Oldham’s biggest public nuisance to stand as election candidate for ‘The Rabble’

Imran Ali and Warren Bates

Hot news from Oldham Civic Centre.

Warren Bates (pictured above with his friend, local businessman and charity organiser Mohammed Imran Ali) has announced he is standing in the May elections in Oldham as The Rabble’s candidate in the controversial Chadderton South ward.

The Rabble is a group of axe-grinders and political malcontents based in Mossley, Tameside, comprising around 150 elderly cultists, most of whom, like their new candidate, exist on State benefits in one form or another, and in which “Wazza” is not only central, he is described as ‘A Legend’.

Which is fair enough, based on their own low conduct threshold, and if bullying (read more here) parking in disabled spaces (read more here), with-holding money from charity (read more here) and election fraud is their thing.

As the Borough’s most infamous and self-admitted public nuisance (read more here) and one whom, as local folklore has it, has yet to answer a straight question with a straight answer in his entire political career, he has absolutely no chance, whatsoever, of being elected. His off the scale, any port in a storm transition from bus-driving left-wing trade union activist in Openshaw in 1980 to far-right United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) in Failsworth in 2014, via the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, might explain that. A flirtation with the Brexit Party in 2018 also ended in ignominy.

“Wazza” has been forced to stand for election in a ward away from where he lives, Failsworth West, and where he has previously stood for election, because of the awkward questions that he would face over his most recent misdemeanours, particularly the repeated assertion that the Labour Party (or more specifically his friend and ex-Council Leader, Sean Fielding) paid for his election leaflets in 2021. A fact, on the public record, that he omitted to declare on his expenses declaration to the Returning Officer. A criminal offence.

But he will, of course, be asked questions about his good friend and political ally, Cllr Robert Barnes: Although nominated as a Conservative candidate, Cllr Barnes was, in reality, The Rabble’s nominee last year.  Will “Wazza” be able to answer why the councillor is not standing again and is still believed to be on police bail over allegations that he denies and, for legal reasons, cannot be mentioned here. Notwithstanding, his short tenure as a councillor was a disaster from start to finish (read more here).

It can be fairly said that Cllr Barnes, a perennial election failure over many years, and in a number of different Oldham wards, owed his seat on the Council entirely to a grotesque Rabble smear campaign. Described by the deposed Leader of Oldham Council, Arooj Shah, as ‘dehumanising, misogynistic and racist’ (read more here).

Cllr Barnes and Warren Bates also brought disgrace to the Borough over their behaviour during Full Council meetings last June and July. The former had to deliver a humiliating public apology during the November meeting and the latter is the holder of several Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction warning letters (see pic below). Wazza continues to be involved in unpleasant scenes as he regularly tries to force entry to the Civic Centre (read more here).

Warren Bates holding his three ASBOs

Mr Ali said: “Over the years I’ve tried many times to keep my good friend Warren on the straight and narrow. But when he starting backing people like Robert Barnes and other Oldham Tories like him the gap between us philosophically and politically became too wide.

He continued: “It is hoped, however, that Warren will put the record straight over Cllr Barnes’ disastrous year as an elected representative in my area. I’m sure he’ll be asked lots of questions about him and The Rabble connections on the doorsteps. Including their opposition to the £1 million investment in the football and rugby clubs in Oldham.

Adding: “As a Chadderton resident myself, and one who tries to put as much as I can back into my local community, can I also publicly urge Warren to come clean over the charity donations that he promised when he became a councillor in 2014 and clear up who paid for his leaflets in the 2021 election in the Failsworth West ward when he committed an election offence with his return by not declaring the donation”.

He concluded: “It’s not too late for Warren to pay back the money. I can point him to many excellent charities and community volunteers with whom I work closely every single day. That repayment, even in instalments, would make such a difference to the lives of so many of the deprived in our great town”.

The Rabble is claiming to back other candidates in the forthcoming Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council local elections as part of what they describe as ‘an insurgency to take back our town’, but a number of them now appear reluctant to confirm public association with this group of infamous cranks. Only Marc Hince, another perennial election failure and noted on-line troll, has publicly nailed his colours to The Rabble’s mast.

Just three of many extraordinary voltes-face in The Rabble’s politicking, over their relatively short time in existence, may be behind that demurral. Such as the move from championing candidates that are from Oldham; live in the ward in which they seek election: and encouraging younger candidates (considering those of 67 years or more too old just two years ago). Warren Bates, a South Mancunian born in Ardwick, is 85 years old and has been very closely aligned with Failsworth where he has lived for past twenty years or so and, apart from his highly vocal support of Robert Barnes, nothing in the public domain would suggest he has had anything to do with Chadderton, whatsoever, in his entire life.

Nominations close next Tuesday (4th April, 2023) and the position will be much clearer after the formal announcement of candidates. A full list will be posted on Neil Wilby Media the following day.

Warren Bates and Robert Barnes were both offered the right of reply.

Cllr Barnes did not acknowledge the email.

Wazza said: “Thanks for your continued support plenty of the truth to come and it will hurt it always has”. He did not mention about repaying the charity or the leaflet money – or why he is not standing in his home ward.

Page last updated Wednesday 29th March, 2023 at 2320hrs

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Picture credits: Mohib Uddin, Liberal Party.

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

3 thoughts on “Oldham’s biggest public nuisance to stand as election candidate for ‘The Rabble’

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