One of the co-founders of Manchester’s iconic Factory Records has revealed he intends to travel to Ukraine on a humanitarian aid mission.
72-year-old Alan Erasmus – who started out as an actor, before going on to launch the pivotal record label alongside Tony Wilson in 1978, and then later co-found the Haçienda nightclub with Wilson, Rob Gretton, and Manchester band New Order – said he is “not having this” and wants to “stand up” to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who he has branded a “bully”.
He has described his imminent mission as a “very, very, very important moment in history”.
Revealing more about his mission in a message to his friend – the writer, broadcaster, and Haçienda DJ Dave Haslam, who shared it on social media yesterday – Erasmus explained that he is travelling to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv to help those affected by the country’s ongoing conflict with Russia.
“I’ve fought bullies of one kind or another all my life, Putin is no different. This is a very, very, very important moment in history Dave, it cannot be lost.”
He continued: “I booked a flight to Krakow for tomorrow, from there I will make my way to Kyiv.”
Then making reference to The Durutti Column, which was an Anarchist column in the Spanish Civil War that was made up of volunteers who wanted to fight for an egalitarian society, and also inspired the name of a band he managed in the 1970s, Erasmus continued: “Once there (with Durutti in mind) I will set about convening the Factory Nentsov Column made up of fellow helpers and volunteers.”
“Maybe one person can make a difference. Wish me luck, stay safe,” he concluded.
After the message was shared by DJ Dave Haslam on Twitter yesterday, with Haslam describing it as “genuine and heartfelt” and asking if anyone can help put Erasmus in touch with contacts in Kyiv, the tweet has since grabbed the attentions of hundreds of people worldwide.
Many have also offered to assist Erasmus once he arrives in Ukraine, by connecting him with relevant people and organisations he can offer aid with.
Keir Starmer says Labour will ‘freeze’ council tax this year if elected
Keir Starmer has said he will “freeze” council tax in England this year if Labour triumphs in the upcoming local elections.
The Labour leader says his party will cut tax “for the many, not just for the top 1%.”
With the next local elections coming up on 4 May 2023, and Labour hoping to gain in its number of seats across England and Wales, Sir Keir Starmer appeared in Swindon today to launch his party’s election campaign, and hit out at the Conservative Party for being “nowhere near good enough” over their last 13 years of power.
Starmer notably blasted the Tories for their decision to raise tax-free pension limits in its most recent Budget announcement – which is set to benefit the most well-off in our society – and said Labour would counteract this and represent working people.
It comes after almost three in four local Councils say they are planning to increase the cost by the maximum amount allowed after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt raised the cap on council tax increases without a referendum from 3% to 5%.
Council leaders claim they have “little choice” but to increase costs as the rising cost of living crisis sadly continues to make its impact felt nationwide.
Speaking at the launch of Labour’s campaign today, Starmer stated “there is a choice on tax” for the public to make in the upcoming local elections.
He added: “A Tory choice – taxes up for working people, tax cuts for the 1% – or a Labour choice, where we cut business rates to save our high streets and where, if there was a Labour government, you could take that council tax rise you just got and rip it up.
“A Labour government would freeze your council tax this year – that’s our choice. A tax cut for the many, not just for the top 1%. So take this message to every doorstep in your community: Labour is the party of lower taxes for working people.
“That’s the difference we can make. That’s the choice in May. A better Britain.”
Starmer said he intends for the pledges he made in Labour’s local election campaign launch to “send a message to the government” after their 13 years in power.
“What they’ve delivered to our country nowhere near good enough,” he said
“We’ve got to get out there and show people the difference Labour can make. Let them see our hunger for change. We have to prove that this suffocating cost of living crisis, the path of decline the Tories have set Britain on, the endless sticking plaster politics, is not inevitable.