Tuesday, May 25, 2004

up and down the Cheetham Hill Road

A shoddy article in today’s Guardian on the subject of the Muslim vote - apparently, sub-editing is haram or something – did bring to mind a stroll down the Cheetham Hill Road last Saturday.

With an election pending, you normally find that most of the businesses have posters up. Round here, that means either Labour or Lib Dem, or quite often both. They let people put posters for lost pitbulls in their windows, so why not political candidates? The locals are a courteous bunch, by and large.

This time there were more posters than usual, and they were all for the Lib Dems. The beaming, bald bonce of Qasim Afzal followed me all the way down the road. Due to some problem with the offset process, however, the forces of Liberal Democracy in the Cheetham Hill ward were visually represented by an ugly shade of burnt orange.

Gorgeous George’s acolytes were also out soliciting, but not getting many customers. The lads at Spices of Kashmir put one of their posters up – in emetic shades of yellow and green – but they’re only young.

As ever at times like this, I wonder where the hell the Tories are. In times past, they had good representation in Manchester and a fairly strong local organization. And these are small businesspeople we’re talking about. They don’t like taxes any the better because their parents came from somewhere around the Pakistan/China/Kashmir border area. I suspect the Tories’ ongoing trouble – their continued feebleness - isn’t down to their ideas, but to their lack of organization. If they were stronger in this regard they’d have held on to the swivel-eyed loons too. Build the party, comrades!

For the record, the all-important B&T endorsement goes to the least unappealing of our three centre right parties, in a newly established popular front with proprietors of the Midway Halal grocers and the Sizzling Balti. I might give the crusties a punt in the generals, assuming they venture out of Hulme.