Remember that kid at school who always went round telling one lad that another lad had said he could fight him? If things escalated, & they usually did from such an inflammatory starting-point, the two lads would end up rolling around while a group of other lads, led by the "shit-stirrer", would chant, "fight, fight, fight!" The two protagonists would end up getting the cane while the "shit-stirrer" would snigger at his antics. Well, the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo are journalism's "shit-stirrers" with their series of pieces designed to produce a hitherto non-existant spat between Liverpool & Southampton over the cruise ferry terminal affair (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2009/09/cruise-wars-scouse-wedding-at-sea.html ).
Using his blog to continue a ridiculous & totally irresponsible farce, David Bartlett adopts the role of a nine year-old boy engaged in a schoolground argument (http://blogs.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/dalestreetblues/2009/09/cruise-wars-liverpool-vs-south.html) :
"Liverpool is the Capital of Pop. Our artists have produced more number one hits than those from any other town or city. The Beatles are our most famous export.
"Southampton's most famous musical export is probably Craig David - unless you count Benny Hill. He hit the top spot in 1971 with Ernie (Fastest Milkman in the West).
"Liverpool is the most filmed British city outside London with credits including: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Sherlock Holmes, 51st State, The Hunt For Red October, Nowhere Boy, In the Name of the Father, Letter To Brezhnev, Backbeat and Priest.
"The One Show once filmed a feature in Southampton called 'Why ice is slippy'. The city was the location for an HSBC training video.
"Liverpool FC are the most famous club in British history, with 18 league championships, five European cups, three UEFA cups, seven FA cups and seven league cups. Everton have competed in the top flight a record 107 seasons and won the league nine times, the FA Cup five times and a European trophy (Cup Winners Cup).
"Southampton FC have won the FA Cup. Once.
"Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage City since 2004. The city has 2,500 listed buildings and 250 public monuments - including the largest collection of Grade II listed buildings outside London. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest in the country.
"Southampton has the world's oldest bowls green."
You can sit down now, David, & take a deep breath. Got to get your strength back for PE later, eh?
All three comments so far posted in response to Bartlett's na-na-na-na-na moment take him to task for reducing an already manufactured story by Oldham Hall Street to the level of a Year 5 playground exchange, with the Professor wondering whether Paddy Shennan [hello, Paddy!] actually penned the puerile piece. More seriously, the Professor warns that "this kind of exchange between cities can be so destructive so don't be surprised the next time some 'Scouser/Liverpudlian/Liverpolitan' gets bottled in a Southampton pub when they hear his accent, or some poor sod from Southampton gets battered here by a bunch of jingoistic morons, we need to think, is this the cultural level we wish to promote?"
Today's Oldham Echo tries to revive the "fight, fight, fight!" chant (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/09/28/liverpool-v-southampton-tax-rap-for-firm-in-pier-head-cruise-war-100252-24795007/ ), spinning on the tax status of ABP, owner of the Port of Southampton, saying it is registered in Jersey where Corporation Tax is zero per cent.
However, a commenter on the Echo story, willsonline, puts things in a more rounded context:
"Peel Holdings should be investigated - they were given Speke Airport on a plate, along with hundreds of acres of land - along with the Manchester Ship Canal. Granada TV exposed how they came about owning Trafford Park and fooling the people of Manchester into handing over the biggest trading estate in Europe for free, and it was all behind-the-scenes dealing that robbed the people of Manchester, and now it's happening in Merseyside, and lots of the profits are going offshore with Peel Holdings."
Peel Holdings' chairman & majority shreholder John Whittaker is a tax exile on the Isle of Man & is worth an estimated £1.3bn (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2009/09/cruise-wars-liverpool-gets-full-naval.html ).
Today's Oldham Echo editorial attempts to affect a disdainful position (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/our-view/2009/09/28/southampton-cry-unfair-about-liverpool-s-cruise-liner-plan-what-a-damn-cheek-100252-24793991/ ):
"The cries of 'unfair' emanating from Southampton regarding Liverpool's perfectly reasonable bid for a turnaround facility at the Pier Head are becoming tedious and tiresome."
I'll tell you what's "tedious and tiresome", it's the juvenile antics of Oldham Hall Street over this & many other local topics.
The editorial again raises ABP's tax scam in Jersey, but is deafeningly silent on Peel Holdings & Whittaker.
An indication of the true nature of Peel Holdings can be found across the Irish Sea where workers in the Port of Dublin have been involved in a long-running dispute with a subsidiary of Peel, Maritime Terminals Ltd (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0704/1224250045706.html & http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0709/breaking50.html ):
"The union [Siptu] said that when the company [Marine Terminals Ltd] decided to make 19 staff members redundant earlier this year, it used its own selection criteria. Siptu said five workers were made redundant initially, and that on May 15th a further 14 were told by mangement that they were to be let go.
"On the same day, all other Siptu employees were written to, telling them they must sign new contracts agreeing to pay cuts of between 14 and 18 per cent, or be sacked, it said."
That's the nature of the beast Oldham Hall Street champions. Not just "tedious and tiresome", but disgusting.