Monday, November 30, 2009

Subversive Elements Smuggle Letter Into Daily Ghost

Just imagine if the views of Soviet dissidents had been given an airing in the pages of Pravda or Izvestia. It would have been unprecedented. Well, the Daily Ghost is no Pravda or Izvestia (sorry to break the news, Mark) but, as Wayne notes ( ), it has allowed the orgy of back-slapping & self-congratulation over the disfigurement of the city's waterfront to be momentarily halted by a letter in today's edition ( ).
It could be that Pamela Hoey, who edits the Ghost's letters page, has been reading about the samizdat phenomenon in the former Soviet Union & allowed it to go to her head. You did clear that letter for publication with Mark Thomas, didn't you, Pamela?

Imagine There's No Research

Nemesis Republic carries a gem of a post today which serves as both a salutary warning about the devaluation of historical research & an inspired glimpse a millenium or so into the future when our transatlantic cousins remember & commemorate four lads from this neck of the woods ( ).
Wonder if 22nd century America will also celebrate the music of that famous protest singer, Bob Hendrix?

Friday, November 27, 2009


As horizons narrow & hopes recede, the city's two football clubs find themselves in separate, though by no means unique predicaments. The decision by communities minister John Denham to reject Everton's application to build a stadium at Kirkby wasn't entirely unexpected; those who had been following the public inquiry closely related a tale of arrogance, ignorance & complacency on the part of the club & their "partners" Tesco. Such traits haven't completely disappeared in the wake of the government decision, as the club's comment that there was no Plan B indicates.
Within 24 hours of the announcement the question of a groundshare with Liverpool resurfaced ( & ).
The culture blog mused:
"So, Everton are still looking for a way out, having ruled out tarting up Goodison. So is Liverpool, but it's by far the most resistant of the two to any notions of ground sharing.
"LFC is still banking on Stanley Park, but it's now faced with a council and regional development agency keen on a shared ground.
"I suspect that will also be the government's view, with a mind on a 2018 Olympic bid, having turned down Kirkby.
"LFC remain tight-lipped. I suspect a groundshare is a financially-attractive option but it's likely to be a hard sell to Reds."
Everton may well be the most resistant of the two clubs to a shared stadium, despite noises from the Goodison board in the last day or so to the contrary. However, what matters above all other factors is the economic one, something that was equally clear this time last year ( ).
Liverpool's problems off the pitch, which have contributed so much to their inability to compete on it, are well-documented & the stadium issue only helps to perpetuate the chronic levels of deprivation in the neighbourhoods around Anfield ( ).
Of Kirkby itself, it's amusing to witness the grandstanding of the local MP George Howarth. Normally one of the lobby fodder for New Labour (he had no qualms about voting for a war now seen for what it always was -- ) Howarth bleats piteously, knowing that the plan he vigorously backed has turned out to be as watertight as those WMD dossiers. The Oldham Echo earnestly relates his peeved petulance ( ).
No one would deny that Kirkby's deprivation should be treated as an urgent priority; it has long been a disgrace. Equally disgraceful, however, is the record of the government Howarth has backed so assiduously since 97 in tackling deep-rooted problems in areas like Kirkby. That a donkey wearing a Labour rosette would be elected there probably explains why it's been ignored by Howarth's party. Kirkby's regeneration, if it ever happens, should be based on real investment & support, the like of which hasn't been seen since the post-war period. It cannot be based on siting a football stadium, with a bloody big Tesco store attached, in the middle of the town.
Don't believe me, George? I refer you to David Conn's excellent piece in today's Guardian ( ).
Of the proposed move to Kirkby, Conn writes:
"That was never a universally popular prospect; many even among the 59% of fans who voted in favour of the move in 2007 did so because it was the only option presented to expand the club's capacity and, crucially, its earning potential. Everton fans are painfully aware that Goodison Park, a modern marvel when it was unveiled as the world's first purpose-built football ground in 1892, has, in its present form, outlived its ability to generate the money required to compete in today's Premier League."
Conn goes on to detail the thinking behind the decision to reject the Kirkby application; I make no apology for quoting it at length because it helps to demolish some misconceptions, which Howarth regurgitated in his Commons peroration, about the project & shines a harsh, unflattering light on the motivations of those involved & the roles they've played in this farce:
"John Denham, communities and local government secretary, supported the judgment of a planning inspector, Wendy Burden, following a public inquiry that opened fully a year ago. Burden recommended that Tesco's application, for a 22,000 sq m superstore, a 50,000-seat stadium for Everton, and massive associated retail and commercial development, should be refused. Denham agreed that the plans 'failed to provide good and inclusive design', did not promote sustainable development or protect green space, and would economically damage the rest of Kirkby and its neighbouring towns by sucking retail custom away.
" 'The proposals would be likely to have a harmful effect on the vitality and viability of Kirkby, Bootle, Skelmersdale and St Helens and would conflict with policy to support and enhance the Liverpool city centre,' Denham said in his letter to Tesco's planning consultants, DPP, on Wednesday.
"As refusals go, that is categoric. It is a bitter twist for the club that Denham did not find that there was much wrong with the stadium proposal itself, except that it was hitched to Tesco's unacceptably enormous retail plans. The club are due to meet Tesco and their lawyers to consider, as a formality, whether there are grounds to challenge the decision by judicial review, but [Bill] Kenwright is understood to believe there will not be, and this is the end."
As the two clubs & their respective supporters prepare for the laughably-named "friendly Derby" at Goodison on Sunday, all parties will, or should, know that given current economic conditions, a new stadium on Stanley Park, whether it's shared, or the sole preserve of Liverpool, will not be built for the forseeable future & that both clubs will remain at their current locations well into the next decade.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sychophancy & Stress, Just Two Of The Things On Offer At Oldham Hall Street

Wayne's spotted another example of the way in which the Daily Ghost demonstrates not just its "pro-business" credentials, but also its willingness to crawl up the rear sphincter of local business interests with both a "story" & editorial in yesterday's edition ( ).
Meanwhile, Mark Thomas, editor of the Ghost, of course, has been fretting about the future. Not the Ghost's future, you understand (as with Liverpool's Champions' League participation, it'll cease to be in 2010), but that of the newspaper industry ( ).
Mark has the air of a medieval scribe suddenly confronted with a printing press for the first time when he talks about the web's impact on the industry; at one point he appears to cast an envious glance at the editor of the Times, who mistakenly thinks that a Murdoch firewall is the answer.
It's clearly not a happy ship, & at the other end of the Odham Hall Street vessel, Paddy Shennan (hello, Paddy!) perhaps lets on more than he should about life under Alastair Machray when penning an, erm, "witty" piece about coping with workplace stress ( ).
Paddy quotes yet another of these "surveys" so beloved by downmarket tabloids like the Echo. However, its relevance to life under Big Al is all too apparent:
"So, this medical study appears to suggest that covert copers have a choice to make -- either they carry on putting their health at risk by keeping a lid on their righteous anger (basically, by smiling, by grimacing, while inwardly harbouring thoughts of violent retribution) or they do their hearts a favour by saying exactly what they think."
Breathe, deeply, Paddy. Yes, that's it, calm, calm, calm.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Janus-Faced Echo Bemoans Local Job Losses

Spare a thought for the workers at the Ladbrokes call centre in Aintree who were told this week that the operation is to close with the loss of up to 263 jobs ( ).
Of course, the Oldham Echo weeps crocodile tears over the loss of "Liverpool jobs", itself having made 100 Liverpool printers redundant with its switch to Greater Manchester this year ( ).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Less Isn't More

Remember that thing called journalism? Go on, surely you must, it's what those characters on Oldham Hall Street still claim to practise. Pity their protestations are as valid as Thierry Henry's main de Dieu last night ( ).
Take this unsurprisingly byline-free piece in today's Oldham Echo
"Merseyside Labour MPs welcomed a Queen's Speech which focused on the chief concerns of northern cities.
"Top of their list was a bill to grant employment rights for agency workers who make up an estimated one in five of those in employment across the north west outside the public sector.
"But there were some fears that the package may not be enough to save Gordon Brown at the next election.
"The new agency workers' regulations mean that after 12 weeks they will get equal treatment with permanent staff."
Yes, that's it. Four sentences, masquerading as paragraphs, which claim to report the views of Merseyside's Labour MPs without quoting a single one of them. The assertion that the Queen's Speech "focused on the chief concerns of northern cities" is also a bit dodgy; no such aim was either openly spelt out or implied by OAP Liz Windsor at Westminster yesterday.
Oh, & about that legislation regarding agency workers, you'll find that it isn't what it seems, as Seumas Milne elaborates over on the Guardian's Comment is Free pages ( ):
"In some areas ministers are actually going backwards. Yesterday it was announced that agency workers would indeed get the same rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks -- a central demand of those battling the casualisation that has fuelled tensions over migrant labour. But not only will the measure be delayed for two years. The fine print has been drafted to water down protection to the point where one trade union leader involved in the negotiations told me yesterday: 'It's been made worthless, this is not what we signed up to.' Once again ministers have bowed to market orthodoxy and business pressure, some evidently with an eye on their own lucrative corporate options after the election."
Not only does the Oldham Echo claim to attribute views to MPs who aren't even directly or indirectly quoted, it also lazily proffers the sort of take-it-or-leave-it approach in its articles which is augmented by this apologia for journalism.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spin Over Substance

Given how far the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo have fallen, I suppose this proposal by Neil Benson, one of Trinity Mirror's editorial directors, isn't surprising: .
They used to report the news on Oldham Hall Street, you know.

It's Called The World Wide Web, Folks

When not letting newspapers off with nothing stronger than a slap on the wrist, the Press Complaints Commision (PCC) appears to think that blogs should be subject to the sort of accountability which it doesn't expect of the press itself ( ).
Its chairman Baroness Buscombe wants to see if it's possible for bloggers to be regulated by the PCC. She makes the bizarre comment:
"Some of the bloggers are now creating their own ecosystems which are quite sophisticated....Is the reader of those blogs assuming that it's news, and is [the blogosphere] the new newspapers? It's a very interesting area and quite challenging."
What's "challenging" is Buscombe's quaint nostrum that a blog, any blog, could be confused with, say, the BBC News website, or the Guardian home page. There's also the inconvenient & overlooked point for the PCC to realise that blog-hosting sites, including this one, are based in the US & therefore fall under that nation's jurisdiction.
The Independent piece notes that bloggers would be expected to volunteer to come under the PCC's guidelines. The only thing I'd "volunteer" is a two-word response.
Someone really should sit those old buffers at the PCC down & kindly tell them that their knowledge of this subject is non-existant. They should also be told that their preference for self-regulation in the press is tantamount to a dereliction of their duty.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reprise Rejected

It seems Nick Peet can buy his fellow intellectual a replacement pint after all ( ).

In Our Liverpool Home

It's an outrage, isn't it, that those cynical bloggers can sneer that culture year was all style & little substance, that it was a triumph of hype over reality, that it was symptomatic of the Lib Dems' bread & circus approach to local politics. Well, let me inform those naysayers, those cranks with a keyboard & a web connection, that culture year was an outstanding success & one of the greatest moments in Liverpool's history!
What, eh? Oh: .
Warren Bradley popped up at the How-Do awards ceremony & delivered this gem: "Being European Capital of Culture has done wonders for Liverpool's national and international profile and has created a feel-good platform for everyone connected to the city to build on."
Yes, yes, I know, but it was, by all accounts, a long evening.
Ah, yes, building on the "feel-good platform" of 2008 (no jokes, please, about unsafe structures & inferior materials), that's what it's all about in the city under Warren & his mates on Dale Street. That's why we can wheel out the mop tops again & call ourselves a UNESCO city of music ( & ).
Try to imagine "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" playing unobtrusively in the background as Warren brushes away a tear, clears his throat & delivers a self-serving, sorry, I mean sincere paean of praise to our musical history. Take it away, Warren: "Music is in Liverpool's blood and its influence has been truly global from the days of sea shanties and Merseybeat to classical and dance -- it was a fundamental reason why we were European Capital of Culture.
"The city today has a phenomenal pool of talent and it's exciting that now, more than ever, the venues, the studios, the promoters and the festivals to nurture new ideas and diverse artists who will carry on Liverpool's best musical traditions.
"To be a UNESCO city of music would be a massive boost to the city's international cultural profile and give the city a focus, like in 08, to develop our music offer at all levels for the benefit of musicians and music lovers alike."
I really hate to disturb your surreal, Scouse stream-of-consciousness odyssey, Warren, but you might just be out on the chronology there; I know it seems like we've been harping on about the Fabs for, ooh, millenia but you'll find that both classical music & the sea shanties actually pre-date You Know Who by a couple of centuries. As for the claim that it was "a fundamental reason" for being Capital of Culture, well, we'll pass on that one, shall we? Nor did it have anything to do with council stooges posing as members of the public accosting Jeremy Isaacs et al at every opportunity, whining, "Let It Be Liverpool".
Oh, & about that "phenomenal pool of talent" in today's Liverpool music scene, Warren, it's nice to see them prominently featured every year at the Matthew Street festival, given prime-time slots on the main stages, & not shunted off to a scaled down makeshift stage by Tithebarn Street, away from the rest of the action. Isn't it?
Yes, Warren, I'm convinced that it will be just as successful as your handling of culture year, the 08 Place on Whitechapel ( ) & the delightful additions to our waterfront, as Wayne explains ( ).
All together now: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Warren Bradley comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let It Be".

Friday, November 13, 2009

PCC Contact Details

A commenter on my post about Nick Peet's wretched scrawl said that Morrissey should contact the Press Complaints Commission about it. I'm dubious about the PCC; it's a body run by the newspaper industry itself & complacently holds that self-regulation is the best way for aggrieved parties to obtain redress from the press. Besides, Peet's article has now been Facebooked & Twittered for near universal opprobrium.
However, for what it's worth, here are the contact details for the PCC:-
phone: 020 7831 0022
address: Halton House, 20/23 Holborn, London, EC1N 2JD.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Required Reading For The Echo's Poodles

Nick Peet, Paddy Shennan, et al would do well to read Neil's post on his Northern Uproar blog yesterday ( ).
He describes the Echo Arena's total absence of security & organisation at the Kings of Leon gig towards the end of last year (not earlier this summer, Nick, just in case you haven't got it yet).

Oldham Echo's Mood Music

With a speculative & highly ambiguous NME article dangling the prospect of a re-staged Morrissey concert at the Echo Arena ( ), which has already been given the cold water treatment by Simon's excellent No Rock And Roll Fun blog ( ), it's unsurprising to see that Oldham Hall Street has sent out what it considers to be a couple of its attack-dog columnists in order to blame the performer rather than the lax security & stewarding at the venue bearing the Oldham Echo's name. The prosaic reality, however, is that these columnists are more like poodles than rottweilers.
Paddy Shennan (hello, Paddy, survived the cull, have you?) considers Morrissey to be a wimp for walking off ( ) & harks back to the days of punk when gobbing was de riguer. Ah, yes, Paddy, I, too, was at some of those gigs; consensus of opinion among many who were part of that generation on Merseyside was that such individuals needed to have their facial features rearranged. Joe Strummer once contracted hepatitis B after a Clash gig when some moron spat at his face.
However, the prize for journalistic stupidity on behalf of the Oldham Echo's attempt to blame the performer, not the venue is won hands-down by Nick Peet in a juvenile scrawl which makes me wonder about his mental age, IQ & experience of local gigs ( ).
Peet asks:
"Is it really such a big problem? Hardly.
"Plastic beer cups and the odd smuggled plastic bottle are frequent overhead projectiles when you go to rock concerts the world over."
Presumably Peet was of a mind to excuse the near torrent of missiles thrown at the Mersey Tunnel stage throughout the Matthew Street festival, despite onstage appeals for the idiots to stop.
Peet goes on to jeer in a beery sort of way at Morrissey's back catalogue, as though it's relevant to the incident at the Arena & the wider issue of security & stewarding at the venue. The Oldham Echo's very own Lester Bangs opines in jocular fashion:
"Both the Arctic Monkey's [sic] and Kasabian have concerts planned for the ECHO Arena later this week and I'd bet both bands would be somewhat insulted if a couple of beers didn't get sprayed about the place.
"The only fear for the venue is that is [sic] escalates out of control like it did towards the end of the Kings of Leon gig earlier in the summer [the concert took place late last year], as there was content far more sinister than beer in some of those plastic cups.
"But the regulation and sale of booze at the ECHO Arena is just a toothache on a sensational first 12 months of trading."
Peet's saloon-bar sloshed words reveal both his own alarming immaturity, not to mention an inability to write properly, & the Oldham Echo's desperate attempts to exonerate the management of the ECHO Arena [my capitals] from last Saturday's incident.
Hearteningly, the comments left on Peet's depressing diatribe all take issue with his management-sanctioned defence of the indefensible. One commenter asks if Oldham Hall Street's scrawlers would have penned the same, erm, thoughts if it had happened at a McCartney concert. Another refers to Peet's "toothache" quip, commenting that the venue itself has become a pain in the backside for the city (it's telling, btw, that Peet gratuitously inserts the "sensational first 12 months of trading" comment into the discussion).
However, Peet isn't quite finished. Indeed, he saves the best till last, remarking:
"And if dreary Morrissey chooses not to return then real Merseyside music fans should all stand united and buy last weekend's beer chucker a replacement pint."
Yes, there's nothing like a real Merseyside music fan, Nick. And you're nothing like one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Inspired Comparison

Ah, the wonders of Google! Just when you're searching for something else, it throws up a priceless artefact which not even Channel 4's Time Team could uncover.
PR Week is not normally on my reading list, for obvious reasons, but it featured the Oldham Echo at the back end of 2007 ( ).
It began memorably:
"It is the Scousers' answer to The Sun. Large-type headlines leap out from each page of the Liverpool [sic] Echo, announcing the latest news and celebrity gossip from Liverpool and Merseyside."
Some testimonial, eh?
The piece spoke of the Echo's two daily editions flying off the newsstands. Well, this is PR Week, after all.
And there's more. Consider this delightful snippet:
"The Echo's readership is, as editor Alastair Machray puts it, 'the broad rump of ordinary people who are making a living for themselves'. "
Broad rump? Charming, Alastair.
The piece gave a revealing glimpse into the world of press releases masquerading as news, how to approach certain Echo scribes with a glorified ad & the cosy arrangement between hacks & celebrities' agents.
The penultimate paragraph of the PR Week article cautioned:
"A final obvious, but crucial, point to remember is that the Echo focuses on the local angle. 'We purge national and generic stories from the paper. We may find a place for a really big national story, but it would not go on the front page,' says Machray. 'If people want national news, they will go to national papers.' "
Clearly, Oldham Hall Street is somewhat confused about the role of its publication. After all, it was only a year-and-a-half later that it announced the Echo would be appearing in the mornings from October of this year in order to "compete with the nationals", as a Trinity Mirror suit put it ( ).
Still, at least it can now take a bow, having demonstrated to the PR luvvies its similarity to Murdoch's rag. It's some accolade, isn't it, Alastair?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Junk Journalism

No one would deny Jacqui Janes' fury & grief over the death of her son in Afghanistan; her wider point regarding both the shortage of equipment & the long-term mission in Afganistan are unarguable ( ). However, her grief & understandable rage have been manipulated by The Sun. The rag that spewed its repellent lies about Hillsborough now wishes to trade on her anguish in a sickening attempt to boost its flagging circulation.
Steve Bell gets it spot-on in today's Guardian ( ).

Uncanny Echoes

When not breaking "exclusive" stories which were already known to the local cognoscenti -- prior to yesterday's splash ( ) it was strongly rumoured around Liverpool that the Telegraphed MP for Wavertree wouldn't serve beyond this parliament --the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo proceed on their merry way, recycling PR releases, claiming credit for saving endangered buildings ( ) & glamourising small-time local hoodlums.
A timely reminder of the role & function of many local papers, including those churned out at Oldham, is provided by George Monbiot on the Guardian's Comment is Free pages ( ).
Monbiot states, " For many years the local press has been one of Britain's most potent threats to democracy, championing the overdog, misrepresenting democratic choices, defending business, the police and local elites from those who seek to challenge them."
Think that's over the top? Think again, as Monbiot relates a tale about his local rag which raises uncanny parallels with the papers which claim to serve Merseyside:
"I'm prompted to write this by a remarkable episode in my home town, Machynlleth, which illustrates the problem everywhere. A battle has been raging here over Tesco's attempt to build a superstore on the edge of town. Its application received 685 letters of objection and five letters of support, but the town council, which appears to believe everything Tesco says, supports the scheme. The local paper, the Cambrian News, appears in turn to believe everything the council tells it."
Monbiot goes on to assert: "Most local papers exist to amplify the voices of their proprietors and advertisers and other powerful people with whom they wish to stay on good terms. In this respect they scarcely differ from most of the national media. But they also contribute to what in Mexico is called cacquisimo: the entrenched power of local elites."
As the 17 editorial positions are axed, to use an Echo term, & the final salary pension scheme is no more, those remaining on Oldham Hall Street would do well to read Monbiot's piece; it will drive home the reality of the nature of their employer.

9.50 UPDATE: Ronnie was there before me in a comment he left on my post from last Thursday.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Happy In The Haze Of A Drunken Hour?

There's nothing particularly unusual about idiotic acts at concerts, unfortunately, & Liverpool has seen more than its fair share of those (the Beastie Boys at the Royal Court in 87 immediately springs to mind).
However, the object thrown at Morrissey at the Echo Arena yesterday evening (conflicting reports describe it as either a bottle or a glass), resulting in the abrupt & premature end of the concert ( & ) is indicative of an all-too common pattern at that venue; several incidents have occurred there with different acts & it seems to date from the venue's inception ( ).
The Arena appears to be the only major indoor venue which allows the sale of alcohol during concerts. Its level of security & stewarding also leaves more than something to be desired; a friend of mine went to see Bob Dylan at the venue earlier this year & expressed both his amazement & exasperation at the ease with which people already the worse for wear could return to the bar time after time.
The management of the Arena have offered a limp statement, citing their faith in CCTV to identify the culprit. However, they, too, should accept culpability for last night's incident, in that they preside over a venue in which the standard rules of procedure are blithely suspended.
And what of the venue's sponsors, our old, beseiged friends on Oldham Hall Street? Well, to their credit, they did report the event on their website yesterday evening (some might say they had no option). However, it is telling that the guiding, emaciated hand of desperate PR ensured that both the news report & the follow-up story featuring reaction quotes appeared to imply that Morrissey was a bit of a wimp for not tolerating the odd missile or two ( & ).
Memo to the remaining hacks on Oldham Hall Street: it's called zero tolerance, it's of a piece with your manufactured "campaigns" & "crusades"; think ASBOs, guys, then you might get the message.

Sara's Sayings

With one apparent Oldham Hall Street insider commenting on Liverpool Confidential's treament of its travails that a meeting of staff was called on Friday evening to announce the end of the final salary pension scheme ( ), attention has been paid to the role played by Sara Wilde, managing director of Trinity Mirror Regional North West and Wales. It's interesting to recall her words from September of last year when the last major round of job losses took place ( ).
Does Ms Wilde's gift for bollockese know no bounds?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Will The Last Person Left On Oldham Hall Street Please Switch Off The Lights?

As I write, the rockets & fireworks soar & explode in the local night sky. There'll be a few more fireworks being ignited around Oldham Hall Street at the news that Trinity Mirror is seeking 17 editorial job losses at its Merseyside titles ( ).
The Guardian piece reports that Trinity Mirror "would seek to make the cuts....through voluntary redundancy where possible."
I like the "where possible" bit, don't you? It gives the impression that management on Oldham Hall Street are "flexible" & "reasonable", & that they hate having to do this. It's also nice to know that Sara Wilde, managing director of Trinity Mirror Regional North West and Wales, hasn't lost the ability to talk fluent management bollockese: "It is vital that we continue to make and take these difficult decisions and I believe these changes will ensure we have a viable, robust and thriving business which continues to provides jobs and media services to the communities we serve."
Not buying it? Nope, me neither. Nor, too, isthe NUJ branch on Oldham Hall Street, leading it to make noises unusual for the NUJ, ie., threaten industrial action ( ).
How-Do quotes NUJ assistant organiser Lawrence Shaw:
"The relentless cuts on Merseyside are damaging the quality of the papers and websites, and the local economy. They also lead to stress and other health and safety issues for the journalists left behind".
[You've only just noticed the declining quality of the paper & website, Lawrence?]
Hold The Front Page's take on the jobs bonfire alludes to the impending demise of the Daily Ghost ( ):
"Although the company has not spelled out the nature of the changes in detail, it is understood that most of the job losses will be at the Liverpool Daily Post and will span a number of editorial functions."
What's more, here's another comment which encapsulates the concerns felt by staff, stating that "workers would be right to seek reassurances regarding their futures and a clear mapping-out of the company's long-term strategy."
Fine words, spoken by...the Oldham Echo in today's editorial about GM's decision to rescind the sale of its European operations to Magna & what it means for the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port ( ).
Still, it's the right sentiment, isn't it? Pity Trinity Mirror doesn't practice what it preaches, eh?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Public Money To Pay For Port's Plan

Raising my head above the parapet in the Liverpool-Southampton port wars (& still nursing a broken heart after David Bartlett dropped the link to this blog on his Dale Street Blues site, oh, how fickle & thin-skinned they are on Oldham Hall Street, you can forget about that Christmas card this year, David!), I see that local Hampshire MP & prominent Lib Dem Chris Huhne has written to the European Competition Commissioner ( ).
As has been pointed out too many times for the liking of vested local interests, Southampton has a case for raising concerns about the cruise liner terminal. The BBC report that the government "must approve the plan because a £9m EU grant helped pay for Liverpool's £20m cruise liner terminal, whereas Southampton is commercially-funded."
Business being business, the notion that public money should subsidise nearly half the amount needed to fund such a development on the Mersey is risible. Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm no apologist for free market capitalism, but the inconvenient reality for the usual local suspects is that having established an operation under its own steam, so to speak, Southampton has every right to highlight this absurdity.
The report quotes Cllr Gary Millar, executive member on the city council for enterprise & tourism: "We believe that the creation of a full turnaround facility at Liverpool will benefit the cruise liner industry in the UK, as the city is uniquely positioned to attract business from outside of Europe.
"The application to the DfT [Department for Transport] has been made in response to calls from the industry and passengers and the city is keen to build on the success of the facility so far."
I recall Wayne pointing Cllr Millar out to me at the PR stunt for One Parked Here Without Our Say-So ( ). Pespiring visibly, Cllr Millar clasped a mobile in one hand while wearing what can be best described as a harrassed look on his face as the kids were bussed in for the photo-op; it's no surprise to observe that his attempts with syntax are as clumsy as his hamfisted PR technique.
The substance, if you can call it that, of Cllr Millar's puff-piece is more hole-ridden than Swiss cheese. Contending that a facility at Liverpool will "benefit the cruise liner industry in the UK" is arrant nonsense & an all too transparent bid to hoodwink a larger audience outside Merseyside. In addition, what's this garbage about Liverpool being "uniquely positioned" to capture & secure a non-Europen market? Is it merely because Liverpool is a westward-facing port? If so, you could make the same argument for Plymouth, Bristol, Cardiff or Glasgow.
It is of no surprise that Oldham Hall Street hasn't yet formulated a response to latest developments (still waiting for a press release to be issued by Peel Holdings, I suspect). However, if --or when-- it does, will it also mention that Chris Huhne was once a humble scribe for the Daily Ghost?