Monday 15 March 2010

Cabinet minister backs United green and gold protest

The growing green and gold Manchester United supporters' movement against the Glazers’ ownership of the club picked up a Cabinet-level endorsement from Health Secretary Andy Burnham at our north-west conference hosted by Greater Manchester Fabians on Saturday.

It may not quite rank in global impact with the David Beckham picture which went around the world when Milan visited Old Trafford last week.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham was co-founder of Supporters Direct and has played a key role in promoting supporters' trusts. With Greater Manchester Fabian member and United fan Rich Currie sporting the green and gold, Next Left suggested he should show his support for the United fans' campaign.

We couldn’t quite persuade him - on footballing grounds - to put the green and gold scarf around his Evertonian neck but he was happy to endorse the campaign by being photographed with Rich.

And he returned to the theme in his speech, noting that the Fabian conference was held in the same building where the TUC held its first meeting in 1868.

Burnham paid tribute to the traditions of Manchester radicalism, quoting author Stuart Maconie's account of its claim to be "the most radical political city in this country".

"The green and gold movement is another manifestation of the great campaigning heritage of this city, and long may that continue", said Burnham.

"The north has risen again under this government", Burnham told the conference.

"The BBC coming to Manchester is redistribution of the cultural power in this nation", he added.

* More from Newsnight political editor and United fan Michael Crick at the Newsnight blog.


Robert said...

Burnham has no idea what the scarf means, he would be devastated to think rich Americans might he hurt. Jesus if you told this moron about the Glaziers he be saying how rich are they, do they ant to buy a few hospitals.

Sunder Katwala said...


Thanks. But, on this occasion, I think you probably go too far on the cynicism. Andy Burnham does know about the issues involved in the anti-Glazer protest. He did a lot to get supporters' trusts off the ground and turn it from an idea into a movement of supporters at different clubs, so he has a strong record in the area.

Robert said...

Yes your right sadly cynicism yes totally, Burnham meets my idea's of a Thatcherite MP

Letters From A Tory said...

With the Guardian reporting today that a quarter of NHS trusts fail basic hygiene tests (e.g. blood spattered on walls, filthy ambulances), I would have thought that Burnham would have more important things to do.

Robert said...

Do not tell him for god sake, he will now go and try and do something about it. Like telling the sick they have a duty to clean up their own mess.

Sunder Katwala said...


To be fair to Andy, he was very gently ambushed by myself and the United supporter who was in charge of delegates registering when he turned up to speak at our Manchester conference on Saturday, though I couldn't get him to put it around his neck. I am not sure whether he could have used those 2 minutes before giving his speech to act decisively on NHS issues.