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9 months ago By Tom Slater

The very personal views of David Shuttleworth

The 6th Feb is an important date!!
Women’s suffrage

On the 6th Feb 1918 the royal assent was given to the Representation of the People Act which gave the right to vote to at least some women.

Manchester has always been a radical political city with Free Trade, Anti Corn Laws, Marx and Engels, the TUC, the Co-operative movement, even vegetarianism. So it was inevitable that Manchester would be at the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement.

Emmeline Pankurst lived in a house on Nelson St near the Royal Infirmary. The movement she led from 1903 was a militant one which was impatient and not reluctant to embrace positive action which resulted in demonstrations, imprisonment and force feeding.

The initial achievement of obtaining the vote was the beginning of a journey not the end. The movement towards equality and in particularly equality of opportunity has been slow but perhaps progressive.

My mother won a scholarship to Altrincham Girl’s Grammar School in 1928. She attended the school despite the fact that her father could not understand the point in a girl going to a school and taking exams.

When she was 16 her father died and my mother had to leave school to find a job to supplement the family income. She got what was considered a “good” job with the Co-op in the cashier’s office. Some years later when my mother married she was expected to resign. Married women did not work and the Co-op definitely did not employ them.

Some 25 years later my wife became the first girl from her school to win a place at Oxford. When she applied for jobs 3 years later she became one of the first women to be recruited onto the graduate training programme at the Bank of England. When we moved to Manchester she worked for Manchester City Council but when our daughter Anna was born in 1973 there was no such thing as maternity leave and Christine gave up her job and did not work for around 10 years. When she returned she created a successful career as a senior administrator at MMU.

My daughter has had a very successful career and following Altrincham GS and Oxford she now holds a senior role at MGS. My Daughter in Law, another AGS girl, is the MD of a business which operates in various parts of the world and is currently establishing a venture in China.

Both women do not, I think, feel in any way inferior to a man, probably the very opposite. Inarguably there has been progress for women since 1918 but it has been slow progress. There are still many challenges to be met. Women are very underrepresented in many areas of modern life. Relatively few women are MPs and few are in leadership roles in business. There are still marked pay gaps in many areas. We are daily being regaled by horrific stories of harassment and sexual exploitation. There is much to be done if we are to reach the desired position. It can only be hoped that that will not take another 100 years.

Flowers of Manchester
On 6th Feb 1958 the plane carrying the Manchester Utd team home from a European game in Belgrade crashed trying to take off from Munich airport.

23 people died including 8 players-Roger Byrne (Capt), Geoff Bent, Eddie Coleman, Duncan Edwards (survived the crash but died in hospital 15 days later), Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan.

Utd staff killed were Walter Crickmer (Secretary), Tom Curry (Trainer) and Bert Whalley (Chief Coach).

Utd players who survived the crash were Johnny Berry (never played again and died in 1994), Jackie Blanchflower (never played again and died 1998), Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes (died 2013), Harry Gregg, Kenny Morgan (died 2012), Albert Scanlon (died 2009), Dennis Viollet (died 1999), Ray Wood (died 2002).

Matt Busby (Manager died 1994).

8 leading football journalists based in Manchester including the great Frank Swift also died.

Following the crash there was some speculation that the club would fold but a threadbare Utd team completed the 1957-58 season with Busby’s assistant Jimmy Murphy, who had not travelled to Belgrade as he was in Cardiff managing the Wales team, managing the club.

In the first game played after Munich, Utd fielded a team largely made up of reserves and youth team players and in an emotionally charged atmosphere beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. The programme for the match showed simply a blank space where each Utd name should have been.

I was amongst the crowd at that game, aged 12. It was a time when you saw 65,000 grown men cry.

Desperate for experience, Murphy signed Ernie Taylor from Blackpool and Stan Crowther from Aston Villa. Amateur Warren Bradley was transferred from Bishop Auckland. The rest of the team was made up of reserve team players including Shay Brennan and Mark “Pancho” Pearson. (not sure if Alex Dawson played)

After the crash Utd only won one league game and their title challenge collapsed and they finished the season in 9th place. They did, however, reach the FA Cup Final where they lost 0-2 to Bolton Wanderers, with centre forward Nat Lofthouse scoring by shoulder charging Harry Gregg along with the ball into the back of the net - perfectly legal in those days.

Utd also reached the semi final of the European Cup where they beat Milan at Old Trafford only to lose 4-0 at the San Siro. Real Madrid won the Cup and suggested that the Cup should be presented to Utd. This did not happen which was, in my opinion, the correct decision.

Matt Busby returned to lead the club in the 1958-59 season and eventually built a second generation of Busby Babes including George Best and Denis Law. Ten years later the team won the European Cup beating Benefica after extra time in the Final with a team which included crash survivors Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes along with youngsters John Aston, Brian Kidd and Alex Stepney in goal. I was at the game and to some degree it felt like the end of a journey.

The Trinity of Best, Law and Charlton is commemorated by a wonderful statue outside Old Trafford.

Utd will always be a very special club and Munich will be written large in its history. As anecdotally Peter Kenyon is supposed to have told Roman Abramovich when the Russian said he wanted to make Chelsea as famous as Manchester Utd. “First of all, have a plane crash”.

Stop Press
I have just attended the memorial service at Old Trafford to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Munich. Inevitably it was a moving occasion with around 5,000 supporters, the Utd First team squad, the u23 and the junior programme. Prominent were Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, the two living survivors of the crash.

I think that we can be sure that the Flowers of Manchester will never be forgotten.

“Tories are lying to the Voters and to themselves”
Matthew Parris. Times Journalist and former Tory MP.
Article Feb 3rd 2018
“Attempts to hide the true cost of Brexit are a fraud committed by a government that does not believe in what it is doing.”

“Oh for pity’s sake. If you’re going to set a nation on a daring but risky course, you examine the options - of course you do. You do the cost benefit analyses-that’s what civil servants are for. Some of the reports will describe costs. How could it be otherwise? There is every reason why ministers should have wanted these studies, no reason to be ashamed they exist, and every reason to be open about the results. If you believe in Brexit, where’s the shame in acknowledging that there are costs and uncertainties and you wanted to know and face up to them?

“So why all the furtiveness?

“Disingenuous doesn’t do it justice. This is fraud.

“Isn’t it now clear that the government does not believe in what it is doing, can’t even decide how to do it, has n’t got the guts to say so and is trying to creep forward under cover of fog hoping something will turn up. If Theresa May and her cabinet were a prisoner in the dock , mumbling and stumbling , avoiding our eyes and under pressure dribbling out banalities , repetitions, and evasions, the jury would need about 30 seconds to decide. Guilt is all over the pages of this contemptible Tory story. They know that the referendum placed voters in an impossible position. They know that, narrowly, the voters made a mistake. They can see this is becoming plain. They know-the majority are not zealots –that our party is now acting against the interests of our country. And nobody has the spine to say so.

Governments have made terrible mistakes. Eden over Suez. Blair over Iraq. Brexit is worse. “Most of the parliamentary party do not even believe in the ends. I seriously doubt that Boris Johnson does. A terrified, paralysed prime minister leads a sea sick party and doubting government towards she knows not what.

“Wickedness may not always lie in the carrying forward of bad projects. It may also lie in allowing oneself to be carried forward by them, knowing their wrongfulness. Perhaps that is more culpable, for zealots at least believe in their madness. A special kind of guilt attaches to the sane majority of the Conservative Party today. It is written across their faces.”

Trade Deals with the rest of the world? I thought we traded with the rest of the world.

The Brexit debate has almost exclusively centred on trade which to me is arguably not the central issue. However, I will stick with trade.

When asked what are the advantages of Brexit the leavers parrot that we will be able to make our own trade deals outside the EU. Recently, the new PM of New Zealand said that she would want to strike a deal with the UK as soon as possible. I was not aware that we did not trade with New Zealand and given that Scotland has a larger population and is considerably nearer I am not convinced it would be a game changer.

Last spring Christine and I went on a river cruise in SW France. It was organised through an Australian company called ATP based in Melbourne. Much recommended but one outcome was that a considerable number of Australians were amongst our fellow passengers. Given that as much booze as you could consume was included in the price conversation generally became easier and easier. One of the subjects of conversation though by no means the only one was “What is this Brexit nonsense? Why on earth would you want to leave the EU?”

“Because we want to strike trade deals with countries outside the EU.”

“Like who?”

“Like Australia.”

“Why on earth would we want to strike a trade deal with you? We are an Asian country we sell our minerals and our food to China. We buy our cars from Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. We want to trade with Asian countries like Indonesia and India!

“When you joined the EU 40 years ago you did not give a fig about Australia. Why should we care about the UK? When the Queen dies we will finally become a republic and the only thing we will care about the UK is beating you at cricket.”

It does seem to me that we do a fair bit of trading with the rest of the world. Major companies like Rolls Royce and British Aerospace do most of their business with countries outside Europe in the Middle and Far East. Rolls Royce has a major part of its jet engine division in Barnoldswick near Skipton but they have a similar plant in Singapore built for them by the Singapore government.

My daughter in law’s company is based in Ardwick but does business not only with Europe but with South Africa, Sri Lanka, and China (where they are working on setting up a joint venture). Brexit has only been the source of problems and damage to her business.

Manchester has been recently lauded as the fastest growing city centre in Europe, which is despite Brexit rather than because of it. A look around and you see the influence of overseas trading and investment partnerships.

The expansion of Airport City is backed by Chinese finance as is the Mainwood Locks housing development. If you come off the M56 at Hale Barns it is difficult to miss the US invasion led by Amazon and DHL. It is rumoured that Amazon are about to take office space in the city centre.

The Man City connection has led to significant investment from Abu Dhabi in housing in Ancoats and in the development of the University.

On a more trivial level the Apple Store in the Arndale Centre and the Google Garage on King St, and the opening of two very large Victoria’s Secret stores in the Arndale would to me indicate that it is possible to do business with the USA without leaving the EU.

We are often being told that the service sector is the most important part of the UK economy but you wonder about this with the lack of attention it is currently getting from the government.

For Manchester soccer is a major economic driver and it seems that is true for the UK as a whole. Not sure whether this is a part of the service sector or not. Clubs are increasingly foreign owned. Utd and Liverpool by Americans, City by Arabs, Chelsea by Russians, Leicester City by Thais, Arsenal by Americans and Russians, West Brom by Chinese, Watford by Italians, Aston Villa by Chinese. I suspect you could go on and on!

Television rights are a generator of huge income mainly from the Far East and will probably continue to grow particularly with rumoured interest from Amazon.

Many British companies are foreign owned. There are, to all intents and purposes, no British car makers even though we have a bigger car assembly industry than ever but the plants are Japanese, German, Indian and French.

We no longer have British Steel but we have Indian Steel with Tata a main player.

I am probably being naive but I find it difficult to understand why and how Brexit can increase the amount of international trade that the UK does. There would seem to be extensive opportunities out there anyway. Brexit will certainly damage the trade with our largest market, the EU.

We hear that countries like the USA, China and India are bursting to deals with the UK. From the evidence of the limited response to date eagerness is difficult to detect. USA is famously an inward looking economy. It is self sufficient in energy, in many minerals and in food. The country is an enormous domestic market and trading overseas is not a priority. India, it would seem would make any trade deal dependent on a significant increase of migration from India to UK. China, I suspect, will eventually do a deal with anyone but the UK has not been that proactive in the recent past. Germany does many times more trade with China than does the UK. It is difficult to see Liam Fox being the dynamic force which will change this situation.

We would seem to be willing to sacrifice the many benefits of membership of the EU such as 70 years of peace in Europe, security from possible aggression from terrorism or from 100,000 Russian troops close to the eastern border of the EU. The ability to work and study anywhere in Europe is a freedom which is valued by many young people. The benefits that stem from co-operation in research at places like the nuclear research facility at Cadarache in southern France where many British scientists work. Over 40 years there have been many advances in protecting the rights of ordinary workers (one fears that these will be eroded in the interests of the much vaunted bonfire of regulations.)

(If you want to see people who value freedom and the security visit the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Until 1991 they were Russian satellite states and most people knew someone who had been either exiled or executed by the Russians. The EU is their protection.)

Updated 18:07 - 7 Feb 2018 by Tom Slater

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