Last night I attended a debate at St George's Hall, billed as, "North west solidarity or regional rivalry? Liverpool believes that it's time for Liverpool and Manchester to join forces".
Unfortunately, the debate generated more heat than light. I'm all too aware of the Liverpool-Manchester rivalry, seen at its most tribal & visceral when Liverpool & Manchester football teams meet. However, as one contributor pointed out in exasperation after a series of petty, parochial points, it's the height of stupidity to give such divisions house room in an age of globalisation.
What made it doubly depressing was that the two speakers against the motion were Rogan Taylor, director of football studies at the city's university & co-founder of the Football Supprters' Association, & Jayne Casey, former member of Deaf School & organiser of the annual Creamfields festival.
The reality is that though the two cities will always have their own identities, they cannot operate in a state of supreme indifference to each other, something which was finally realised by the 70 strong audience which voted 51% to 49% in favour of the motion. Sanity prevailed.