What with the debacle surrounding Matthew Street this month, it was left to the normally cheerleading local media to put the boot in when the body was prone. The Liverpool Daily Post kicked off the new business week by, well, kicking civic vanity just a little bit more: http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/business/business-local/2007/08/06/investment-fails-to-lift-merseyside-s-prosperity-64375-19576096/ .
Peter Kilfoyle, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, is an erstwhile political foe of mine. He would have loved to have expelled me from the Labour Party in the early 90s, but I denied him that honour by leaving the sinking ship of my own accord.
However, his comments in the article ironically echo my own observations about the changing face of the region, & how some areas are changing more than others:
"Capital of Culture, as it stands, is not going to have any real impact on the problems that have dogged Merseyside for decades.
"The area needs a sustained period of investment, not just for one year, and the few years running up to it......
"But what is also worrying is the inequality within Merseyside itself. For example, the north-south divide in Liverpool. South Liverpool's prosperity is way beyond that of North Liverpool in terms of growth, employment and health. This needs addressing urgently."
Ah, yes, Peter, but you know as well as I do that there's as much chance of it being addressed "urgently" as there is of your beloved Everton FC winning the Premiership.
There's always been a qualitative difference between the north & south parts of Liverpool. However, the last decade or so has seen the south pulling away from the north; house prices are at least twice as much in the south. School league tables show that a child has a statistically better chance of educational attainment & progress on to university in the south. There is no shortage of amenities in areas like Aigburth, Mossley Hill & Woolton. Sefton Park & the adjacent Lark Lane offer recreational facilities & restaurants the like of which are completely unknown in Kirkdale, Croxteth & Bootle.
There are other factors not all of them economic. South Liverpool is far more racially diverse than North Liverpool (the Toxteth riots were not "race riots", Anthony Walker was murdered in a predominantly white part of Merseyside) .
Yet the reality is that while parts of South Liverpool are on the tourist trail (all four Beatles grew up in the south part, Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields nursing home are nearby, Speke Hall, John Lennon airport, etc.), North Liverpool's only points of interest to tourists are Anfied & Goodison Park. Socially & economically, the north side of the city still bears visible scars of the last three decades. As far as I can see, that isn't going to be rectified in the forseeable future.