Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Denial Isn't In Egypt, It's By The Mersey

In his recent round up of blog postings, Iain Dale (http://www.iaindale.blogspot.com ) linked to a post at the weekend by Shadow Tory minister Ed Vaizey about his visit to Liverpool (http://edvaizey.mpblogs.com/2009/02/07/liverpool/ ).
It's the usual party political guff by Vaizey for his online (Tory) readership & doesn't contain anything controversial regarding the city itself. You won't be surprised to know that Vaizey chooses to remain silent on the Tories policy towards Merseyside during the 80s & 90s. So, alas, there's no reference to Geoffrey Howe's infamous comment after the Toxteth Riots in 1981 that the government's policy on the city should be one of "managed decline".
Meanwhile, the Oldham Echo still bangs on about how the region can emerge unscathed from the credit crunch (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/02/09/why-new-liverpool-can-ride-out-the-credit-crunch-100252-22886637/ ).
The article, penned by Paddy Shennan (hello, Paddy!) liberally quotes Professor Michael Parkinson from Liverpool University to talk up local prospects. In short, it amounts to whistling in the wind. Quoth the professor:
"The key question is 'what is Liverpool's trajectory'? From a very, very low base, the city has slowly pulled its way up and, as a result, has much better prospects for the next 10 years than it would have done.
"There has been a lot of pain, many communities haven't benefited and some people have lost out. I'm not denying that for a second, but the trajectory is the right trajectory. Liverpool is beginning to reinvent itself and find a new role."
Professor Parkinson follows this up with the usual hyperbole about Capital of Culture year ("I just think it was bloody great"), & a gratuitous plug for the Echo-sponsored arena.
And the effects of the credit crunch? The professor breezes:
"We were lucky with our timing. If the credit crunch had come three years ago, things would have been a mess. Liverpool One and the ECHO arena would have been half-built. We just snuck under.
"The credit crunch is bad for a lot of people but it came at the right moment for Liverpool in the sense that we had recently achieved a huge amount of regeneration."
There's more of this feel-good bollockese from an academic who really should know better. Shennan gleefully interjects every so often in the manner of a shameless cheerleader. Professor Parkinson should read the comments ascribed to him & realise how contradictory they are; he ventures that the recession will have passed over by 2011 at the latest. I normally view the Children's Minister, Ed Balls, as just another New Labour minion, but I suspect he's closer to the reality about economic prospects than the good professor (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/this-is-the-worst-recession-for-over-100-years-1605367.html ).

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