A strange mixture as The Beatles Penny Lane plays over the speakers as we shuffle into the wooden floor room in the first floor of the Salford Lads club

Two posters proclaiming vote Andy on the 2nd May with the King of the North starring out dominate the room-Greater Manchester leading the way-It almost feels like a coronation and with the electoral system changed to first past the post it probably already was a coronation

A horseshoe laid out chairs almost remind one of a fashion parade filled out with the cream of Labour politicians,the council leaders, all part of Burnham’s cabinet,the Deputy leader and various councillors and community leaders

And then the event begins with Salford’s elected Mayor Paul Dennett welcoming the gathered to the Lad’s club saying with an echo around the room how happy he is that Andy has chosen the venue to launch his third campaign

“The workers must have bread but must have roses to” as he reminds the assembled that culture is as important as politics

The obligatory campaign video begins,reminding us how Westminster has neglected the region alongside the achievements,the Bee Network,new homes in Stockport,

We are pointing the way to a better way of running things he begins his speech as the echo gets worse sounding like he is speaking from the back of a cave

The police he reminds us have been brought out of special measures, “ the turnaround is there for all to see,the fire service is one of the best in the country

A bed for the night scheme tackling homelessness will remain a commitment and to applause he reminds the audience that he donates 15 per cent of his salary to the scheme

The Bee Network is now covering 50 per cent “we have done what we said we would do” It is already much better than what it replaced he adds though recognising that the system is still experiencing growing pains

In the next period he promises to bring integrated rail service into the Bee Network backed he hopes by a Labour Government committed to renationalising the railways

He promises a simpler fare system and pledges again to great applause to lower fares for the 16-21 year old and interest free annual repayments via a credit union to allow people to buy annual passes

Devolution he says is proven to work and can improve people’s lives

Burnham introduced three new ideas for his campaign

Housing should be the top priority the same energy devoted to transport will go into housing

The new landlord charter and “we will not hesitate to use enforcement actions if needed”

“The days of renting out properties in GM which risk the conditions and lives of our citizens are over”

It is time he says for the Government to change the benefits system-It is he adds based on a lack of trust,actually reducing their self esteem-

“We are already in discussions with the Labour front bench over changes in the way the system is managed”

The third idea has already been put out

“I will make it my personal mission”he says The Greater Manchester Baccalaureate

“We do believe in you” he calls out to the young people-

“We are building the platform for you to the future, our mission is to raise the aspirations of all the young people”

The Baccalaureate for those who aren’t aware gives an equal opportunity to go down a path that does not involve the university route-As Andy said later,he hopes that Greater Manchester businesses get behind it,it is almost an economic necessity that this talent is drawn to where it is needed

It is says Andy “our most audacious move yet and yet if we don’t make it we are putting the economic future of the region in jeopardy”

What was missing? Well Metrolink extensions as brought up by a question from the audience from Middleton where it is planned to go along with Stockport-

The business case we are told us still being put together and will not go the Government until after the election with Burnham saying that he could not give a date for its framework

Does the King of the North wish to go on and on? Well yes it appears he does telling us after the event that he is focused on getting a third term

But here he says is an honest answer

”I think that we are really getting somewhere and people are looking at the Greater Manchester model as the way forward.The levelling up model hasn’t worked nationally and I genuinely believe this is where the energy in politics is and I am not going to give that up”

As he said at the end of his speech

“For the last 50 years Manchester has had to pull this region up without any help-Now we have proved that we can do it,there is a better way than the Whitehall way”



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