Liverpool Waters. The name sounds so nice, doesn't it? Perhaps saying the name often enough produces a soothing, soporific effect. The reality is that you'd need to be in a stupor to swallow the effluent served up by Peel Holdings. Maybe that's why their pals on Oldham Hall Street are so keen to persuade us that it will transform the north end docks with a piece by Neil Hodgson which reminds us why associating Trinity Mirror with investigative journalism is just as risible as associating John Terry with fidelity (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2010/02/03/massive-public-backing-for-peel-s-5-5bn-liverpool-waters-scheme-100252-25748917/ ).
Yes, you've read that correctly, Hodgson does, indeed, claim that there is "massive public backing" for the latest round of mutilation a supposed World Heritage Site faces (all the journos on Oldham Hall Street write their own headlines, the sub-editors have long gone).
Hodgson's panegyric to Peel's plans begins in a manner which provokes astonishment & hilarity in equal measure:
" 'When can you start?' was the reaction of most visitors at developer Peel Holdings' Liverpool Waters public showing."
And it gets worse, much worse, as Hodgson's puff-piece for Peel plumbs hitherto unchartered depths of subterranean sychophancy. We're told that the "public showing" was a "consultation", that the plans are a "redevelopment" (such a nice, warm euphemism), that the event was "a huge hit" with people who attended (in their "hundreds", apparently), & that "early analysis of almost 300 questionnaires revealed that 99% were in favour of the 30-50 year scheme."
If, say, three of Peel's lackeys are roped in to make positive noises, but one of them hesitates before giving assent, I guess that counts as a 99% level of support. It also places Peel & the Oldham Echo in good company: North Korea's regime often claims 99% support from the people, too.
Keen to give the impression that they're a reasonable & flexible bunch, Peel's spokeswoman tells a clearly smitten Hodgson that they're interacting with the public on this plan, & that they are ready to "make amendments to the scheme as appropriate." Note the "as appropriate" bit, btw, it's their wafer-thin charm offensive fleetingly exposed.
There are more honeyed words from Lindsey Ashworth, the development's "director" for Hodgson to scribble down. This is in stark contrast to Wayne's encounter with Ashworth (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2010/02/liverpool-waters-glass-pie-in-sky-we.html ), during which he sneered: "We don't have to put this show on" & charmingly declared: "We are doing you a favour."
And what aroused such contemptous arrogance from Ashworth? Merely the wholly reasonable objection that the entire plan should be the subject of a public inquiry. Yes, they want the public's views, all right, as long as they tally with their own. Oh, & remember this, they're doing us a favour. Isn't that nice of them?