Cometh the day, cometh the judgement. As Liverpool City Council prepares to vote on the Liverpool Waters scheme, the opposition to Peel's potentially ruinous plans has been noted by a wider audience, Hugh Muir casting his gaze over the affair in today's Guardian Diary column (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/05/hugh-muir-diary-liverpool-unesco).
Moreover, the penny has dropped for those local players who have hitherto been less than exercised by the issue. However, it's always welcome to receive a sinner back into the fold of the righteous after he's repented. Take a bow, Larry Neild (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Crunch-time-looms-for-Liverpool-Waters-after-Peel-ultimatum). Larry has realised that shilling for Aurora Media (formerly October Communications) is no job for a proper journalist; he leaves the PR cesspit sadder, but wiser.
Nonetheless, there remain the siren voices of support for Peel's proposed behemoth &, yes, they largely emanate from Oldham Hall Street. Once again, the Oldham Echo trumpeted its blind loyalty to Peel in a typically sychophantic editorial last week (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/our-view/2012/02/29/liverpool-waters-plans-must-proceed-100252-30427746/).
Trotting out the tiresome buzz-phrases about "the exciting and exceptionally-ambitious Liverpool Waters scheme", "the most radical regeneration of the city's northern docklands" & "a fantastic opportunity for countless new jobs", the piece was heavy on hype & anorexically light on substance.In fact, the Echo went so far as to proclaim that Peel's plan was "a wonderful chance to allow this part of the city to join the Liverpool revolution."
Revolution? It would be more accurate to describe what's been done to the city in the name of progress as a coup d'etat.
Oh yes, that minor matter about the waterfront's World Heritage Site status. Well, the Echo displays all the breezy dismissiveness of a teenager who wants the latest iPad & is willing to ditch the laptop (so last year):
"It's a great accolade to have, but some things are more important."
Yes, like sucking up to Peel & forsaking any half-hearted attempt at investigative journalism.
Joe Riley weighed in with his backing for His Master's Voice a few days later (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/liverpool-columnists/joe-riley/2012/03/01/joe-riley-liverpool-waters-scheme-must-be-given-the-go-ahead-100252-30435388/).
Accompanying his, erm, thoughts with a risible PR video for Peel at the top of his piece (warning: it starts automatically), Joe harrumphed:
"It is nonsense to suggest that even skyscrapers of 700ft, placed at such a distance from the Pier Head, would detract from or diminish the symmetry of the historic waterfront."
For good measure, Joe described any one with the temerity to question the Peel line as "stick-in-the-mud whingers."
There's nothing like informed, intelligent debate, is there? And that was nothing like it.
Joe, Joe, just a quick word: if your definition of "symmetry" involves a future white elephant which creates a grotesquely lop-sided effect for those who view the waterfront from the river itself, I really think you need to consult a dictionary.
Liam Fogarty certainly doesn't share Joe Riley's meaning of "symmetry". The Independent Mayoral candidate for the city is scathing about Peel's architectural record (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Peel-record-on-architecture-questionable):
"Peel's record at delivering good architecture is questionable. What is proposed for Peel Ports' dock estate in Liverpool is mediocre and soulless. It's just not good enough for our city. We shouldn't be afraid to insist on the highest design standards."
Alas, Peel, Oldham Hall Street &, as seems likely tonight, Liverpool City Council, equate "the highest design standards" with the highest carbuncles to have ever scarred the city's skyline. Never mind the fact that Fogarty describes Liverpool Waters as representing "a discredited global model of property development that died the day Lehman Brothers went bust", the ugly certainty is that, fresh from penning a third-rate epistle for the Guardian's Northerner column (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/mar/05/liverpool-electedmayors-joeanderson), Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson will lead his flock to Peel's promised land this evening because, as he so memorably put it in his Guardian piece, "showing strong, effective leadership is what I do best."
Cllr Anderson's "strong, effective leadership" will be toasted by Peel tonight. Hope he's got an invite to the party afterwards.