Trying to remain neutral, non-judgemental and able give an unbiased account of the reason behind, and perhaps the cause of, the terrible consequence that this town has become, is difficult, to say the least.
Highlighted in the media for all the wrong reasons, the town remains an anomaly, and still hits the headlines regularly for out of the ordinary types of violent, or anti-social behaviour.
Having been placed directly in the field, so to speak, by an unfortunate set of circumstances such are fate, I was able to observe, first-hand, the workings and how Rochdale functioned as a town. It was not a pretty sight, and not an experience I would like to repeat.
In 2007-08 things were much grimmer than they are today; there were drug addicted prostitute's waiting for the willing punter on the corner of Maclure Road and Drake Street and once they had enough for their next fix would go around the back of the headquarters of the Liberal-Democrat's, which was a renown safe haven for all types of criminal activities. Besides the prostitute's and their activity, around the top-end of Drake Street, around the junction of Ann Street, are centred all the service's that are requisite for a homeless drunk, or drug addict. Close to Milkstone Road, renown for being the centre of the heroin trade, the area known as Deeplish is heavily populated by pakistani muslims who have developed a centre of commerce there from the proceeds of the state benefits of those who gather there, who are suffering the consequences of drink or drug addiction. I would hazard a guess that it was convenient for the town's people to have these down-and-outs in one place; the police certainly did not have their work cut out when on the lookout for suspects, shall we say, but they have plenty of such places to investigate on any particular day, within their catchment area, to deal with, as this report will indicate.
Media interest has recently been focused in an area of the town known as Falinge, which is a council estate and is home to those deemed by the local council low enough on the social scale to need to be housed in such circumstances and in an area with the reputation that Falinge now has. The press has given the one street, council estate the label of 'Benefits Capital' among other similar derogatory descriptives, and seemingly making it appear that all the towns problems are centred in this small area; portraying that it is immigrants housed there that are responsible, but in the main they are not. But the immigrants there now are only a relatively recent development, as in 2008 the small area outlined in press reports, was controlled by drug dealer's and user's who fed their habits on the proceeds of crime, as the towns people discovered with crime reaching record levels in 2009.
Living quite close to the centre of the media attention, just outside the Falinge Estate, I saw first-hand the police raids and evictions which drove more and more addicts and dealer's into the hands of the authorities. Many of whom would inevitably end up in one of the many of the town's hostels on bail, where they had perhaps began; it was, as I saw it, a revolving door scenario. Not nice to watch, even worse to be participate in, having seen it closer than one would prefer
Falinge is only part of a far wider ranging problem within the town, the corruption and degradation go beyond a single council estate brought to light by its close proximity to the town centre. In fact, the part repeatedly reported by the local major networks is less than half of the whole estate, and if there is a place that requires highlighting and perhaps aid it would be the tower-blocks across Spotland Road, where last year there were at least three recorded suicides in that part of the town in the space of a few months. Those episodes were reported locally but not followed up beyond the single report in one of the two town's main newspapers.
Rochdale not only plays host, usually by Manchester city council referral, to Greater Manchester's drunken class of society, and has the service's and commercial industry that has developed as a consequence of these people being referred to what is provided by way of Health and other service's that are situated in that area; it is meant to be what it is. It is also home to at least one mental hospital and a prison.
Besides the hostels, bawdy houses, and brawling bar's; dotted around the town, some 30 in number, are children's residential care homes, all of them dealing with children who are deemed in some way to be maladjusted and not able to function, therefore, these children have been removed from their home environment and are considered by authorities to be suffering the consequence of serious emotional and behavioural difficulties brought about by the risk of abuse presented.
The majority of these residential care homes are attached to an organisation called 'Greencorns' who have a website in that name advertising their specialist care service's. One, or two, also play host to children with learning difficulties.
Looking at this laterally, it is not hard to imagine that in a town where there are at the very least 300, more like double this, problem children, causing problems, as their label suggests, along with hostel's doss-houses and troubled council estates and you have a recipe for disaster; it was up until late 2007, that graffiti was celebrated by way of tolerance in the name of art, and every subway had its own urine smelling art gallery. A lot of it has been subject to demolition so no longer exists, one or two of these do still exist, but are mainly used by those who authority would consider deliquent. I personally have picture's of these piece's of 'art'.
The town is evidently going to attract paedophiles and those whose belief systems include such practices within their ethics, such as Muslims who practice their faith and law. And so it seems the town has attracted its fair share of christian's also, who are known now to have a tendency to be more than caring for children in their charge. History shows that those inclined to be attracted to children with a sexual motive tend to target those considered vulnerable by the disposition of being described as maladjusted by the authorities, and removed from their home for being deemed as being beyond parental control, (or like label)and are effectively being fed into a system that will inevitably lead to prison, and a failed life.
We are now seeing the consequence of such places as were commonplace in the 1960's '70's and 80's; the church owned and controlled children's homes and approved schools, where such children would inevitably end-up if they failed to comply to the possible abuse they faced at the place deemed requisite for their condition or circumstance by authority. Where now, far from the security of their family they are surrounded in a town that also plays host to those made dangerous through drink, or drug abuse, or have been recently released from prison, and cannot be re-housed due to the category of offence they were imprisoned for; usually sexual or violent in nature and sufficiently serious enough to merit a council's referral to the town's 'service's' by way of hostel, or other 'care' facility within the area.
In summary, Rochdale is a product of its own design; those in charge of such things within authority surely could foresee, and were obligated therefore, in their contractual commitment, what would happen if you created such a society by selective design, as has to be the case in this situation and instance. It's not hard to see why the long term residents are militant toward those outside their immediate circle and that they respond with defensive violence when their town is being used as a dump for the rest of the Greater Manchester region. Truly.
Considering all the facts, and having witnessed, and also, having been exposed to the Rochdale Experience it makes sound sense to conclude that the situation that Rochdale has become has been by specific design; if you put any number of vulnerable people among those who are likely to exploit the other's misfortune, then that is what will happen, and is happening, in Rochdale today. The town is by design, exactly what it is, a dump for societies dysfunctional.
Rochdale is also a microcosm of what is happening throughout Europe in terms of Islamic infiltration and its influence on British society. What is being seen in Rochdale is where those in authority have been complacent by their negligence in their social obligation, as were the Liberal Democrats who had a long reign in the town and truly drove it into the ground. Had not the scenes that were representative of what Rochdale has become, been as graphic as they were, the town would have remained invisible to society, as it has done for so long. Again, by design. Ever the opportunists; the pakistani muslims there have just taken advantage of the commercial market created on their doorstep and have flourished thus.
The development in the area is misdirected and a deflection from reality, nor is the sticking plaster offered and promised by government as a potential cure for what has fast become the notoriety of the town whose commerce must suffer as a consequence of such negative attention. Falinge is only part of what Rochdale has become through, seemingly specific intention and with planning, those people in authority are not stupid, those who did this are probably long-dead and this is their legacy; such things cannnot ever be considered coincidental.
Rochdale; a social experiment.