Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recriminations But No Regrets

No, just as I suspected, it was too much to hope that sanity would finally prevail over the Liverpool cruise terminal. Both the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo were at it again this morning. David Bartlett scratched around forlornly, half-heartedly sniffing at a scrap here, a bone there( ):
"One option may be to repay the £9m of public money which helped build the terminal and which has been judged an unfair advantage over competitors like Southampton.
"A private partner, such as a cruise company, could be sought to salvage the bid.
"It is understood the council may also seek clarification from European authorities about whether if the terminal were classed as a vital piece of transport infrastructure it could bypass competition rules."
Yes, I know, talk about clutching at straws. However, it's a theme on Oldham Hall Street, it appears, to talk up a scenario so improbable that you wonder if it had its genesis at the Christmas party after a few bevvies.
Bartlett's article quotes Joe Anderson, leader of the city's Labour group, declaring that the decision by government minister Paul Clark shows he's "living in 'cloud-cuckoo-land' ". Joe, I appreciate you want to displace a corrupt administration but siding with said characters, their friends in local commerce & Oldham Hall Street does you no credit whatsoever.
Bartlett's piece also contains this gem which only feeds into the self-pitying Scouse stereotype:
"Tourism leader Cllr Gary Millar said: 'My own view from a political point of view is that once again the Labour Government has snubbed Liverpool.'
"He said it was too early to start talking about a legal challenge to the Government's decision."
In other words, there are no grounds for a legal challenge & Cllr Millar's use of the "too early" to say argument unsuccessfully tries to disguise it. Then again, let us not forget that Cllr Millar has form when it comes to bombast, spin & chutzpah; some of us recall his worried, pespiring presence at the PR fiasco for One Parked Here Without Our Say-So( ).
The editorialising on Oldham Hall Street was in full cry, too, with the Oldham Echo leading the charge like a tired & emotional scally on Dale Street at 2am( ), vowing to anyone who wanted to know that the decision "should not be regarded as the end of the matter.
"We have been defeated, but we should remain defiant and keep afloat our long-term plans to further develop our much-envied, world-class waterfront."
Ah yes, "our much-envied, world-class waterfront" which has been hideously disfigured by the arrival of the eyesores, a development applauded at every stage by those on Oldham Hall Street whose parrot-like cries that more buildings, any buildings, no matter how they look, on the waterfront, equate "progress", making a mockery of the port's World Heritage Status; Big Al Machray & Bill Gleeson, both much loved & respected by their colleagues, I'm told, bear a fair deal of culpability for this act of civic vandalism.
Nowhere in the Echo's swaggering & defiant yell of resistance to reality is there even the hint of an acknowledgement that allowing £9m of European money to be used for an upgraded terminal would have been tantamount to an illegal subsidy.
The Daily Ghost's editorial, written by William Leece, strikes a less populist tone than that of its strident sibling. However, it's still in denial about the inherent flaws in the terminal plans. It concludes ( ):
"Even if the worst comes to the worst, perhaps it may be still be best to repay the £9m in Euro-support and have done with it."
However, let's not end on such a dispirited note. Let's hear it from the Oldham Echo to bellow one last cry of parochial protest:
"No one can deny us our proud maritime history, and no one should underestimate our determination to bring back the glory days."
All together now, "In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool home...."

1 comment:

Esther Johnson said...

I set down and collected some friends from a cruise at Langton Dock a couple of years ago. They vowed never to return. Scrapyard-on-sea was their verdict. What price £9million against total loss of business - the cruise operators aren't going to hang around waiting while Liverpeel sort out this mess.