Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eating at Conference

In Manchester you can eat pretty much any type of food but at Conference you’ll probably want instant gratification, so most of the ones listed below are within stumbling distance of conference. Don’t forget the chip shop, one of Manchester’s unique contributions to world cuisine, gravy a speciality.
A tip well worth knowing is that lots of these restaurants have websites with lots of two for one offers etc-So, google before you go!
Castlefield – Dimitri’s – Campfield Arcade – Junction of Deansgate and Campfield. Tel: 0161 839 3319. Great Greek restaurant & bar, smashing for sitting out when the weathers nice.

El Rincon, 244 Deansgate. 0161 8398819 – Excellent Spanish restaurant downstairs and very relaxed.Can be a little hard to find as its on a backstreet just off Deansgate but well worth the effort.
Evuna, 277 Deansgate-0161 230 5337. Another excellent Spanish restaurant.

Café Istanbul 79 Bridge street – Tel: 0161 833 9942. just off Deansgate, an excellent Turkish Restaurant,

Topkapi, 205 Deansgate -0161 832 9803. Another excellent Turkish retaurant and very near the Conference centre. Afiyet Olsun-enjoy your meal!

Luso – Bridge Street, Tel: 0161 839 5550. If your missing the Algarve, this is the place for you. Just past the café Istanbul, food and service is excellent.


Gaucho bar and grill 2A St.Mary’s street (behind kendall’s) -0161833 4333 if you fancy a 2lb steak try the gaucho – not one for the faint hearted.

Live Bait – Fish Restaurant, 22 Lloyds Street – Tel: 0161 817 4110. This is it. Proper fish, chips and peas with a white wine, how good does it get? About 1 minute walk from the conference centre, make sure you get bread and butter with your meal.

Armenian Tavern – Albert Square, Tel: 0161 834 9025. A Manchester institution, you step off Albert Square and its like stepping in to Armenia (imagine). Excellent service, but I don’t think its open Mondays.

Piccolino – 8 Clarence Street, Tel: 0161 835 9861. A very good Italian restaurant just off Albert Square.

Sams chop house – 8 Back Pool Fold, off Cross street – Tel: 0161 834 3210. Proper British cookery at its best. Corned Beef hash or Steak and Kidney pudding recommended. It’s a pub and a restaurant and personally recommended.

China Town
It would be impossible to list all the restaurants and cafes in Manchester’s China town. Its good day or night, with plenty of restaurants’ and bakeries. But the one not to miss is the Yang Sing on Princess Street, Tel: 0161 236 2200, try the banquet, it’s the best!

Others worth visiting in town
Pizza – Matt & Phreds, 64 Tib St. 0161 831 7002 – long established jazz club with the best pizza’s in town.

Genghis Khan – 16 Chorlton Street - 0161 228 1631, bring your appetite because it’s as much as you can eat. All the ingredients are fresh, you make up your own dish, meat, veg, fish sauces and they griddle it for you. Bet you cant do more than 5 dishes!

El Macho – 103 Portland Street, Tel:0845 205 1195 Just off Oxford road on the way to Picadilly, nice downstairs Mexican.

Café Rouge - 82-84 Deansgate – Tel: 0161 839 0414. Felicity says “its nice in there”. Cosy little place, candle lit, and extra seating outside. Always friendly service, and would recommend the fish cakes.

Don’t miss the curry mile, jump a cab from town and take your pick. The Lal Qila is recommended. The cab shouldn’t cost too much more than a fiver and there’s no where in Britain like it.

For a curry near the Conference Centre try the following:
Akbar-73-83 Liverpool Rd. Off Deansgate 0161 834 8444
eastzeast- Blackfriars. -0161 834 3500-Valet parking available!
Both are recommended by Afsal Khan -There is no higher recommendation.

The St. Petersburg Restaurant. 68 Sackville St. 0161 236 6333. This is a new one to me but seems very lively with plenty of Caviar, Not open on Mondays but Russian singing and Karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays

Please let me have any comments for future reference on these or any other restaurants, thank you.

Unite fair tips campaign
Don’t forget the campaign for justice for catering workers, sign up at and look out for the fair tips logo.

Manchester Pubs

"Beer – proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy", Dr Johnson

Manchester is blessed with more than its fair share of good pubs & good beer. As your NEC member I felt it was my duty to visit (most of) them to check they were up to scratch for you. It’s a tough job but…..

Anyway, as they say…enjoy yourself sensibly. The best beers in town are the local ones – Holts, Hyde’s, Robinsons & John Willie Lees, all reasonably priced. I’ve grouped the pubs in reasonable little groups around the conference centre, feel free to go off piste and let me have your comments – 07880790182 or email if you need any help.

Oxford Road / Piccadilly
From the conference centre walk past the Bridgewater Hall and in front of you, you will see “The Britons Protection” – Great Bridgewater Street. Good range of beer including excellent Jennings and apparently 200 different Whiskies. Deceptive in size, if you walk around the bar there are some very comfortable rooms and there is a big outside seating area.

Just up the street on the right is the “Rain Bar” younger pub/bar with good outside seating over looking the canal. Further up on the left is “The Peveril Of The Peak” Lots of good beers and a genuine Manchester Pub. Best table football machine in Town.

Slightly further up is “The Temple Of Convenience” a converted gents urinal. Its actually a lot better than it sounds, reminds me of some 60’s bohemian bar I saw on the telly once – give it a try.

Cross Oxford Road and walk up Portland Street you come to “The Old Monkey” a lively Holts's house. Ten yards further on are “The Circus” and “The Grey Horse” Manchester’s smallest pubs. Excellent beer, good atmosphere and ‘must visits’ when your in town.

To the left down is China Town the only pub is “The Seven Oaks” but the Chinese karaoke bars are very good.

To the right up Chorlten Street is The Gay Village- a big strip of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants along Canal Street. A key part of Manchester’s cultural vitality its also an excellent place for late drinking “Paddy’s Goose” is. in many ways, the village pub.

Albert Square / Deansgate

The area in front of the conference entrance, between Albert Square and Deansgate is a rabbit warren of offices, pubs and restaurants. This area is the site of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and is well worth roaming round! “Live Bait,” the best fish, restaurant is in this area.

Peter Street is one long series of bars and clubs, take your pick. More interesting is the area behind Peter Street, walk through the little passage by the RAF recruiting office and the "Sir Ralph Abernathy" is on your left on Bootle Street. Probably the nearest pub to conference it's next door to the police station so there’s unlikely to be any trouble in there. It also has a big beer garden for enjoy the sun shine. Turn right outside the pub and across the car park and in front of you is the “Nags Head” Manchester pub of the year 2007. The karaoke is good on a Friday, and it’s a lively city centre pub.

Carry on through the Nag’s head, i.e out the back door, and in front of you is the "Sun Inn" – another good pub with interesting snacks. If you go out the back door again and turn right you’re in Albert Square. This is a good route to know on a rainy night! Plenty of pubs just off Albert Square. Walk across it and on the left down John Dalton Street is “The Ape and Apple” a big, down to earth Holt House.

Down Cross Street is “Mr.Thomas’s Chop House”, good Victorian pub, good beer. The chops are also very good. Just opposite over Cross Street, 20 yards up, Chapel Walks is “Sam’s Chop House.” Beer, excellent, British food, not for the calorie conscious! Not sure if Tom & Sam were related!

If you wonder back to Albert Square via Mosley Street, you will come across the “City Arms” excellent range of beers including Black Sheep and the watering place of the Manchester City Labour Party.


This is the site of the original Roman Settlement of Mamucium, it was actually a castle in a field (we’re very literal people in Manchester) Nearly 200 years ago this was the most important industrial area in the world. Site of the worlds first railway station (now the museum of industry on Liverpool Road) and the Manchester end of Bridgewater Canal what brought cheap coal to fuel the worlds first industrial city, and became a canal spaghetti junction. The area fell into neglect but has been massively regenerated over the last decade. Its one of the liveliest parts of town and well worth a visit.

Walk down past Peter Street from the conference centre, turn left into Deansgate and you come to the Hilton Hotel, in the Beetham Tower, if you can get in, The Sky bar is well worth a visit. It’s pricey but the view over Manchester here is worth it and there is a glass floor in the bar which you can stand on and look down to Deansgate 150 foot below. Its like floating!

Just a bit further down is the "Deansgate", good traditional pub with excellent Sunday Roasts. Just a bit further down to the left is Deansgate locks, an area of bars and comedy clubs. Near the station itself are two excellent bars, The Atlas bar and the Knott bar. The Atlas bar is a good place to hang out with a big open area at the back.

The Knott Mill is my favourite round here with good real ales from the Marble Arch brewery and a large open balcony on the 1st floor. If you carry on by the canal, you come to "Dukes 92" and "Barca", big modern bars in a canal side setting. The other pub of note is the" Ox" on Liverpool Road, excellent food and beer and handy for the conference centre. It used to be called the Oxnoble, the only pub in Britain to be named after a potato. Unfortunately corporate management decided it needed a trendy name, one day they’ll come to their senses!


If you fancy getting away from the conference hustle and bustle, just a short walk (or taxi) away is Manchester’s twin city Salford. Separated from Manchester by the mighty river Irwell, Salford has a style of its own. Originally built on the docks and engineering, the city experienced the devastation brought by Thatcher and her accompanies. We’re getting over that now thanks to a Labour council and a Labour Government - but fearful of what this lot have in store.

On Bridge Street, just on the border with Manchester is “The Mark Addy” named after a famous local life saver. Here you can sit by the river and watch the swans.

Just a bit further down past the newly re- furnished Salford Central station, is the" Egerton Arms", a Holt’s house and as typical as a Salford pub as your likely to get. Carry on down, cross over Chapel Street and 50 yards down on the left is the "Kings Arms", this pub has its own theatre and regularly holds gigs with local bands. A wide range of real beers.

Toodle back up Bloom Street, turn right on Chapel Street and about 150 yards on your right hand side is and your in the home of “The New Oxford” An excellent free house ran by Tim from Ireland. On a sunny evening this is one of the best places to sit outside and take it all in. they do an excellent Sunday Roast. Bexley square saw a political battle in the 1930’s between the police and unemployed demonstrators outside the local town hall, described graphically in “Love on the Dole”

Walk a little bit further down Chapel Street and just over the lights on the on the left is "The Crescent", make sure you’re in by 11 and its open until 1am. It’s a well Known fact in Salford that Marx and Engles who had a factory near by, used to come in here at the weekend and get hammered.

Friday, September 17, 2010

There's something special going on...

Seemingly unnoticed by the media something special is going on in the ranks of the party.

32,000 members have joined the party since May, the leadership election and post-election debate have been well conducted and new members are getting involved in campaigning.

That is reflected in my own CLP-Salford and Eccles. Over 60 new members, attendances at my branch doubled and at our General Committee last night over 40 in attendance.

We have got a lot of young people active and holding office and are actively campaigning and winning on local issues.

Next May there will be nine wards up for election in the constituency. We are defending 5, the Lib Dems three and the Tories one. We are working hard for a clean sweep of all nine.

Some Simple economic facts

1. There a Tory/Lib dem smoke-screen being put up over ther economy. They pretend they are only making cuts because Labour messed it up but we all know that's a load of baloney (thats me being polite)

2. When you have an international economic crisis like we have just been through, you run a deficit- Thats how you get through it.

3.The Lib Dems agreed with us at the time, opposing the increase in VAT and massive Tory spending cuts. If we were wrong so were they. In fact we were right but they sold theior principles for Government jobs.

4.The Tories opposed every step Labour took to tackle the recession. If they had had their way Northern Rock would have collapsed followed by other banks and financial institutions. Millions of homes and pensions would have been threatened. The "Hole in the wall machines were 20 minutes from being switched off. If the Tories had been in office 3 years ago our economy would have been a smoking ruin.

5. Labour knew we needed to cut the deficit-£70billion cuts were timed for this year. Tory cuts of £110 Billion ( over 50% greater) with much more planned for October are too large and will cause unnecessary misery.

6. There are 19 millionaires in a cabinet of 23-all in it together?

Friday, September 10, 2010


The Labour party in both Norwich and Exeter deserve real credit.

They have both had to fight elections in every ward as a result of the Government over-turning the decisions to make them unitary authorities.

In Exeter we made three gains, two from the Tories and one from a defection. The Tories gained two from their coalition partners so thats obviously working well!

In Norwich we held all our seats and gained one from the Tories.

Good results as we enter the Conference season.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"...and the winner is"

The results are in for the "Daily Mirror" Con Dem slogan competition, run by Kevin Maguire. The Five prize winners each get ten(yes,Ten) of my "Don't blame me, I voted Labour" badges so the word is being spread.

Kevin's five winners were: Kay Hunter-Lincoln "Cams panto horse-Cleggs bum steer"

:Steven Fyles-Wakefield "Some Cons, Some Dems, No Hope"

:Colin Porter-Blackpool "Cameron and Clegg-Muppet and puppet"

:Michael Betteridge-Hastings "You've never had it so bad"

:Beth Spruce -Kelsall "The Toff and the Turncoat"

I am tempted to give a prize for the most imaginative use of the Badges!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Lib Dem meltdown

The resignation of Lib Dem Cllrs who can't bear what Nick Clegg is doing continues. Here in the North West 5 Libdems have resigned in just over a week. Three in Halton resigned saying their party had become "nodding dogs for the Tories"

In Manchester a city centre Cllr resigned saying he couldn't defend national policy which harms the people of Manchester.

In Liverpool Cllr. Ian Jobling resigned and joined Labour in protest at job cuts which could threaten up to 240 police jobs saing he couldn't stomach their "double standards and hypocrisy"

Bolton West MP's Ball Friday Sept. 17th

They have always been a classy lot in Bolton West- as shown at the General Election when they held on for a Labour victory by 92 votes when the Tories thought they had it in the bag.

Now they are putting on the style with a fundraising Mp's ball. Promises to be a good night and I am hoping to get along myself. It's on Friday 17th September at 6.30pm at Brookfield, Wesley st. Westhoughton. There will be a 4 course dinner with Live music-all for just £27. Tickets from Dave Chadwick 01942 813468

Housing Benefit-Cuts hit home.

Often it is only when the cuts are expressed at a local level that we realise exactly what's going on. When the Tories cut housing benefit the yellow press was full of stories about poor people having the cheek to live in areas like Westminster or Kensington and claim help with their rent. It always was a smokescreen and figures from the Dept. of Work and Pensions show what is happening in the rest of the country. Here in Salford 3990 people on housing benefit will lose around £13 per week.

To some one like George Osborne that doesn't sound like much but if you are struggling to make ends meet it can often be an impossible amount to find. Remember all that stuff about this being a progressive budget?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

NEC Elections

Ballot papers are now hitting the door mats for the Leadership, NEC and National Policy Forum elections.

The NEC will be taking some crucial decisions over the next two years and I am determined that the views of members from every part of the country are represented when those decisions are made. The elections are likely to be very close so any support I receive will be much appreciated.

There are many good candidates also standing-remember you have up to 6 votes.

Ellie Reeves, Luke Akehurst,Chaukat Ali, Deborah Gardiner and Oona king are well worth your support and would help in the task of changing the party culture from a top down command and control to one which supports members campaigning to win support for Labour in their local communities

Longdendale By election

There will be a by election on Thursday Sept. 30th due to the sad recent death of Roy Oldham.

There will be plenty of canvassing and leafletting and anyone who can help is asked to ring Adam on 07773905842.

I will be going to the Campaign Launch on Saturday Sept. 4th at Broadbottom Community Centre, Lr. Market st. Broadbottom at 11a.m. followed by a bit of leafletting/canvassing and anyone who can make it is welcome to join us. The ward is the home of Manchester legend-Ricky Hatton