Welcome as Tesco's decision not to go ahead with a store on Hope Street is (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2009/09/04/tesco-withdraws-plans-for-liverpool-hope-street-store-92534-24604733/ ), it also raises the question of political grandstanding by those elected representatives whose self-regard is in inverse proportion to their actual efficacy.
Vicky Anderson's piece in the Post includes a gushing quote from Berni Turner, evidently attempting to appear magnanimous in a victory some may be forgiven for thinking she piloted:
"I hold out the hand of friendship to Sir Terry Leahy [Tesco chief executive], because he has absolutely done the right thing. I take my hat off to him."
Cllr Turner's warm words may also be prompted by her use of the term "evil empire" in referring to Tesco during the Facebook campaign against a Hope Street store. A rapproachement may well be all the more necesary given that Cllr Turner's Old Swan ward is the home of a large Tesco store.
The retail giant's volte-face also places Larry Nield's take on the development in a rather unflattering light. Writing on the Liverpool Confidential site a while back, the October Communications representative took the view that any campaign against a Hope Street store was futile & that mammon must be allowed to take its course. He concluded (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.com/index.asp?Sessionx=IpqiNwEiNwEnIwY6IHqjNwB6IA ):
"There may be some sympathy for those who say a Tesco is unsuited to Hope Street, but under planning rules it would seem they are on a loser. The council has no power to prevent Tesco opening on Hope Street. The issue is signage, and it would seem a compromise will have to be reached.
"We are not going to see the re-opening of grand grocery stores such as Kirklands and Coopers of Church Street, Reeces or the Kardomah.
"Every Tesco in the city centre I visit seems to be thriving, which makes me wonder how people have survived until now. It also makes me realise Tesco's business judgement is paying dividends."
Strictly speaking, of course, the Tesco proposal wasn't derailed by the council, which, as Larry pointed out, had no say in the matter. However, his subsequent assumption that Hope Street would host a Tesco store now looks less than sage.
In an intriguing aside to Larry's LC piece, one commenter pointed to Liverpool Vision's status as a client of October Communications, adding that it's headed by one Terry Leahy. LC's editorial team jumped in quickly, declaring:
"Larry and/or October Comms do not work or perform any PR or marketing function for Liverpool Vision.
"As far as we know, if October [Comms] did ever work for [Liverpool] Vision, it would have been some years ago, and even then in its earlier life before the big quango merger.
"Please, please, folks, be careful before you add your wisdom to the rant, especially when the things you are saying are completely without foundation. You are legally responsible for your own comments and we'll have to remove them if they are reported to us as excessively rude or defamatory."
It's curious why LC should assert that there's no link between October Comms & Liverpool Vision, adding that the lawyers could, theoretically, be dragged in if anyone suggests otherwise when October lists Vision as one of its clients (http://www.octobercomms.co.uk/clients.html ).
Either someone's guilty of a terminological inexactitude, or that webpage urgently needs updating. Perhaps Larry can shed some light on this; clarification would be welcome. So, Larry, what's the situation?