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Issue 16 - October 1973
The Syndicate ... Out Of Business
Funny, isn't it, how the proverbial story never dies. The last three articles MG's written on Godfather Cunningham were all published in the belief that they'd be the last, for surely no-one could be so nasty as to take up so much space so many times, and still cause surprises. But don't underestimate delinquents.

For anyone who hasn't heard of the Godfather, a brief introduction. Until recently, Andrew Cunningham was the most powerful man in the north-east. Alderman of Durham County Council, member of the National Executive of the Labour Party, Chairman of the Durham Police Authority, head of the Northern Region of the General and Municipal Workers Union (biggest in the north-east) and Chairman of a dozen or so powerful county council and public committees, this zealot of the revolution and buddy of John RIP Poulson, respected architect and business man, had the area swinging by its toes. Until, one day, he was arrested and charged with conspiring to make lots of money by fixing building contracts.

But that's not the end of the story. By no means. His case hasn't come up yet, and I'm sure he's doing a lot of work to prove that the charges against him are a complete frame-up and that the fascist police and capitalist press have made the whole thing up in an attempt to discredit him. Sympathising with him, we at Grumble had decided to offer him some advice and urge him to hire a public relations man - namely his good friend Dan 'Spiro Agnew' Smith, who's had a lot of experience with image-building - namely his own. But just before we could get our advice to the Godfather we discovered that Spiro himself had been arrested on the same trumped-up charge as the Godfather, which just goes to prove that we shouldn't underestimate the lengths the police will go to, to silence people they feel are a threat to their stability.

That two such dedicated socialists could have been involved in corrupt practices is completely unimaginable. Dan, after all, is the former chairman of the Northern Economic Planning Council and the Peterlee and Aycliffe joint new town development corporation as well as past chairman of Newcastle City Council; and the name 'Mr Newcastle' which was given to him during his attempt to turn the centre of the city into a glittering mass of office blocks, is dear to the heart of all the people living in the slums of Elswick and the Scotswood Road whom he was so very concerned about.

But this is not the first time Spiro's socialist principles have led him into trouble with the police. A few years ago, Scotland Yard tried to persuade a court that he'd corruptly influenced Councillor Sydney Sporle - leader of the Labour Group of Wandsworth Council (London) and leader of the council - to use his PR companies. Comrade Sporle got 6 years but, luckily, Spiro managed to prove his obvious innocence.

But yet more foul things have befallen the luckless duo. Once society has hooked its claws into you there's no letting go. To rub salt into the aching wounds, news has just come through that Andy's sweet wife Freda - named after the Shields ferry - has also been caught in the net and is being threatened with Holloway on the same charge as her men friends. This is an obvious attempt by MI5 at weakening the psyche of the Godfather and Spiro - you know - admit all and we'll make sure she gets off lightly, resist and we'll make sure she's the guv'ner's piece of fluff.

Don't give in comrades. Smuggle any letters out of your cells and we'll print them.

(Muther Grumble is starting a 'Save the Godfather, Spiro, Shields Ferry' defence fund. All donations to the MG Pension Scheme, c/o the Junta, Santiago.)