat uses her talents in a portfolio of drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos. Her work exposes conflict, identity, memory, history and the natural world and merges with the Manchester Museum to create a beautiful, diverse and captivating exhibition. Morphed animals, skeletons intertwined with living bodies, flowers alongside barbed wire, sculptures of drones, gates and Second World War pre-radar acoustic devices all move towards more than just a line of communication with nature and human. If one looks close enough and reads into the piece of art at hand, they will notice a touch of a geopolitical viewpoint. Inspired by ‘Moud’ the tigon at the museum, Reena said: “Hyphenated lives is all an imagined species, of birds, animals, trees and flowers that are formed by countries that are illegally partitioned. “They come together to form this identity, which in some cases form seamlessly together, but in others, retain the violence in the image itself as if it’s been sutured and stitched together.” Having been born and brought up in India, Reena’s art can be seen to be based around the India-Pakistan conflict. She was not affected immediately by the situation, but has been told stories of the partition from close relatives from when they lived through it. Hyphenated Lives (2015), for example, uses animals and national symbols from two areas and joins them together, sometimes involving barbed wire in the pictures to represent the conflict or border lines. The peacock, the national bird of India and the chukar, the national bird of Pakistan, are developed into the “pekar”. She transitions from her own country however, to show the disputes of many other countries, such as Mexico and the USA or Ireland and the UK. Some of the works show the skeleton in the animal used to depict “the fragments of different parts of the animals. They almost make it look like this was one beast.” This in turn could reference the countries once being one part and now being separate pieces. Reena uses current affairs, often referring to newspapers for
information, and feels that the lengths humans go to in terms of monopolizing natural forms and species in certain areas is almost the “politicising” of nature. She believes animals are particular to a certain land and don’t actually belong to a country itself. She said: “It almost shows us how nature is demonstrating to us that we are not respecting divisions on the ground and showing us how we could co-exist and inhabit this planet. “I almost feel the need to turn to a species other than the human race to express that.” The works progress further into wire sculptures. Anatomy of Distance (2014) and Half Oxygen (2014) use electric cables as “a transmitter of ideas and energies” and combine with communication cables to eventually morph back into barbed wires and fences. The woven image offers ideas that the movement towards technologies are actually the breakdowns in communications. Again referring to India and Pakistan, Half Oxygen (2014) presents the conflict over the disputed area of the territory of Kashmir by embroidering each of their national trees, the banyan and deodar into the shape of a pair of lungs. The lungs are accompanied by the sound of a heartbeat and put across the message of an oxygen-giving organ. The concept shows they need each other to work together, and that both trees came from the same shared roots. It shows a plea to attempt to look beyond the borders to the bonds that still lie. In her series White Birds (2015), one can see two images: a white bird, the symbol of love and peace, that was being scrutinized for being a “spy pigeon” when it sat on the border line, and a sculpture of a drone that got shot down in Pakistan. “This is what the work really comes down to, the gaps in communication or the misunderstandings and how we do not take the knowledge of our own perceptual limitations or how we hold onto our partial truths.” This piece ties along with the newly commissioned sculpture Chorus, designed around a pre-radar acoustic device used during the Second World War, but when viewers step between the two dishes, the birdsongs of border-sharing countries unite. The irony of such a war depicting device releasing such harmonious sounds is one of the symbolic gestures behind many of Reena’s works. Her ideas were recognitions of failures and mistakes of the past, but also to look beyond the differences to try and see the commonalities between fallen countries. The geopolitical features that lie between lands, flora and fauna seem to have been the underpinning tone in this exhibition, and somewhat hope, that lands will come together once again. Reena says: “I really don’t know where it goes from here. I almost feel I’m a catalyst and things come to me and I’m just there to help realize them.” Reena Saini Kallat (b. 1973, Delhi, India) graduated from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1996 with a B.F.A. in painting. She has widely exhibited at Institutions across the world including the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Kennedy Centre, Washington, Vancouver Art Galler,; Saatchi Gallery, London and many more.
SPICE BAN HAS PROVEN INEFFECTIVE
WHAT IS BEING DONE TO STOP MANCHESTERâ€™S SPICE EPIDEMIC
By Kieran Isgin
THE “zombie drug” known as ‘spice’ was a legal high, otherwise called a New Psychoactive Substance (NSP), before the UK government implemented a ‘carpet ban’ under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. Since its introduction to the city, spice has been a very serious problem for the council and Manchester citizens. Its users were most commonly the homeless in the city centre. But there were many reports of young people and even business men regularly using the drug as a legal alternative to smoking cannabis. While this brings up many issues such as how the council is dealing with homelessness in a city with the highest homeless population outside of London, consistently failing ‘war on drugs’ or rehabilitation over criminalising addicts. However I want to focus on the actual effects of the carpet ban the government implemented under the Psychoactive Substances Act. The law is known as a carpet ban because it bans all NSPs in the UK. This measure was taken because NSP manufacturers would tweak the drug formula to avoid it being illegal under laws specific to that drug formula. This cat and mouse routine did much more harm than good. Researchers found that within a year the drugs were much more potent and dangerous due to the constant changes in formula. However, post-ban we still see people in Manchester taking spice despite its newfound illegal status. The MM reported early this year that eleven users collapsed in the city centre which led to the police enforcing a very short curfew on Piccadilly to deal with the situation. This incident appears to be a symptom of something much more dangerous. There are reports of dealers selling spice at a very cheap price making it especially attractive to the homeless population. Does this mean the carpet ban has failed? Its purpose was to stop the spice epidemic striking the city. But all the police reports and news features in Manchester alone has shown the same activity is happening- only this time people are being arrested for it. But in jail the problem is far from rectified- the beginning of this year a video surfaced of prisoners in Strangeways taking spice and acting erratically as a result. Correspondence reveals that there might even be more spice in UK prisons than on the streets. However the main abusers of spice are not just prisoners, the city is seeing an increase in the drug being abused by the homeless. This often leads to them going into dazed states, often being unable to talk, and behaving unsocially. What’s most surprising is many of the homeless popula-
tion are taking spice in very public areas of Manchester, including Market Street and Picadilly Gardens. It’s understood that many homeless people have very cheap access to spice and use it as a coping mechanism for the harsh conditions they are forced to face in a constant battle against housing and benefits. One must also think of the other dangers that come from sweeping something like this under the table; it’s believe that the conditions spice is made in is far from sanitary. While believed to be made in Chinese “underground labs” a spice user has no way of knowing what they’re really ingesting and what the substance could be doing to their body. Experts, including members of the GMP, believe that the post-ban spice we’re seeing on the streets is remarkably stronger than when it wasn’t made illegal. This may be because manufacturers don’t have to worry about jumping around regulations and technicalities with the ingredients like they used to- perhaps putting in more serious substances like opioids. It’s clear to see that the carpet ban isn’t doing enough to deal with the spice epidemic in Manchester; it’s just shifted it underground where it can be more easily ignored by those who really do have the power to change this bleak situation. Andy Burnham has recently taken an iniciative to inprove homelessness in Manchester in 2018 but it feels as though he and the Manchester council aren’t addressing the drug abuse among the homeless population, possibly for fear of showing them in a negative light. The situation, however, could be much easier for us to fix if we were all frank and honest about the dangers of spice to the community that are conveniently being avoidedgoose-stepping us into a dangerous situation. Spice is a dangerous drug that targets the disadvantaged people in society who greatly struggle to fix this situation, their very lives could depend on whether the council, the GMP and the Mayor change the way they go about fighting this epidemic. A mere carpet ban and criminilisation of spice and spice-users is just a convenient damage control and is equivalent to placing a band-aid on a leaking dam which is ready to burst at any moment, more focus must be places on rehabilitation and lifting the disadvantaged from their positions. In April, the police reported at least 58 spicerelated incidents in Manchester in one single weekend alone. Surely that shows more needs to be done?
A s B B C de c l a r e s M anc he st e r th e 3 6 5t h b e s t p l a c e f o r w o m e n in UK , w e a s k .. .
What would Emmeline say...?
By Olivia Burke
THE origin of vegetarianism, the home of The Smiths and the birthplace of the Suffragette Movement, Manchester is a hub of cultural and political crusades. Which begs the question, how can the city of societal reform be ranked a miserable 365th out of 380 in a study by BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour of ‘Where is the Best Place to be a Woman?’ Emmeline Pankhurst would turn in her grave if she heard such a statement! As the hometown of many remarkable women, such as Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, and birth control pioneer Marie Stopes, Manchester is no stranger to powerful females - which only makes Manchester’s ranking all the more puzzling. 2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People’s Act, which gave the first women the right to vote. A landmark in history which couldn’t have been achieved without the fierce efforts of Moss Side-born activist Emmeline Pankhurst, and her children Christabel and Sylvia, aptly labelled ‘Manchester’s most disruptive of daughters’. Yet, the BBC’s study presents a stark contrast to the reality of the city which churns out revolutionaries for fun. The report assessed factors which have an impact upon women’s lives such as work and income, wellbeing, life expectancy, and the continually prominent issue of gender pay gaps. Despite the Equality Act in 2010, it is thought that on average women still earn around 18% less per hour than men. Manchester ranked 87/380 on income, 134/380 for education, 116/380 for housing affordability and a gloomy 368/380 for safety. This possibly says more about men than it does about women. A source from the National Centre for Social Research, who conducted the study, said: “The results were quite surprising. As a woman who’s lived in Manchester I think it’s a great place to live!” Looking more closely at the data, Manchester, and a lot of the London Local Authorities, scored pretty poorly on life expectancy, safety and wellbeing which may be due to their city status. Scotland’s East Dunbartonshire took the top spot as the ‘Best Place’ for women to live in the UK in 2017 while the London borough of Islington, closely followed by Blackpool and Corby was The ‘Our Emmeline’ statue, by sculptor Hazel Reeves
ranked the worst place. One-hundred years on from the Suffragette era, women are more empowered than ever before. After a lengthy and turbulent struggle, countless protests, boycotts, and petitions, the Women’s Movement has finally become a mainstream discussion which refuses to be ignored. To commemorate this milestone, the City of Manchester is providing a female friend to the only statue of a woman in the city, Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, by unveiling plans for an 8ft bronze statue of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst set to be placed in 2019. Student Lucy O’Toole, from Middleton, said in regards to the statue: “I think it is an important step forward in embracing and celebrating our achievements as women. “As a young woman from Manchester myself, I know it will give future generations a reminder of how far we have come and continue to go. “I’m only surprised this didn’t happen sooner!” Set to face the Free Trade Hall and diligently keeping the Suffragette spirit alive is the Pankhurst Centre, situated on Nelson Street, which has become a campaign hotspot for the Suffragettes and been an instrumental force in the erection of the statue. As Pankhurst’s family home and base for political meetings, the authentic history of the commemorative museum is enchanting on its own and remains a sanctuary for women today. MM spoke to the Pankhurst Operational Manager Elaine De Fries, to see what she thought of the Women’s Hour results. “I wholeheartedly disagree with the results! “Manchester is a fantastic place to be a woman, there are ample opportunities and resources at our disposal, yet we suffer from underinvestment like most northern cities. “Manchester is a vibrant and exciting place to be, with so many opportunities for women, yet we still have some way to go. “We try to continue the Suffragette legacy, whilst helping women through modern day issues too.” To celebrate International Woman’s Day on March 8, events will be taking place across the city, as well as the ‘Wonder Woman’s Festival’ spanning over 10 days which celebrates Manchester’s radical feminist history. In reference to the cities first International Woman’s Day Festival next year, Manchester City Council said: “What makes Manchester special and like nothing else on earth is its people. Manchester people are doers and the women of Manchester are no exception. “Their contribution to the city is huge. Women are the backbone to family life, help create safe and happy neighbourhoods, inspiring trust and friendship and contribute enormously to the economy, across the professions and all other areas of work.” Whilst this anniversary serves as a chance to reflect on how many obstacles women have overcome, it also provides further encouragement to continue the Suffragette legacy - making our city an even better place to be a woman.
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Published on Mar 8, 2018