Jim McMahon’s only been back in the cabinet a day and he’s already talking absolute nonsense “I am delighted to further champion the work of councillors and mayors, make the case for further devolution, and to fight for the financial sustainability of local government which has done so much to improve the lives of millions in England” we have Jim McMahon who as a result of the failed and over-budget schemes he implemented as Oldham Council leader cost the borough more than £45 million more than planned (so far) and failed to deliver over 8,000 promised jobs. Then we have Arooj Shah who worked for and was trained for office by Jim McMahon. Arooj may be Jim’s favourite but she was voted out of office by the Oldham public twice only to be shoehorned back into a safe seat and into the leadership position not by the Oldham public but by the Labour LGA committee. Arooj is a hugely divisive figure continually shying away from the unanswered questions regarding irregularities around the fire bombing of her car then we have her openly discriminative spending and regeneration policies prioritising Oldham’s migrant communities to the detriment of neglected wards. Arooj also thinks the use of a career criminal as a canvassing ally is quite acceptable as is using public buildings to promote her religion while snubbing other faiths and the LGBTQ+ community. Andy Burnham mayor of GM for 6.5 years has not introduced or financed a single major development project in Oldham. All of Oldham’s current regeneration spending including The Spindles, new theatre, Northern Roots, eco centre, Mumps, Town Centre park and housing, the secretive planned town centre mine water district heating scheme is all financed by government grants and council high interest borrowing and reserve spending not from Burnham’s devolution budget. Almost all so-called regeneration is concentrated in one small area of Oldham Town centre which is ,unsurprisingly, mainly in Arooj Shah’s ward. Coincidently much like Andy Burnham with his central and south GM priorities Arooj Shah didn’t commission a single major regeneration project in South Chadderton despite representing the ward for 4 years.
Jim McMahon jumped ship as Defra shadow minister only less than three months ago stating health problems after an hospital stay as the reason for his resignation. Coincidently it happened at the same time it was leaked in the press that he was for the cabinet chop at the next reshuffle. Amazingly Jim is now back as Levelling Up, Housing and Communities minister after a string of Labour front bench resignations over their stance on Gaza and Jim’s timely miraculous recovery.