The truth about one of the most mismanaged & discriminative anti-vox populi boroughs in England.
Delivering secular editorial without political affiliation.
The first release of Universal Credit Claimant data by the Department for Works & Pensions shows Oldham to be the area with the most claimants.
Please sign the petition to be sent to the Labour leader the Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP: Remove Oldham Council Leader James McMahon from his position.
Councillor James (Jim) McMahon has been Oldham Labour Council leader since May 2011 yet until the week ending 17/02/2013 he continued to work simultaneously as the Town Centre Manager for rival Town Middleton. By early 2013 Oldham had the fourth highest levels of closed shops for medium sized towns in the country. The job specifications for his Middleton replacement identified Oldham as a catchment area from which to attract potential shoppers to Middleton. This was a clear conflict of interests and within any other UK job sector I can identify this would have not been allowed. Other councillors should have spoken out and tabled a motion of no confidence about this when it was first identified they did nothing. Oldham had and still has the highest birth rates in Greater Manchester and some of the lowest levels of growth sector employment.
Adverse job seekers allowance sanctions against claimants from Oldham between 22nd October 2012 & 30th June 2013 totaled 3860. This could be for anything from refusing employment to missing an interview appointment or refusal to undertake work experience schemes. Breakdown of adverse Oldham job seekers allowance sanctions by month between October 2012 - June 2013 is as follows: 140 430 410 490 310 420 510 640 530
Oldhams struggle against endemic poverty, low wages, worklessness and the new scourge of fuel poverty in the face of soaring prices has been well documented. In a Sunday Mirror revelation it has been revealed that ‘defender of the Oldham poor’ Oldham East & Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams claimed £885.77 of her energy bills on MP’s expenses. Having your energy bills paid for by tax payers whilst making constant reference to others suffering fuel-poverty is at best crass and at worst unethical.
Multi-millionaire Michael Meacher MP for Oldham West & Royton claimed £392.09 towards energy bills.
The combined Oldham bill for Housing Benefit (social housing) & Local Housing Allowance (private rented sector) 2012/13 was over £38 million for a total of 10,049 properties. Social housing payments per household averaged £326 per month & private rentals averaged £312 per month.
It was also reported last week that Oldham has the 4th highest rates of UK home repossessions, since 2012 Oldham Council & partners have issued 29,134 court summons.
Lack of access to local Hospital diagnostic and surgical procedures was a significant cause of the permanent condition I will suffer from for the rest of my life. My partner has to wait 5 months between registering for hospital tests and her actual test appointment at The Royal Oldham Hospital in December. If Hospitals cannot afford tax paying residents treatment I question the provision of superstitious services they waste money on which is why I made the Freedom Of Information request below.
Freedom of Information request - Cost and effectiveness of Hospital Chaplaincy Services
Dear Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust,
Can you please provide details of the following:
(1) The cost to the trust of Chaplaincy & equivalent services for other religions in the financial years 2011/2012 & 2012/2013? For the year 2011/12 the total expenditure for the Spiritual Care Team was £250,922 and for the year 2012/13 the total expenditure for the Spiritual Care Team was £224,419.
(2) Does the trust have any statistical evidence (not opinion) that the provision of non-medical religious counselling services has any positive impact on patient recovery rates or reduces mortality levels? No
(3) If the answer to question(2)is no; does the trust have any plans to make Chaplaincy & equivalent roles purely voluntary so the money can be allocated to services that can positively impact health outcomes? No
Oldham’s Westwood Primary School is 1 of only 5 in England where 100% of pupils do not speak English as a 1st language. I fail to understand how this worrying new development benefits cohesion in a borough of disjointed communities living within parallel but completely antagonistic cultural norms.
Oldham’s population density statistics for LSOA’s have been released today showing that four Oldham areas 022C Glodwick, 024C-035A Coppice and 035C Werneth each have population densities three times the Oldham average.
Oldham has been identified as one of 14 priority areas outside London for the teaching of English language to migrant communities under Eric Pickles £6,000,000 community based language teaching scheme. Six competition winning ideas will share the money including one that teaches English through faith groups in mosques, churches and gurdwaras and the ‘#TalkEnglish’ scheme which teaches lessons focused on practical language skills such as voluntary work, participation in residents’ associations and training local shop staff as ‘sympathetic listeners’ to encourage learners to try out their English.
Between 2002-2010 the two Oldham wards with the highest population increases were St Mary’s with an increase of 12.8% & Medlock Vale with 11.4%. Between 2002-2010 the two Oldham wards with the highest population decreases were St James' with a population decrease of -4.2% & Crompton with a decrease of -3.8%.
Cash strapped Oldham Council has agreed to allocate £312,500 to the AGMA GM Broadband project on proviso the other 7 Greater Manchester local authorities do the same. I very much doubt equality of payment contribution will result in equality of service provision or share allocation of external funding as the object is to supply high speed broadband where industry providers have no plans to extend networks.
Stats released for 2012 show that the Oldham population had the lowest
percentage levels of educational qualifications in Greater Manchester for
People aged between 16 & 64 at every level from NVQ level 2 to level 4
Source ONS 29/11/2013
Tameside (39.9%) & Oldham (41.4%) have the worst 5 year new business survival rates in Greater Manchester for businesses started in 2007
In their actual words “The average wage rate in Oldham is 16% lower than the UK average, representing a significant cost saving for businesses considering locating in the borough” This is how Oldham Council continues to sell the working population of Oldham to the business community despite Oldham already having the lowest wages of all 10 Greater Manchester local authority areas.
There are currently (09/12/2013) 246 empty business premises with an OL9 Chadderton postcode including 17 industrial units at the Broadgate - Broadway Business Park(s) adjacent to the proposed huge Foxdenton Industrial Business Park planned for current green areas & opposed by residents of the area.
Using business rates empty properties statistics shows there are currently 1240 empty business premises in Oldham 09/12/2013
1 in 4 pupils at the Catholic John Henry Newman College in Chadderton speak English as a second language; 282 pupils are recorded as being Muslims. Ofsted & Her Majesty's Inspector found serious educational, behavioural and operational weaknesses in the college in February & May 2013
Only Oldham Council could get the timing of a press release about the opening in January of that mythical economic boom catalyst the new Town Centre Metrolink line so wrong coming just a day before a car was in collision with a test tram on the unopened route at the Manchester St roundabout. In reality TFGM & Oldham Council had the plans changed from the tram running under one of Oldhams’ busiest roundabouts in a tunnel before emerging at King St to running across the centre of the roundabout competing with traffic to save both time and costs. It remains a fact that regardless of who caused the accident it could not have occurred if the plans and original scheme had not been changed.
Only last night I had to walk a mile to the South Chadderton Metrolink stop at 10pm (local bus stop to Oldham 30 yds & to Manchester 100 yds) to meet my partner because the approach is so poorly lit, isolated and has a huge pitch black open field on one side & park on the other. Oldham Council will now only ever reference Westwood, King St & Town Centre stops many of the other Metrolink stations are dangerous Oldham mumps was plagued by multiple violent robberies and on one night in 2013 11 cars were broken into and 3 set alight.
Arrogant to keep lauding the Metrolink & risk peoples safety by constantly pushing people into using it whilst never reporting its negative aspects.
Oldham Council is seeking to acquire the former Greaves Public House, 13 Yorkshire Street, Oldham. The Councils intentions for the buildings future usage are unknown but I very much doubt Oldham Council would want a potential new public house opposite their overpriced £30,000,000 Town Hall Cinema project.
The Royal Oldham Hospital has seen 5 times the England average of planned operation cancellations in the last week because of A&E pressure on bed availability and because 58 Royal Oldham Hospital beds are occupied by people ready to return home but insufficient external care service provision means they can't be discharged. Emergency Patients waiting between 4 & 12 hours for a bed at The Royal Oldham Hospital is currently 4 times the England average.
The current Oldham Labour Party's multiple bedroom house building policies in areas blighted by poverty, overcrowding, worklessness & poor health will only see this situation increase every winter as the population increases beyond service capacity and living standards fall or remain static.
Oldham's South Asian Pakistani & Bangladeshi communities have been identified as potential fraudulent voting hotspots by the Electoral Commission. In September 2013 fraud perception report Asian participants in Oldham & Tower Hamlets mentioned seeing:
• Canvassers standing outside local schools and making parents there feel uncomfortable by their presence
• Representatives of a political party at the polling station demonstrating on a mocked-up ballot paper to non-English speaking electors where they should make their mark.
• Women being told to vote in a certain way by male family members.
The empty Walmsley furniture store on Yorkshire St is set to become a YMCA charity shop and is situated directly opposite Dr Kershaws Charity shop which occupies the old Demolition clothing store. Just another example of Oldham Councils ailing business plans & mismanagement of Oldham Town Centre and other areas. Millions are being ploughed into turning Union St into a public funded illusionary cultural destination whilst the Council remains silent about established businesses that weathered years of road works and a complete loss of pedestrian business who have been offered a derisory 10% reduction in business rates as compensation. The traditional retail centre now occupies little more than the budget end of the retail marketplace, the charitable sector and the poverty driven high-interest loan - pawnbroker sector.
Plans have been revealed for the new Oldham Town Centre so called "Flagship" Leisure Centre. Flagship in Oldham obviously means less facilitation for sports participation for the people of Oldham and more spectator seating so that Oldham Council can use the facility to generate income from hosting competitive events and TV broadcasts. The current leisure facility is located in the middle of the traditional retail Town Centre opposite Tommyfield market. The new facility will be built opposite Oldham College located outside the traditional retail Town Centre. Upon completion of the new facility, struggling Town Centre businesses will lose the footfall business from leisure centre patrons who will no longer need to travel into the Town Centre. This relocation is not about the people of Oldham but about the Metrolink/regeneration corridor consisting of the Civic Centre, Hotel Future, leisure centre and educational campuses. Why would Oldham Council commission a leisure centre at one of the busiest and consequently polluted multiple main road junctions in the area other than because it serves the councils requirements. Competitive sports at the leisure centre will mean athletes, TV crews and celebrities staying at Hotel Future before travelling down King St and Union St to the Gallery & Coliseum Theatre thus avoiding the real Town Centre with its pound shops, bookies, cheap clothing shops and junk food outlets.
Main pool (33.3-metre)
Learner pool (12.5m by 9m)
Dive pool (12.5m by 12.5m)
Sauna and steam rooms
Power showers and rest area
8 court sports hall
Indoor climbing wall
63 station fitness studio
Spinning classes in multi-use hall
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
2 squash courts
meeting / training room
Main pool (25-metre)
Learner pool (unspecified)
No dive Pool
Sauna and steam room;
Wet changing village;
8 court sports hall including flexible seating for 250
No combat room
No indoor climbing wall
80-station fitness studio
Indoor bowls hall (four lanes)
Two group exercise studios;
Separate changing facilities for dry sports and fitness
Spectator seating gallery at the main pool, providing 250 seats & 150 competitor seats.
Over 100 people turned up in monsoon conditions at the Civic Centre planning meeting last night to show their disapproval of the plans to turn the currently undeveloped green areas of Foxdenton into a sprawling minimum wage warehouse park and 500 unit housing estate. People have vowed to carry on the fight as the already “done deal” was approved after just over an hour of debate which continued to provide no answers to the growing list of concerns posed by local residents.
Prior to the 2013 benefit reforms it was calculated that 316 Oldham households with children were collectively in receipt of more than eight million two hundred & 16 thousand Pounds in benefits per year
There are now more asylum seekers in (COMPASS) housing in the North West than in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & the South West combined!
Oldham is one of only 19 English local authorities outside London offering migrant settlement checking services, London has 9 making a total of 28 for England, Wales has just 1 authority offering migrant settlement checks & Scotland has just 2.
According to Oldham Council the Town Centre is on the up, in their latest press release "Businesses help boost Yorkshire Street" Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business and Town Centres, said: "We already have a series of major regeneration projects getting underway that will enhance our entertainment, cultural and leisure offer and we believe Oldham town centre can become the strongest in north Manchester." I have been out with my camera judge for yourself how strong the so called regeneration triangle really is by watching the film over on the video page or
Every Government policy or announcement that specifically identifies Oldham is either about the currently expanding religious communities and issues surrounding cultural integration or benefit claimants and by benefit claimants we of course mean the childless unemployed. The latest Government press release is “Multi-faith communities to benefit from new £3 million grant” Oldham is not a multi-faith community it is a borough of separate disjointed communities ranging from the indigenous mainly a-religious community to the authoritarian South Asian community and the emerging Eastern European Catholic migrants. According to Oldham CCG 59.7% of the Oldham population are Christian, in reality this information means nothing more than people ticked Christian on the 2011 census form. The actual percentage of practising Christians in Oldham is minuscule at best, multi-faith is tagged onto these policies so they appear not to discriminate. Oldham has real problems and this constant pandering, spending & policy allocation to bolster the privileged status of superstition is distasteful and self-deafeating. Deal with actualities, Oldham occupies the Greater Manchester bottom spot for health, wealth and opportunity the majority could care less about others invisible friend.
"Having discovered that the 2011 Census found nearly half a million more East Europeans in Britain than the immigration figures had suggested, the ONS have at last adjusted the official statistics in today’s release 28/02/2014. As a result, we can now see that net immigration under Labour peaked at 320,000 in 2004/5 and that total net foreign migration came to nearly 4 million during their period in office"
Sir Andrew Green
Official census statistics released today confirm that Oldham has the worst levels of adult qualifications in Greater Manchester & the 16th highest rate of people with no qualifications in all England & Wales out of 348 local authority areas. For level 4 and above qualifications Oldham ranks as 312 out of 348 meaning just 36 areas in England & Wales have lower levels of degree and above qualified residents. If you take the more affluent & educated residents of Saddleworth out of the total figures the situation is substantialy worse.
2011 government data shows that the Rochdale & Oldham Travel-To-Work area had the 8th lowest job density ratio in the UK at just 0.59 the England average is 0.78. This means for every 10 economically active people needing a job less than 6 are available locally. When benefit entitlement reforms were introduced the job density ratio dropped further as large benefit subsidised Oldham demographics lost the left-wing protection of their payments and were told they had to work. Oldham council responded with four costly employment schemes providing in the majority the potential for new low-skilled jobs to accommodate the growing shortfall between job hunters and job availability: Foxdenton Warehouse Park, Hotel Future, Town Hall Cinema & Hollinwood Old Gas Works.
Being born in Oldham is bad for your health
Of the 211 Clinical Commissioning Group areas in England it has been revealed that life expectancy rates for both Oldham born males & females are some of the lowest in the Country with Males occupying the 12th & Females the 11th shortest life expectancy positions respectively.
This is how our undemocratic Oldham Council responds to a Freedom of Information Request from Council Tax payers of Oldham concerned about the debt and financial risk to council budgets arising from Oldham Council acting as developer for the town hall cinema project. No information was asked for that would identify companies nor individuals so I fail to see under what grounds the council can refuse this request which asks for financial information relating to policies that have the direct potential to significantly impact future local government finances.
Dear Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council,
Please provide information on the following questions that will elucidate the currently communicated ambiguous financial costs and
implications of The Oldham Old Town Hall Cinema Project to Oldham Council & the residents of the borough.
The complete cost of the project was recently communicated by the Oldham Council Leader to be £30,000,000:
(1) Where is the projected £30,000,000 funding coming from? ie How much will be from Oldham Council entering into prudential loan
arrangements? how much will be grants? how much is from private businesses? Etcetera.
Oldham Council Response: Under the Freedom of Information Act I can confirm that the Council holds this information, however this information is exempt under Section 44 (1) and is therefore being withheld.
(2) With Oldham Council acting as developer how will the loans be repaid and what provisions are in place to protect the people of Oldham from potentially having the cost of the project repayments taken from the existing council budget?
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(3) In what year is Oldham Council projected to have completely repaid any outstanding loan and financial debts associated with this project?
Oldham Council response: As Question 1.
(4) With extensive surveys already having taken place how much of the projected cost will be spent on repairing and renovating the building it's architectural features & period interior?
Oldham Council response: Approximately £7.5m
That is £7.5 million just to repair the building and reinstate the repulsive, opulent interior of the Old Town Hall that various Oldham Councils left derelict for 30 years & which in my 47 years has never been in any use other than as a court building and prior to that was the habitat of the local government elite! This is not my heritage this is the councils & central government representatives heritage. Could you possibly choose a more inappropriate building in which to house a cinema? Oldham needs to move into the 21st century with new modern efficient buildings showcasing the latest technologies not back to the early 20th century magic lantern days.
Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon has announced at the One Oldham Business Awards that The Odeon will be running the new town centre cinema in The Old Town Hall. Oldham Council still refuses to reveal to the Oldham public how the £30,000,000 refurbishment & extension to the building is being funded or the implications this raises about Council budgets. See the news item below
Oldham Town Centres much lauded regenerated Union St along with it’s so called “cultural quarter” is fast becoming Oldham’s robbery central with the Thunderdrome & Victory Apartments both burgled in 2014 & charity MENCAP which has been subjected to three burglaries. The latest break in victim was The Link Centre on the 20th of March. Also released today are statistics showing that six out of the top twenty shoplifting hotspot stores in Greater Manchester are in Oldham. The six stores are Oldham Town Centre Debenhams, Boots & Home Bargains: Tesco Huddersfield Road & Failsworth & Asda Chadderton.
This picture was the winner of Oldham Councils Bloom & Grow competition 2013 the area is known locally as buttercup field but will be more familiar to Oldham residents as the proposed location of the new housing development associated with the Foxdenton Business Park. Perhaps in 2014 Oldham Council should run a Bloom & Demolish competition.
Oldham Council is seeking approval for the formation of a new Foxdenton Joint Venture. According to the council "Providing the approval would bring forward the delivery of the Foxdenton Employment Area and ensure that the Council had control over the delivery of the development. It would also result in the Council realising a substantial capital receipt for its landholdings." The council of course ignores the wishes of residents who don't want the atypical area they live in to become another typical minimum wage over-populated slum area with jobs and housing targeted and populated by the councils primary voting demographics. Oldham has the lowest wage levels and lowest levels of educated adults in Greater Manchester; what does it gain from yet another low paid unskilled warehouse park? The question has to be asked whether this inner town oasis is being sacrificed so the councils “substantial capital receipt” from the sale of land and business rates receipts on and around Foxdenton Lane can be used to bankroll the councils secretive funding of the Old Town Hall Cinema project? It remains certain that the councils capital gains will not be invested back into Foxdenton but will at best be disproportionately spent on housing & amenities, and not promoting educational attainment & improving quality employment opportunities, in the areas the current councils primary voting demographics live!
Released on the same day as the new sports centre plans was the Ukactive report showing physical inactivity rates for UK adults with Oldham occupying a top 10 position. Oldham Council and partners once again put plans in place that serve the boroughs bank balance more than the people of Oldham. The current Councils core voters & circumstances of poverty & ill health will continue to self-perpetuate under such deliberate policies. Oldham is now officially the fattest borough in Greater Manchester (source Public Health England 2014)
In the wake of same sex marriage becoming legal in the UK on the 29/03/2014 & Oldham rhetoric about staging the first ceremony in Greater Manchester here’s a reminder that in 2012 Oldham had the lowest levels of Civil Partnerships in Greater Manchester: 4 Female & just 1 male ceremony for every 100,000 residents which is Less than 50% of the next lowest levels. Unsurprisingly the City of Manchester had the highest levels with 78 male & 61 female ceremonies per 100,000. Official statistics for Oldham shows that 0.26% of the population is openly LGB which is almost 6 times less than The Office For National Statistics UK estimates and 38 times less than The Kinsey Report UK estimates.
If PFI liabilities, as reported by an an official 2013 audit, were added back onto the ‘balance sheet’ to show the true extent of Oldham Labour Councils borrowing the figure would rise from approximately £150,000,000 to £382,500,000
Oldham has the lowest available employment opportunities in the professional science, research, engineering, technology and the information & communication sectors plus the joint lowest levels of employment opportunities in the administration & support services industries in all Greater Manchester.
The Children’s Society says that 12000 Oldham children may be living in poverty due to fuel costs and parents personal circumstances. Oldham Council announces they intend to build a new Town Centre primary school because of “an unprecedented rise in the number of children needing primary school places” Oldham’s elected representatives & charities should be working together to change both endemic Oldham culture and to protest against the high levels of poor foreign migrants clearly being directed to Oldham in addition to a continuation of asylum seeker allocation within the borough. Should but will not!
In it’s latest press release Oldham Council is once again patting itself on the back stating that “Oldham sees 24 per cent fall in 16-18 year-old NEETs” The release ignores the wider issues which saw a drop in apprenticeship 16-24 take ups in parts of Oldham probably due to the quality of the work on offer; examples being warehouse apprentice & reception apprentice. I also question some of the dubious claims of work experience (44 local youths on a film set for a film company with a tiny budget that did not pay staff a salary) & some of the disciplines in which apprenticeships are being created, for example, in the last week one of Oldham’s education establishments advertised for a “family engagement apprentice” an Internet search brings up just one apprenticeship or adult job opportunity for “family engagement” in the UK & it is in Oldham. It was renowned political theorist Hannah Arendt who questioned the validity of educational establishments teaching non-existent academic disciplines, we can also see this lack of validity in the deliberate creation of such fictional employment.
Apprenticeship Programme Starts for Oldham West & Royton dropped by 7.2% in 2012/13 from the previous year (Year being August to July).
“Oldham Council has prosecuted a takeaway after poor standards of hygiene and a dangerous gas situation were discovered at the premises. During an inspection of Gold Star, on Union Street, in Oldham, on August 7, 2013, an environmental health officer had to call out a utility company following fears of a gas leak. The owners were then forced to call out a gas engineer immediately to fix the hazardous problem.The officer also found the premises to be dirty with thick grease caked on the floor around the fryer – plus an infestation of mouse droppings.”
No mention that Oldham Council Deputy leader & Cabinet Member for Business & Town Centre’s Shoab Akhtar owns a 25% share of these premises, we acknowledge that this does not necessarily mean he had any involvement in the actual food business but he should have monitored any business in these premises making sure they concurred with law & legislation if only because of the business locality & his Cabinet position.
Questions are being asked about ex-police boss Cathy Butterworth pay after it was revealed that she recieved £900,000 pay & pension for three years work as head of training and development at GMP. Missing from the story published in the Manchester Evening News was the information that her £70,861 current job at Oldham Council is to determine other people's "appropriate terms & conditions” of employment.
What does the current unprecedented rise in children living in the borough mean for the Oldham economy? Labour Oldham says an increasing youth population is good as they will fund the pensions of tomorrow but Labour Oldham never chooses to discuss the financial costs associated with bringing those children into educated adulthood in Oldham. Negative contributions: receiving more in benefits than the sum of Income Tax & National Insurance deducted from a persons salary. Remembering that current pensioners never had access to many of the modern day benefits before their retirement including tax credits, figures show that basic pension payments for Oldham in 2012 cost approximately £194,000,000. Tax credits paid to working and non-working pre-pension adults (£161,623,500) when combined to housing benefit costs totaled £199,600,000. 26.3% of all Oldham homes (Dec 2013) were in receipt of tax credits with the average annualised amount received being £6,099. Compare this figure to the average Tax & National Insurance deductions on a £15000 wage which is approximately £1,850. Oldham is a false economy where childless singles and couples are the most disadvantaged people in Oldham shut out by deliberate political policy that creates an interdependence between the Labour Council & target demographic “family” voters. Many of today's parents will be in a negative contributory situation for 20 years or more of their working lives and many of these parents have voiced the opinion that pensioners should be subjected to austerity, a withdrawl of the winter fuel payment, lose their rights to a free bus pass & TV license so families can have more.
Under Jim McMahon's tenure as Oldham Labour Council leader the average Oldham wage has slipped down to the 23rd lowest in all the UK as revealed by official figures released in April 2014. The Council website still states “The average wage rate in Oldham is 16% lower than the UK average, representing a significant cost saving for businesses considering locating in the borough” In actuality the average wage rate in Oldham is now 20.3% lower than the UK average wage. Foxdenton (Broadway Green), Hotel Future & The Old Town Hall schemes will all add to the problem by creating yet more potential employment in the bottom two lowest paid UK job sectors thus maintaining Oldham’s low living standards & encouraging yet more foreign migration & an ever expanding population dependent on supplementary benefits.
The 22nd of May is election day be informed see what Oldham Council regeneration looks like for the people, herons, badgers, bats, lapwings & Canada geese of Foxdenton & district.
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|OMBC H&S Inspection Failings|
|Liberal Politics & Religion|
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|Armchair Critics of Oldham|