One of the things which makes the Oldham Echo's coverage of events on Merseyside so risible is its insistence that, come what may, the region will somehow remain immune from the gathering economic storm. Recent events, some of which I've commented on in this blog, make a nonsense of that nostrum.
The feel-good, la-la-la-I'm-not-listening stance of the Echo has been brought up short by the unarguable reality of job losses (including those 100 printing positions the paper is responsible for via its move to Oldham) & collapsed housing market.
Greg O'Keefe injects a welcome & bracing blast of reality about the recession's effect on the city, particularly on Liverpool One (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/02/18/are-all-these-closures-the-start-of-liverpool-g-one-100252-22951590/ ).
In typical Echo fashion, however, he couches his thoughts in an anxious surely-it-couldn't-happen sort of way:
"I'm not suggesting that hope has been knocked out -- but it has taken a standing count and its legs look tired."
Later on in his piece O'Keefe cautions:
"What causes concern as the economy consistently hits new troughs is the terrifying vision of a Liverpool One with dozens of empty, boarded-up, abandoned outlets getting scruffier by the day.
"It is not an irrational fear in a city which has seen the once proud Garden festival site go from boom to shoddy bust in a past recession."
Moreover, in an aside which jars the cosy consensus on Old Hall Street about how the city is somehow immune from the economic storm, O'Keefe realises ruefully:
"Perhaps the city centre traders were always going to have to adapt to life without the 08 factor, but doing it in the shuddering cold of this recession-hit winter is proving terminal."
Terminal? I would love to have been the proverbial fly on the wall as Echo editor Alastair Machray & his minions agonised over publishing that loaded term in O'Keefe's piece.