9 July 2013

Northern Voices 14: Summer / Autumn 2013

I discovered Northern Voices last week in a newsagents in Ashton-under-Lyne market: a radical biannual magazine published in Burnley, Lancashire, dealing essentially with northern issues.

The main article is by John Walker, the former editor of the Rochdale Radical Press, the first paper to reveal the scandal about the child abuser and self-advertiser Cyril Smith (1928 – 2010) way back in 1979. This was known about, but ignored, by all the press (apart from Private Eye), by the police (who held a dossier on him), and of course by the Establishment: well, he was a major political public figure, what did truth and justice matter as long as the fact that he was such a monster could be concealed? We really need radical papers because they have the guts to expose corruption, because they're not tied to any political party.

Another article in this issue's Northern Voices is the not-too-serious 'Six o' the Best: Northern Artists' by Christopher Draper, which after reluctantly rejecting Northumberland's Ashington Group member George Blessed, Liverpool-born Walter Crane, Leeds artist George Walker and Chester-based Louise Rayner, lists (in ascending order and in a slight parody of celebrity lists) the final six:

6. Isabella Jobling (née Thompson) 1851–1926, painter associated with the Staithes Group.

5. Thomas Bewick (1753–1828), wood engraver born in Northumberland.

4. David Hockney (b. 1937) from Bradford.

3. Atkinson Grimshaw (1836–93), born in Leeds.

2. William Etty (1787–1849), born in York.

1. L. S. Lowry, from Salford, who ended his days in Mottram.

There's also a long review of a book I wasn't aware of: David Goodway's Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow (Liverpool University Press, 2006; rev. 2012).

Great stuff, but what I can't understand is the apparent self-censorship, as in a cartoon with a balloon saying 'Willy – you're a sexist Anti-Semite, you f**king disgrace!' Yes, 'f**king', just like the red tops: really radical. So why can't an organ of the free press say 'fucking'? What are they frightened of: loss of advertising revenue, loss of readers, loss of sales outlets? Surely not, as they would no longer be 'free'.


Ross Bradshaw said...

It's aood issue of Northern Voices, which can be - shall we say - variable in quality. But the shocking thing was how well known Cyril Smith was as an abuser. Well done to Northern Voices for bringing this out again - and to RAP in the past - before others cottoned on or went public.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

The silence has indeed been shocking, Ross, and as you say this is certainly good stuff.

I look forward to reading future issues of Northern Voices.