Take a trip down Dale Street next Wednesday & you'll witness a spectacle in the Town Hall which belongs to the world of Lewis Carroll. The Oldham Echo, along with its sickly sister the Daily Ghost, will be awarded the freedom of Liverpool (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2011/03/02/liverpool-echo-makes-headline-by-being-given-freedom-of-the-city-100252-28261044/ ) .
Yes, the sorry rag which claims to speak for Merseyside, but which sacked 100 Liverpool printers when it moved its printing operation down the East Lancs Road, will be "honoured" by the city council. Aghast at this brazen act of mendacity & self-delusion? Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson isn't. In fact, he plays the part of civic fluffer to perfection, proclaiming that the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo have been "the voice of the city for more than 150 years and they constantly champion Liverpool as a great place to live, work and to do business."
Ah yes, of course, given the bilge slapped on the Echo's front page every night (tales of small-time hoodlums, Z-list local celebrities, etc.), any visitor arriving at Lime Street who happens to peruse the, erm, publication would be immediately struck by the way in which the city is championed, as Joe puts it, by Oldham Hall Street.
As an aside, you might think that Anderson would want to keep a relatively low profile after meekly acquiescing to £90m worth of Tory cuts.
The comments left at the foot of the Echo's self-congratulatory piece are almost uniformly hostile. One contributor, JB_Kirkdale, submits a few observations which merit reproduction in their entirety:
"This paper is a rag, a tabloid rag and a very poor shadow of the paper we all respected when we were growing up.
"Remember [the] campaign and outrage from the Echo when it was suggested Liverpool's blood units be moved to Manchester, yet it has done exactly the same thing, sacking many in Liverpool while employing people in Oldham to print it. Its hypocrisy is staggering.
"It calls itself the voice of Merseyside but it stayed silent on the Americans raping LFC in case it lost its access to the club and its players. John Thompson, the sports editor, is another disgrace which has been noted by many.
"I cannot believe this rag has the freedom of Liverpool when it has barely any connections with the place apart from collecting its revenue here and investing it in Manchester.
"I wouldn't wipe my harris on it and I can barely stomach it even when it's free."
JB, you should be a blogger!
Another commenter, georgechristophermciver, notes, "The headlines compete with the Daily Sport."
Sensationalist in its tone, crass in its handling of issues which require a modicum of thought, the Oldham Echo provided further evidence of its cack-handed ways a few days ago, as Simon, the blogger behind the no rock and roll fun blog, remarked with regard to a piece on a raid at a Bootle chip shop (http://norock.tumblr.com/post/3379792287/liverpool-echo-puts-sensitively-chosen-advert ).
Since Oldham Hall Street trumpeted its impending "honour" it's become apparent that all is not what it seems in this sorry farce. Trinity Mirror, the parent company of the two rags, & which has this week admitted its parlous state in its annual figures, lobbied (yes, lobbied) the city council for freedom of the city status. Anxious to remain in Oldham Hall Street's good books, Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson immediately assented to their lobbying efforts.
A city council which implements Tory cuts & a pair of rags which are to local journalism what Ron Jeremy is to celibacy. They really do deserve each other, don't they?