Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oldham Echo: Fight Arranger-Round Two

Some people just don't know when to stop, do they? To take a typically cringeworthy pun employed by the Oldham Echo in relation to Flo Clucas' "Long & Winding Road" suggestion from Whitechapel to Matthew Street [more of A Short Walk Round The Corner, if you ask me], it simply isn't possible for some to Let It Be [sorry].
David Bartlett clearly wishes to resurrect the playground spat between Liverpool & Southampton ( ):
"I have been criticised in some quarters for responding to Gareth Lewis from the Southern Daily Echo after he suggested that Liverpool wanted to steal Southampton's cruise trade.
"I wrote a defence of Liverpool and pointed out Liverpool's achievements compared to Southampton.
"This was taken as me acting as some sort of stirrer or agent provocateur in the so-called 'cruise wars' between Liverpool and Southampton."
Criticism from "some quarters", David? I presume you're referring to this blog & Wayne's, whose response to your post decisively disabuses you of any illusion that your comments command unanimous local assent ( ).
Furthermore, what you posted could hardly be described as "a defence of Liverpool", the "achievements" you cite relating to football (irrelevant to the matter in hand) &, yes, of course, The Beatles (equally irrelevant to this topic). Instead, it reminded me of a playground rant from a peeved primary school pupil, as I noted at the time ( ).
In addition, I did not accuse you of being a "stirrer or agent provacateur", I levelled that charge at your employer on Oldham Hall Street, & given the enthusiasm with which both the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo have returned to this story recently, I see no reason to withdraw it.
You can hardly be surprised that a local columnist in Southampton has reacted by trotting out all the old Scouse stereotypes, nor should you feign offence taken at it; every town & city has its local propagandists whose egos are in inverse proportion to their IQ, Southampton is no exception.
In Liverpool's case, David, they tend to be fellow employees of yours.
You conclude your post by asking:
"So what form should a response take?"
The answer, David, is that there should be no response, as Ronnie de Ramper comments on your post. Acknowledge the fact that Oldham Hall Street deliberately engineered a confrontation via its reporting & headlines when the issue first arose, & augmented it with pathetically parochial editorials once the flames had been kindled.
It would be refreshing if Oldham Hall Street posed some pertinent journalistic enquiries on the role of Peel Holdings & held its record up to a sufficiently rigorous level of scrutiny. How about it, David?
Or are you just going to Let It Be?


David Bartlett said...


The point I was seeking to make is that sometimes you're damned if you do damned if you don't. I may have "started" this if you like through writing the first report (that Southampton was objecting to Liverpool's bid). OK we disagree over whether I should have written a response to Lewis, fair enough. But the fact that I wrote my latest blog post in the terms that I did should be an indication of the fact I was acknowledging that you and others thought I should have remained above the fray.

As for the other stories, well I can't see them suddenly going away. As things stand a turnaround facility at the Cruise Liner Terminal is much needed, and you would rightly berate us if we were not covering this issue.

As for the role of Peel Holdings, it's not as if we have not raised the issue of Langton Dock in the past or the high rates it charges for the cruise liner terminal, here is an example

But I'm glad to see you've got a sense of humour so here's an offer From Me To You, fancy meeting up for a drink sometime?

Esther Johnson said...

I feel embarrassed to be associated with Liverpool over this. What an own goal. The stereotype that the rest of the country gleefully saddles us with has just been reinforced. Shame on the local rags for stirring up this mess. They would be better employed pointing out our own council's failure of foresight. If there is a viable future for a turnaround facility (and the infrastucture looks poor) then PAY BACK THE GRANT and get on with it.

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

I dont think the Oldham Echo representitive David Bartlett quite reads it right.
But I'm glad to see you've got a sense of humour so here's an offer From Me To You, fancy meeting up for a drink sometime?
I respect people like you Correspondent for speaking their mind.
It apeared to me that you were annoyed not laughing about the subject of being fronted by Trinity Mirror....but hey!

Anonymous said...

Correspondent - What is your axe to grind with the LIVERPOOL Echo and Trinity Mirror?
I sense a disgruntled ex employee or someone who has been the legitimate if unhappy subject of a story.
All this Oldham Echo nonsense is tiresome.
Using such weak and inaccurate slurs as a stick to beat David with show you up.
And yes, I do work for the Echo.

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

Is it possible that people are fed up with the usual spoon feeding of council propaganda by the local press and it is as a result of this that Correspondent writes.
It is easy for someone at Oldham Hall street to say, it would be innacurate if the Echo did not write it, wouldnt it? Unfortunatly that is not the experience of people who I speak with, who consider the local press to be far off the mark with its acuracy.
Dont give in Correspondent the truth will hurt them, but it is still the truth.
Wayne Colquhoun

charles said...

You cant be an ex employee of The Liverpool Echo or Trinity Mirror your writing is too good for that.

Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...
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Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...
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Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...

So come on Sir, spit it out are you in fact the axed Mr Abernathy who use to appear in the eponymous cartoon strip?

Before you answer, I thought I might comment on the issue about axe grinding. But now realising as I am about to post this comment how much I have rambled on below (that’s not like me) it will have to be in two parts. Hence previous deleted comments

So, I don't see any axe grinding in your posts, what I see is that the local newspapers are not serving the people of the city as they should and have become overly reliant upon the council spin machine. The Echo has moved to Oldham for printing, that is a fact. It may be tiresome to repeat this but it was probably tiresome for the now redundant print workers to read the echo campaigns about saving jobs for various threatened factories and how we must keep them local, but no support campaign to protect their own jobs in the paper dismissing them.

The whole saga about the reporting of the Southampton, Peel Holdings and Cruise terminal nonsense avoided mentioning all of the most pertinent facts and started an unnecessary war of words. It then degenerated into tit for tat name calling as a response to some idiots outdated and tired stereotypical ramblings. This is the inevitable result of an editorial line that seems to act more and more as a mouthpiece for the developers and accepts as fact everything that comes out of their self interested PR machine. The Trinity Mirror, by regurgitating the dubious press releases from vested interest groups, ignores the less positive analysis of the city’s economic prospects and attacks anyone who dares to suggest there are other arguments to be made. The real local economy - the one that supports the wider population and upon which the future of the city and its people depend - is dangerously fragile and extremely vulnerable to the financial market and the effects of the recession. This will be the determining factor for any long-term sustainable growth. The local reality is, although I don’t think the Echo has mentioned it, that the executive of the council is faced with having to make £24 million pounds worth of cuts in public services over the next four years, and it will be faced by whoever takes control in May next year. This is also before any other cuts are imposed by whoever forms the next government as a result of the need to tackle the mounting national debt. As has been pointed out in this blog many times, what exists in Liverpool at the moment is the politics of Bread and Circuses. It is not cynicism or negativity to want to bring these issues into the open, it is a need for a very serious reality check. We can make the front garden as beautiful as we want but if the house has dry rot, sooner or later it is going to fall on you. In other words there is nothing sustainable within the current developments, there is no self-reliance in the local economy, no industrial or manufacturing base and instead just a wish list, that if we tart up the town centre and waterfront that miraculously employers and new blood will pour in along with the tourists. The idea that simply allowing property speculators to take land at knock down prices and build huge new buildings as a strategy for long term growth means that at any moment, the whole pack of cards could tumble, along with the value of the empty apartments and skyscrapers we currently have, never mind a whole new batch.

Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...

What is the financial strategy for when the European monies and other government grants disappear? Cllr Clucas has already gone on record in Brussels as saying, that without it, the city would have died. That is an argument that also says if we don’t keep getting it, then the city may die. Even if Objective One money and other grants were maintained to current levels, the city still risks serious economic decline with long-term social consequences. There is a big difference between promoting the city and the good things that have been happening and deluding people into thinking that Liverpool is in a strong position to ride out the recession and set to grow and prosper on the basis of Liverpool One, the Arena and some new Skyscrapers.

Trinity Mirror seems to be calling the local editorial shots and has driven the paper towards the homogenous any-town, one size fits all style, lacking in any real news analysis and so caused the gradual disappearance or withdrawal of investigative style reporting and news analysis The problem is, that in trying to be the scouse flag waving, non-confrontational spincaster, it misjudged the fact that many of its readers are intelligent and interested in what is really going on. People want to know whose interests are being served by what is happening in the city. Peel and Grosvenor can invest billions in property speculation and building apartments on land virtually given to them, buildimg city apartments that the majority of the city’s people could never afford to live in. At the same time we cannot find the money to relieve the living hell and civic disgrace that is the Boot Estate.

Now as within any organisation, there is a doubtless a certain line to be towed. I think the “what has Southampton got to offer compared to Liverpool” piece was misjudged and needlessly provocative but probably in line with what is being demanded from those who remain at Old Hall Street. David Bartlett has done some excellent work over the years in other areas and I can certainly forgive this piece and hope that he can continue to deliver stories that matter or at least find a way to highlight issues that need to be brought to the attention of the people of Liverpool.

I had a go at the Echo in a couple of posts on other sites around the time of the Oldham move. Some, not all, of those comments, with hindsight, I regret and some comments were possibly hurtful to those doing their best in what must have been, and I sense still is, a pretty dismal and uncertain climate. For those who still work in Old Hall Street, with integrity and a love of their profession, I suspect the last couple of years in the sandcastle have not been pleasant and on that basis we have to recognise that there are restraints under which people have to work and so not be too quick to judge them as individuals.

So maybe we should all go for a drink and invite a few others along; The Editors of the Post and Echo, the CEO of Peel Holdings, Michael Hanlon from Maghull Group, David Fleming, Steve Hurst and maybe even the Mayor and Sir Diddy!

Give Wayne a ring and check when our next dominoes night is at the Flying Pig.

Correspondent said...

Professor, you're on!

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

Chuck, I know you usually write with wit and humour but I have to say, that is well said. I think your words may even be a reflection of what a lot of us disgruntled people in Liverpool feel and are trying hard to say. Trying to make a difference only to have our work, and words turned and manipulated by the local PR companies who apear to use the Oldham Hall Street brigade as if their own employees, by with which to get their message across.
David Bartlett is not a bad lad but the editorial steerage means he is sailing close to being, institutionalised.
In this day and age we the public are entitled to have our say and compare our work to the local press. We can put them straight in fact, when they do get it wrong. And y'know something, the real truth lies in people such as Correspondent and the Prof who tirelessly work their words because they believe in what they say. For no reward. I don my cap to you I really do.

David Dean said...

It's easily to tirelessly work your words when you are hiding under a cloak of anonymity.

Doesn't matter if what you say about people has absolutely no basis in truth, either, because you are hiding from any reprisals. You can hurt people too, in your posts, because you won't ever have to face up to them and look them in they eye.


Then again, some people might actually consider that quite cowardly.

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

Yes and reading the local papers can seriously turn you into a spoon fed moron. So who is David Dean anyhow I may be mistaken, did you leave your address.

Spartacus said...

I'm David Dean